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Run, run, run

There are many miracles in life. Big ones and small ones, gargantuan ones and micro ones. Many of these miracles, in my experience, are matters of timing and synchronicity.

Yet whether large or small, life-altering or microscopic, the thing about these miracles is that in the moment, they are just that: a miracle, a blessing, a Something That Happened that was so perfect it felt divine. A memory of one such moment popped into my mind last night. Here’s the story.

I was at Burning Man one year. It was fairly early in the week (the week where the event was open); I think it was a Wednesday, though I’d already been at Burning Man for a week prior during what we call Build Week; that’s the pre-event time when some camps and groups are allowed in early to get a head start on larger camp-builds and art-project installations.

I was tired.


I was also somewhat new to experimenting with MDMA; and I had taken some unsatisfactory doses over the past couple-few days (too small), yet I was feeling The Slumps–the drop in serotonin that comes about two days after taking it.

So there I was one morning, feeling slumped, chilling in my tent and trying desperately to avoid the near-endless stream of questions from campmates (I was the camp leader), when someone essentially “knocked” on my tent door to see if I was there. 

Reluctantly, I responded when a woman outside my tent called my name. She popped her head. I knew her, albeit lightly. We’d been neighbors at Burning Man the prior year when both our camps were part of the French Quarter Village.

She and her crew were camping with another group this year, and they were having a birthday feast that night for Dave (her partner, husband, something); she was inviting me to attend. I thanked her for the invite and reluctantly said I would probably join them. She told me they were starting at 7pm, gave me the camp name and address, and left.

All day long, I was feeling blah with my general exhaustion from All The Things plus I was feeling the social burden of having said yes to something I wasn’t particularly gung ho about doing. Plus, The Slumps–those hard-to-avoid post-MDMA slumps–were hitting me hard.

the trek

As the day started to transition to evening, I put on a bright pink, vintage, negligee-like dress that looked more like a ball gown than a hanging-around-the-house (all sexy and such) dress; donned my flip-flops; grabbed my backpack and started walking. The party was a good mile away. I’m not sure why I didn’t ride my bike. Maybe I was too tired and exhausted to do so. In any case, I walked.

I got to the address, or at least the general area where she said the party was, but I couldn’t find their camp. I asked around. Did anyone know where the such-and-such camp was. No one did. I walked around some more, looked around some more and asked around some more. No one knew where they were. The sun was quickly setting, and I knew if I didn’t find them before it set fully, I was going to have a hard time finding them. Eventually I encountered someone who knew where they were camped, and I made my way to the dinner/birthday party.

It was a lovely affair. They had cooked up a whole salmon and some steak; fresh cooked vegetables were plentiful; and they had wine, a birthday cake and a host of goodies.

I, however, was exhausted. Practically falling asleep. Low energy. Practically all I could think about was that I still had to walk back to camp and that I’d foolishly worn no-support flip-flops for this adventure.

It was pretty obvious to the others that I was exhausted, and at some point I must have mentioned something about having to walk back when The Miracle began to unfold. A young man sitting near me said he had a bike I could borrow. He told me he was a runner, a jogger; he hadn’t yet gotten in his run for the day, and he was planning to run later this evening. He said I could ride his bike back to my camp, he’d run beside me, and then he’d ride his bike back to camp after I was safely delivered home.

My mood elevated instantly. Hope. Support. Kindness and generosity. It was as though once I knew I’d be okay, I had more energy to enjoy the dinner and company.

homeward bound

As we finished up dinner and I said my goodbyes, The Runner (whose name I don’t recall) and I prepared for our journey ahead. He was just a few inches taller than I was, and with a quick adjustment to the seat height and a quick road test, I was able to ride his bike comfortably and confidently. We were off.

At first I pedaled rather slowly. I mean, he had to keep up, right? But he encouraged me to pick up my speed, so I did. We wended our way through people and past art cars–sometimes side by side, other times with me in front and him following. When and where we could, we talked, chatted and commented on various sights and scenes we passed.

Then we got to my camp, and we both realized we were having so much fun, so we decided to extend our adventure and explore some more. We visited art projects in the middle of the playa; we visited the temple; we went all the way down to K Street (my camp was located at A Street); and we even stopped at one point and got a drink from some camp dispensing libations.

Eventually, we headed back to my camp where I thanked him for his generosity and company; he headed home, and I don’t believe I’ve seen him since. I might not even recognize him were we to pass on the street. I don’t know.

But I do know he touched my heart with his kindness, as did the people who invited me to this special dinner (exhausted as I was). I saw some social-media post less than a year later mentioning the birthday boy, Dave, had died unexpectedly; and for as much as the experience with the generous runner had touched me, I was also grateful I had pushed through my own exhaustion that night to celebrate Dave’s last birthday with him and his friends.

I do think miracles come in all sizes and shapes. Some are big and noteworthy; many are small moments in life, barely noticeable. Some unfold in the moment and some unfold over time. Life has its flow, I believe, and we do well to go with it and trust, even when we don’t always know in the moment what or why something is happening.


Video, found on YouTube.



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