A tip from the wise: do not, I repeat NOT wear your hair in pigtails if you're going to be out all day in the sun. The cuteness points you earn are just not worth the pain you experience washing your hair in the shower when you get home.

That said...

I arrived late Friday night after a long, cramped car ride. It took us 20 minutes to get out of our SOHO parking spot, and another 30 to make it to the Holland Tunnel. Mind you, had there been only minimal traffic this leg of the trip would have taken not even 10 minutes. The car essentially had a walking escort to the tunnel, much to the amusement of onlooking New Yorkers. I don't think anyone has ever walked to a beach burn before, and we were glad not to be the first as the tunnel entrance neared and traffic picked up. The ride was otherwise uneventful, save strange comments about snorting chicken and a reasonable discussion about polyamory. Found knarphie, set up the pink flamingo I had decoratively punked out the night before, checked out the neighborhood, met some people whose faces I couldn't see, scratched an itch, and passed out curled up in the arms of my long-distance lover after 60 entirely sober waking hours, a new personal record.

Woke to the much missed feeling of baking in a tent under the sun. Crawling out of the womb was my first mistake, as the warmth of the sun didn't quite match up to the chilling wind that kept all our clothes on for the duration of the weekend. Met more faces, but the people I wanted to get to know were running the show and were constantly buzzing about. Wandered over to the other side of camp to leech anomaly's kickass cold sesame noodles. The souring of my stomach with stories of gobs of vomited-up donkey cum (yes, some things gross even me out) were calmed upon realizing that the cute blonde I had been introduced to was none other than the drummergrrl who seemingly had avoided my /msgs for "doing coffee" on several occassions. I'll have to dish out spankings next time, grrl. You know this. ;) Hug her when you get the chance, noders, she knows how to give it her all.

Sobriety erased in a tent with kinksters from back home, I sat outside our temporary suburban home and began to draw. I was crazed when onlookers asked for a flip through my sketchbook without commentary, as I always feel the need to explain each and every piece, and I didn't feel that anything in my current book is representative of me. They seemed to like it, nonetheless...and the experience minorly encouraged me to keep on drawing. We'll see if I ever find my language.

Spent a bit of time in communion with the beach. Stood before an ocean that numbed my feet in .03 seconds and attempted to let the water and wind cleanse me. Felt raw, rather than healed, and wandered back to camp stopping to say hi to familiar faces along the way only to be rerouted for the pick-up line contest. My grand contribution to that was: "It's kinda cold out here...you know, there's room under my dress..I mean, my poncho, for two" which earned me an average score of 27 on a scale of 11. I was beat out, though, by a cute girl on her knees asking if there was "room in that hole for two" as the judges were seated inside a sculpted sand squid. Contemplated taking a nap, but the meat orgy symbolic of suburban excess soon started, kicked off by an unexpected and amazing sushi orgy. Vegetarians? Who are they?

The rest of the night was a blur, but ticked by incredibly slow. The park rangers shut our sounds down at 10, and having been in awe that DJ Monk-E remixed Amazing Grace earlier, I was heartbroken. We even had to silence the drummers. :( At about midnight, we gathered around the fire fearing high tide and the park's sudden insistence that the fire go out along with it. Fortunately, the rising water only teased the edge of our fire pit, and the ranger that had been a prick all weekend took mercy on our freezing appendages and let us keep on burning. I don't know how we would have survived the cold, cold night otherwise.

At this point there were three fires...the main one, one that the New Yorkers had set up, and a smaller, more intimate one set up by the Baltimorians after an effigy of Steve Martin had kicked it off. As I had not had much success finding kindred spirit (or locating the ones I had resonated with earlier) I lingered by the NY fire for a bit and became quite disenchanted with my fellow cityfolk. Part of what I had liked about the Burning Man community was the friendly faces, even among strangers. Sitting amongst them by the fire, though, I had little inclination to share myself with them, as the attitudes felt a little too much like home. People who seemed neat in words on a mailing list showed a different face, and I'm disappointed in them for that. This isn't the whole NY community, mind you, there was a really cool bunch who reached out in the darkness and drew me in, and I thank them for letting down their guard like warm human beings.

