Saturday night the wild fire was raging near our home sweeping through almost 4000 acres and nearly 2000 people were involved in bringing it under control. Sunset on Sunday brought blue skies and gentle clouds like the second picture. Morning doves flew and called in the quiet evening as we watched the day close in wonder and gratitude.
So many things came together; the heroic efforts of countless fire fighters on the ground, pilots and crews of tankers, helicopters and spotter planes, bulldozer operators and so many more. But the weather helped as well, quiet winds despite hot days. Nature was merciful. Amazingly, in such a huge operation, no serious injuries were reported.
The outpouring of the very best of the ‘fire’ of the true human spirit in so many people has been awe inspiring. The social network pages were filled with offers of places for evacuees to stay, transportation for all sorts of animals, horses to alpacas to pigs and sheep.. hamsters too! People sharing bedrooms, back yards, pastures and animals care. Volunteers and donations flooded the Red Cross evacuation centers, far more than needed. Those gathering food and support funds continue to search for those in need and spread the sharing.
News sources with the constant emphasis to keep people on edge with on going crisis cannot give proper acknowledgement to the triumph of good will in a whole community when something like this happens. People truly are meant to help one another and at the core long to do the good. Together it is stunning what can be accomplished. When the creative energy of positive community truly shines its like the words of the age old Christmas carol become a reality; ‘heaven and nature sing’. Heaven, Nature and Community came together on this one.
July 27, 2014
The “Sand” fire has been raging for three days near us with over 4000 acres burned and several homes. We are safe just now. Our daughter Lauren and her husband Bob are here with us. We have our vehicles packed and ready to evacuate. Our Sandridge road is closed down so no one can come in and when and if we leave, we will not be able to return until later notice.
They estimate five more days to control the fire. It is about five miles west and south of us mostly burning on the other side of the river. The unknown is from the winds and temperature. We expect over 100 degrees today, some more wind which can change directions during the day so that is the concerning part. So we appreciate all your good “cool” thoughts, in more ways than one! We have plenty of food, are in good touch with our good neighbors and have our doves caught up and ready to fly out with us if needed! We are on an emergency call line that will inform us when to leave if it comes to that.
Our son Cameron is an aircraft mechanic for Cal Fire and praises the incredible teamwork and resources being used to contain this fire. Yesterday he worked out of Grass Valley and personally helped get two major tankers, 88 and 89 back on line. Arriving at work he noticed a nose tire bulging dangerously which the pilot had just missed. So he repaired that and within five minutes the crew was ready to go. Then tanker 89 heading out too, failed in a hydraulic system which he spent four hours on and It was back online for the critical late afternoon hours. We’ve always been proud of his work and he is just a gifted mechanic but it is pretty amazing to have his work protecting us just now! His dedicated crews along with all the wonderful men and women, over 1400 of them, on the ground are near by with bulldozers and fighting this intense and difficult fire. It is on steep canyons and tinder dry fuel in the trees and grass and can capriciously jump the river to another area.
Some parts of the nation have floods, intense cold, tornados and hurricanes. We have fires and earthquakes, There is an apocolyptic feel about it. Our dear Mother Earth cries for our conscious care.
But there are so many many good people doing so many good deeds, rescuing horses, even a 200 pound tortoise! neighbors are there for each other. The county fair ground is receiving animals. The local schools setting up refuge centers. People can become who they really are in such emergencies.
Your loving prayers are appreciated and we will be fine. We have dedicated our 28 years here to caring for the land and all the wonderful people we have been privileged to host at White Feather Ranch and may we continue to be able to do so.
Nancy and Gordon
CONGREGATING, CONSECRATING, CELEBRATING, (AND MY BIRTHDAY)
We met in our living room at White Feather Ranch, bedecked with two grand vases of ruby red roses, a birthday gift from my three daughters. The comforting scent of beeswax candles wafted from the long festive table set for twenty two amazing women who came from far and wide for a three day retreat that included my birthday. Many had been here before. The vast majority are therapists or teachers who are raying their healing gifts out into this needing world in their professional lives, some close to retirement age, some mothers of young children, some standing like pillars in the midst of life stretching nurturing arms to aging elders and their growing children as well.
We ate the abundant goodness of food home cooked by Gina. She is one of a large, food loving Italian family and knows how to give healthy vibrant flavor to all her creations. She was aided by ‘crowd experienced’ mother, Cathy, who has adopted many foster children, in addition to her own.
