I have wanted to go to the Phoenixville Firebird Festival for many years.
We got into town and decided to walk ahead of the procession, rather than wait for it, which was a good idea. It was already very crowded in the field. I love this photo of a man who was painting the bird.
You think that you can imagine, “Sure, a thirty-five foot tall wooden bird burning would be pretty impressive,” but until you see something like that (and I’m not sure I’ll ever get to Burning Man), you don’t really know. It’s worth being there in person.
When it became clear that the bird was going to fall, the kids were a little worried. They could more or less predict where it was most likely to fall (away from us), but nothing was guaranteed.
It served to remind me how important it is to experience things that you believe you already know “enough” about. Our video clips of the experience all evidence the same thing that both kids mention in their journal entries; the audio track of every video we took is a little embarrassing as all of us are just exclaiming “Wow!” and “Oh my God!” over and over again as though we had no short term memory at all and were repeatedly experiencing the burning of the Bird for the first time.
We did, in fact watch some of the live feed on Facebook the next morning, of folks sorting through the ashes to find the clay birds they had made in workshops, which had literally been fired. We would love to attend this festival again and if we do, I would make a real effort to get to the clay workshops beforehand, as this just seems to be a particularly beautiful part of the ritual.
And from Claudia: