Friday, September 05, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

With such happenings and goings-on, Papi Sealion and I almost let a very important milestone go by unacknowledged: A year and a week ago ~ August 31, 2007, we married. That's right ~ there in the middle of the Black Rock Desert we made it For Real. Getting married at Burning Man is pretty cliche' among burners; we were a couple in most likely hundreds who chose to tie the knot there that week (some more sincerely than others) ~ there were a couple wedding parties taking place just yards away from ours, even! For whatever reason, I've found it hard to be a cheerleader, a teamplayer, or a bandwagon-jumper in my life. With just a few exceptions. Burning Man is one of those exceptions. So I report straightforwardly to those locals who have their preconceptions or jaded judgments about that week-long celebration of open expression that, yes: I got married at Burning Man.
We thought of many ways and places to do it. But Black Rock City kept feeling like the rightest place. Both of us believed that attending together that first year was the turning point in our relationship that launched us to where and who we are today. Seminal. And we would have had an actual wedding party, too. But getting to Black Rock City is a personal, logistical, as well as scheduling challenge; it's not quite as simple as catching a plane to Chicago. Some of those most supportive and influential to our relationship just weren't there. So we did it by ourselves ~ or, as much as you can be by yourself in that city of almost-40-thousand.
Dust storm self-portrait.
Sealion, as we made The Decision to prepare for our wedding.

In the midst of one of many dramatic dust storms of the week, on Friday afternoon, we costumed ourselves in our finest playa-wear and headed out. We didn't have a specific destination in mind. I had heard that there were tea ceremonies somewhere near The Man at a certain hour (specific times, places, and schedules being quite dubious at Burning Man) that day. We liked the idea of some kind of ceremony and ritual, so we walked to The Man in search. And didn't find any tea ceremony. At this point, in the heat of the day, I having chosen to go barefoot (it sounded good at the time), and now low on brain calories, we were beginning to think maybe our timing was just not right. Maybe we should go back to camp.
And then it rained. The week had been treacherously hot even for the Black Rock Desert, and the rain was welcome if brief. People danced and sang. Then there it was: the biggest most vivid rainbow I can remember. It went through the spectrum and then through it again on the other side.
It arched broadly across the grumbly-dark sky, and landed: right on the Temple.
This was the sign we needed, and we followed it. Way out there across the playa, directly towards the Temple we trekked. Stopped in and paid homage at the (much smaller in size) Tasseograph Trash Tea Temple (the precursor to this year's official Temple by the same artist ~ beloved Lucent Dossier member, Shrine) (and also interestingly appropriate in light of our original search for a tea ceremony). It felt holy.
Tasseography is "the ritual of 'reading' tea leaves in an act of divination or fortune-telling."

   The Temple itself was full of other weddings and wedding-goers ~ Chinese dragons, musicians, and a whole procession dressed in red.  Then a couple of women and their smaller but just as festive wedding party.  Plus all the temple-goers who just happened to be there.  So we sought out a little patch of dust just outside of hearing range of the loudest of the music.  As we held hands and focused our attention on one another, cyclist-citizens and artcars rode by and spectated.  One guy with a bullhorn shouted to us in classic BRC fashion "Stop being in love" (or something like that).  We laughed.  Sealion and I shared feelings and made vows.  Impromptu, we kinda wish we had recorded it.  But it was real, and I felt much clearer and more in touch with my thoughts than I ever would have in a preplanned ceremony.  We are more than the sum of our parts.  Better together than separate.  We inspire and help each other to Be Bigger and come closer to our Ideal.  We envision a well-loved and nurtured family together.  We promised to continue to strive to be the best version of ourselves we can be for each other, and to help one another in that process.  I cried.  He cried.  We hugged for a long time, and kissed.  And then Sealion set up the tripod and we took some photos.  My little camera ran out of batteries.  
It felt right, huge, and solid.  And For Real.
With the Temple and its crowd in the background.

From the vantage point of the Temple, with the wide open playa behind us. 
So happy with this man. 

 Sunset approached.  We walked hand-in-hand to the Temple. The ritual of the Temple is that people bring offerings, photos and notes of loved-ones passed, regrets challenges and hurts, and promises and hopes that they leave there in mindful meditation.  All reachable walls are covered with handwritten words and dedications throughout the week.  As the Temple burns on Sunday, the fire seals these.  There we silently wrote on opposite sides of the same wall:  letting go of things inside that might keep us from dedicating ourselves wholly to our intentions together.   

Mirror images.

Then we made our way back to camp and the rest of our world, ate some dinner, changed into our afterdark gear and. . celebrated another night in our favorite city on the planet. 

postscript: November 1st, Sealion and I went to the Sacramento County Courthouse with lovely Gyrlene as our witness, and had our marriage sanctioned by the state.


woo said...


alyssum said...

I waited a whole year for these juicy details! I love you, happy anniversary!

Arlene said...

bless-ed is this life, happy anniversary. so happy to have seen and visited you this weekend.

Chef Dorothy said...

At this moment, the happiest of tears, for you, blur my vision. Congratulations and namaste.

Hannah said...

A lovely post! I'm so happy to have learned about your beautiful wedding. I had no idea. How are you feeling??