Burn Day, four years later and two weeks after the opening of Cirkus Diurnus, I was riding the dusty streets of Black Rock when I was hit by an epiphany. A small camp with spirituality graphics on a vinyl banner hanging from the sides of their storage van that read TRANSFORMATION in gold. That was it! The signal I was looking for! I knew I would know it when I saw it because when a signal bulls-eyes the radar it produces a sense of euphoria that is far more exhilarating when sensed at Burning Man. Two days later on the flight out of Reno, as I do after every Burn, I recap the week in my sketchbook – only this time I committed to putting my conclusion down in writing: “Next year’s Burning Man theme will be about radical transformation as it relates to all things in transition. It will be about change. Truly a metamorphosis.”
Yom Kippur 5779 fell on October third, exactly one month after the Burn. Our rabbi titled her sermon “Holy Is Twilight” for it is the realm of the in-between. There probably aren’t a lot of people who bring a pen and notebook to High Holiday services, but I always have mine. Rabbi’s metaphor was that twilight is a period of creation – an exciting time because it invites interpretation. In the context of this Day of Atonement, twilight is also a last chance – one more attempt to right a wrong, to try something new, or to take a different path.
Twilight can make us uncomfortable, but that discomfort can lead us to change and grow, urging us to become better versions of ourselves. In my notes I drew a little butterfly, but it was the chrysalis she was describing. That magical time when anything can happen. Neither here nor there, one thing or the other, it’s ambiguous as much as it is dangerous because it defies definition. For me, the signals were firing in a whirl of theological creativity. Similar to the Hebrew term ‘midrash,’ rabbi’s twilight analogy had me contemplating the liminal interstice - that infinitely small space between things, even if they’re touching. However, there’s also that place which is really a state of being - a condition of transition. We all have the ability to craft our own story, for, as the Rabbi put it, “We are all twilight people,” and the world is a blank canvas.