In Praise of Aria and Teresa

barakaAmong the massive fires that burned through California’s Lake County in 2015, the “Valley Fire” scorched the Sacred Camel Gardens, with awesome force!

Within just a few days, the fire engulfed nearly 80,000 acres, eviscerating almost 2000 buildings, many millions of trees, and countless native animals.

Approaching the Sacred Camel Gardens, the fire roared so powerfully, it’s smoke clouds darkening the sky so completely, it was inconceivable that we would survive.

014fireWhile we, and the camels, stood quietly together, in the inferno’s belly, mother and daughter, Teresa and Aria, following the news online, sprang into action!

Anticipating the dire situation upon us, they immediately set in motion a fundraiser to help with recovery and rebuilding. While the blaze lighted the deepest dark of early morning, these wonderful women were already hard at work to ensure the Sacred Camel Gardens the easiest possible recovery – providing we survived!

Without Aria and Teresa’s foresight, and commitment, our recovery after the fire would have been much more challenging. I also think their actions served as a prayer, contacting many others, who likewise contributed; drawing everyone’s energy out to help keep these camels safe in their hours of greatest need, as well as through the months ahead.

forest_firesAnd we were fortunate!

The fire burned all around, and over, us. The camels, horses, goat, and llamas, and all our structures were encircled. Yet, only the hay shed was ruined. Every animal, person, and building (minus the hay shed) came through, slightly singed, but unharmed. Our water pump and tank burned as well.

A huge part of our graceful survival through the fire, and continuance into the future, is due in no small part to Aria and Teresa, as well as every single one of you who donated money, time, materials, and care.


Together, as one, we make a difference. And, as one, we dissolve differences!

At this point in time we’ve completed the first phase of rebuilding the burned fences. We’ve also rebuilt the hay barn, and reestablished the water pump, tanks and piping.

And now, among a variety of new projects, we move into phase two of fence building.Camelwalk11jpg

With all the land now fire-cleared, we hope to increase the camels’ domain to about 108 acres of valley and hillsides. We’re also installing a new, fire-proof, tool-shed, and beginning preparatory work on improved facilities for future camel and horse retreats.

ResizedImage_1367816047084More really good news is that Sara Tourtellotte (who also went through the fire with the camels) is now full-time here. Sara is a complete asset and gift, with great energy and many talents to bring. Several other women, and men (Scott, Rhiannon, Nick, Steven and Shawnee Chandler, as well as Elizabeth, and Maria) have each also found their way into respective explorations of the many facets of the Sacred Camel Gardens. We welcome all this great energy, and hope everyone’s adventure here is useful to them, and the camels.

Things seem to be breaking open, finally, beyond myself as the mainstay all these years and, we are now moving forward in some really encouraging ways.

And so, with this, I come back to Aria and Teresa, one more time, to say, “Thank you!”.

In times of real need, real heroes appear.

Without you, who knows where the Camel Gardens would be right now ? !

Both of you are healers, and warriors.

The great Sierra ridge climber, Lord Windsor Riley, would dub you, “Utter Citizens!”

We are, now, and always will be, grateful for your heroic care, through the great burning.

I also want to say a special thanks to Tacoma, Jordan, Cyndi and Andrew, John the horse guy, Brian for the sacred staff, Craig, Natalie, Carleen, Kathy, Katya and Marina, as well as Lee, Morgan, and Larry and Lonnie, too, and to all the people of Lake County, and other places world-wide, who gave us so much support in these months since the fire.970436528a91499aa3020c13aabafa11-d45p8wvAnd, on behalf of Adi Da Samraj, who loves the camels so much, and on behalf of the camels, horses, and others here, we go forward strongly, to prove your faith in us.

The postman says, “Things are getting better!”

I hope so !!!!

Much Thanks!








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6 Responses to In Praise of Aria and Teresa

  1. Jacqueline Shea Thiel says:

    Beautiful! And many thanks to Teresa and Aria. So inspiring!

  2. Ginger McLeod Zuckerman says:

    So wonderful what two Utter Citizens can accomplish. What a perfect example for others in the midst of such a crisis. I send my “utter” thanks and love to everyone who were applying all that was needed at such a vulnerable time. During this last year our communities have been so completely challenged, and I give thanks to all who have become Utter Citizens and everyone else.

  3. Jan Elliott says:

    Thank you for this communique, Stuart. Always welcome. So glad you are experiencing more hands on help.

  4. brian o'mahony says:

    What a wonderful update, Stuart, and thanks so much to Aria and Teresa!

  5. Julie Nagorcka says:

    Thank you Stuart and all. May “getting better” continue!

  6. Tally says:

    What wonderful news.
    Thanks to all who have made this possible!

Comments are closed.