Sunday, July 3, 2011

You're Gonna Need A Bigger Boat

Aside from study time after breakfast, which right now is under threat from the Tour de France, I don't really get much time for reading - though perhaps that should be I don't really make much time for reading. This doesn't stop people giving or loaning me books, as I have mentioned, including a couple of authors who practise here. Fire Monks, though, is less tangential to my life than either tango or the Grateful Dead, as I am a bit player in the story that it dramatically tells, and I contributed to the telling of it.
David Z gave the talk on Saturday revisiting themes from the book, which started stirring it up in my mind, three years on. It was nice to have Colleen in attendance at the talk as well; I had her sign a copy of the book for me before she left, and since my original plan to spend the afternoon at the beach was hampered by lingering fog, I spent a good chunk of time instead in the hammock on the roof getting into the book, before polishing it off after dinner.
It is somewhat disconcerting to read about yourself in the third person, especially in constructed dialogue, but I had already got a little inured to that from reading extracts she had sent me to check over - and since I seem to keep making appearances in other people's blogs, and no, I am not going to link to them here, I shall probably have to get more used to this. I have my own version of the events of that time, particularly the diary entries I wrote while I was there, a redacted version of which I shared with Colleen, but of course those are very partial, for all that I can extrapolate and parse what I was thinking. What I enjoyed most about the book was getting to have other points of view laid out, to have a sense of what was going on in other people's minds  - the title of this post comes from Colin, who remembered the line from Jaws as the scale of the fire became more apparent, which was certainly the funniest moment in the book for me - though other people I have spoken with appreciated most how the dharma is skillfully woven into the narrative. Certainly I came away at the end thinking the tale had been as fully and accurately recounted as one could wish.
I have a good visual record of the experience as well, unsurprisingly, so this was an excuse to go through and look at some of the pictures. I did a disc for people who were down there at the time, and there were more intimate and more mundane shots that I haven't shared, but it is the colours of the sky that mostly stand out now:

Looking up the road from the Tony Trail, June 29th
Climbing Hawk Mountain, July 2nd
Helicopter taking water from the Narrows, July 2nd
This photo gets used a lot without the fire context; Junipero Serra, July 5th
Pluming to the west, July 6th
View from the Solar Panels, July 8th
Fuel - as mentioned in the book
The Indiana Crew and residents, as mentioned in the book, lunchtime, July 9th
This was the view I thought looked like death, central area, 3:45pm, July 9th
Carrying out the Buddha, 5:45pm, July 9th
Airtankers douse the road for the evacuation, 6pm July 9th
The view from Lime Point during the evacuation, 6:10pm July 9th
The view back towards Tassajara as the others were deciding to return, 6:30pm, July 9th


Matthew Stibbe said...

Wow! Amazing pictures.

Shundo said...

Hi Matthew,

Thanks for the comment, and nice to have you here.