Wildfire support for Ray Lynch
UPDATE: Kathleen and Ray are now in the loop. Everything we raise will go directly to them. Please read their rather harrowing letter, above.
My friend, the brilliant, kind, and generous Ray Lynch lost his house and studio in the Lake County, California Wildfire this month.
You may know Ray as the award-winning composer behind Deep Breakfast. I got to know him through interviewing him for the Quick to Listen podcast.
Ray and his wife Kathleen have homeowners' insurance and are currently staying with family. Fortunately, as well, Ray was able to preserve the manuscript for his upcoming book on consciousness and sacred mathematics. However, the Lynches have also lost a tremendous amount, including much [UPDATE: all] of Ray's recording equipment. These funds will help them pay for furniture, transportation, and other basic expenses until the insurance comes through. Especially after he's (voluntarily) been out of the public eye for so long, I know that Ray's spirits will be lifted when he sees that his friends and listeners, whose lives he's so enriched, support him.
Spread the word, but please don't tell Ray and Kathleen. I'd like this to come as a surprise.
Grant Valdes Huling
To give a general donation to the California Community Foundation's Wildfire Relief Fund: https://www.calfund.org/page.aspx?pid=837
This letter of thanks and appreciation was written during the Christmas "holidays" - the days that are "holy" at the year's end when Christians celebrate the life and work of a great spiritual master, and a time when all humans, religious or not, may "formally" re-experience the innate happiness of giving and receiving. The winter solstice (December 21st) is the darkest day of the year, but it is also the day when the Sun turns around and thereby brings the promise of increasing light, of warmth, and of the continuance of life.
The following "holy days" can mean many things but an obviously crucial meaning for all of us is that there is light at the end of the tunnel: the Sun gives, the Earth receives, life thrives, and humans celebrate their good fortune.
Some years, however, are better than others and for many of us in Lake County the year now ending, with its many and fierce wildfires, did not seem to bring the kind of "good fortune" that one would wish to celebrate. As Valley Fire refugees, Kathleen and I could say (and have said) that "we lost everything". But this, of course, is not really true. We lost our home and possessions but not our lives, our heartminds, our land, our 2 cats, the Sanctuary we serve, or our spiritual practice and disposition. And, most of all, we didn't lose our many friends and loved ones. In fact, we have discovered that we actually have far more friends than we thought, friends willing to make sacrifices of their own for our sake. Many others, no doubt, were also willing but simply lacked the means to do so.
I had never heard of "GoFundMe" (and would probably have been suspicious if I had), but the funds that came in, and continue to come in, are very real. All doubt quickly vanished as surprise, relief, admiration and gratitude came to the fore. The help arrived just when it was most needed - an unanticipated gift that saw us through the darkest days of our ordeal. We both recognized and deeply felt the profundity of such spontaneous giving as the bright light of open-heartedness. Such generous brightness really does dispel the darkness just as it teaches us how humans should and can live always - with or without any compelling disasters.
What can one really say of such matters? Thank you - all of you - for your kindness and help. We can only hope that you will feel our response as deeply as we feel your giving. If you do you will thereby understand a true simplicity at the very core of so-called "spirituality", something that my Teacher consistently demonstrated and impressed upon me over four decades of interaction: to truly give is to receive, to truly receive is to give; in Truth, giving and receiving are the same, and this sameness is simply the Heart's act of loving.
Tiny Tim, after all , did indeed get it right: "God bless us all, everyone!".
If you've never been in a fire, its a scary thing. September 12th, 2015 was just an ordinary day like any other when Ray and I heard rumors of a major fire in the area. I kept tabs on it during the day through Cal.gov and saw that it was quite a distance from us. While concerned, we didn't feel under threat, but as the day progressed so did the fire, and we were now on alert. I checked the website every 15 minutes and saw the areas listed for mandatory evacuations, none which were close to us. By early evening the fire had grown to enormous proportions and I became seriously worried. Ray was out of town on a picnic with some close friends, didn't have our cell phone with him and was finally able to get in touch with friends cell. By this time most of the main roads were shut down and barricaded by soldiers but we were lucky and Ray was able to find a way to get home thru back roads. Still our area was not listed for mandatory evacuations! In the meantime I had prepared everything for Segundo and Lily our cats and removed important documents from our office. Still checking Cal.gov website we were still not listed and so I went to bed at 2:00.
Ray being a night owl was in his studio working when he went outside to a higher evaluation and saw the immediate threat of the fire and woke me up at 4:00 am and said we had to get out of here fast. Quickly I checked the Cal.gov website and still our area was not listed for evacuations. Had Ray not been the night owl that he is, we would have most likely died in that fire.
We looked out from our deck which was covered in ashes. The sky was lit up like a fire bomb of burning embers but the scariest thing was we could hear the roar of the fire as it came toward us. Ray grabbed his guitar and lute and the papers he's been writing for his book (he writes by hand), some boots and lanterns and we packed our car and left.
We are extremely humbled and grateful to have gotten out alive. Our house and Ray's studio burned to the ground, leaving nothing but ashes. A few days ago we went back and took pictures of Ray's master recordings half burned sticking up from the ground, but we don't know how to include them here. So much devastation everywhere, so many people lost their homes, entire neighborhoods disappeared, it is quite a shock. There is a sea of police everywhere, soldiers guarding the roads, PG&E trucks,, . . . it looks like a war zone. Everything in Ray's studio is gone: all his equipment, his music collection, book collection, his platinum and gold albums, his clothes -- just everything. Ray's studio wasn't large and neither was our insurance policy on it. The insurance company requires that we list every single item, the age of the item, how much we paid for the item, then they depreciate it. Listing this information will take us into next year and will be challenging before we receive any compensation.
As the song goes:
"No matter who you are, no matter where you go, everyone needs a little help from their friends". If you are moved to offer us help, then we thank you deeply.
Ray & Kathleen Lynch