Temple Burn-Burning Man 2017
I watch as flames engulf the sacred space that had reduced me to tears just days prior. I was warned of the temple's magnificence; of the electrifying way in which it brought all who entered to their knees. The magnitude of the tragedy carved into walls grabbed hold of visiting hearts and relentlessly sunk them. I swear that this space could make a sociopath weep.
Tens of thousands of people and not one of them makes a sound. Crickets might have stolen the show, were they capable of inhabiting such an austere environment. They’re not here though. The silence, punctuated by the fire's subdued roar is the only perceptible sound. Not a word is spoken, not a pin is dropped.
Tens of thousands of people, and not one of them makes a sound. They are mesmerized, observing in venerating humility, as the most ferocious of the elements is wildly raging before their eyes. They are so beautiful when they come together; when they are here, now.
The fire takes on a new life. It dances like an emotive performer, desperately pleading to be admired. Warmth, passion, recklessness. Even this force though, known for destruction, is laden with vulnerability. Volatile, uncertain, constantly searching for a place to burn; for unlike the other elements, it is inexistent in a natural state. Impuissant until ignited, manifesting only when it finds a co-operative entity to consume.
My ruling force has enraptured me, and I am increasingly aware of its presence within. I've always known it to inhabit the depths of my soul, and this is the moment it has been waiting for. Ignition. I go into that inner fire and feel it wholeheartedly. I find consciousness in the chaos. Stillness in the motion. Peace in the fervour.
The silence is broken; humans howl at the moon too. And my god, it's magnificent when they do. As the howls gain momentum sweeping across the crowd, so too does this ardent desire to utter the world’s most powerful words.
Three words. Those three that should be bestowed upon every soul encountered. Those three that we stifle, even when they reverberate across every ounce of our being. The ones that make or break relationships. The ones that we do not say first, for fear of projecting weakness. The ones that we give out as coveted awards, only to those we deem have earned them.
Just as I am wishing I was brave enough to say them, my brothers and sisters have heard the call. The first "I love you" begins at 9 o’clock, making its way across the crowd, like a wave at a sporting event.
Alas, no one in my vicinity is speaking up, and the lover within me is bursting to say it. Telepathy lends a hand, and a familiar nearby voice screams "I love you, Dré”. And his voice imparts me with all the courage that I need. Like fluid velvet, the words roll off my tongue, and I think I might never hesitate to say them again.
The structure crumbles, the heartache left at its doorstep, dissipating with the smoke as it falls. I am certain now that the fire too, can cleanse us. An internal voice whispers: "Welcome to the best version of yourself".
I am able to peel my eyes away from the fire, for I rest assured that I carry it within me.