Calmly Camped ‘tween Falls & Firestorm

Burney Falls flowing chill~d nelson

Heading north, out on a joyful camping holiday
picturing grandparents motoring west,
seeking refuge & religious freedom
from repression, they experienced back east.

campin’ 1950 ford custom woody ~all images by d nelson

Ahh, to encounter Volcanic Legacy Byway’s
free-flowing, free-falling waters
high in rugged, forested northern California
between tranquil Shasta & Lassen volcanoes.
Experiencing freedom ancestors sought.

Lassen falls heat relief

After wonderfully blissful, but hot forest days
being cooled by lakes, rivers & spray
the sky became increasingly smoky.
Breathing in awareness of unhealthy
air pollution particulates drying throat & eyes.
May those close to the smoke’s source be safe.

the smoked-red sun reflects on upper Sacramento river

Feeling relaxed, though concerned, headed home,
with hours of dark, smoke-blanketed driving conditions.
Heard that deadly Carr fire consumed 130,000 acres, including neighborhoods;
a devastating 143 mph fire tornado, west of our camping locations.
Arriving home to find bomber planes, helicopters,
& an army of firefighters battling blazes on the edge of our town.
Today’s local report: Hot, dry, windy conditions fuel Mendocino complex fire which has scorched 240 square miles (621 square kilometers), destroyed 41 residences and threatened 9,200 homes, only 30% contained.

smoke swirls eastern Cow mtn

Moments of transition are most powerful times for
practicing being aware of whats going on.
Moments where we may not always be paying attention.
Moments where we lose our peace & happiness.
The moments between sitting, standing & walking.
The moment between an in breath & out breath.
For me, walking meditation has been a most valuable practice
to cultivate awareness of in-between times.
I believe this helped me maintain freedom & equanimity
transitioning between nature’s paradise & catastrophe.

feel flow’s spray

Dear friend, we all can arrive at our destination with every step, every breath.
Enjoying the contact of our feet on earth.
Experiencing that we have time, we have enough space.
Being present for the beautiful sunset, the blossoms, or even disasters, along our path.
Living life deeply and wonderfully. Taking steps, being completely ourselves,
with no place to go, nothing to do, no longer in a hurry.
Honoring ancestors dream of touching true peace & freedom,
by arriving home, in the wonderful present moment.

β€œWhile you are walking, smile and be in the here and now, and you will transform that place into paradise.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

100 Replies to “Calmly Camped ‘tween Falls & Firestorm”

  1. Thank you for this wonderful post with so much peace in spite of the trauma that big fires
    like these bring. I am in Sweden now and the country has lost a huge amount of its Forests
    through severe fires.
    I find peace in walking meditation too and love the quote by Thich Naht Hahn.


    1. smiling to your kind words, miriam! i’m aware that so many places in the world are affected by natural disasters of increased intensity; sad learning about Sweden. may we both walk, today, in beauty, for ourselves & others πŸ™‚

  2. Nice photos and text.
    What a difficult year for California.
    I was camping in Plumas County when
    the Yosemite fire broke out.
    Keep that precious inner calm!

    1. i’ve many joyful memories of Yosemite adventures. so sad that these beautiful areas are dry & susceptible to blazes. thank you for your kind sentiment, Tom. i’m glad you made it out of the area unsinged

  3. Awesome photos, as always, David! These two lines from your verses, “Moments of transition are most powerful times for
    practicing being aware of whats going on”, really resonate with me. Thanks!

    1. we are safe from the fires, for now.
      thank you for kindly understanding, Rosaliene!
      at the moment the winds are fierce
      so i may resort to remaining calm inside
      while running for shelter πŸ™‚

  4. Beautiful images, David. I wish safe haven to all the wild things displaced or injured by the fires, and a verdant recovery to the landscape, though perhaps not in our lifetimes.

    1. smiling to your kind wishes, dear Cate!
      yes, may they be well, although i saw a number of casualties.
      i agree that the landscape will recover
      when the right amount of healing
      and time pass.
      wishing you a happy moment πŸ™‚

  5. David, a beautiful post between the two breaths of peace and disastrous conditions. Glad you stayed safe – do take care. (I too have found my calm in walking meditation…. through the garden, around our humble back yard.)

    (BTW, thank you so much for your kind review of my book on Amazon!)

    1. happy to breathe peacefully together, Betty.
      while my lungs continue being challenged by the smoky air
      i feel quite fortunate to have not been more directly in fire’s path.
      your book brought me many smiles while sitting around the campfire during this trip. πŸ™‚

  6. Dear David, thank you for the reminder to be present for it all, the beauty and the tragedy. There is nothing to get rid of, only to know. May all beings in the path of fire be safe and protected in this lifetime. May we all be well together.

