By Margaret Magnus
The weather report for Sunday, April 14, 2013, said “mostly sunny, 69 degrees, 10% chance of rain.”
Invitations to the event that day - the "Don’t Worry, Be Happy” Ojai WordFest After Party - had invited everyone to come see the 360-degree views from atop the 2,500-foot level of Sulphur Mountain Road.
WHAT IS "PLAN B'?
However, when volunteers arrived to set up for the event, Sulphur Mountain and Meher Mount were enshrouded in the clouds.
The weather was somewhere around 52 degrees, and no sunshine could break through the cloud cover. The tables and chairs were so wet, it might as well have been raining. Visibility was about 10 feet – so much for the views.
Hmmm…within an hour the more than 70 people who had made a RSVP for the event would arrive. After the clear, sunny days for events in December, January and February, we had not developed a “Plan B.”
THE WORKSHOP BECOMES THE "EXECUTIVE DINING ROOM"
The only covered space large enough to host the group was the Workshop.
Manager/Caretaker Leslie Bridger cleared out the major pieces of equipment. Both roll-up doors were opened to rid the building of the gasoline smell. Volunteers swept out the Workshop and then wiped down all the tables and chairs and moved them inside. It was still cold inside the Workshop, but at least it was dry.
We laughed about moving from the outdoor Topa Topa Patio into the “executive dining room” in the Workshop. After all, it was the “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” Party.
GUESTS ARRIVE WITH GOOD HUMOR
Then, the more than 70 people who attended the event started to arrive. Some went back to their cars to get more jackets, socks – anything to help stay warm. The potluck lunch was served.
While everyone huddled in the open-air garage with the fog visibly rolling through the building, Sam Ervin began the program. He gave a brief introduction to Avatar Meher Baba and Meher Mount.
Then Sam shared some of Meher Baba’s words on happiness and worry with the audience nodding in agreement. Handouts were distributed.
WHAT ABOUT THE VIEWS?
The program for the event had promised short walks to see the 360-panoramic views. Visitors asked about the views they had come to see.
If visitors could see the views, here is what they would have seen: the Ojai Valley to the North, the Topa Topa Bluffs in the Los Padres National Forest to the East, the Heritage Valley and Santa Monica Mountains to the South, and the Pacific Ocean and Channel Islands to the West.
POETRY AT AVATAR'S POINT
Despite the weather, many of the visitors hiked in the fog to Baba's Tree, which meant wet feet and pant legs.
After spending time under Baba's Tree, a group lead by Ojai WordFest founder and organizer, Sequoia Hamilton, gathered outside Baba's Tree at Avatar's Point. They shared poetry in the spirit of the Ojai WordFest.
By 6:15 p.m. everyone had left, some vowing to return again to take in the views on a bright, clear and sunny day.
PHOTO GALLERY - Click on each photo
A cold, foggy day provides a picturesque setting at Meher Mount for photographer Stephanie Ervin. These were taken during the Ojai WordFest event in 2013. Click on each picture to see the next one.
Click on each photo to see the next one.