A Fire Journal

Dear Friends,
It is now over a month since the Valley Fire, and we are (perhaps) getting an idea  of what our medium term situation may be.  As you may imagine, the shock, both individual and collective has been enormous. We have also been actively networking in the rest of the county - all in all nearly 1300 homes were destroyed and the community is reeling. In fact, even after a full month there is little sense of return to anything remotely normal - the landscape is blasted, with charred, burned out building sites, any remaining trees being chainsawed along the roadways, the continuing stench of smoke hanging persistently in the air. And winter is coming - the first light rains began this weekend.  We are afraid that today's ash pits (toxic?) will become muddy ash pools and that the barren hillsides will not hold the rains - the danger of mudslides is now the common talk at the local coffee shop in Cobb and at town meetings.

Magdalena and I have, in particular been working (12-18 hours/day since the fire) focusing on helping our community overcome the frantic impulse of each individual to find a personal solution to the crisis and instead to quickly build the collective will and means to act more cooperatively, even communally. Given the long history (35+ years) and depth of our spiritual fellowship, this is not an entirely quixotic impulse!  But it is filled with challenges - practical, personal and interpersonal. 
For the past four weeks we have been staying at the home of our friends, Dieter and Gunde Deiss, who have been like saints for us - opening their home and their hearts, feeding us, making sure that, at the most basic human level, we are taken care of. Breakfast with them on most days (whenever we are not rushing off to work) has been deeply calming and humanizing. Their home has been an island of peace and comfort for us as we have thrown ourselves headlong into serving the recovery effort in Lake County, focusing especially on the 300+ members of our spiritual fellowship of Adidam Ruchiradam - all of whom were evacuated and nearly 200 of whom have lost their homes, all their possessions, and any sense of material stability. 

We have already organized two town meetings, established a new internal website for members (to help process the feelings around what is happening), incorporated a new non-profit (any day now! - big THANKS shout out to Betsy Strauss for her help!) to handle redevelopment business and are close to renting a new community meeting hall. Starting next week, we will move into a new house in Lake County, on a six-month lease, along with three other long-time friends (25+ year) who are also newly homeless.

Magdalena and I are so grateful for our friends who have sent us encouragement and help, including Philip Sales, who housed us for the first few critical days when we didn't know WHAT we were going to do, to my colleagues at NCTPA (now NVTA!) especially Diana Meehan who opened her home to us for a badly needed break day, Mollie Winship for a fantastic massage that put our bodies and spirits back together again, Dr. Olof Granath for his kindness and some needed dental work, Chef Scott Morrow for a supply of his superb Soma Granola, and our extended families. And of course the  deep Source and Inspiration for all of this for us is our guru Adi Da Samraj.

Our friend Joe Troncale has launched a "GoFundMe" campaign, here: https://www.gofundme.com/4el-mag that we hope will help us purchase a Yurt, "Tiny House" or other temporary home that we can live in for the next few years while we organize and plan the redevelopment of our community.

much love and gratitude

Eliot

 


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