I had driven for hours that day, closing in on 14 in fact, and I was anxious to arrive.
The desert surrounded me from horizon to horizon. Most of the trip I didn’t see a single soul and I questioned whether I had taken a wrong turn somewhere. It was then I rounded a sweeping corner.
Before me lay hundreds of cars, campers and bicycles. A temporary city rising up from the flat playa. Dirt was flying in the wind, kerchiefs covered the noses and mouths of those outside. Some people were clothed and many were not. The sun was dipping below the horizon to the West and I stared in awe. I didn’t know what I was feeling, but it was something new.
After an hour of creeping forward, I neared the gates where I would roll down my window and offer my ticket to the thin man wearing a kilt and a stained wife beater. He smiled a huge smile and reached for my ticket.
And then he bowed low, as if greeting royalty. When he gradually unfolded himself and looked me straight in the eyes he said two words… only two words.
My tears began streaming down my sunburned cheeks and neck.
This was a place where I could be myself, not who I thought I needed to be in the given moment. But I could be ME. Finally. Finally a place of acceptance for little old fucked up me.