Archive for burning man

Eternal Fire

Posted in Lucerne Village, Mystical Experience, Unknown, World Myths with tags , , , , , , , , on August 7, 2012 by javedbabar

His heart was inflamed by the woman. His blood was hot. His body engulfed.

They had not exchanged a word last night. She had come to him at dusk, they had made love, and she had lain with him for an hour before departing. Who was she? he wondered. Why had she come? It was surely for something more than sex. He’d heard of tribes who went overboard in their hospitality to strangers. Love thy neighbour, truly.

When was the last time he had been with a woman? He couldn’t remember. He recalled nothing before he awoke on the white mountain, a week ago; from there he had begun his journey through the valley, towards the dark mountain. He didn’t know why he was compelled to go there, but if living is dreaming, then this was the place he dwelt.

It was quiet at dawn, yet he sensed urgency outside. He pulled aside the door drape and stepped into the hard dirt courtyard. Outside the circle of thatched, mud-plastered huts stood the huge effigy of a thick-bodied wooden man.

The man from the mountain’s heart stopped. If his knees hadn’t buckled, he would surely have turned and run. People rushed towards him. He tried to get away, do something, anything, but his weakness, and their strength, made it impossible for him to do anything but be carried along with this crowd. He felt like a dying beetle swarmed by ants.

Strangely, nobody was hostile towards him. It seemed as if they all cared about his welfare. Who could he trust though? The bearded elder who had welcomed him to the village? The red-haired woman with whom he’d coupled last night? Certainly not the boy who had discovered and flushed him out by firing beans through a reed? Surely they were all in this together.

The elder called out, “Today is Samhala – the day after which our village is named. It is a holy day always, and today, even more so. A stranger has honoured us with his presence. He shall celebrate with us. He shall be carrier of the eternal flame.”

The crowed clapped and cheered. Cows and chickens joined in. Children danced around the stranger. The man from the mountain shuddered. Was this his destiny – to be a human torch?

The elder said, “See how he shivers! The divine spirit inhabits him!”

He went into a hut and returned with a flaming torch. “Look! I have touched this branch to the eternal fire. All wood comes from the Tree of Life. Fire is the eternal giver. Man is its spark!”

The elder walked towards the man from the mountain, whose knees buckled once more. Was this the meaning of the pulsing red star he’d seen above the dark mountain – his burning heart?

The elder said, “Here, stranger, sent to us by God. Light this humble offering made by our hands. Then take the eternal flame to the dark mountain for us. Take it in your heart. The dark mountain is a place taboo for us. Only holy strangers may go.”

The wooden effigy burnt fiercely, as did his heart again that night. His blood was hot. His body engulfed.

The red-haired woman came to him for four consecutive nights. On the fifth day, when he awoke, the people of Samhala were gathered outside to bid him farewell.


Posted in Conceptual Art, Lucerne Village, Unknown with tags , , , , , on March 9, 2012 by javedbabar

Lucerne Arts Council had a good record with grants. Their writer-in-chief, Eric Voodoo, ensured that their annual roster of events was well funded; $3,000 from here, $2,000 from there, and you’ve soon got enough – at least enough to get started. You can top up funds with sales commissions, donations at the door, bar sales, and local sponsors.

This year had been a particularly good one. Their core event was always MADE – Music, Art, Dance, Expression – celebrating the community’s rich artistic offerings. This was followed by FADE, a fund-raiser for older artisans struggling to produce artworks as their minds and bodies fell apart. SADE was produced by the Upper Valley S&M sculpture community. JADE honoured the centenary of BC’s Chinese artists. PAID was the key sales event, encouraging visitors to slip their hands from their wine glasses down into their pockets, and for Gods’ sake buy something. RAID proved to be a self-fulfilling prophecy; it was busted and all of its “herbal artworks” confiscated. And the highlight for artists – though not necessarily for visitors – was LAID; where many artists put in a good performance. Due to clever use of bylaws, it was classified as a “mixed media/exercise” event and wasn’t busted.

Eric Voodoo stared at the one-page grant application form. Six million dollars was on offer! He usually ran these off like clockwork, but he’d better give this one some serious thought. It was unusual to be approached by a charity, but he wasn’t going to kick this gift horse in the mouth. Village 2 Village (V2V) raised awareness of third-world refugees. Could Westerners imagine leaving everything they owned behind, setting off in a convoy, and hoping for the best? This happened regularly in developing nations. They had no choice.

V2V was looking for a Canadian village to make the long journey to an American desert, live there for a week, and then return. It would be a well-publicised event, highlighting the plight of refugee-escapees. They realized that this was no easy task, and had allocated 50% of their annual budget to the event. Its PR value alone would be incalculable.

One morning Eric Voodoo awoke aflame. “Darling, I’ve got it!” he said.

“What’s that my love?” asked his artist-wife, Toni Yahoo.

“You know that we’ve always wanted to go to Burning Man? Well, here’s our chance! They want to move a village to the desert for a week. Let’s take Lucerne to Burning Man!”

Toni Yoodoo knew better than to dampen her artist-husband’s enthusiasm. And what’s not to like about a $6 million Village art project? It was she that coined the name of the new village, “Burningham”.

Eric Voodoo called V2V. “So just to check, you will arrange all the transport at this end, plus set up the infrastructure at that end – everything? The whole move will cost us nothing? And food, water, and fuel are all covered there too? How much cash do we get at this end – I mean cash in hand, not budget allocation? $1.5 million? I’ve organized some events myself; they all go over budget. What’s your contingency? Yep 25% is good. Ok, thank you. Expect our application.”

Toni Yahoo approached the Mayor and Council. They’d had an issue with her husband since his art attack on the Transparent Temple, and didn’t agree that it looked better as the Opaque Oracle. Cleaning costs were being calculated. It was a quiet time of year. A direct injection of $1.5 million into the local economy and a paid community holiday were enticing. Mayor and Council supported the application wholeheartedly, and signed up the whole Village. It was a historic, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And it would be a nice break from their anti-P2P campaigning.

The P2P pipeline was the most flexible channel in history, running from the Infinite City, through the US, into Mexico, with the ability to transport oil, gas, water, food, passengers, and freight. Its construction costs were 400% over budget, and it would cost $1 billion annually to run. This multi-purpose pipeline was deemed “Fundamental Framework” by Homeland Security, and every obstacle to its completion was bulldozed. But now that it was ready, a softer approach was needed.

“Ok honey, we’re all done,” said Toni Yoodoo.

“Great,” said her husband. “Did you set the sprinkler timers?”

“Yes, I’ve done that my love, and the lights, and thermostats. The house is locked and workshop alarmed – not that anyone will hear it.”

The convoy assembled in the Village centre, and headed down the Sea to Sky Highway, which was closed to other traffic this morning. Crowds cheered them in Strattus, and in Squashy, but people were strangely absent as they approached the City. Instead of leaving the Highway as expected, the convoy continued for six extra junctions, and then turned off. Security was very heavy here. V2V had no choice but to play along when Homeland Security had entered their offices. Every employee was shadowed by an agent. Some were replaced by agents.

“What’s going on?” said Eric Voodoo to the V2V worker accompanying their bus.

“Remain silent,” he said. “We’re about to enter the P2P tunnel. Say goodbye to your beloved Canadia. You won’t be coming back.” Eric Voodoo struggled but was restrained. The agent spoke into his radio. “Ok, the convoy is ready to enter the pipeline. Demolition of Lucerne can begin. Here’s to our first Multi-Resource-Hub in BC.”