at burning man, we say welcome home. and we mean it.
all pictures are thumbnails. click to get the big one.
the first time I heard "welcome home" was shortly before I rang the bell my virgin year.
it resonated so clearly with me (not the bell). it's an acknowledgment that the daily life we lead, where we have a job, buy ikea, and make soap is not necessarily home. part of "home" is who else is there and their life outlook. their conventions. how you interact with them. their influence upon you. your influence upon them.
a lot of burning man is about the freedom from american societal gay marriage banning convention. I mean, I try to dance like nobody's watching and walk to the beat of my own drummer. but it's reassuring and inspiring when that doesn't mean swimming upstream. I feel more like I'm in my natural habitat when I'm at burning man.
when we welcome people home, we're talking about being among like minded people. being in an environment that nurtures what a lot of society stares at and decries as weird.
I did a lot of welcoming this year. every time I saw someone arrive at camp, I picked them up, spun them around, and welcomed them home. I volunteered for greeter duty. greeters are the first people you meet when you arrive at burning man. I even "welcome homed" a few cops that I saw around.
when people arrive to their first burning man, they are encouraged to announce their presence in any way they wish. bells and beaters are provided for those who want to be loud without doing anything terribly original. when I arrived, my virgin year, I rang the bell, did back flips, hollered, hugged lots of greeters and kissed the playa. when I arrived this year, I did some handsprings and rang all the bells (there are about ten lanes of entrance and a bell in each lane)
one of my first greets, in the official capacity, was a family with an infant. the parents get excited, the kid was passive. I insisted that the kid ring the bell. I further insisted that I take a picture of the kid ringing the bell because when she's older, she'll want that picture. I wish I'd gone to burning man when I was a year old and had a picture of myself ringing that bell. the top picture is that kid ringing that bell. hope she finds the picture some day.
another greet that made my day, (though it was the middle of the night), was after picking up and spinning around and giving a very heartfelt hug to a new arrivee, she told me that this is her 7th year and my greet was her best greet ever. I rock the playah.
the rest of these pictures are me welcoming my fellow promeatheatricians home in the aforementioned picking up, spinning, welcoming manor (sic). there were lots of people I missed. and lots of people whose name I've forgotten. many apoligies to both.
joel is a tea gourmet/connoisseur/professional. click here to hear joel's tea kettle announce soup's on.