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We got onto the playa right at midnight. The greeters swarmed the car. I opened the door and this gorgeous young man with no shirt on threw his arms wide and said welcome home. I naturally leaped into his arms for a big hug. "Oh my gosh," I said. "It really does feel like coming home, even though it's my first time here." "You're a VIRGIN?" he said. "Follow me." He took my hand and led me to the gong. I swung with all my might, yelling out as I did, "I am no longer a virgin." Get it on.
Most of the first day was spent setting up the camp. The shade structures are enormous, and the guys really got lathered up screwing and hammering the rebar into the playa surface. Richard was clearly in charge of things. He told everybody where to park. I had the feeling something was amiss when he put us all the way off to one side, almost out of the camp on the edge. Well, I guess we were so happy just to be part of the Tribe Of Elders camp that we weren't really worrying about it. We were at Burning Man!
The shower went up today and we got the massage tent up and the tables set up, and Jack and Paul did their first massage four-handed massage. I couldn't shake the feeling that they were two dirty old men getting off on touching a naked young girl. Our camp is a thing of beauty, with our multi-colored shade structure and the huge flags flying overhead. Richard designed and made it on his kitchen table in Oakland, with the help of his grandchildren. It's truly a work of art. The man is lit up all night, a mile away.
A lot of people arrived today. The energy level on the playa and in Black Rock City jumped to new heights. We walked down to Center Camp and got coffee. The art on display is constantly changing. People are sleeping, listening to music or performing in the central atrium or on the stage. Center Camp is surrounded by rows and rows of bike racks. We locked our bikes. We're still kind of taking it all in. There is so much to see. During the day, the theme camps are active and at night, the playa lights up for miles around.
The population of Black Rock City seems to have doubled since Wednesday. Everybody is dancing, moving, attending events. My Reiki table is now in the front tent, visible from the street, and the traffic is non-stop. Everybody wants Reiki. They line up and wait. They come back. This morning we (Tower and I) attuned three people to Level I. It was really amazing. When they came into the tent, I immediately saw their auras. CoCo's was yellow, Nathan's a light blue and Tracy's was white and brilliant, beaming brightly. Tonight we sat on the playa and watched the fireworks.
After a full day of Reiki treatments at the camp, there were serious doubts whether they would even be able to burn the Man at all. The wind was relentless all day. One white-out after another. We were all in masks and goggles. Then we heard on the radio that the arms were up, and headed to the playa with Jack. We wiggled like true New Yorkers to the front ring of the crowd where we could see the fire dancers. Then it started burning, and pretty soon the fireworks started, and the inferno at the base soon followed.
Sunday afternoon we left Black Rock City. We didn't stay for the Temple Burn. We felt like we needed to get home for Tre's first day of school. We sat in line for three hours just trying to get to the highway and off of the playa. The cars were eight lanes for miles back. People were getting out of their cars and bringing people watermelon, dancing on their roofs, running naked along the lanes. It was just Burning Man all the way to the highway. Nobody really wants the burn to end. By today I am unrecognizable to myself.
Today was Tre's first day of school. He was so excited he thought he was going to throw up. He looked terrific with his neat mohawk and his brand new backpack and school clothes. He was proud and serious as he lined up along the fence with his class for his first ever class picture with his teacher. The parents cheered. The teacher told him he looked like he was ready for Kindergarten, and he said, "Actually I'm scared." You could tell just how much he wants to do well. Wants to succeed. And we are determined to help him.
Richard and I both hit absolute bottom today. We are just exhausted. I think the playa dust is seeping out of our pores. I can't seem to wash it off. My head is full of images and sounds from the playa. I have to say I had the time of my life. Richard is not so sure about it. He didn't like me participating in the nude communal bath process at the Human Carcass Wash. I told him he has a dirty mind, but damned if Erin doesn't agree with him. I enjoyed throwing my arms up and being washed.
Tre is asleep. We just finished reviewing the Rights and Responsibilities of Students. There weren't any surprises there. He already knows it's not okay to start fires, use profanity, or hit people and so on. He did ask me what you are supposed to do when you don't know something or don't know how to do something. I told him nobody knows stuff except the teacher. That is what school is all about, learning new stuff. So you just tell the teacher that you don't understand or that you don't know how to do it, and she will help you.
Tre finished his first week of school today. He came home and changed into his shorts and t-shirt, and then he walked out into the living room and said, "Grandma I'm sad." "Why honey?" I asked. "Because I don't get to see my teacher tomorrow." "But you get to see her Monday, baby." "No, not Monday. On Monday she won't be there." "Oh, so you have to wait until Tuesday?" "Yeah," he said, and put his little blond head on my shoulder.
Then he recited a whole story verbatim that his teacher read in class today. He memorized it.
Digging through the playa dust, not really making much headway. Just kind of pushing it around. Piling up a mountain of laundry on the driveway. Mucking out from Burning Man. It feels good just being out here, alone, with a flashback or two to keep me company. Sigh.
Burning Man was so comfortable, so cozy, so easy. I felt young again. I took my clothes off and didn't feel old and fat. Didn't feel ugly. Didn't feel any way at all, just relaxed.
And now that I'm home the only question worth asking is how to I keep it alive?
The lawn looks like we're getting ready for a yard sale. Boxes of stuff, mostly overflowing onto the grass. Inside the battle for space goes on, unrelenting, taking everybody's every ounce of energy. Not doing too bad a job of working as a team.
Richard is doing better and better at allowing the chaos. That crazed deer in the headlights look is gone from his eyes. He's quieter, complaining less frequently. I can't help being happy. I have my babies in the house. Who cares if it's messy?
Well, okay, I do care, but not so much as you'd think.
Rehearsal today was interesting. I was invited to reconsider being in the play, given my competing commitment to my grandson. At first it threw me, but not much. After all, I do have an understudy. It would be much less complicated for me. It took me about thirty seconds to decide to bow out.
I was a little surprised at how easy it was for me to let go. My ego tried to complain, but it was like a distant whisper, without much meaning. It's good to know where your commitment is. It felt good to have nothing at stake.
Oh baby, Grandpa took the training wheels off and the boy tried coasting down the street on his hot wheels bike. What a time in his life! He just started school, and now he is about to learn how to ride a bike. The world is opening up like a flower in June. Not to mention that his teeth are falling out all over the place. Which gives him the funniest lisp. But he's not deterred. He smiles as big and wide as his face can possibly manage. It's a beautiful thing. It's impossible to resist the excitement he brings.
Today Tre asked me to please not drive up on the inside lane when I come to pick him up at school. He wanted me to drive up in the second or third lane, so the teacher would then escort him to the car.
Of course I did as he asked. The look on his face was priceless. He was so serious, so into having the experience of being walked over to the car. It was very important to him.
He wants to experience everything. And he's totally ready. There is no holding back. Remember when life was a discovery?
Today Tre learned how to ride a bike. He said it just clicked for him, when I told him to keep his butt in the center. Your legs can move, but your butt stays put. Off he went. I was so happy for him. The freedom of being able to ride, the wind in your face, getting out in front and going as fast as you can. It took me four tries, but I finally got my phone camera working right and took a short video. He made an amazing U turn, and there I am yelling on the video.
Today was a good day. I feel good about what I am doing with my life. Being "School Grandma" seems to suit me. I think if you make a difference to one other person, that is no small thing.
At night when I go through the Daily Healing List, the general suffering sometimes comes in. And I realize how few people I am helping. I realize how much suffering there is. If I don't manage it, the wave will be like a tsunami. It would crush me.
Tonight I took a little girl's headache away. That's gotta count for something.
Savanna, who is ten years old, was telling Tre that she wasn't feeling so good, as she had a migraine headache. I called her over to me and used my hands to take the headache away. While I was working on her, Tre explained that he is learning how to do it too. I love to see him cupping his hands together. As I swept the dark energy away from Savanna's head, he told her that his Grandma can even send energy to people who aren't even here. The pain was gone. "Wow, that was amazing," she said.
Today was art day on the deck. On the deck because it was raining in the yard. Under the umbrella is what it was. Kids just love to put paint on paper, the more colors the better. They are instantly fully engaged. Like puppies. If they had tails, their tails would be wagging.
Meanwhile, Richard is painting the house. The color is a wonder in itself. Generally, it would be classified as a dark gray. But it is so much more than that. It's more like plum, suffused with mauve undertones. When the sun hits it, the color glows. Enchanting.
