Digitize This, by Marlene Bruce


2006 Assateague NOT-a-Burn

July 7-9, 2006

Fellow Burners rented a group camp site at Assateague Island, calling the event "NOT-a-Burn." Tall Tom invited Michelle (and Ben), and when space became available, Michelle exended the invitation to Kevin and me. Kevin had been itching to go to the beach for the last couple months, so this opportunity was perfect. The four of us ended up hanging out together almost exclusively for the weekend (with Tom too). That probably made us look rather insular to the other 20 people at the event. We didn't mean to be antisocial (!), we just kinda got into our own groove…

Michelle, me and Tall Tom. Tom's an interesting guy, presently exploring and practicing ritual in daily life. He's spent time with a shaman and has other tales to tell. Prior to the event, Tom sent a wonderful email with a mantra extolling safe travels, the overcoming of obstacles (with reference to Ganesh), and "May we accumulate and cultivate laughter and joy, and may these accumulations grow to powerfully protect all of our future journeys on this planet and elsewhere."

"Om Ami De Wah Hrih
Om Bhrum Ayu Hum Ni Ja
Om Mani Pemme Hung"

Kevin, Michelle, Ben and Helen. Helen is Burning Man's "Center Camp Cafe Lighting Team Volunteer Coordinatrix." She made helping sound like fun, and perhaps Kevin and I will volunteer in 2007. Helen had very interesting stories to tell, of time on the playa, in San Francisco (her home), and out in the desert in between Burning Man events (including a spectacular event in the deep, deep desert — miles past Black Rock — with hot springs, crazy fireworks and performance art). She's been a massage therapist for 15 years, and her hair is woven with pink and white nylon braids.

Michelle's shade structure on the beach, with trench to keep high-tide out (it was threatening). We spent much of the day in the "shade," which meant I got burned (but it's now a tan without peeling, yay!).

I took the time to do a henna design on the dorsal surface (top) of my foot. I need to make more mehndi opportunities.

Michelle prepared for mosquitos by sewing up a net for her shade structure (she called it a "blancmange"), but the insects weren't too bad. DEET helped, and Assateague is one of the few places I'll willingly wear the stuff. Sans the top shade cover, Michelle's netting allowed stargazing. The Milky Way was pretty thick, despite Ocean City way up the coast (one could just make out the Boardwalk Ferris Wheel). We Fraggles hovered in and around this structure, with Tom coming and going. Helen popped in and stayed for a good while, regaling us with fantastic stories.

Later in the evening we built a campfire behind the tent, and while sitting there two beautiful wild horses came romping by, at one point close enough to make me slightly worry that they might barge into our "space." They were having a happy, playful time, seemingly oblivious of anything or anyone else … perhaps they were courting.

We stayed up all night, Kevin and I the last to put out the fire and leave (just as the morning's first Rangers drove past). This dawn over the ocean was one of the most awesome things I've seen, with a nearly full moon setting just prior, behind the dunes.

Sita (Japanese Elk) doe and fawn. Like the wild horses, these are prevalent across Assateague Island.
Where are these photos from?: These are photos I (mostly) took on Assateague Island, MD.