I woke up in a daze. It was the first official day of Burning Man but I had been there almost a week. Hammering, stomping, sweating, just getting dusty, helping build our camp. My legs dangling limp in my sleeping bag, sore from the week’s work. I embraced my pillow, listening to the flow of my blood. The rhythm slow and sluggish. Its tune relaxing me. My thoughts, the lyrics.
The Stereo.Bot structure was almost done. This gigantic horseshoe artifact was a latticework of metal, curses, and sweat. Today was the day for us to try and raise this monstrosity fifteen feet off the ground. It would take more than our hands to throw this up in the air. And despite the insistence of the ATLiens, it would have to be done with care. The work order was in and heavy equipment was on the way. Aww machinery, I thought. You always make the job easier. I nestled my bed and took a deep breath.
Something was off. I sat up and inhaled. That smell. The humidity—it’s too high. I started to pay attention to the sounds outside my tent and at that moment my suspicions were confirmed. A flash from outside lit my dome. I waited. Counting to myself. A moment later the shock wave rattled my tent. Fifteen seconds. The tent shaking with the familiar growl of Nature’s roar. Lying back down, I waited. Once again my tent lit up like the flash box of a photographer. I started counting. Twelve seconds. The lightning was getting closer.
Voices outside. The storm had caught the camp’s attention. Everything was grounded. The gates to Burning Man were closed. Cars could not drive. The heavy equipment we had requested could not go anywhere. Bikes were useless. Machinery foiled by nature. Take a few steps in the wet gypsum earth and you were wearing your very own pair of clay clogs. Removing my new mud kicks I shuffled back into my tent and the harmony of my bed.
For now the pressure was off. Work to be done another day. My consciousness began to wane as the soft pitter patter of the rain strummed my mind. The organic tune singing me to sleep. Blood on the bass, playing backup. No more thoughts in my mind. This was an instrumental. The distant rumble of the fleeting storm continuing on its path towards the emptiness of the desert as I drifted off into my own hallowed dreams.