  7. The polarity and impermanence of life, so beautifully captured David. We all wish life could stay the same, but new growth cannot emerge without change. πŸŒˆπŸŒ…

    1. thank you for sharing this deep understanding of the nature of things, dear Karen!
      yes, things will heal, grow, thrive
      in their own time.
      may you be well πŸ™‚

  8. Dear David, one cannot imagine such fires and destruction until you see the immense clouds of smoke on the horizon.. My heart as been with many around the world who have suffered the intense heat which has trigged such blazes..
    I loved your views and the waterfalls, the smoke tinted Sun, and those magnificent Burney Falls just fantastic..

    Sending Love and Blessings upon your travels, stay safe.. love and light. Sue x<3

    1. smiling to your kind words and compassion, dear Sue!
      it’s so dry and vulnerable here. i’m aware it is that way
      in many drought-affected places on our planet, also.
      wishing us all the feeling of safety and connection πŸ™‚

  9. Beautiful photos and wise words, David. I’m continually wondering about the over-abundance of rain here on the east coast and wishing it west where it’s needed most. I’m praying for just the right amount of rain to come now and put those fires out and for safety for all beings.

    1. Sad, simple explanation is the jet stream has altered due to rising arctic temps.
      wishing us all resilience to weather the new world of weather, and its consequences we’re all now faced with πŸ™‚

      1. I’m still praying for rain to come to your side of the country. ❀ Wrote a little prayer poem about it today.

  10. Beautiful photos, David. I love that woody. My aunt Betty had one. And I’m so sorry for the deadly devastation of the wildfires in your part of the world. I hope and pray for peace, safety and serenity for you and yours. Climate change is real and very scary. Much love ❀️🌴😎

    1. it was fun having that old ford camping right next to me. the couple sure got a lot of attention. the fires are sad, but truly intense, having grown 25% in the past couple days due to fierce winds. for now, we’re safe. wishing you safety also, with the increased storms in that region. πŸ™‚

  11. A great reminder with beautiful photos and wise words David. Due to the long and dry summer even this part of world has to struggle with forest fires a lot more than usual accidents.

    1. i’m grateful for your words of understanding. sad knowing of the hot, dry conditions here and so many other regions. may you be safe & well, Rupali πŸ™‚

  12. Stunningly beautiful photos, David. And we love that woody Ford, such a beauty!:-)
    this summer has been so hot, so dry and not a drop of rain in sight. Last month Scandinavia, especially Sweden and Norway, had to fight the forest fires for weeks. Glad to read that you are all safe!
    Take care.
    The Fab Four of Cley Xx Xx

  13. A powerful and touching post David. Thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed the time away. In times of transition being close to the Earth is very grounding. Step by step. πŸ™

  14. Living in the moment, balanced between beauty and tragedy, with a peaceful reflecting spirit.Sending you and all others my love and wishes for your safety, dear David. ❀

    1. thank you for this gift of caring and blessings, Carol!
      as winds increase, many more are evacuating to safety.
      wishing refuge for the wildlife living in that forest πŸ™‚

  15. Beautiful pictures of the water and falls. The fires and smoke are scary though. We have the same up here in Oregon and it means having to be careful when we head out into the countryside.

    1. thank you for these kind words and solidarity, dear D Wallace Peach!
      i heard the fire near Redding started from a flat tire’s sparks.
      may everyone be safe and look after each other. πŸ™‚

    1. Appreciate your seeing the essence of this dillema, Jean-Jacques! Actually thought to use the phrase “fire and rain” in the title, but, it was already used in a song. Wonderful to sing, even in the midst of mayhem πŸ™‚

    1. thank you for your sincere kindness & compassion, dear Linda.
      while i’m safe, many are being evacuated as the fire escalates.
      may we all feel safe where we are πŸ™‚

    1. i’m grateful for experiencing your kindness & caring, Michele!
      rain would be most wonderful.
      if the fierce afternoon winds would die down
      the efforts to contain these fires would have more success.
      may you be happy & safe πŸ™‚

  16. hello smilecalm its dennis the vizsla dog hay that fire up their is sum seeryusly bad nooz!!! i do not like water verry mutch but i wil tayk the falls insted of the fire pleez!!! ok bye

  17. Your attitude, David, is admirable. So much destruction out your way yet in between all that fire is the water as you found. Life is a gift so many of us take of granted or just throw away. I really pray your home and family remain safe within these wild fires. Your pictures of the waterfalls are magical! Take care!!! πŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’š

    1. i appreciate your kind concern, dear Amy. i’m fortunate that the fires are not threatening the center of town. we are having to breathe a lot of smoke. i use my carbon filter mask. Lots of water in nearby lakes. the winds have decreased and the thousands of firefighters are making progress. wishing you a happy day πŸ™‚

    1. thank you for offering kind words of support, susan!
      while rains may not come around here for a few months, at least the winds are dying down
      giving the firefighting efforts success in containing the fire. i have my carbon filter mask to make breathing easier.
      wishing you happy moment πŸ™‚

  18. I’ve been reading about the fires with sadness and awe. We humans feel in control of our surroundings, but nature is so much more powerful than us. I hope the rain comes to CA soon, as many of your other East Coast readers do.

