a multicolored brigadoon..

Posted by Ted on Jul 9, 2005 in Burning Man

in the desert, the city rises up out of the dust. in the woods, the village coalesces out of the trees and the ground. it is a faerie world, of lights and sound and fire. of drumming and silk ribbons in the sky. and where a galaxy spun quietly in a field.

I went to Firefly last weekend, and oh my god was it a wonderful time..

I came back to work this week refreshed, replenished, and rejuvenated.

not only was it beautiful and a feast for the eyes and ears, but there were so many wonderful people to talk to, interact with, learn from, and share being there with. there was a guy who was mesmerizing with a hula hoop, and we learned some tricks from him.. there was a guy who had a gorgeous kanji tattoo of “Honor” on his shoulder, and so we talked about our tattoos, and phoenix mythology. there were the Rangers who I hung out with, as part of and after Ranger training; talking with Sanskrit on the porch, and a late night walk and lesson with Sidewinder.. accepting and giving gifts of food to everyone; feasting on pipeapple on the porch, walking around on Monday and offering Banana Bread to whomever was around, or sharing our dinner stew or curry lunch.. running up and giving Erika a hug, hanging out with the Silkworms, even though I wasn’t up to doing much this weekend (and letting them have the time to show new people who might not have the chance for weekly practice).. and sharing the weekend with Liz was all kinds of wonderful. it was our first time spending more than part of a weekend together, and it was really nice to just have some time where things weren’t feeling rushed, and we could do things together, or not, but not feel like there was a need to hurry, or that we’d miss out on time. we cooked, we walked, and we laid in a hammock.. we drummed, danced, and had amazing sex. after buying 24 gallons of water, some crackers, and some ice cream, we saw a double rainbow..

I came to some really powerful realizations this weekend, too.. like the fact that hey, sarongs are really damn comfortable.. or the fact that you know, I would probably make a pretty decent ranger, despite the fact that I sometimes get lost on trails or lose things. hell, being a ranger would probably help that.. or the fact that, hey! I can hula hoop! they are so different than the hoops I remember as a kid, cheap plastic with a ball that rolls around. no, hoops now are bigger and have a wonderful weight that you can learn to move around your body.. I learned more about rhythms, and how to dance with someone, letting their more complex rhythm exist outside of my simpler rhythm, and being able to sync them together..

there were so many wonderful moments.. like watching a crescent moon rise above the trees in the predawn light.. or watching the milky way spin overhead.. or simple rituals like climbing up the silk rig every day to see the horizon.. or having a morning cup of coffee with sweetened condensed milk..

and the lights, you remember the lights? by night this forest was lit by glowing purple mushrooms, or blue and green LEDs in mason jars.. even our tent was trimmed with blue EL wire so that we could find it in the dark.

and then there was the Burn. intimate, primal, hot, beautiful.. there was a shared energy in the air so powerful that we never went far from it.. we sat and watched the preshow of fire breathers and spinners, and then the bug burned brightly, sending ember fireflies up into the night sky.. and then the dancing started, and the dancing and the drums kept going.. people left, but many stayed, and sometimes it was quiet, and sometimes the energy built up again.. and the drums continued on into the night..


An adventurer at heart, Ted Beatie is at his happiest when he’s off the beaten path. His deepest passion is sharing the world through photography and writing, found at The Pocket Explorer. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.


Jul 9, 2005 at 10:38 pm


I’m so GLAD you had a nice time. As I mentioned to , every time I saw you two together you looked like you were having a better and better time. Yay!

And…uh, by Erika do you mean me Erika or other Erika? People keep getting us confused and it’s making me sad.
(I was so out of it that weekend…I honestly can’t remember if I hugged you. bleh.)

Jul 9, 2005 at 10:56 pm

you, silly :)

I ran up to you next to the cabin at one point as you were on your way into the woods..

Jul 9, 2005 at 10:58 pm

AW! I remember! YAY!

I need more hugs like that in my life, right now. Yeah.

Jul 10, 2005 at 3:04 am

Next year, in Vermont!

(thanks for the write-up; I’ve been wanting to enjoy it vicariously. Though the thought of you wearing a sarong is sort of crowding out much of the other imagery…)

Jul 10, 2005 at 3:11 am

Though the thought of you wearing a sarong is sort of crowding out much of the other imagery…

hear, hear! (see, see!) ;)

Jul 10, 2005 at 6:41 pm

*only slightly bashful grin*

Jul 10, 2005 at 3:12 am

Wow – wonderful description, almost feel like I was there. Thank you.

Jul 10, 2005 at 6:46 pm

thank you..

I’ve come to realize that my writing and my photography are my ways to share the world that I see with people..

Jul 10, 2005 at 2:19 pm

Beautifully written. And it sounds like there was a lot spaces for oxygen. So pleased to hear that you were able to celebrate some time for you on more relaxed terms.

Jul 10, 2005 at 6:49 pm

*grin* the air definitely felt rich.. heady almost.. not like the dry desert, but where every breath felt clean, the air smelling of green and rain..

Jul 10, 2005 at 2:20 pm

Nice write-up. Glad you were there.
I think you’re a natural for a ranger.

Jul 10, 2005 at 6:54 pm

wow, really? for someone who’s been doing these sorts of things for many more years than me, I’ll take that as both a compliment and encouragement :) I had that awkward “new kid” feeling, entirely in my head of course because all the rest of the rangers there were welcoming and friendly.. but it felt pretty natural, and a good place to put some of my strengths like working with people, and being resourceful and good at organization..

Jul 11, 2005 at 5:08 am

Sounds like an amazing time. I am so happy that you experienced it and shared that experience with all of us. Much appreciated.

Jul 14, 2005 at 9:54 pm

I kinda wish I’d had more time to relax. I used to love festivals, they would recharge my batteries like nothing else. Especially in the woods.
This time we spent so much time on that rig and all that it seemed like mostly worktime. The burn itself was really nice, but…

I’m now wishing I could just cut out and go to Starwood at a moment’s notice. I want my chance to just kick back and relax and party!

Jul 16, 2005 at 3:17 am

ya, you all did look like you spent more time on the rig than you did enjoying the rest of the event.. but it was worth it.. not only did more people get introduced to flying, but you all put on an amazing show!

and ya, everything that I’ve heard about Starwood over the years has really made me want to go.. next year, for sure!