The official Burning Man folks, founder Larry Harvey and the Burners who devote their lives to making the event work, promote their vision of Burning Man relentlessly. Like Moses with his Ten Commandments, Harvey has his Ten Principles. They are listed in the photo below. Go here for a detailed description.
These visionary ideals work to varying degrees. One that impresses me the most is the concept of gifting. Things aren’t sold at Burning Man; they are given away. Everyone is encouraged to contribute something.
Gifts are only limited by the individual’s imagination. For example, Peggy and I were walking through Center Camp when this woman came up to us carrying a partially melted block of ice. “Would you like to be cooled down?” she asked. “Sure,” Peggy responded. It was hot. The woman handed Peggy the ice and put her freezing hands on Peggy’s neck. It looked fun and refreshing. “Me too, me too,” I urged.
My cooling was much shorter. “You were holding the ice block under her breasts,” my lovely wife pointed out. I had been too busy being cool to notice but Peggy had the evidence. The woman approached us again the next day. Maybe she liked icy breasts. This time I carefully held the block in my lap. When I stood up it looked like I had peed my pants. I couldn’t win. “No one will notice,” Peggy offered helpfully. I refused to let her take a picture.
We have received gifts ranging from lattes to scarves to T-shirts over the years. Once we were even handed a backscratcher. Free drinks and music are offered everywhere. One group featured Miso soup this year. Mystic Camp next to us provided cereal and Saturday morning cartoons. Punkin Beth from our camp, a master bike mechanic, put on pajamas and a tutu and fixed people’s bikes. There was a guy at Camp Center gifting colorful pasties (nipple covers) to women. He even offered to apply them… free of charge, as the saying goes.
My photos today feature just a few of the ways Burners gift other Burners. In my next blog I’ll take a quick look at things I found amusing or interesting around Black Rock City but haven’t been featured. I will conclude this series with the burning of the Man and the incredible show that surrounds the event.