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Michelle Returns to Pearlington

At Burning Man, Flipside, Critical Massive and lots of other places, we build things, tear or burn them down, and then leave without a trace. As a community, a big extended family, we spend a great deal of time and energy making sure nobody can tell we were there. It’s central to our ethos. It’s how we roll.

After 11 years in the desert I feel comfortable saying that leaving no trace has a whole different vibe than creating the most vibrant and surreal trace you’ve ever seen. Clean up, without a doubt, sucks. Your back hurts, your fingers get sore from picking little bits of crap up that some thoughtless asshole threw on the ground … it wears you down, physically and mentally. Picking up after yourself isn’t always fun but while you’re doing it you certainly know your purpose: So we can build it again. Gods bless the messes; they teach us how to clean up.

Thanks to an excavator, a frontloader, a little Kubota and the backs and wills of some very devoted people, BWB was able to clean up a lot of property for the people of Pearlington, MS. Their homes and the trappings of their lives were scooped up and dropped in the street. And, before you know it, you’ve got a clean slate. We helped clean up so they could build it again.

Pearlington is beautiful. There are new homes and Katrina Cottages all over. Some folks are still struggling. There’s still a lot of work to do but … it’s hard not to look at Pearlington like Burning Man on Monday. The gates are open, our clean space is getting filled up with structures and everyone is looking past set-up to what’s to come … whatever that might be.

Wild, blooming wisteria grows everywhere in Pearlington. It’s hard to see what debris remains as Mother Nature is taking back what’s hers. Old friends are doing well (Swamp Mafia Por Vida). New friends appeared to contribute to the efforts of the week and camp smelled of Parsec’s World Famous Ginger Chicken and Pharaoh’s Sunday morning chili. Mr. Willie can move out of his FEMA trailer soon. You can still bring your own whiskey to the Turtle Landing and listen to karaoke, bayou style…except the bar isn’t in a tent anymore. The Pearlington sign is still there.

I’m fascinated by this thing we do and how it grows…and the traces, the ones we leave and the ones we don’t.

-Michelle Pariset


One Response to “Michelle Returns to Pearlington”

  1. Parsec says:

    You are and have been an inspiration to me. What I like most is the fact that you say on the video that if you were needed again, you would be there. You put your money where your mouth is and that makes me proud. When the call went out, you answered.