After my storyteller got lost getting a beer, I wandered back to the tent, lonely. I didn't expect that he would be at the smaller fire, and he didn't expect that I would have gone back home, so I layed there for a cruel amount of time in a ball of psychadelic weep, feeling lonlier than I ever have in my life before. The voices outside only drove the pain in deeper and I reached for my discman, but Robert Miles couldn't even save me. Thoughts of being comforted by the good energy people in my life only hurt more, as the pain could only currently be soothed by the one I'm well on the way to falling in love with. After much hellish less-than-ecstatic trippy torment, I found my way to the potty and back up the hill to the beach, and dragged knarphie back caveman style to the tent for some soul-soothing, stopping along the way for a potty break and a few more tales told in the parking lot, until knarphie brought the conversation full circle.


Life is poop, I said, and for once he was the optimist. I welcomed him back to crawling his way out of the hole after being perked up by a minor moment of icky sweetness ("You showed up") from him. Not even fifteen minutes pass, though, before the alleycat was itching to escape the emotional intimacy of the moment. He goes to pee, comes back...itch, itch, itch...after the worst rolled smokes to ever hit my mouth, I agree to head back up to the fires. I'm feeling a little less raw having spent a few moments in his company, but am not quite up to socializing just yet. One of us had to find some strength, and so I compromised, as always. Can't help but wonder if I'm beginning to compromise myself in all of this, actually, but that's another story for another node.

Found myself sitting at the small fire for the first time that evening among names and faces that are familiar to me from stories and mailing lists and writeups. The spirit of comraderie and energy and unconditional giving friendship that the Baltimorian crew has never ceases to amaze me. Unselfish by nature, REAL by nature...where do I sign up? At that point, though, I was too drained and lost in my head to communicate with them, though, and instead sat quietly by the fire watching their dynamic. The keystone of the group I had yet to formally meet yet, and as I sat beside her I couldn't help but feel I was seeking approval of my lover's parents. I was afraid to talk to her because I know I would have ended up driving the conversation into someplace I've been told she doesn't want to go, so I stayed silent. I would not have been able to deal with opening that can of worms. So I sat by the fire and listened for a change.

The tides turned and turned and crashed and flowed. The sky lightened, my sneaker melted, the small fire burned on, but all but one had moved on to find warmth elsewhere. Near dawn, heads spinning, hearts wanting but needs stifled, we passed out in the cool confines of the wonderful hypocritical facade of happiness we had recreated on the beach called suburbia.

Awoke the next morning after missing breakfast with little time to pack. Poked my sleepy head out of the tent to meet lillianvalencia, who graciously offered me a smoke to start off the day. I just started smoking again 2 weeks ago and forgot just how much one smokes when intoxicated and was ill-prepared for the weekend, anticipating surviving on one pack which was gone mid-Saturday night. Sorry I didn't talk more, but as anyone who knows me will tell you, I'm not very functional for the first hour or so of waking. Forced interesting food into my system, packed up leaving as little sand behind as possible, and hit the road after saying a few farewells.

All in all, I now stand a little more needy with a little more hope at the same time, if that makes any sense. Also, having met the community behind-the-scenes in a weekend at the beach, I now want to get more involved with the heart of it all. We'll see where this energy takes me. All I know is that I have a bit of grounding to do. But fear I will no longer.

I would have to agree with drummergrrl that this counts as an E2 gathering of sorts considering we had somewhere around 15 noders there. Roll call off the top of my head (and I hope others will fill in the blanks): knarphie, drummergrrl, deeahblita, vees, anomaly, SlightlyMadman, protozoa, jonlasser, Ground Control, lillianvalencia, and um, well, I know there were more. Again, please fill in the blanks. :)

A hearty thanks to the Baltimore crew for a weekend with spectacular energy.