We crested the mountain highway pass, heading deeper into British Columbia wilderness, and found ourselves driving right into a blizzard.
We had just left a fine, crisp Vancouver late-April morning; where did this blizzard come from?
Day 101. We were going to Kelowna, BC, the apex of our 6 month West Coast tour begun in Miami, FL, over 3 months ago. I would joke with people in Vancouver, asking them exasperated if they had seen where Miami is on a map! They would laugh in acknowledgment of our remarkable adventure – 6 guys trekking across North America for the better part of a year, performing for thousands of people, and primarily for donations and CD sales.
Driving through the blizzard, we had the strange sense that we were moving though a portal into some mystical Narnia-like land … where we had no idea what was awaiting us.
I had booked HERE II HERE in this far away land, at Kelowna BC’s Center for Spiritual Living (CSL), in large part because I knew the President of CSL International was the head guy there, and I have a powerful vision of HERE II HERE’s role in serving that growing world of “ancient new thought” peace-builders. I wanted him to experience HERE II HERE. And that was all we had going in … just a 2-song guest artist showing at 1030am for him (so I thought) and a few hundred rather isolated Canadians. I had been unable to arrange a follow-up performance from a distance, and when we arrived I found out he and his wife had been whisked away for another engagement in Granada Hills, CA, at the CSL we performed at some weeks ago. On top of all this, Jaime’s girlfriend who flew from Miami to Seattle had been denied entry into Canada due to a past moment of passionate animal activism spent trespassing in a zoo. She hadn’t the necessary paperwork authorizing her to leave the USA, so Jaime had stayed with her near the border. Though he promised to make it to our performance the that morning, we couldn’t be 100% sure he’d actually be there. He had to travel all night to make it happen.
Still, I knew there was an important reason we were there. I felt it, even if I couldn’t articulate it. Anyway, we were there; might as well enjoy it!
Like Alex said as we drove along the sunsplashed hillside road that meanders along high above Kelowna’s enormous valley lake, “This is the most beautiful place we’ve been to on this tour!!”
I had been to Kelowna 18 years ago when my dad and I drove from LA, during the LA Riots, to meet with a Kelowna Winery proprietor dreaming of building an actual pyramid on his winery in which he would powerfully age his wine. I forgot his name and never had contact with him after that time.
I asked Barb Samuel, the CSL Music Director who had brought us in to perform, to make an announcement during the 1030am service that we were looking for a place to perform in the next 3 days. Talk about being open to the magic of the moment … I was essentially asking this community to be proactive partners in hosting a concert for a music band they knew nothing about until that moment.
After the band had performed 2 songs (Jaime made it, having driven all night through his own snow storm), while I was working the merchandise table two kind women approached me offering their homes for house concerts. In mid-conversation with one of them, I suddenly heard an enthusiastic announcement to the whole auditorium that HERE II HERE would be performing “tomorrow night at 8pm at the Kinsmen Fieldhouse Hall!!!”
This was a surprise to me as I actually expected someone to speak to me first about options. I preferred to schedule the concert in 2 or 3 days to give a little extra time for promotion and to make things easier on Jaime’s unexpected ordeal, driving all over the northwest back and forth between his border-stranded girlfriend and the band’s Canadian appearances.
After a brief conversation – and Jaime’s understandably nervous attempt to persuade us that postponing a few days would be better for everyone – we collectively decided to go with the flow of how this was arising spontaneously beyond our designs and honor tomorrow night’s showing.
Also during that morning, a woman named Athena came to me and told me of an interesting man – Stephen cipes – who occasionally hosts events in the Pyramid on his winery.
We went to visit that winery and pyramid the same afternoon. We were in love! Summerhill Pyramid Winery sits on a gently sloping hillside overlooking the whole Kelowna lake valley and the lumpy forested mountains rimming its far side. When we pulled in, I was thrust back 18 years in my memory to when I was a teenager and worked this same vineyard for just a few hours one summer afternoon while Stephen and my dad met about I-didn’t-know-what.
Back then, the pyramid was just a dream, an intention, a vision brewing in Stephen’s impassioned imagination. Now, I stood face to face with its towering smooth white diamond face cutting brilliant into the blue-eye sky. Stephen had done it! In addition to putting in a world-class organic food restaurant on his property with an authentic French pastry chef, he had built the Pyramid and was aging his wine in its hollows. I was so inspired!
We yearned to get inside … to hear our voices reverberating throughout its cavernous chamber, but Stephen was not there that afternoon. I left a CD with a note recalling our moment past together, inviting him to our Monday night show.
He showed up. Along with about 60 other people who had never heard of HERE II HERE only 48 hours before. The band played acoustic in a little community park fieldhouse, to the perfect audience. Shortly after the breathless audience’s final applause, as Jaime snuck away to begin his 4-hour trek back to the border, Stephen invited us to perform in his pyramid before we left town.
Normally we would remain open to the possibilities teeming in every moment – that’s what managing the magic is all about. But because of Jaime’s ordeal, we had decided to take the rest of the week off. We were going to leave Kelowna the next morning to get to our next destination, Campbell River on Vancouver Island, where they were preparing a community feast for us, hiking trips, sightseeing and just the promise of rest.
But when Stephen showed up and offered to host us in the Pyramid in the next two days, promising a gathering of maybe 100 people in the pyramid, we instantly knew the Universe had another plan for us. We felt the confirmation of excitement run through our bones; we just knew it was right to stay. We just had figure out how to get Jaime back. His phone would be turned off until he got to the border over 4 hours away.
But we knew we had to lure him back …
… coming next … Jaime’s close-call return and our evening of magic INSIDE The Great Pyramid of Kelowna.