    1. smiling to your kind concern, dear Brenda. rains usually return here in Oct. most importantly now, is the afternoon winds have died down giving the firefighting efforts some success. wishing you a joyful day πŸ™‚

  19. We were just at the cottage for a couple of weeks and while our part of the country is still mostly unaffected by fire, it’s been a very dry summer, and most areas had a burn-ban going, which we’d respect, but sadly. Luckily a few storms had blown through and we were good to go as far as campfires went, and we enjoyed them. But while we were there, there were many days of anticipated rain but only 1 of actual rain, so the dry spell isn’t over yet (though it’s hard to feel dry while swimming in the lake).

    1. makes me happy hearing you’ve been able to enjoy your cabin, despite dry conditions, Jay!
      wishing you adequate moisture in the near future. i’ll be happy to stop wearing a face mask
      to filter the smoky air. may we all feel safe & happy into the weekend! happy movie watching πŸ™‚

  20. ‘Paradise and catastrophe’ – so true. This summer is even worse than the previous. My daughter has been coughing for about a month, antibiotics don’t help. The air is permanently yellow. But somebody is losing their home, and some people are losing their lives in the fire. Sad that many things could be prevented, but they were not.

    1. sorry to hear of your daughter’s ill-being, dear inese. wishing her gentle, calm breaths of fresh air. i use a hepa air filter in the house, and wear a carbon filter mask when going out; both help quite a bit. today managed to cycle high up on the other side of the valley above the smoke and hazy sky to enjoy blue sky. the losses of life, housing, habit for wildlife … are very sad. i’m remembering smokey bear saying “only you can prevent forest fires” πŸ™‚

      1. Yes, prevention is a key word. Prevention from spreading. There are many things that can be done by the local government. It really upsets me.

    1. your cheerful presence makes me smile, dear Bruce!
      i’m doing my best with the continued smoke and army of firefighters
      who continue engaging the largest fire in CA.
      it’s said that before humans were here natural forest fires had reached a million acres.
      i’m told there are many fires are up in Canada. i wish you safety and fresh air to breathe πŸ™‚

      1. Yes – there are fires here. Even this weekend we had a helicopter scooping up water from our Victoria Lake, though the local fires were tiny and put out quickly I’m told. Fran and I smelled a bit of smoke last night too. These fires and floods are now something we must live with, and yet hopefully wake us up to how we must all work to change from consumers to conversers, for the sake of our wellness and survival of this beautiful planet earth.

  21. You write so with a calm courage when faced with the devastation of fire. Let’s hope we can give this beautiful planet with such amazing natural beauty a chance to restore itself rather than have this gradual and unnecessary destruction.

    1. i’m grateful for your kind words of concern, dear Navasolanature!
      my heart agrees with your hope and wishes. it took so many millions
      of years for the planet to reach the stable ecosystems humans thrived with.
      certainly the planet will recover anew given millions more years.
      i’m sure we’ll do our best to help with reducing unnecessary destruction πŸ™‚

  22. Just amazing photos of the firestorm in Northern California. and nice to see the flowers still blooming high on Mount Lassen.

    1. thank you for letting me know of your enjoyment of the flowers & fires, dear Elizabeth!
      how fortunate having time to take a picture and enjoy the scenery again πŸ™‚

  23. Lovely post, David. The juxtaposition of the smoke and fire with the beautiful streams is powerful for me. There is something genuine and meaningful about it I can’t explain. Every day on earth there are what we’d call tragedies, and there is such a richness of beauty, and you’ve captured that here. And I loved the picture of the Woody and trailer. Exquisite! Maybe with such powerful reminders all around us, we can discover that space at the top dead center of our breath, in the hinge of our step, or the backing up of our trailers after a beautiful weekend in the mountains…


    1. smiling to this encouragement to embrace
      subtle, sublime moments which go
      otherwise unnoticed, in a flash, Michael!
      i admit to being under the influence
      of smoke & adrenaline while composing.
      makes me happy to receive your wise
      poetry and compassion, david πŸ™‚

  24. So sorry to hear about your part of the world burning again. In the midst of destruction, there is calm amd beauty and you have captured that.

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