We have all experienced it- life changing events we never saw coming that happen so quickly we only process them fully with perspective of time.
For Halloween, I was Wonder Woman- my Fit Note cheerfully extolling the virtues of strength training. Three days later, I fell off my bike and really hurt myself. As I lay on the ground eating dirt, there was no other option but to get up and begin a long recovery from painful injuries.
Exactly a month after my fall from being Wonder Woman, the largest wildfire in California history headed toward our sweet town of Ojai. As quickly as my fall off the bike, life changed.
We at The Oaks evacuated guests and employees. Over the next days homes were lost, families uprooted, animals misplaced, services interrupted, businesses closed as owners evacuated, then returned to an eerily empty town.
When these events happen, we have little idea what the fallout will be and how long it will take for things to recover. But not all fall out is all bad, and often there is hidden purpose.
When I fell from my bike, I was injured. But I looked for the bright side- I got to focus on how resilient my body is, how strong my spirit is. With time, I am back to Wonder Woman and back on my bike, although perhaps with a renewed respect for gravity.
And for our beautiful Ojai Valley environment, wildfire does serve a purpose. Fire keeps the forest healthy and provides an opportunity for renewal. Vegetation that is burned by fire provides a rich source of nutrients that nourish what remains. Fire clears thick underbrush so sunlight can reach the forest floor and encourage the growth of native species. I hiked on Shelf Rd this morning, among the scarred hills, I reminded myself that the ecosystem really will benefit from this natural cycle.
Just as our Valley has some healing to do, so do many people and places in our dear town, and I am happy to share with you that the healing has begun. The amazing sense of resilience here in Ojai is palatable, the community is coming together in new ways to encourage healing and regrowth, like nature will do with our beautiful Topa Topa Mountains. Even though the hills were hard to look at today, the sky was blue, the air is clear, and Ojai looked like the Ojai I know.
The Oaks is on its own path of regrowth, the fire has served a purpose for us as well. We are taking some time to pamper our beautiful historic building, being thoughtful about our own renewal after the fire. The work has begun, with plans of a grand re-opening in the near future. I want to get back to work, as do many of my friends. We all got a break and now we look forward to using this unexpected life changing event to bring out our best for our community, The Oaks and our guests.
Wonder Woman did heal- rest and time have done their work. Ojai will heal, and we at The Oaks look forward to welcoming you back for your own healthy renewal in 2018.
Thanks in advance for your continued support of Ojai and The Oaks. Here’s to a hope filled and healthy 2018.