In the valley of the hippies, Ojai, CA

Supposedly, the hills surrounding me are filled with rich hippies. They remain tucked away in their mansions on steep vistas, communing as much as possible with trees, birds and shrubbery. I had assumed, for the most part, that hippies weren't rich, that material wealth all hinged on the exploitation of the great momma earth, but then again maybe these mansions are eco-friendly, and these SUVs all hybrids.

Green is good, and money is green, so money is good. A rich hippie's mantra? Perhaps.

Meanwhile, I'm sitting in a valley at a Christian camp called Forest Homes.
I've come to play drums here with singer/songwriter Grayson Kessenich, and producer, musician, does-it-all-extraordinaire TJ Hill. We're leading worship every night for a week for a group of about 150 camp counselors and junior high kids. We'll be doing this for the next three weeks here in the Ojai Valley.

I cruised South on the 101 along the oceanside from San Luis Obispo passed the beautiful coasts before Santa Barbara and then turned left onto 150 and climbed up and swerved down the hills of Los Padres National Park before arriving at camp.

(Avila Beach, near San Luis Obispo)

Bertha (my '96 Toyota Tercel) was packed to her roof with my drum gear and supplies. My kick drum sat shotgun and smacked me in the arm every time I turned right. I left the windows open and ocean breezes circulated throughout the car as I drove. I kept thinking about how life is good and God is good and that He has a good sense of humor and grace.

I had one of those moments where I couldn't stop smiling as I recalled the fond memories from my best friend's wedding the night before. While smiling, I welled up with a strange, elusive longing as if the beauty all around me only served to stir up some faint and faded beauty within me. Am I suddenly sounding hippie to you? Maybe all this nature is getting to me. Maybe the hippies have drugged me, or maybe God is stirring my soul to feel more; pain, joy, sadness, fulfillment, peace, longing…feelings. These moments are rare, which make them so damn good when they happen.

Life is so good that it hurts sometimes. It was a painful good drive.

...ramble on...

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