“Property obligations, therefore, should be considered as man’s stewardship under God.”
–Swami Kriyananda

June and July bring the season of mowing the land here at Ananda Village. Many of you have seen on TV news, the wildfires which rage in the western US, such as in South Lake Tahoe at the moment, threatening homes and towns. We live in a very rural area. Since 1976 when a wildfire ravaged the community we have tuned into making the land safer for living through wise stewardship. Where once was dense thickets and deep forests are now pockets of dense thickets and deep forest interspersed with meadows, thinned forest and grassy hillsides where we have cleaned up many of the potential wildfire opportunities.

That is not to say we cannot and will not have wildfires. We do as evidenced by the recent 20 acre fire 2 years ago below the Expanding Light retreat. However, the blackberry bushes come back and the grasslands, other than the natural meadow areas up near Rajarsi ridge, need to be mowed. The good news is that we do this once a year. The bad news is there is a lot of acres to mow.

As part of our sense of stewardship, we personally have about 6-7 acres to mow around our home in Almora cluster. Weed eating does some of it but takes a long time. Some of it can be mowed with a tractor which Ananda Village Property Services does on the more common land areas. We have about 3 hours of large tractor work where we have cleared the rocks and smaller trees and where grasses grow 2-3 feet high. Nearer to the house where the land is too steep for the tractor or too close in, we spend hours running the weed eater and one of our neighbors in the cluster (there are 5 single family homes in this housing cluster) bought a large self propelled field mower which enables me to cut down the drying grasses after they have gone to seed. We have planted clover around the house and recently on cleared land across the road above our home which doesn’t need mowing. In the spring we have wildflowers blooming in this area and had spent several weekends seeding this 2 years ago and spreading straw as temporary cover. Now this work is paying off with a steep hillside covered with clover thereby keeping the winter rains from sending the mud down the hill and enhancing the beauty.

By mid-July all will be done and we will be much safer (but not out of the woods by any means) as a result. We can only pray that what happened here in 1976 and recently near South Lake Tahoe, does not happen again. If it does, we will still count our blessings for being in Yogananda’s light.