Winds howl forcefully, shaking the windows and rattling the doors of our downstairs apartment of “Lower Tree House,” our beloved home at Meditation Mount.
I am enlivened by wind. It enraptures me. I feel a special aliveness and surge of energy in the singing of the winds, inspiring great movement and creativity. Sitting at my desk, I scan the room inviting inspiration. I make contact with my paintings and drawings.
I engage with the spirit of each one. They are much more than just paintings. They are alive with spirit, one with the earth and cosmos. They are part of my family. The Ones I have chosen to birth into the world. I am in my flow. In my creative space.
Excited for my journey ahead, I have planted potent seeds witnessing them blossom in beautiful new ways. On my computer, I am typing and putting the finishing touches on my new blog that is about to go live soon. A place to inspire and awaken reality by sharing transformational tales for these inspired times, as well as offering art medicine pieces in various forms and more.
I hear the sound of footsteps moving across the floorboards in “Upper Tree,” above. Footsteps are drawing closer. And closer. Tyler stands at the doorway. “No need to panic, but there is a fire close to St. Thomas Aquinas. We should gather some things.” Feeling calm, I say ok. Kind of tempted to go back to work, I take a moment to integrate this information.
Suddenly, I realize the potency of this message. Casually, I get up from my chair and walk upstairs. I slide the sliding glass door open and step outside to see for myself. Yep. Confirmed. A reddish orange glow lights up the horizon on the blackened sky. Hmmm. Really. Is this really happening? Oh sh@t! I am really in my creative flow right now! “We really should start packing up our things,” says Tyler. Agreed. “Grab the passports, I call to Tyler.
Do we know where they are?” Yes, he calls back. “Oh good…” Drawers opening, spilling over with clothes, I grab only a few choice threads that land now in the bottom of my suitcase. I open the next drawer. I gather more. Enough for a few days to a week. Not even thinking of it, I totally miss gathering our clothes in the hamper. After all, they will be waiting for me in just a few days. Right? I fill my backpack with a few tinctures, herbs, salves and medicinal tonics.
I go downstairs to my growing apothecary of herbs and tinctures. I gather a few medicinals off the shelves. There is no way I can take them all. Just a few. As I will return. I run upstairs to “Upper Tree House,” and go outside to assess the progress of the fire. Wow, the fire appears to moving close to Ojai Valley School. Located directly above the Mount. A wave of urgency moves me, my heart now picking up at a heightened pace, I feel swept up by the excitement of it all and hurry along the process.
I say to Tyler, “It’s really not looking good. We need to roll.” I gather my desktop computer. Tyler kindly and safely puts mine away in its case. I run downstairs to gather a few crystals that were sitting out in the moonlight all charged up by the Full Moon and Sun, just days before.
I see my drum and two rattles. I gather those too. My yoga mat. I run back upstairs and I see my book Anastasia from the Ringing Cedar series. I toss it in my bag with Plant Spirit Healing by Pam Montgomery along with Thinking Like A Mountain. I gather one small art piece from our travels. I run back upstairs. Electricity goes out. Ok. That’s it. Clear sign. Time to go soon. We have enough stuff. We pack the car feeling at peace with what we took and what we left behind.
We now shift responsibilities and tend to our community to see if we could be of service before we lift off. We are asked to navigate the parking lot as several cars are finding there way up to catch news of the fire. We do so for about 45 minutes. I go back to the house to use the bathroom. In the dark. Flashlight in hand. Out of the corner of my eye, I see a photograph of my mom taped on the refrigerator door.
I take the photograph off the fridge in addition to another one of me wearing a super woman swimming suit sitting in lotus position on the sand with the waves crashing in the distance. I love this photo! This reminds me that I have a few more on my desk of my mom, who changed cosmic addresses a long, long, time ago.
I make a conscious choice to leave my one memory box behind, as it rests below two heavy boxes and if the fire really does take our home, I will want to travel light. I walk out to meet our friends and Mount residents. Laughter and comic relief fill the air. For a moment, we offer ourselves a temporarily pause from this auspicious event. I quietly step away from the circle to connect with the land.
