The boundary of the Thomas Fire, December 15, 2017.
Lisa and I went to bed with the report that Ojai was surrounded by a ring of fire. We woke up expecting to read about destruction and heartbreak. Instead, the news was the fire surrounded and entered the valley but, before it could reach the town, the winds shifted, and it moved in the opposite direction. There were many who had lost their homes, but the majority of the town was saved. The rumors that flowed the night before were corrected… Tower Road was intact. Libbey Bowl survived. And, while a part Beatrice Wood’s home and Center for the Arts had caught on fire, the structure and her archives were spared.
There was a lot of credit given to the first responders that risked everything to fight the fire. There were also whispers that we were saved by The Vortex – the spiritual hotspot created by the East/West layout of the valley. It could also have been my weeping promise that I would give up all my vices if the universe saved our home. Whatever the cause, our home and business were secure.
The smoke and ash made Ojai uninhabitable. It would be days before we could return. With nothing else to do, Lisa and I headed to the lobby. I went directly to the bar and she beelined to the complimentary hot chocolate. When I went to check on her, she had that look, that “I have an idea" look. I saw it when she proposed moving to Ojai, then again when she wanted to open the gallery, and it was there when she pitched raffling off our house instead of selling it. Some of her ideas made more sense than others. This time she wanted to start a chocolate company. Evidently, drinking chocolate in the afternoon gave her the inspiration. If that was the case, we could also start a company called “8 Pinot Grigios.” I began to regret leaving Lisa alone with her thoughts. There was no way in hell I was going to transition into the chocolate business.
Co-Founder of Beato Chocolates