So Sunday was the first day we held the Back to Basics Circle.
We were small in number, but in true Rainbow Magic the San Diego version of Glowing Feather or Diamond Dave showed up and joined us. Now mind you, this man had never heard of Rainbow before (or open mikes for that matter), but he held hands with us as we circled, then let loose with some beautiful love and spirit filled poetry raps that would challenge the best the gathering has to offer and he was a 40 to 50 year old self professed virgin.
He sat with us in circle and shared thoughts and ideas in poetic rap format. Amazing. And very mystical. He apparently lives near the park and there's been a Rainbow Circle in that approximate location for over ten years and yet the first time he connected with us was to join the Back to Basics Circle.
My hope for Sunday's circle was to talk about the importance of non-tangible connections and energies in creating a safe, fun and meaningful gathering for everyone. To that end, I told a story from the last Wyoming gathering in 1994. A beautiful sister suggested that lots of people are more plugged into the Internet than the park and that I should make this story available electronically, so here goes.
The 1994 Wyoming gathering was in a beautiful bowl shaped meadow with a creek running through it. Unfortunately, there was no rain. And things got dry. Very dry. And the fire danger rose. Family counciled on how to handle the situation. We talked a lot about root fires and evacuation routes and how to fight a fire. Not that fighting is very Rainbow, but sometimes... Fire patrol was in full force and 5 gallon buckets of water and shovels were the most commonly spoke about tools.
The general plan was that should a fire break out, those prepared to fight were going to put on boots, long pants and long protective shirts and head towards the fire with all the buckets, shoves and axes they could carry. Everyone else would evacuate into the meadow and follow the creek down hill and out of the area.
A few small fires erupted here and there but were always adjacent to a camp and were put out as fast as they started.
So one day I'm sitting in a Southern California family council and the call of fire rings out. We stop what we're doing and my friend and I run back to our tents. Put on our boots and jeans. We grab shovels and all the buckets we can find.
Then we head up the hill, which seems to be the way everyone was going. Things were a bit chaotic at first as first people were running up the hill along the trail, then turning back, then running up, then turning back. I later found out that there were some people who felt it was too dangerous for gatherers to fight a forest fire, but in the end that big loving beautiful rainbow can do attitude won out and we all charged up the hill.
This was not a little fire. This was a fire in dry trees. A real forest fire and I had never been near one before, let alone helped to put one out.
As we ran up the trail, there was a small tree and four or five old men with long grey hair and long grey beards dressed all in flowing white clothes holding their hands up to the sky. "Om for the wind to stop," they called out. "Om for the wind to stop."
My friend and I stopped, looked at each other and scoffed. We had a forest fire to fight, we didn't have time to Om. So we continued up the hill and joined the bucket brigade. Hundreds of people passing five gallon buckets of water from the creek below up to the fire above. Some of them naked or next to naked. Others covered up a bit more. Sparks flying. Ash everywhere.
At some point after things were settling down a bit and the fire seemed to be somewhat contained, the Forest Service brought in a plane to drop fire retardant on the area that had burned. I was able to get some great photos of the drop.
After that we just kept slinging the buckets full of water. Family came by with food and passed zu zus and water up and down the line. A beautiful magical crew came by and gave five minute shoulder and neck massages - thank you beautiful family, it was wonderful.
And then it was over and we were drop dead exhausted and collapsed into bed. I didn't hear that night or the next, but at some point I heard that all the people in the know: family with experience in forest fires, the Forest Service resource people, and others that the only reason we, meaning family on the ground working our butts off, were able to contain the fire was because the wind, unexpectedly and unusually, died down.
Just some food for thought.
So join us every Sunday in April and May, 1 PM in Balboa Park at the usual place except for April 20th - the day of the huge Earth Fair and the huge drum circle by the Museum of Art.
Be the peace you want to see in this world.
Please distribute freely.
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