My heart is calling me forth to to make a visit out to the elder oak tree that is on that back end of the land and to connect with the spirits of the east. The direction from which the wind is coming. The land still and quiet. Eerie and mysterious. The calm before the storm sets in. Feeling compelled to walk out to the most eastern point, I pray and face the spirit of the eastern wind.
Spirits of the East..Please be gentle. We feel your pulse and it is strong. We feel you are here with great purpose. A purpose that is not known to us yet. May the people of this land, community and town be safe, including the earth and animals, plants and trees. All of life. Imagining a circle of love and strength protecting the land, structures and homes, I continue…May everyone be safe from fires way. May the Ojai Valley be protected and cared for. May we grow from this experience, held and nurtured in strength and love. I then offer a few more silent words…
Thank You spirits of the East. I then turn and head back up the hill. It’s dark. It’s quiet. It’s just me. Human wise. Just like in my dreams. Me and the open road. Forested. Quiet and Mysterious. Walking back up the hill, the winds suddenly pick up. Feeling the winds upon my back, I am propelled forward. The pulse, strong and steady, I take another step. Then one more.
Swoosh, my feet lift me off the ground. An inch or so, I am propelled in mid air. Winds blowing through the trees, shaking the branches to and fro in a melodic symphony of vibrational sounds and tones. Literally swept off my feet, the power of the wind pushes me forward, then drops me gently on the ground, where I can touch the earth again. I slide forward uphill on the path, keeping an eye out for a tree to hug in case I start blow away. Like, really blow away.
“It’s time to go,” I hear, as the trees wave on to me as I pass.
A potent moment. Eerie and mysterious. I travel on up towards the parking lot to gather with everyone, once again. There is no one in sight as I make my way up the hill in the dark. I realize. This is not a dream. I don't have wings to fly in the way that I do in my dreams. I must stand and face these currents of change and transformation with my feet on the ground. Head on. Heart open.
Open to my fate and my future destiny! Trees shaking, branches beginning to crackle and pop, I carefully walk the land to find everyone. Dodging limbs and fallen branches, we gather and culminate outside the garage of our fellow residents place. Protected by the full breathed spirited trees.
One by one, we look down to our phones to see that we no longer have cell service. Then ding, ding, ding, we receive confirmation that Meditation Mount is now under mandatory evacuation. That was confirmation enough for us to move forward, share hugs and set sail! Except for our two Mount heroes, Tim and Art, who stay until dawn to fight the fires. We make our way across the parking lot to our cars.
Tyler gets in his car, and I prepare garnet pearl, my little red truck for our great escape. The winds howl and shake lightly rattling our vehicles, as we forge along. Safely journeying forward, we wind down the mountain slope into the valley floor. Gigantic tumbleweeds fly in the air, landing in front of our cars. Gentle and light enough to pass.
Wave after wave. We pass through with great care. Several blocks past, we make a right hand turn, then a left, followed by another right. We make the turn up the road towards McNeill to greet our friends here on the East End. Our friends greet us at the door. “Hey you guys. Come in. You are welcome to stay but just so you know we may be evacuating, too. We just got notice of voluntary evacuation. “Come in, Sabine and Greg offer. We visit for a few minutes and connect, while they gather and pack. We decide the best option for us is to leave the Ojai Valley and make our way out, while we can. Before the roads get heavy with traffic or blocked due to fire. Feels like a wise choice.
We jump in Tyler’s car and we leave garnet pearl, my little red truck behind. We scan the hillsides on the way out. Fire dancing along the 33, all the way from Ventura to Oxnard. We can’t believe our eyes. We had no idea the fire was this BIG. Relieved to be out of the valley, we travel light holding our dear Ojai community in our hearts and hoping for the best, prepared for the destiny of which was waiting to meet us on the horizon.