MEHER MOUNT

9902 Sulphur Mountain Road
Ojai, CA 93023-9375

Phone: 805-640-0000
Email: info@mehermount.org

HOURS

Wednesday-Sunday: Noon to 5:00 p.m.
Monday & Tuesday: Closed

MANAGER/CARETAKERS

Buzz & Ginger Glasky

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Sam Ervin, Preident
Ron Holsey, Vice President
Ursula Reinhart, Treasurer
Jim Whitson, Director
Richard Mannis, Director

OFFICERS

Margaret Magnus, Secretary

9902 Sulphur Mountain Rd
Ojai, CA, 93023
United States

(805) 640-0000

Story Blog

Anecdotes, activities and stories about Meher Mount - past, present and future.

Filtering by Category: Baba's Tree

Break Out the Champagne - Fire Recovery Is Complete

Margaret Magnus

On December 4, 2017, the Thomas Fire hit Meher Mount. Within a few days, the damage assessment began. At first, it seemed straightforward: Document the damage. Make a list for insurance. Begin to repair the damage.

There was some thought that in 90 days the fire recovery "to do list" would be complete, pending insurance reimbursement. As fire recovery progressed, the to do list never seemed to get shorter. In fact, each newly completed or half-completed task seemed to generate several more related tasks. The to do list was never ending.

Then it dawned on us – draw a line through the task list. When all the recovery projects before that line were completed, declare victory.

Now, seven months - 207 days to be exact - after the Thomas Fire, Meher Mount is declaring victory. The task list is still long, but every operational aspect related to fire damage has been fixed.

Break out the champagne, it’s a celebration.

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Baba's Tree Ashes - A Keepsake and a Connection

Margaret Magnus

After the Thomas Fire fire struck Meher Mount on December 4, 2017, help in the form of time, energy and money, began trickling in and then streaming in.

It was inspiring for all who were on the ground, day-to-day, to feel the love and caring from around the world. The support made recovery and regeneration practically and energetically possible for Meher Mount.

It was suggested by Cassandra Bramucci that Meher Mount find a way to thank all the donors and volunteers. She thought sending a keepsake with the ashes from Baba’s Tree would be appropriate.

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Fire Is a Creative Force - Three Benches from Baba's Tree

Margaret Magnus

When the December 2017 Thomas Fire struck Meher Mount, it set in motion a regeneration and renewal process that is more than just fire recovery. On the surface, the fire damage seemed to be modest. Below the surface, the fire stirred a new creative energy that is moving in all directions.

Only Baba's Tree suffered major, irrevocable change. Winds and fire shattered the tree's crown and burned most of the trunk. Major limbs broke off and toppled to the ground.

But, the creative energy and the energy of Baba's Tree persists. The wood from Baba's Tree has been salvaged, milled and stored for future use.

For immediate use, Meher Mount worked with artisan Harold Greene to create three outdoor benches from Baba's Tree to be placed near Baba’s Fireplace – the only remaining man-made artifact from Avatar Meher Baba’s 1956 visit to Meher Mount. All other buildings, memorabilia, and machinery were destroyed the 1985 New Life Fire.

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Baba's Tree - Saving the Fallen Wood

Margaret Magnus

After the initial shock of Baba’s Tree being struck by fire for a second time – the first time in 1985 and now again in 2017 – the community expressed its desire – through social media, email and personal contact – to save the wood from Baba’s Tree. The board of directors agreed.

Within two months after the December 4, 2017, Thomas Fire, a team of professionals and volunteers was at Meher Mount for three and one-half days harvesting and salvaging the burned and fallen wood from Baba’s Tree. The immediate goal was to mill, prepare and store the wood before the winter rains.

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Neither Rain, Nor Drizzle, Nor Fog Stops Meher Mount's Volunteers

Margaret Magnus

The forecast was for rain. But with some luck and planning, it was hoped the group could work around the rain. Despite the weather forecast, Meher Mount went ahead with Restoration Weekend – March 10 & 11, 2018.

It was a good decision. A number of tasks were completed as part of the ongoing recovery from the December 4, 2018 Thomas Fire. And as usual, a few more tasks were added to the "to do" list as a result. 

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Fate of Baba's Tree Is Front Page News

Margaret Magnus

The news coverage started with Perry Van Houten, who had written an earlier article “Ojai’s Trees” for the Winter 2014 edition of The Ojai Valley Visitors Guide, which included Baba’s Tree as one of six trees featured. He approached Meher Mount for a story for a story about Baba's Tree after the Thomas Fire. His article, “Group mounting significant effort to try to save Baba’s Tree,” was published on February 2, 2018, in the Ojai Valley News.

