This year's version of the second most important structure at Burning Man came in the form of an elaborate lotus blossom.
Ramps and ladders provided access to two elevated floors within the giant wood flower.
People approached the Temple with an innate reverence, spending time to scribble messages of grief or longing or peace on the structure's beams. Most were dedicated to people, pets or things that were no longer in their lives.
The notes were written with the knowledge that they would be reduced to ashes with the Temple in just a few days. The ritual reminded me of the traditions of the Society of St. Anne, a walking krewe in New Orleans which parades through the Bywater, Marigny and French Quarter on Mardi Gras day. The parade ends at the edge of the Mississippi River where participants toss relics of their past year into the water.
Others just roamed the platforms, reading the personal accounts of strangers that brought many to tears.
When a woman handed me a marker and said, "It's your turn," I jotted down two dedications. Benji was the sweetest, kindest dog you could ever imagine. He infused immeasurable happiness into the lives of Jess, Rex and Bob for many years. He died this summer after a long battle with cancer.
Sunrise over the Temple, by my buddy Steffen P.