Part of what makes Burning Man so indescribable is how customizable it is. It can truly be whatever you want it to be: a time for solitude and self-reflection, a nonstop dance party, an orgy. The philosophy of radical inclusion means that it is literally a place for everyone. We are welcome to do what we like, as long as it causes no harm and leaves no MOOP.
MOOP is Matter Out Of Place, and not leaving any is one of Burning Man's central tenets. Not only does Burning Man require a week in the desert -- everyone brings their our own food, water and booze. We carry out all the trash and anything extra. Rather than fatigue, I felt a sense of pride after. We can survive without the technological trappings of modern society. Not just survive. We can live and live well.
We expected bartering but found only gifting. Food, drinks, art and jewelry were given freely. Hugs too. What a feeling to be given something by someone who expects nothing in return! How often does that happen in the real world?
Despite the 70,000 attendees Burning Man never felt crowded or overwhelming. I felt a connection to my fellow burners, and inspired by whatever circumstances brought us to that wonderful place at the same time. For me, that week in the desert was a fierce celebration of life and a welcome reminder that the drudgery of the everyday is not all there is. In fact, it's not even close.
All these lovely photos were taken by our amazing friend Leah, one of several who came all the way from Boston to burn.