Today we rode our bikes to school. Tre was so anxious, we left way early, in case we got lost along the way, which was a distinct possibility, to be honest. But we didn't get lost, I remembered all the turns, and there we were, twenty minutes early.
I remember when I learned how to ride a bike. You couldn't get me off it, either. It was all I wanted to do. The thrill of freedom, the rush of speed, the wind in my face.
He's so intent, so engrossed, so excited by life. It makes me so happy! Wheeeeee!
Karate day and he's upset because he's still in the back row and he knows more than any of those other kids. I told him he would lose his bike, so he reluctantly got his gi on and went to class, to the back row. At the end of the class, his teacher discussed the upcoming testing next month. And what do you know? He recognized Tre and told him he'll be ready to test, and that he is doing really good. I don't know what took him so long, but I was sure glad he got around to it.
Something is going to have to change. This post-polio syndrome is kicking my ass. It's just about all I can do to take care of Tre each day. When I'm not taking care of him, I'm down in the recliner with my feet up, doing nothing productive. The house is getting truly ratty while I spend all this time being exhausted. The doc wanted me to try doing without my stimulant medication. But she isn't the one living life on the bottom rung of the energy ladder. I don't like taking medication, but I'd like to have a life.
Oh wow. Karate day and he's totally into it again. I am so glad his teacher recognized him in the last class. He didn't need all that much, just a little acknowledgement. He sure is a good little fighter. He's crisp and strong and precise in his movements, and he's aggressive. When he spars, he doesn't wait around to take a defensive stance. No way. My little guy is on the attack right away, and he doesn't back off. I'm really glad he is doing Karate. He needs an outlet for his energy, and he is very good at this.
Well this is a change. I can once again relate to being happy that it's the weekend. Now that I'm taking care of my grandson during the week, it's kind of like having a job again. A part-time job to be sure, but a job nonetheless. Gotta get up, gotta be on time, gotta get certain things done, gotta do it every day. Gotta do your best, there is a lot at stake. Come Friday, I'm glad he has a Mom. Grandma is tired. However, not matter what else may be said, it's very nice to love your job.
Allen wants me to get on the radio next week and talk about healing. He is dedicating October to the general topic of healing, and he is giving me fifteen minutes on the first segment. I expect the challenge will be keeping myself to just fifteen minutes. So I started by asking my friends on Facebook to tell me what they think healing is. I got some interesting answers, like "the opposite of toeing." HA But the responses helped me get started, and I posted a blog entry about what I think healing is about, and what it looks like.
Erin seems more and more committed to this new guy. She calls his kids "her" kids. They're talking about finding a bigger house, so each of their three kids can have their own room. They share cars and chores and schedules. They act like a family. Yet she insists she is not committed. She's still considering, not yet convinced he is the right guy for her. Tre says he's not sure about Leonard. He says Leonard doesn't "hug up" with people. But there is one thing for sure. The three kids definitely get along, and they are all for it.
Found myself pulling back a little this morning, not sure about starting a new "work" week. Kind of wanted to hide my head under the pillow and postpone Monday. Then I realized, I don't have to drag my exhausted post-polio body through the week, struggling every step of the way. Time to take action. I have an appointment with the doctor this week, and a supply of medication left over from when we started this med-free experiment. Well the field work is complete. The data collected and the results are in. Get back on your medication baby.
My sister told me today she is going to be the new baby's godmother and is going to LA for the event. I had not heard anything about it. I couldn't help feeling left out, as I often do, by my family. Not only was I not even told about the christening, but I wasn't asked to be the godmother either, and I am the older of the sisters. Now Steve has two children and I'm not godmother for either of them. I feel passed over. De-selected for inclusion and family participation. The outsider. Wondering what I'm doing wrong.
So I find myself once again reviewing the second agreement: don't take anything personally. Because when you do, you suffer, if for no other reason. Other people have their reasons, and most of the time it isn't really about you. Blah blah blah. Still my feelings are hurt. I tell myself to lower my expectations. My family of origin has never been a source of much support for me. It is futile to expect it. But I still do. And over and over again, I get hurt when it isn't forthcoming. You just don't fit in. So give it up.
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