Author’s note: A humanist revelation.
Having lived for several years between France and California, it was in July 2002 when I was still in mourning, dealing with the brutal loss of my father that by chance I came across an article describing ‘Burning Man’:”a desert, an ephemeral city, a symbolic man who is burnt, of art in liberty.” That whets my appetite, and I decide to go there without needing to know any more… !
When I get there it’s a shock! The size, the beauty, the difference, the creativity on a scale and with a power I’d never seen before. The unbelievable energy exerted and the omnipresent creativity which unleashes a palette of emotions. The city is swarming with people and it never sleeps.
All five senses are constantly called upon. Feelings well up inside, making you feel light and profound at the same time. The experience pushes you to ask yourself. Are you ready to live like this ?
Completely disorientated, I stumble upon David Best who constructs temples out of recycled material in memory of the dearly departed. This interactive work of art even includes a special area reserved for those who have committed suicide. David is present, he explains, listens and talks about his vision of the world and of death. He delivers an important message and offeres an essential stage on the process of mourning for everyone: acceptance.
I’ve never taken anything from others except for my memories and the haunting question: ‘How do you carry on with your life?’ Without knowing anything about my background, he says to me: ‘It’s your Papa?’ I think it’s the word ‘Papa’ that blew me away. I collapse sobbing into this stranger’s arms. It does me good. We talk. First I talk a lot and then he does. It calms me down.
It’s at that moment that I understand why I came here. “I am someone who isn’t a believer and I have a revelation. Not a religious one but a humanist one.”
In the future, I will bring with me all those I love. My friends, my family, my partner and, in later years, our son.