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Thursday, June 26, 2008 

My Beloved Big Sur

might just become a shadow of our tears instead of smiles....if the flames continue to move forward.

(Opening scene of the 1965 film, The Sandpiper, starring Liz & Dick....showcasing the amazing beauty of "the Sur.")

California officials closed a stretch of the state's scenic coastal highway around historic Big Sur on thursday as a wildfire threatened 500 homes in the remote area known for its contemplative retreats.

Firefighters have been battling hundreds of blazes across California sparked by lightning strikes over the past weekend, including two that merged into the single fire around Big Sur, an artists' haven that was once home to writer Henry Miller.

The Big Sur fire has burned more than 23,500 acres (9,510 hectares) and destroyed 16 homes and two other buildings.

Big Sur, on California's central coast, is heavily wooded, with steep slopes running down to the Pacific Ocean. The terrain creates one of California's most dramatic landscapes -- and slow going for almost 700 firefighters on the scene. -

Say a little prayer for those up in The Sur and hope that legendary spots like
Nepenthe, Esalen, Big Sur Lodge, The Campgrounds, The Post Ranch Inn and Bixby Bridge remain standing...uncharred.

Keep abreast of the fire via Xasauan Today

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I was posted at Esalen with a hose and gas mask in the great '85 fire, which miraculously never jumped the highway. The sounds of giant redwoods exploding, the orange sky, and all of us inhaling poison oak so that we wound up wanting to turn ourselves inside out and scratch ourselves to death were the highlights, as well as a great sense of community developed, going to abandoned homes of strangers to get clean clothes, being handed sandwiches by strangers on the street; I pray that Esalen and the other classic Big Sur landmarks you mentioned prove to be as resilient this time around.

Eliezer Sobel, author of
The 99th Monkey: A Spiritual Journlist's Misadventure wrh Gurus, Messiahs, Sex, Psychecelics and Other Conscoious-Raising Advenures. It includes a chaper on my early days at Esalen in the mid-80s.

You can read the prologue here,too see if it interests you: wwww.the99thmonkey.com

Best, Eliezer Sonel

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