The Burning Man theme for this year is Caravansary. Here is a brief summary of what that means (from the Burning Man website):
“For countless centuries, travelers along the Silk Route crossed paths in caravansaries, a network of oases and sanctuaries that dotted the 4,000-mile road from Europe to East Asia. These bustling caravan stops offered more than just shelter from the desert wilderness; they were vital centers of cultural exchange, bringing together traders, pilgrims, monks, nomads, traveling entertainers, and wild-eyed adventurers from all points of the compass to share their stories around a common fire.”
I’m excited about this theme. It makes perfect sense for the playa’s physical conditions and community of amazing people from around the world. True there was much commerce along the Silk Route and there is really none at Burning Man, but I don’t think that is a disconnect. Instead of exchanging goods, we simply give.
At Burning Man we give stories, ideas, art, joy, hugs, food, shelter, clothing, love, companionship, happiness, support, laughs, tears and so much more.
Really, at Burning Man, we give ourselves. It is the most valuable gift anyone can give and receive. Because giving oneself to another is love isn’t it? Everybody should be loved.
With that said, part of the fun is giving keepsakes that represent our time together at home (Burners call the playa home – this place we live in 51 weeks of the year outside of Burning Man is just the default world). I have been given necklaces, bracelets, patches, stickers, shirts, rings and charms as reminders of the people I have met and shared time with on the playa.
Our camp has given away metal Burning Man cutouts from the lion’s head on our art car (Ian is an amazing craftsman).
Rich and I gave away inscribed dogtags that fit the Cargo Cult theme of last year and represented the Colorado contingent of our camp. I personally gave away poems punched out on a typewriter to my camp mates and neighbors.
This year, Rich and I are planning on giving away bracelets with the help of a brilliant artist friend. The idea comes from the Caravansary theme. The bracelets will have beads and silk (get it – silk for the Silk Route) that are the colors from Colorado’s state flag. And then the part I love the most is the centerpiece of the bracelet – a goat.
It will actually be a goat Milagro. Milagro means ‘miracle’ and each one represents a wish or a prayer and is meant to bring good luck and happiness and prosperity. So that is good, right?
On the Burning Man site, they explain Caravansary in more detail and include some Proverbs of the Caravan of Dreams. My favorite one is this:
“If you have no troubles, why not buy a goat?”
Oh my gosh that is beautiful. And it explains why nobody I know owns a goat. I wish everybody had a goat. I need a goat. Well, at Burning Man, we will give some goats away in the form of these bracelets.
For the past week, I can’t stop saying it in my head the way Kramer does when he is doing the live movie phone service on Seinfeld (“Why don’t you just tell me what movie you want to see…”).
I keep thinking, “If you have no troubles, (cue Kramer voice) why not buy a goat?”