Nature, red in tooth and claw

One of the immediacies of Burning Man is the Black Rock Desert, a former prehistoric lakebed. With its vast expanse and vaulted sky, the Black Rock Desert is merciless in demonstrating that you are just a mere speck in time. Camping in this environ in a serious affair in survival, given the extreme temperatures, blinding dust storms, and occasional rainstorms. Only the foolish take life for granted under these circumstances. Here, nature offers plenty of experiences to contemplate her ways, like waiting out a whiteout while watching a heavy cast iron skillet, caught in camo netting, drift hypnotically up and down in the wind.

In conventional cities, taking life for granted is typical because of our routines and sheltered environments, until nature reminds us otherwise. With the almost two feet of snow, between yesterday and today in New York City, daily activities like walking beneath trees suddenly become more anxiety-inducing, especially when you hear a cracking noise, and a snow-laden branch lands near your feet. Plus, the “friendliness” of a resident raccoon may well be driven by a virus looking to replicate.

2 Replies to “Nature, red in tooth and claw”

  1. Have you ever noticed how “nothing lives ON the playa” ? Well, there is a simple enough reason for that I suppose, it is simply inhospitable. Maybe in some ways as inhospitable as say mars or the moon, but with better air and lots of dust, but water under the surface and probably a microbe hiding here or there. But for the most part inhospitable. This fact alone, that nature itself is smart enough to avoid trying to live there, makes it about the stupidest place to camp ever. Granted there are some advantages when you need the space for 30-40,000 plus people to camp for a week suddenly, and the ability to control all ingress and egress points using a simple plastic fence, top notch. I mean, you can’t start the forest fire there, or trample the flowers, and hell the police can contain you quite well so they are happy enough and well financed after a years worth of citations written in a simple week. But life does pass through and quite routinely, natural life that is. In the 11 years in a row I have been, birds, giant moths, and even a praying mantis have visited our camp, as odd as it may seem. I have seen hawks overhead and some rodents, oh wait those were small hippys, I forgot…. and after all is said and done, it isn’t all that bad, I have stayed
    almost a week past labor day before, ok 5 days maybe before getting shuffled out. I love the place. btw, 2 ft of snow? snowpocalyspe? I am from Wisconsin, aka southern Canada? 2 ft. please….. you city folks are forgetting how to live. Lets talk dystopia! lets talk too much police presence and harrasment at burningman, lets talk subvert the man!

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