By Cassandra Bramucci
If the Thomas Fire has taught me anything, it has taught me that one just never knows when something will “catch fire” at Meher Mount. Priorities are constantly shifting and even as the list of projects to be done continues to spark more lists of projects to be done, it is always Meher Baba who finds a way to ignite one’s passion at just the right moment.
What seems to be catching fire for visitors, volunteers, and caretakers alike these days is the remnant of a sandstone walkway that begins at the northeast edge of the circular driveway and extends for about 10 feet or so toward the side of the Visitor Center/Caretaker Quarters. Avatar Meher Baba walked on these exact same flagstones.
Something drew my attention to that walkway on a visit to Meher Mount in May of 2017 as I spent a little time with then-Manager/Caretaker Buzz Glasky while he finished up his watering for the day.
DID MEHER BABA USE THIS WALKWAY?
“Was this the walkway to Agnes’ old house?” I asked Buzz. Agnes Baron was a co-founder of Meher Mount and lived there as caretaker from 1946 to her death in 1994.
"That, my dear, is where the Avatar of this Age Himself walked [to get to and from Agnes’ house and the guesthouse]. We know that for a fact!” he affirmed.
He then told me how in the winter when it snowed or the ground frosted over, that walkway always stayed clear and dry. He and his wife Ginger could look out and imagine Meher Baba walking there, even if snow covered everything else in sight.
That story struck me in a powerful way. On subsequent visits, I would always seek out that spot first and imagine Meher Baba standing there.
True, the path Meher Baba took to His tree was kept visible by the caretakers through the years, and the spot where He sat under the tree is marked by the heart stone that so many have touched and garlanded over the years, but that walkway kept calling to me.
A DESIRE TO EXCAVATE THE WALKWAY
In the chaos that followed the December 2017 Thomas Fire, as I filled in as temporary caretaker, I would occasionally feel the desire to do some excavation at the end of the visible path to see if more of it had been buried under the soil and creeping fauna. But, there was so much to do, so many projects vying for attention, the idea kept slipping down away.
Then on May 28, 2018, Eric Turk was working on clearing weeds and grooming the areas around the Visitor Center when I asked him if he knew what those weeds were that were spreading under the apricot tree and covering the area where the walkway seemed to be buried.
That conversation ignited Eric’s interest as well. I told him the story Buzz had told me, and Eric offered to clear away the weeds and see if he could uncover some more flagstones.
By the time I returned to the spot several hours later, Eric had carefully and lovingly uncovered another eight feet of the sandstone, some of which had been buried under four inches of dirt. Then he gently washed down the revealed stones, careful not to cause any further flaking.
THE EXCITEMENT IS CONTAGIOUS
Four days later, Kyle and Lisa Morrison arrived for a one-week stint to help take care of Meher Mount while I was recovering from an injury.
Just as he arrived, a van with five visitors from India arrived. I came out to greet them all and couldn’t wait to tell them about Baba’s Walkway. Everyone began to reverently touch the stones where their Beloved had walked, taking His darshan [blessing] into their hearts.
Kyle was the most excited. He said, “I’ll bet this is where Baba first set foot on Meher Mount! This is precious. We need to preserve this.”
In fact, he continued, we should treat this like a modern day archaeological dig, being very careful to preserve the fragile sandstone along the way. By the end of the next day, Kyle had uncovered another 12 feet, bringing the total to 30 feet.
THE WALKWAY EXTENDS TO THE GUESTHOUSE
The next day I contacted Sam Ervin to see what he recalled about the walkway. He told me he was certain it continued all the way to the end of the current Visitor Center, curving around toward the fireplace and former guesthouse where Meher Baba spent time meeting with His followers before sending them out to explore the beauty of nature.
Sam agreed that Meher Baba walked along those stones and that these are original. He and Margaret Magnus were getting excited about the idea of uncovering the stones. “It just takes people with a passion to do something like this to make it finally happen,” Margaret said.
Since then, children have placed flowers on the walkway. It is now outlined with red landscaping flags to discourage people from walking on it until the walkway can be properly preserved.
AN OPPORTUNITY TO HELP UNCOVER BABA'S WALKWAY
Now, there is an opportunity for other “amateur archaeologists” - who would like the chance to participate in the restoration of Baba’s Walkway – to come to Meher Mount and add their efforts to those of Eric and Kyle.
The goal is to ensure that every inch of this precious path, a path that was sanctified by the steps of Beloved Meher Baba on August 2, 1956, is preserved.
Special archaeological tools are waiting for you. Call or text the Meher Mount phone (805-640-0000) or email email@example.com to set up a convenient time to work on this archaeological project.