Sailing is complicated. Not the type of sailing you’re probably thinking about, which might include the irritatingly grandiose and self-important America’s Cup, or the painfully dull meandering wine and cheese bar that typically depicts “sailing” in Hollywood rom-coms. The type of sailing I’m referring to is the all-consuming kind that engages mind, body, water, and air completely.There is no activity as dynamic as sailing. It requires a communion and interplay of a wholly fluid environment. A dual environment of water and air that is entirely unpredictable, chaotic. And yet, within any given moment, when done well balance is struck, energy harnessed, and harmony achieved.If ever there were a metaphor for mindfulness this might be it. This is why this photograph serves as such a powerful allegory. The sailor frozen in a moment of perfect harmony of mind, body, water, and air. The interplay perfect and the entirety of forces at play unique to the moment. The only thing the sailor is required to bring to that moment is their full attention. There is literally no other way to play the game other than being present.Written by Craig Wilson; photo by John Kelsey
(Reprinted from Patagonia.com)
Vote Our Planet
We need to elect leaders at the local, state and national levels who will defend the well-being of our families and communities—leaders who support clean water, clean air, strong climate action and a courageous shift to renewable energy.
If we don’t act, then someone else will—someone who doesn’t care about a future for our children and other wild things.
Defend Our Water
America’s waters are fundamental to our health, prosperity and happiness. But Flint, Michigan, alerted us to the threat of poisoned drinking water—and the whole nation’s drinking water infrastructure was given a D grade for aging pipes, some of which date back to the Civil War.
Chemicals, coal ash and waste seep into our common waters. More than half of our nation’s rivers and streams are in either fair or poor biological health, but we continue to dam and pollute. California is suffering from an epic drought, and we have tapped our streams and rivers to the bone.
Our waters are more than a resource, they are our veins. They are where we go in summer with our children, and they give us the memory of summer when we grow old, where we fish and boat and raft and swim. “We never know the worth of water,” said Thomas Fuller in the 18th century, “till the well is dry.”
By The Numbers
74% of U.S. adults saild "the country should do whatever it takes to protect the environment"
73% of registered voters believe that climate change is happening
36% of eligible voters voted in the 2014 midterm elections
22% of 18 to 29-year-olds voted in the 2012 presidential elections
I love the open spaces of my hometown Ojai and was excited to be the recipient of the OVLC “Growing Up Wild” Scholarship. - Quinn
Here's my essay about growing up wild in Ojai:
I grew up in Ojai playing in the outdoors hiking, mountain biking, climbing, and venturing to the ocean to surf and sail. When I was ten I joined a wildlife and outdoor leadership program called Fox Trails lead by Casey Murphy. He taught us about surviving in the wild and how the Chumash people lived off the land, and he instilled a love of the wilderness right where we lived in Ojai. I think the most memorable experience was a daily ritual we called “Sit Spot.” Every morning he had us go alone out in the wilderness and find a spot to just sit. I would spend 15-45 minutes sitting quietly. I learned how much was really going on in the small space around me. Most of the time was just quiet time. I eventually learned the magic of quiet patience. One morning I was sitting on a log on top of a small cliff and after about 30 minutes of just sitting, listening, observing, a small red fox walked up just five feet from me. He looked straight at me. We shared a moment gazing at one another and then he slowly went on his way. As simple as that experience was it remains one of the most incredible memories of my life.
Over the years I ventured into the backcountry and learned a variety of skills, from making my very first primitive bow made from a white oak stave to eventually hunting rabbits with that very same bow. I never actually shot a rabbit, but the experience preparing, stalking, waiting was always very raw. The idea of having developed the understanding to survive by hunting a wild animal really made me think a lot about the power I was wielding and that something as unique as that required an accountability to more than my family or my community. The consequence was significant and just between the animal and me.
As I progressed in my ability to live off the land I took a week long trip into the Sespe venturing off employing an old military technique Casey taught us using a tarp and some twine to serve as both backpack and tent, fashioned to carry all of my individual supplies for the week. At the end of that trip I thought a lot differently about my self. I developed what I believe is a unique self-confidence. I see it in the smallest of things; a comfort walking though a tall, grassy, wild field and knowing what’s under my feet, traveling to other places in the world and having an understanding of my surroundings when someone asks, “I wonder what kind of plant this is?” Or when I’m with others and see a snake and they wonder if it’s poisonous or dangerous? These seemingly small events are when I notice how the experiences in the backcountry uniquely shaped my perspective, my appreciation, and my understanding of my place in the world.
We've been watching the debate about the Matilija Dam removal for years. Here's an update posted from Surfrider about our what's happening in our backyard.
Surfrider Foundation's Ventura County Chapter and our partners in the Matilija Coalition have been working since 2000 to develop a plan to remove the obsolete, non-functional Matilija Dam from the Ventura River. Removal of the dam will be the first step in recovery of the bioregion. Two of the significant benefits of dam removal will be recovery of the Southern Steelhead trout and restoration of the natural sediment supply to the beaches of Ventura. Although the benefits of dam removal are widely recognized, gaining consensus on a removal plan and securing funding for the work has been challenging.
On March 17, 2016, the Matilija Dam "Design Oversight Group" met to determine consensus around one of the three alternatives and how to move the project forward. Following a long discussion, the issue was put to a vote. The result was almost unanimously (95%) in favor of Dam Removal Concept 2, which is inelegantly titled "Uncontrolled Orifices with Optional Gates." What it actually consists of is to simply blow holes in the base of the dam! This solves the long-standing question of how to deal with the silt trapped upstream. The group collectively decided to save millions of dollars by letting the river do the work. Based on experience with Condit Dam in Washington, experts determined that a single flood can flush the fine sediments from behind the dam straight out to the ocean. This vote included the local water districts, the City of Ventura, resource agencies including NOAA, Fish and Wildlife Service, State Dept of Fish and Wildlife, Army Corps of Engineers, as well as Matilija Coalition member organizations.
The senior class at my school takes a month-long trip to India every year. We spend the first semester studying the religions, culture, history, art and literature of India in preparation for the trip. - Dane
Life has an interesting way of teaching us lessons. My experience in India was amazing and in certain terms life affirming. The students we visited at our sister schools were great, the girls beautiful, and everyone was really sweet and happy. I loved the food, the people, the colors, the art, everything. We visited schools, temples, big cities and rural towns. I had the opportunity to stay alone with a local family and lived life for a short instance as a member of their family. After nearly three weeks of travel, I was beginning to feel a bit edgy, tired and slightly out of sorts. I thought I was missing home, but couldn’t put my finger on exactly my discomfort.
Our final destination was on the coast at Idea Beach in Mahabalipuram. After an eight-hour train ride we finally arrived. I exited the train and quickly found my way to the Indian Ocean. Seeking the cool embrace of the sea, I dove in and immediately felt renewed and recharged. The three weeks traveling throughout Southern India was the longest time in my life I’d been away from the ocean. I hadn’t understood the impact, but the moment I stepped into the water, I realized I was home.
Love the ocean, Dane