You didn't find yours truly, Black Rock City's Gruntled Postal Worker, on the playa in 2002, and you won't find me on the playa again this year either. Real Life has kinda gotten in the way. Funny how that happens. But it hasn't kept me from still finding ways to participate.
In 1997, my first trip to Burning Man, I created and brought with me something to Black Rock City - a gift to the city you might call it. It was through my efforts that for the first time, you could actually mail stuff off-playa! Of course, the mail didn't go out until after the event, but go out it did. Your mail would get inked with a special "commemorative cancellation," a hand-carved stamp that I destroyed at the end of the festival. Some lucky camps even got their own hand-carved stamps!
Eventually, I fell in with the Black Rock City Post Office folks, who so nicely provided me with another pick-up point for the city's outgoing mail. The BRCPO folks now provide this service in my absence. But did you know that this year, Black Rock City has an official U.S. Postal Service presence on the playa? Yes, Black Rock City even has its own official postal cancellation - and I designed it!
So be sure to drop off your postcards and letters, and make sure you send one to yourself. It'll come back with my art on it, an example of my continuing participation and gift to Black Rock City.
There's always a way to still be a participant and not a spectator. It can be as simple as helping friends load up for the playa, or helping back at home with an art project or camp set-up that's going out to the playa.
I'd be lying if I said I wasn't homesick for Black Rock City - but finding a small way to continue the tradition of gifting and participation has taken the edge off.