We talked about it all, being a mother, the anguish of grief and loss, the privilege and responsibility of being a woman in America today, the challenge and great nurturing needed for a healthy Self and a healthy planet, imperatives especially in a female life now. We looked to my friend Anna who sent us pearls of wisdom via email from her woman’s life in Ghana where she cares for food resources there. We looked to ‘true’ patriotism of Granny “D” and the inspired leadership Peace Pilgrim and to Amma, the great saint in our time, hugging despairing millions to help heal the world.
We listened, we wept, laughed with abandon and circled up in group hugs. Through the life stories and current challenges that were shared, the mother wit and wisdom flowed, flowed into a community vessel of safety, confidence, respect and loving protection. And we sang, oh, how this group could sing! With sweet harmonies blended as though from a chorus that had long practiced together.
There were quiet and peaceful morning walks the natural pine and oak surroundings here at the ranch. In an evening of celebration, we lit candles in ceremony for loved ones across the threshold, the honored ancestors and inspirers of our lives. Relaxed faces shone and sighs of respite and contentment pooled and flowed as we washed and massaged one another’s feet, our precious feet that have carried us through every step on the path of our life destiny.
Then with guitar and flute roundly and sweetly played we danced. Oh, yes, we danced! Lifted by the power of our mutual women’s vibrant joy, I danced too, my aged knees made light and supple with celebration. Noting it was only fifteen minutes more till midnight I declared I thought I could dance in the 84th year. And so we did, twirling and whirling, arm in arm and then they put a necklace of white feathers around my neck! Celebration!
But most of all we took the creation of our common women’s striving lives and holding all in reverence, like each one holding an edge of a parachute filled with this offering, we lifted it up and up and up to Sophia, Maria, Guadalupe, The Black Madonna and all the great embracing Feminine compassionate vitality of the universe in a devoted prayer to hold us in Her starry embrace. Our joy, sorrow tears and striving offered up to the fountain of our highest giving, the Spiritual Sources of Universal Love and Wisdom. Our Congregation, Consecration, Celebration made full and whole and offered to the universe.
May healing stardust, healing sun warmth, gently fall and bless many with goodness and hope from this mutual creation of earnest caring souls! What a birthday gift for me and all that will be touched through these who shared this special time together.
THE BLESSING OF THE DOVES ANNIVERSARY MAY 28, 2014
￼Because we had unwittingly booked a hotel in Santa Cruz for our outing we then had to drive back down to Monterey to see the famous Aquarium, (something Gordon has long wanted to do). Therefore, we were on a road we would not have traveled otherwise and as we rounded a corner we saw a surplus store with a huge sculpture of the darndest motorcycle ever beside it. Gordon has been a
motorcycle owner, rider and enthusiast for most of his life. Again a further aspect of Poer family lore, inspired by the matriarch, my mother, Lola,is the lore of a mythical “Mr Unexpected”, who can give us sudden surprises in our lives. He turns up, she would tell us with a knowing smile, when you don’t expect it, and sometimes it isn’t pleasant, but more often than not it changes the course of events in sometimes wonderful ways, as we had just experienced with the doves and now this surprise. Of course we had to stop and take some pictures of Gordon with the grand bike sculpture with that “Mr.Unexpected” event! We have a treasured picture of him at nineteen in a daredevil pose standing on the seat and riding down the street on his Harley/Davidson, a classic antic, one of many in our adventuresome family.
In Monterey we went to a central restaurant Bubba Gump’s Shrimp but it proved to be thunderous with loud rock music dinner and even though we were almost ready to be seated I said,” I just don’t want this for our anniversary dinner,” and we left. We found another place near by without the noise, looking out over the sea, open to the bay breeze and with nature’s surf sounds and the ever raucous sea gulls calling out for our dinner music.
The gulls were nesting on the roof of the balcony where we were seated as we ate our meal, suddenly white feathers began floating by! White feathers there for us on this special day! Then often the feathers would float back up again out of sight with the capricious bay breeze! We laughed and said to each other they were messengers from the other side appearing briefly and then going back up again, like messages from all the loved ones in spirit! Our first thought was messages from our son, Gary,who died last year. All throughout his high school years, Gary had a poster of Jonathan Livingston Seagull in his room with the words,
Dream what you dare to dream,Go where you want to go, Be what you want to be…LIVE!”
Just as we finished our meal two white feathers joined together floated
by and landed on the beach, which I later retrieved. How sweet was that on this anniversary day!
￼￼There is always comic relief in the course of such things, ￼especially if Gary has anything to do with it. This is just the sort of thing he would have planned as he was one to bring fun loving irreverence to an art form! Just to keep us from becoming too cosmic about the Great White Feather family lore, he once took a whole pillow and drove over the ranch flinging the contents into the wind, salting the whole place with ‘lucky day’ white feathers for everyone to find and having a gleeful time teasing us all. He did that on the occasion our 50th wedding anniversary!