Later, Claudia Boyd-Barrett, an Ojai resident and journalist who had visited Meher Mount before, contacted Meher Mount to set up an interview. She talked with Board President Sam Ervin, Manager/Caretaker Buzz Glasky, arborist Michael Inaba, and Interim Caretaker Cassandra Bramucci. Her story for the Ventura County Star,Baba's Tree, burned in Thomas Fire, fights for survival in Ojai,” was published on February 18, 2018.

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Seven Days in February - More Progress on Fire Recovery

Margaret Magnus

Recovery from the December 2017 Thomas Fire is a step-by-step process. Each completed task seems to generate several new task offspring. The restoration continues. 

On February 15, 2018, just as Buzz and Ginger Glasky finished their four-and-a-half years as Manager/Caretakers, former Caretaker Ray Johnston (2002-2005, 2006-2010) arrived for a week to help with the recovery.

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Baba's Tree Survival Plan

Margaret Magnus

When setting up the first meeting with ISA® Certified Arborist Michael Inaba to make a preliminary assessment of a "special large oak" at Meher Mount, he asked, “Does that special tree have a name?” Margaret Magnus smiled to herself and said, “Yes, Baba’s Tree.” Then she asked why he had asked.

Inaba said he had had dinner soon after the fire with some people who live on Sulphur Mountain. They were recounting the fire damage in the area and mentioned the tree. He later referred to Baba’s Tree as a landmark tree.

On January 5, 2018, Meher Mount met with Inaba to evaluate Baba's Tree and to start drawing up a survival and regeneration plan. 

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Baba's Tree in Seclusion

Eric Turk

During His Advent, Meher Baba very often would go into a self-imposed, confined seclusion for extended periods of time to do His inner work. 

Meher Baba disclosed that he did His “Universal Work” at these times — work not for His own sake as He, suffering for all as God in human form, had nothing to gain — but for the spiritual advancement of all of creation.

Now, the Coast Live Oak at Meher Mount that Meher Baba sat under alone in 1956 and known as Baba’s Tree is in seclusion.

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Fire Burns Baba's Tree - Twice

Sam L. Ervin

Fire has been a visitor to Baba’s Tree and to Meher Mount more than once. The Thomas Fire shattered the tree’s crown and much of the trunk on December 4, 2017.

On October 14, 1985, fire ravaged and destroyed nearly all Meher Mount. A month after the New Life Fire, Baba’s Tree looked dead. It was black, leafless, and terribly scarred. The main trunk was hollowed out and black inside. Limbs over 30 feet in the air had burned. The great limb above Meher Baba’s seat had burned nearly through by the trunk with its furthermost branches fallen to the earth.

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Totally Random or Divinely Orchestrated? An Update on the Thomas Fire

Margaret Magnus

On Monday night December 4, 2017, sometime after 10:00 p.m. when Manager/Caretakers Buzz and Ginger Glasky evacuated, the Thomas Fire struck Meher Mount.

On December 6 and 8, Buzz and Ginger visited Meher Mount reporting minimal or no damage to structures and vehicles. The water system is out of commission due to the fire damage to pipes, electrical and equipment. Baba’s Tree at Avatar’s Point suffered major damage from wind and fire.

On December 12, Buzz and Ginger, Sam Ervin, Margaret Magnus and Cassandra Bramucci made a follow-up visit. Margaret and Sam share their observations.

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Meher Mount Survives Largest Wildfire in California History

Sam L. Ervin

The largest wildfire in California history, the Thomas Fire, started near (Saint) Thomas Aquinas College, about eight miles from Meher Mount and northwest of the city of Santa Paula, on Monday, December 4, 2017 at 6:26 p.m.

It is clear the fire visited nearly every part of the upper section of Meher Mount. Manager/Caretakers Buzz and Ginger Glasky were amazed at how the fire line seemed to stop at critical points.

In short, the fire brushed pass the buildings and equipment, even touching a trellis at the Visitor Center. Both the Visitor Center/Caretaker Quarters and the Topa Topa Patio are intact, although smoke damage is not yet known. Baba’s Tree suffered some damage, but its base remained standing. Some additional assessment and repair of the water system is needed.

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A Balancing of the Light and the Dark

Sam L. Ervin

On March 7, 1970, two of Avatar Meher Baba’s closest and longest tenured disciples, Adi K. Irani and Meherjee Karkaria, arrived at the Meher Spiritual Center in Myrtle Beach, SC. It just so happened on that same day an eclipse of the sun was visible along much of the east coast of the US, including Myrtle Beach. 

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