Stuart Camps, Music Director and Lead Steward for Fear-No-More Zoo, steps up to the podium. He lifts his baton, harnessing the attention of the Green Chimneys School Children’s Choir. Everyone takes a deep breath. It is very quiet.
Stuart gracefully counts down with the baton…….Four, three, two, one …..
To the tune “If I Had a Hammer”, the choir sings:
“If I had a camel, I’d feed him in the morning,
I’d feed him in the evening all over this land.
I’d drive him Re-e-no, I’d drive him to New-oo- York.
And people would come to see and hang out with the camels,
All over this land.”
My apologies to our friends above for the somewhat cheesy scenario. But oddly enough it kinda works, too. I mean, that is exactly what happened Thursday night in Washoe Valley, and will happen for another five evenings as the Bactrian camels, Sage and Phoenix are escorted across the country by their friends, Stuart, Malcolm and Bruce to their new home at Green Chimneys School in New York.
They had a five-hour trip from Lake County, Ca. to Washoe Valley, Nv. Enough for a first day. Very curious and intelligent, they peacefully took in their evening surroundings as they wandered a new environment, tasting what cuisine the pasture had to offer, and sniffing and rolling in the sage brush.
Camels are not angular. Especially these guys. They are rounded. Both in disposition and in physical shape. Sage and Phoenix have a wonderful demeanor- calm, unthreatened, not threatening, and very present with who and where they are. Benign and relationally happy to be in the midst of people, they are a testament to the quality of care and upbringing they’ve received outside of their indigenous environment.
It was a delight to feel the child come forward in the twenty or so people who visited. It was if we all had permission to be simple and happy and relational together, bonded by some calming camel magic. So, we hung out. People literally spent hours in the back pasture with Sage and Phoenix and each other. Stuart answered a ton of questions, some folks donated a little gas money. Some were timid and preferred to take it all in from a short distance while others couldn’t help but go up and touch the camel’s humps, rub their noses and pet their very wooly bodies, which are in the transition from winter to summer coating. The Bactrian youngsters were happy to stay in the middle of it all, not wandering off from what could have been too much intrusive energy.
In a nutshell they are going from the Sacred Camel Gardens of Fear No More Zoo in Lake County, California to Green Chimneys School in Brewster, New York. There is a good chance you have not heard of either of these places. Time to change that. There is a lot to know about them both and what you find out it will enrich you and expand your boundaries.
Fear-No-More Zoo (Fear-No-More Zoo – California) was established in 1974 by Adi Da Samraj. “If you’re going to bring animals into your sphere and take them out of theirs, you have to make some sort of arrangement with them in which they have the potential through their contemplative life to be just as happy as you want them to be. But in that process of sensitizing yourself to non-humans and placing no barriers between yourself and them, you have to go beyond your previous mind about non-humans as sort of non-beings. And non-humans include the weather and soil and everything else too.”
- Adi Da Samraj
There is much to read and consider in the well presented websites of Fear-No-More-Z00 and The Sacred Camel Gardens. Stuart Camps has been director since 1993 and offers thoughtful wisdom based on many years of service to and instruction from his Spiritual Master, Adi Da Samraj, as well as the experience gathered in his relationship to the non-humans connected with the Zoo.
And, as we now all know, Sage and Phoenix are headed to New York to live at Green Chimneys School. The Sacred Camel Gardens started out with a few camels. Now it is a good size herd. It was time for some of them to move further out into the world.
Not being familiar with Green Chimneys, I did a little research. They are an excellent fit with Fear-No-More-Zoo as you will see. I borrowed a description from their website:
“Green Chimneys is the nationally renowned, non-profit organization with a mission of restoring possibilities and creating futures for children with emotional, behavioral, social and learning challenges through educational, therapeutic and outreach services, while providing care for animals and nature, thereby promoting a philosophy of dignity and worth for all living things”. ( Green Chimneys) Very cool.
On their respective websites you can read more about Zoo and School and how all this came to pass.
For now, if you are feeling a little stressed and wrapped up in the angular world of modern-day “civilization”, let me prescribe for you a most effective remedy:
Thanks for taking some LIP from me,
P.S. Click on the photos to enlarge them and click again to zoom in.
You think I’m kidding, right? Nope. If you knew me at all, you’d know I never kid around when it comes to camels.
Meet Sage and Phoenix:
Sage and Phoenix are Bactrian camels. Loosely translated that means they are not from around here. They are however, passing through here on a journey, traveling with their friend and caregiver, Stuart Camps to their new home in New York.
Stuart wrote me a few weeks ago and asked if I knew of any place they all could stay the night on the first day of their adventure ( Sometime in the first week of May). My good friend, Susan Juetten has just the place in Washoe Valley- on the edge of BLM land, quiet and rustic, it is just what the Bactrian camel doctor ordered. Susan, happily said yes to Sage and Phoenix as pasture guests for an evening, although she was disappointed they were not staying longer. Anyone who knows Susan knows her love of nature and all beings. She helped played an instrumental part not that long ago in orchestrating thousands of acres of Nevada wilderness being set aside as true designated National Wilderness.
Sage and Phoenix are part of a bigger picture of life and the Mystery of all this arising. I will let you read through some of Stuarts writings and considerations in the following links. It will give you some background to their journey.
- 1. www.sacredcamelgardens.com/bactrian-camels-sale/sacred-gifts/
- 2. www.sacredcamelgardens.com/2011/12/05/you-will-never-be-bought-sold/
- 3. www.sacredcamelgardens.com/2011/12/15/a-sacred-christmas-gift/
- 4. www.sacredcamelgardens.com/2012/01/24/north-american-sacred-camel-ceremony/
And rest assured I will let you all know when they arrive in Washoe Valley.
Thanks for taking some LIP from me,