Mark Bava – Lament for an Unsung Hero
It is with incredible sadness and grief that I share this terrible news. In the early morning of Saturday Oct. 20th 2012, tragedy struck. One that will be felt by many for a long time. Below are two messages that I posted to my Facebook page regarding the loss of our great friend Mark Bava, his brother Chris and Chris’s wife Cat.
I’m still too grief-stricken to write anything more. Until such a time that I have recovered enough to pool my thoughts, I am reposting what I have been able to write as of this time.
Facebook has its limitations, one of which is that your important postings just end up going deeper into the past, soon to be forgotten. Mark Bava, Chris and Cat deserve something more permanent, so I’m putting this little memorial up on my website, where it will remain until I am no longer around to tend to it.
The first message is something I posted upon hearing about their untimely passing.
The second message was written the next day after an extraordinary experience I had, which in some way tied into the passing of the great Mark Bava. Please read it and feel free to leave comments below.
Mark Bava, Chris and Cat continue to live in the hearts of many
Posted on Facebook Oct. 20
For those who have not heard, our incredible community of friends, artists, performers, lovers, and fun-loving acquaintances have just suffered a terrible loss. Times three. Beloved friend Mark Bava, his wonderful brother Chris, and Chris’s wife Cat all perished early this morning in a traffic accident in San Jose.
Mark Bava was a humble visionary, who rarely took the credit for the wonderful things that flowed so easily and naturally from his unique being. He had a positive impact on just about everyone in his midst. A one of a kind individual. Always with good vibes and kindness. Never harsh nor judgmental. A gem of a human being. A shining example of how to be. Possibility incarnate. Truly, the good die young. And no, life is not fair.
When I was the head of the L.A. Burning Man region in 2003, I thought that the time was right to create an official Burning Man Decompression event in L.A. Bava was the first person I approached to discuss the possibilities. He was the first person on the team. Others whom eventually joined the team are still running the Decompression today, which just celebrated it’s 10th successful event last week. Mark, Chris, and Cat owned Little Pedro’s Cafe, affectionately known as The Blue Bongo, in the downtown L.A. arts district. The Blue Bongo became our headquarters and the first Decompression was centered on the streets around it. And so it was for the first 4 years. Mark was instrumental in shaping and merging the Burner and artists communities in L.A. He was a quietly powerful force of nature. Mark is missed, and he always will be. Deeply.
Thank you for listening… I just felt the need to say a few words as I process my incredible sadness. And I know I am not alone.
All that’s left to do is grieve this terrible loss and carry on. And carry on I intend to do, starting tonight, with the bright light of inspiration that was and always will be Mark Bava burning deeply in my heart.
I’m heading down to Little Pedro’s right now. 1st & Vignes. Downtown.
Rest in peace, my friends.
Mark Bava and the Owl
As posted to Facebook Oct. 21, one day later
An extraordinary thing happened this evening when I arrived home from work. I was on the phone talking to my girlfriend Brooke as I parked my car. As I walked down the narrow walkway that leads to my house, I looked up and saw perched on a telephone wire some sort of creature. I could not make out what it was. As I got closer, I started to describe what I was seeing to Brooke. It looked like a cat. But how can it be that a cat would be perched on a telephone wire in the middle of two telephone poles 50 yards apart? Quite unlikely.
It had pointy ears, like a cat. And it appeared to have fur rather than feathers. Brooke asked if it had a tail, which it did not. I went into the alley directly behind my house to where the animal was perched, (which happened to be right outside my bedroom window). I stood directly underneath the creature for some time. I finally saw that it was an owl, as I watched it turn its head back and forth 270 degrees. An owl with great big beautiful eyes.
Now, I have lived my entire life in this city and I can only recall two occasions where I had seen an owl within city limits, and both times the sighting was brief, and the owl was in flight with its massive wingspan in the dark of night. And yet, here I was, now standing in the alley behind my house directly underneath this amazing creature 20 feet above me. It was totally exposed, no trees for cover. Out in the open. Unusual for an owl.
This owl calmly gazed at me with its huge eyes. Unafraid. Unconcerned. Which is strange because owls are shy and they keep themselves pretty well hidden from sight. I stood there taking it all in, all the while describing to Brooke what I was seeing.
Brooke thought it was an interesting occurrence, given that Mark Bava had departed this plane of existence just yesterday. She then began to explain to me the symbolism of the owl in Native American cultures.
Here is an excerpt:
The most prevalent Native American symbolism of the Owl is one that is associated with death and spirits. Many Native American tribes viewed the owls as spirits of the dead, or the souls of the recently deceased. Some tribes also believe that the owl was a messenger of the underworld and carried spirits to the afterlife. Owls were also viewed as powerful spirit protectors and their feathers held great meaning and value.
Native American Belief
While Brooke was explaining, I was standing directly under this beautiful creature. As she finished telling me these Native American beliefs, and her words were sinking into my consciousness, the owl looked down at me again, paused… and then gently spread his/her majestic 6 foot wide wingspan and gracefully took flight, silently disappearing into the night.
Now, I’m not a religious person, if anything I’m more anti-religious, and I don’t necessarily believe in a spirit realm. And please don’t try to convince me otherwise. I find it to be boring, pretentious, and brutish. I try to keep my beliefs or lack thereof private, as I would hope others would do, too. However, this unusual situation would have been amazing on any given day, but taken in the context of Mark Bava’s untimely passing, the experience became remarkable. Having experienced this cosmic coincidence has brought some modicum of peace and calm to my mind and my heart in regards to our dear lost friend. And anything that brings you some modicum of peace in getting through this life is a good thing.
The timing was perfect. It was truly extraordinary. I was moved and soothed.
Be well my friends. Thanks for letting me share.