Setting up Shop – Black Rock City, Nevada, United States

I woke feeling my throat was an odd level of scratchiness that was not comfortable at all. I stumbled out into the darkness locating Dylan and Casey who had just returned from a night bike exploration around the developing playa city. I managed to choke out a panicked “need water” to which they graciously gave me a nights supply. I realized at that point that this desert dust was something to respect and be mindful of. After learning it was only 430am I dragged myself back to bed and promptly passed out.

I opened my eyes to a bright sunny dome of silence save for the odd murmuring outside from nearby tents. I glanced around at my neighbours discovering that a few more had joined us in the night. Now the entire ground was covered with one big breathing mass of pillows and sleeping bags. I admired my future campmates resting peacefully and couldn`t help feeling overwhelmed with love. There was a gentle ambiance, as innocent and serene as a kindergarten naptime.

I tiptoed over them and under the white flap near the mat, assuming that was the doorway. I took a deep breath and welcomed the growing sun to warm my skin. I felt a rumble in my tummy so I rummaged around my cooler for a morning snack. I located a pudding and a granola bar to eat it with as I was spoonless. I parked myself in a spot near the sleeping dome and dug into my breakfast. A few early risers passed by me greeting me softly as they began their day. I meditated for a while when all of a sudden a guy crashed by on his bike muttering something about having to get to bed soon.

Upon closer examination, I noticed he was drinking a beer and looked like he had just rolled in from neverland. He introduced himself as North and offered me a morning beer to which I politely refused. North informed me matter of factly that he had to go jump naked on the trampolines at Camp Tramp two doors down. I listened intently as he chattered on about find somewhere that would be suitable for a nap before he started his day which was chocoblock full of things to do. I watched him scramble off and felt a little like Alice in Wonderland having just met the White Rabbit.

Next I waited around for people to wake up so that I could find out where I should set up my tent. I began meeting my fellow Cosmic Elves one by one as they emerged from their dreamtime. Amira was a distinctive pixielike girl who exclaimed that we had the same kind of tent. She was in the process of moving her set up to across the road where she had located a sweet spot sheltered by a giant RV. She informed me that it would have shade till at least noon and here in the desert, that was top real estate.

I helped her transport some of her camp then inquired if she would like a neighbour. I was getting antsy and really wanted to peg my tent somewhere having not felt settled for over a week. Amira replied cheerfully that there was lots of room and after a few minutes of deliberation, I moved in. I wondered how living across the road and not exactly IN the boundaries of Cosmic Elf Camp would affect my experience. I decided that I would make it positive. After chucking all of my stuff in my tent, I went for a bike ride around to explore a bit. I didn`t get very far before I realized that I had better get my bearings or I would be lost. I decided to go back to my tent and find that little laminated map marking a dot where I lived.

People were still streaming in steadily and I was in amazement at the pace of construction going on. I volunteered to help the kitchen pod and spent some time loading all the perishables into oversize coolers. Blake, the camp cook, had a soft dignity about him and seemed good natured overall. Surveying the provisions, I only had to ask about a few items I wasn`t sure about to which he patiently directed me. Impressed with the ingredients I was packing away, I was curious to know what weird and wonderful concoctions we would be dining on. It appeared we would be eating from a very healthy menu, prepared in ways almost exotic as their maker.

Grateful for openness.

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