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.

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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What To Do with the Eucalyptus Trees?

Margaret Magnus

On December 4, 2017, the Thomas Fire struck Meher Mount burning the stand of 16 eucalyptus trees by Baba’s Fireplace and the Visitor Center along with the large eucalyptus by the pathway to Baba's Tree. 

In assessing the fire damage and the future fire threats to Meher Mount, the question was put before the board, “What to do with the eucalyptus trees?” 

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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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A Fond Farewell - Goodbye to the Glaskys

Margaret Magnus

Avatar Meher Baba's birthday on February 25, 2018, was the first public event and visitor open day at Meher Mount since the Thomas Fire on December 4, 2017. It was a fitting occasion to honor Meher Baba's Advent and to say farewell to Manager/Caretakers Buzz and Ginger Glasky. They have lovingly cared for Meher Mount for the past four-and-one-half years.

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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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Thomas Fire No Match for Meher Baba and His Lovers

Cassandra Bramucci

That Meher Baba fellow sure knows how to throw a work party!     

As I drove up to the entry gate around 9:30 a.m., I found half a dozen people vigorously cultivating the ash-hardened ground under the Coast Live Oak tree there. All were new faces to me, but I was greeted with cheerful waves and a hearty chorus of “Jai Baba.” 

So, began the first workday of 2018 in response to the devastating Thomas Fire that so heartrendingly damaged Baba’s Tree, crippled the fragile water system, and sent Manager/Caretakers Buzz and Ginger Glasky racing for their lives down a flaming Sulphur Mountain Road on December 4, 2017.

        

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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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Drone Photos Capture Fire Damage at Meher Mount

Margaret Magnus

In the efforts to fully record the damage from the December 2017 Thomas Fire, Meher Mount worked with drone photographer Russell Latimer of Eye of Mine Action Cameras.

At the time, it seemed like a slight extravagance. Then again, the fire had stripped the landscape, and it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to capture not only the damage, but also the stark beauty of the landscape.

See the 34-minute unedited video.

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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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Mapping the Thomas Fire Damage at Meher Mount

Margaret Magnus

On Tuesday, December 5, 2017, when it was clear that Meher Mount was in the Thomas Fire zone, architect and volunteer Byron Pinckert sent an email suggesting that it was “time now to start thinking about how you want to document this set of events for the future.”

Byron took a giant step toward documentation on Thursday, December 21, 2017, when he went to Meher Mount armed with oversized maps from Google Earth of the property and a camera. He walked the property noting burned areas, damage and other items of importance.

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"Have no anxiety as to the future!"

Margaret Magnus

In closing a tumultuous year of natural disasters and man-made tragedies, a couplet from from the 14th-century Persian mystic poet Hafiz (or Hafez) seems particularly apropos. Hafiz was Avatar Meher Baba's favorite poet, and Meher Baba often quoted Hafiz to His followers. This couplet was part of a letter sent by Meher Baba in which He said, "Have no anxiety as to the future!"

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Coins on the Mountain

Sam L. Ervin

Fire strips away much of nature’s camouflage and reveals the unexpected.

On December 12, 2017, just eight days after the Thomas Fire swept through parts of Meher Mount, Buzz and Ginger Glasky, Cassandra Bramucci, Margaret Magnus and I walked the property marveling at the fire’s path and the fire’s targets.

Surprisingly, Cassandra noticed a small pile of 21 coins, unearthed by the fire, under one of the pine trees at Avatar’s Point. We had no idea how they got there.

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"There Is Nothing that Love Cannot Achieve..."

Meher Mount

The following is excerpted from a talk that Avatar Meher Baba gave on September 18, 1947, in Surat, India: 

Of all the forces that can best overcome all difficulties is the love that knows how to give without necessarily bargaining for a return.

There is nothing that love cannot achieve and there is nothing that love cannot sacrifice.

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