Thursday, April 23, 2009

Ojai, CA

Sitting in an orange grove in the april sun, the scents of lilac, honeysuckle and lavender danced around each other in the morning air. Woodpeckers nested with their young high over head, and the air seemed to teem with life - bees dashed from blossom to blossom. Ladybugs rested on their spot. A butterfly wafted by as lizards(geckos? salamanders? lizardry is not my area) chased each other playfully around the tree trunks.

This was my morning off in Ojai, CA, a couple of hours north of L.A. . "Ojai" is a Native American word fro "nest", and, breathing in all that it has to offer, the logic of the name is clear - with the rolling hills of the Los Padres National Forest keeping a watchful eye, it seems that all life abounds in the valley below.

Some years before, while playing in the Napa Valley region of California, also known for it's natural beauty, a local I befriended made the comment; " Y'know if the pilgrims had landed here in the west, they wouldn'ta bothered goin' East". Again, the logic was clear, and I couldn't help but be reminded of that comment as i strolled around the sun-soaked community of adobe-style, shops, restaurants and coffeehouses that cater to a population of around 8,000 or so, made up of retirees, locals and the extremely well-to-do.

Just before last night's gig in the area, I asked our host if this balmy cloudless weather was a typical spring day in these parts. "Oh yes", he nodded, and predicting my next question he added, " and a typical winter one too."

Yup, it's pretty easy to see why some would come here and make it their business never to leave - it became a haven for those who heard the words of Jiddu Krishnamurti in the first half of the 20th century, who had a retreat here and was visited by the then creme de la creme of the social scene; Charlie Chaplin, Greta Garbo, Aldous Huxley, Jackson Pollock, The Beatles, to name a few.
But as both Mr. Krishnamurti knew well and George Harrison wrote about, all things must pass
and soon we too would leave. With our songs sung and our mission accomplished and an outbound flight itinerary in hand, it was time for us to pass through airport security, bringing the memory of the place with us . I reckon Mr Harrison probably liked it here.

No comments: