As the trash was put out and the patio put back together post wind, Doc and I set out for a walk along Shelf Road. There were no other cars at the trailhead and we had the road to ourselves. I pulled my hat as far down as I could manage and set out. As I reached the first ridge, I saw a dozen dust devils, small dirt tornadoes, rising from the orchards below. Bits of paper rose like small birds above the trees and actual small birds fought to get anywhere at all. Anything loose on the East End of Ojai seemed to be migrating toward Meiners Oaks.
When I left my computer this morning, the world seemed to be in turmoil, the larger winds of hatred and violence, sweeping across the landscape. It feels safe in Ojai, but even this valley feels unsettled and violent this morning. Usually I associate winds with change. Not today. These winds feel ominous.
My thoughts went to a letter that our friend, Liz Haffner posted from a survivor of the Paris massacre. “….this is to the 80 people who were murdered inside that venue, who weren’t as lucky, who didn’t get to wake up today and to all the pain that their friends and families are going through. I am so sorry. There’s nothing that will fix the pain. I felt privileged to be there for their last breaths. And truly believing that I would join them, I promise that their last thoughts were not on the animals who caused all this. It was thinking of the people they loved. As i lay down in the blood of strangers and waiting for my bullet to end my mere 22 years, I envisioned every face that I have ever loved and whispered I love you. over and over again. “
Then this image was replaced by another post by our friend, William Aura, who is working to rebuild lives and buildings in Nepal. He wrote “BETTER TO LIGHT A SINGLE CANDLE THAN TO CURSE THE DARKNESS. Our hearts pour out to those victims and families suffering from the recent tragedy in France and to all people suffering from war and conflicts in the world. We will continue our work in the name of the compassionate souls who believe we have a purpose in this brief life to uplift, heal and nurture our global family. We honor those who initiate positive change every day.
Ojai was brisk and clear this morning. On my way back down the hill, leaning into the wind for balance, I was visited by a once small boy fighting headwind with all of his 45lbs on his way to St. Joan of Arc school, leaning as far forward as possible to keep from being blown back. We, too, must lean as far forward as possible for fear that these winds will not blow us back or cause us to lose our balance.
Here’s to William Aura and others like him, who give me hope when all around me seems to be unsettled. Peace.