The next morning I awoke fresh as the morning dew, sparkly as the sun alit upon the anticipated opening of new bud. I got the urge immediately to prowl, so I suited up and inserted myself into the day. I hadn’t walked more than 100 yards before bumping into a ritualist trio of Water Clan ilk—Steve, the teacher from Virginia; Matt the children’s author and his teen son Gabe—plus one of the Stones and Bones people.
The five us explored the paths that led through the Green Gulch organic farm and gardens, past the horse corral and the gorgeous Pelican Inn, connecting to the fire lane and pristine wilderness, a path leading all the way to Muir Beach. Along the way we found and picked fresh berries and cherries that weren’t quite ripe yet, a creek with several inlets, and more nature than I’ve had the pleasure of being surrounded by in quite some time. The grounds are a natural habitat for quail, the male of which is blue feathered, and I found a black salamander wi th an orange belly. The beach was fantastic, reminding me a page from John Calvin Batchelor ’s The Birth of the People’s Republic of Antarctica. The entire time I felt transported; I wasn’t far from the city but it felt like the other side of the world. The water people kept scouting for locations. They seemed further along than in the process than I was. The night hadn’t brought me anything other than a good sleep.
After dallying a bit we headed back. I was pleased to discover very hot water and impressive water pressure. The gong sounded, a cattle call for food. I loaded up on steel-cut oats, eggs and bacon, then headed to the yurt.
Inside was a free-for-all, people mingling and talking out of clan. Once Somé appeared on the scene, it was time to get down to brass tacks. He began by asking each clan to share their ideas with the group, and of course he started with the Fire people. We really hadn’t gotten that far, and I don’t know about the others, but I hadn’t the foggiest notion of what was going on. That was the funny thing about it. I was absolutely clueless. Someone from our group mentioned the embryo of an idea that had been suggested, something about dancing to represent the kinetic movement of flames. Somé wasn’t too jiggy with the Fire Clan's lack of preparation, and the other clans had better developed plans. For example, the Water Clan wanted to anoint everyone. But generally speaking it was clear that none of us knew what the day would bring. Because we had to adhere to the Zen Center’s meal schedule, we had to work quickly to come to consensus. What we arrived at was that Fire, Water, and Earth seemed like a natural grouping and Nature and Minerals seemed like a separate pairing. We also decided to hold our rituals in a clearing adjacent to the yurt, rather than elsewhere in the Zen acreage. With that, we were set in motion. Therefore, I don’t really know how it happened, but we, the Fire Clan, actually came up with a ritual.