While the world suffers from Covid and Hurricane Ida, massive wildfires and a host of other climate related issues (And yes I consider Covid part of the climate change narrative), I am reminded that this weekend should be the annual Burning Man festival in the Black Rock Desert.
For a second year the festival has been cancelled due to the pandemic. And while it might get overlooked, there are some of us who remember and honor the man from afar.
But I posted this to talk about the image above. This was sadly taken within moments of Aaron Joel Mitchell, an attendee of the festival, jumped into the flames in 2017 and committed suicide.
You may ask why I bring up such a melancholy thought right now. First, because I would like to honor his memory, at a time when little thought is given to the matter. Second because I think we need to acknowledge that there are many many people out there that are screaming out for help and that this is only going to get worse. Third because in some ways he represents the cleansing by fire that Burning Man has always brought to so many symbolically. Sadly he took the most direct route to that cleansing.
On this weekend when the Man should have burned and once more cleansed those who need it, many are left bereft of that symbolic healing. Here in New Orleans where the hurricane has yet destroyed our city. In the west where fires are sweeping through whole towns and many other places where disaster has hit, we need to symbolically cleanse ourselves of the pain. without destroying ourselves in the process.
Burning Man is not just a festivals for hippies to frolic naked in the desert. It is a healing time and one that I hope will come again in future years.
For now, cleanse yourselves in the best ways possible, and remember that there are others that understand. Reach out to us. We are there.