The People of Earth came to Burning Man.


They came because they were afraid or unafraid, because they were happy or unhappy, because they felt like Pilgrims or did not feel like Pilgrims.  There was a reason for each person.  They were leaving bad spouses or bad jobs or bad towns; they were coming to find something or leave something or get something, to dig up something or bury something or leave something alone.  They were coming with small dreams or large dreams or none at all.  But an Electronic finger pointed from a 24-bit color web site in many households: There’s Work for You in the Desert: See Black Rock! and the people shuffled forward, only a few at first, a double-score, for most people felt the great illness in them even before the vehicle drove into the unknown.  And this disease was called The Loneliness, because when you saw your home town dwindle the size of your fist then lemon-size and then pin-size and vanish in the exhaust-wake, you felt you had never been born, there was no town, you were nowhere, with wilderness all around, nothing familiar, only other strange people.  And when the state of California, New York, Maryland, or Montana vanished into cloud seas, then you were alone, wandering in the meadows of dream, on your way to a place you couldn’t imagine.


So it was not unusual that the first people were few.  The number grew steadily in proportion to the census of souls already in Black Rock City.  There was comfort in numbers.  But the first Lonely Ones had to stand by themselves…



Adapted by Paul Chapman

Original Text by Ray Bradbury

            from “The Martian Chronicles”