It was the second-to-last day of Burning Man. The last day for many people. The Man had burned last night. My campmates were unpacking, picking up moop, giving away food. It seemed so awful to let it all fall apart. My boyfriend was absorbed in the process of making ice cream. I needed to leave, somewhere, I don't know. I couldn't deal with everyone I loved for an inexplicable, painful reason.
So I biked around. I headed to Center Camp. People were dazed, with the dust and lack of sleep and intense environment and I'm sure, other substances. I felt sorrowful, and I couldn't figure out the cause. I thought of my Papa, who had died one year and mere days earlier.
I sat on a couch. I wasn't sure why, except that I couldn't handle my grief standing up. The guy next to me made room, smiled, and offered popcorn. I blinked back tears and shook my head.
I closed my eyes and listened to the music.
I still felt numb, but my soul was thawing. I wondered what was happening back at my camp, but I didn't want to be there. I needed to be someplace that that was not. I needed to find something else. Something deep inside me.
And I still felt - weird. Later, Gwendolyn attributed it to me being sad that it was the second-to-last day of the Burn and she let me have my bad mood. She loves me like that.
And then, the scruffy but intensely special singer on stage, began singing, "I'm For Today." I got him. I understood him. It all made sense.
I'm for today -
I'm for the birds who fly away -
Free as they came,
Free as they came.
I blinked back tears. I listened hard. I clapped my hands until they ached. He finished singing, this wonderful Aaron Glass. He gave me a hug and a CD.
I hopped on my bike. I sang again and again, the chorus which pulled me up. As I biked, I swear everyone listened, and was waking up in their own way.
But it's Burning Man, everyone wakes up in their own way.