Even after a few burns, I still sort of thought it was a party. You see, I used to go early in the week and leave early before the man burned. I got to see the city get built, I missed the most crowded time on the Playa and I could get back to my job by Monday, which was convenient.
It was by accident that I first saw the temple burn. My RV had declined to start and I was stuck in camp a couple of days past my planned Friday exit.
I had been inside the temple, of course. It was beautiful and poignant and I felt the power you feel in shared spiritual spaces. I left artifacts behind. I shed tears.
When I saw it burn, though, my life changed.
I can’t describe it adequately; I’ve been trying for hours to describe it for you here, and I can only get close. It was like sixty thousand plus hearts and minds were in sync, feeling the same feeling while the flame grew, each of us investing some of our own spiritual energy into the raging fire. We were the witnesses. Tens of thousands of people watched in silence while this structure was absorbed and it occurred to me that nothing else like this exists on Earth. No structure like this. No ritual like this.
It was at this moment I knew for sure that this life can be anything we want it to be.
I thanked the people who had built this temple and executed the burn for showing me the sheer scope of beauty and adventure and boldness and connectedness that’s possible. Before that moment, I didn’t know.
I’m on the team this year to build the temple. I’m blown away by the competence and passion around me. The project team members are super clever and they’re planning something really special. They know what they want and they won’t give up no matter how hard it is to pull off. They’re relentless.
Someone on the Playa will see their first temple burn this year. Maybe they’ll feel the way I felt when I saw it the first time. Maybe their life will change while they watch our temple absorbed by fire. They’ll be watching through tears because they didn’t know. When I think about this stranger, the little hairs on my arms stand up and my heart hurts from joy.
There’s someone out there who’s never seen it before. And we get to show them.