For a later family reunion he brought a paper mache goose all the way from Norway to tease us and pose in the family pictures! So now for our 61st anniversary, and who can really explain how sometime during this day a white feather got stuck on the back of Gordon’s navy blue pants. Not just a feather wafting by and touching down for a moment mind you but one firmly fixed in the fabric of his britches. An unexpected tail feather on the old patriarch! Gordon wore it for the afternoon Lauren and I first noticing it as we visited the mission at San Juan Bautista on the way home. It was stuck firmly and resolutely there for he had been in and out of the car several times when it would logically have been brushed off!
Our adventures at the mission soon unfolded. As it was Ascension Day it was a special time to be there. When we drove up to the mission a school bus labeled “Michael’s Transportation” stood outside. “How about that!” we thought! Then the long mission porch corridor was filled with cheery, lively school children eating their snacks, virtually all of them Mexican children. A kind couple offered us their seats on a bench.
Yet as we entered the large church, hardly anyone was there. The three of us started up the tiled aisle and suddenly a pigeon flew in front of us! She flew back and forth to the columns of the large high ceilinged church where old paintings of stations of the cross adorned each one. As we sat in the front pews, the pigeon flew up behind the altar to the dusty red curtains behind the central statues of St. Dominic (of the Dominican stream of Thomas Aquinas ( a Rudolf Steiner connection) central and high behind the altar. Then the bird went behind the curtain of the statue’s niche for she had a nest there! Later she flying back and forth around the towering nave. We were the only ones there ￼￼then to see her then. I called her our bird docent!
The largest statue of all, below Dominic was St John for whom the mission was named. Spiritually he is so important throughout history and the lives of the famous painter Raphael and the poet Novalis. These mighty individuals have so important in our personal lives were all represented here in this day’s experience for us. World changing individuals, we were glad to see first honored here by those who placed them in their exalted places nearly 200 years ago. We also discovered a large painting of Christ with the white dove.
I have long had a goal to visit all the California missions and have been to most. At each one I do the ‘Hallelujah’ in eurythmy, like a devotional prayer with gestures that can help build a special connection to those on the other side in the spiritual world. At each mission I wait and there comes the moment when I can be alone for a few moments to offer this redemptive ritual to help lift up all the dark things that have happened in the establishment of the missions, at the same time acknowledging all the devotion and piety that has been part of the story as well. It was a pivotal moment for me when I was once able to do so in the crypt at Chartres cathedral as well.
I had the opportunity to tell the mission shop keeper something about Father Serra, the Franciscan founder of the California missions. It was a story which she didn’t know which she will now hopefully share with others who come there. In the 1700’s Father Serra walked hundreds of miles to serve the new missions he was helping establish on the California coast and one time he carried a rooster and hen all the way from San Diego to Carmel to start raising chickens for the mission community there, a major contribution for their future food supply. But he left the chickens temporarily in the care of an Indian woman and her son and when he came back, alas, they had eaten them! As a Franciscan, Father Serra had no worldly possessions other than his tunic, his crucifix, and a blanket. When he was dying, the same Indian woman came to see him for a last goodbye and he took the blanket that covered him and lovingly gave it to her.
￼I discovered there was a small chapel at the mission behind the main church that was the original building and is dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe. It has an image of her like the famous original in Mexico. As I approached the chapel doors, the wind chimes on an aged olive tree in the garden rang out. I looked up and saw they were the same kind of chimes that Gary made for us and hang on our veranda at home. The ancient tree has two trunks intertwined together in mutual support, the limb on which the chimes hang was dead, with two crossed branches holding the chimes. I felt Gary was nearby acknowledging all that was happening on this special day. I was the only one in the chapel so I could freely speak out the verses and do eurythmy there too.
We left the old landmark mission full of more wonder at the blessings for this special anniversary day. Gordon scolded Lauren and me with good nature for not telling him sooner about the white feather stuck in his pants. When we got home and were preparing the laundry we found the feather was firmly stuck through the fabric and it is hard to imagine just how that could have happened!
The last fulfilling event of the day left us with even more amazed gratitude and feeling greatly honored by all Nature’s spirit gifts so generously bestowed. Our daughter, Mary, who lives in northern Wisconsin, was working by a field and thinking of her parents on this day. She looked into the grass and there lay a white eagle feather, in perfect condition She mounted it in a frame and sent it to us. The ultimate white feather gift from such a noble bird making a perfectly wonderful lucky day for this aging long married couple.