This is an excerpt from my Varanasi Sage collection, available in audiobook, paperback, and ebook. Originally written and published in 2017, “The Lucky Ones” was my first piece set in an art and music festival. The art that inspired this piece is “Phuture Pasture” by David Suckling for Burning Man 2017. Press the play icon below to listen!
The Lucky Ones
Twinkling lights strung around its frame, chain clicking in a dry loop, my bike created tracks on tracks in the dust, crossing tracks without pattern or reason.
The high desert mirrors the night sky; although the stars on the ground are colored, moving and spinning, careening chaotically. In the dark expanse, we put on our lights and become technicolor shooting stars.
By week’s end, the thin layer of dust on my bike will gather to look as though it had been left forgotten in the recesses of a workman’s garage. Dust on my clothes, my skin and my hair, in my nose, ears and lungs. By week’s end, I, too, caked with dust, will look old and forgotten.
A herd of cows appears. Dim lights twinkle from their insides, differentiating them from the dust and darkness. Stationary, unafraid, wooden skeletons wrapped in translucent nylon. Their twinkling lights, the same as my own.
In the darkness of the playa, amongst dust and art, these are the lucky ones. Peaceful bovines, sacred cows, bountiful goddesses of nourishment. They view passing amusements. Busses dressed like sheep and lighthouses, cars like genie lamps, golf cart abstract art, and bodies radically expressing themselves.
Our shared reality outside this city—the distortion of divine nature, the degradation of life by human command. Here, cows are not an exploitable object; a sentient being trapped in a pit of manure, in line for a violent death, never having eaten a blade of grass or stepped hoof in a meadow.
I, too, am a lucky one, in the darkness of the playa, amongst dust and art, not trapped in a war-torn city, used as a human shield.
The sadness of contrast, a melancholy inspection, thoughts and emotions rising from the depths of another’s creation. Here in the dust—in the middle of nowhere—surrounded by darkness and lights.