January at midnight, April at noon
As often happens for me on this last Tuesday of the month, I marvel at how it’s nearly time to turn a calendar page again. Can it really be that January 2014 is quickly approaching its final days? With the untimely weather, it’s hard to know what month it is.
Autumn in January
Looking out the window last week, as a few strong gusts of wind blew the last of the leaves off the trees, it looked and felt like autumn. The warmth during the days is doubly deceiving; is this summer? Or is it spring? Back in the day, we used to call days like we’re experiencing now Indian summer, a most beautiful harvest time of year.
Maybe February will finally bring the much-needed rains … or possibly, we’ve had them between the day I wrote this and the day you’re reading this. Goodness knows they are wanted.
Last week’s amble down the dusty lanes of Glen Ellen brought more surprises. One aspect of our walk that I found particularly pleasant and uniquely Glen Ellen-ish, was the ready juxtaposition of various styles of architecture in our village.
While standing by Michael Everidge’s creative goat circus, I could easily view the backside of Douglas Fenn Wilson’s elegant and beautiful mansion. Clearly, it’s as much museum as merely home. Both, in fact.
Wilson’s new home that arose on the grounds of his old, smaller house, is truly a remarkable sight. Massive, impressive, and unique, the home inspired a lot of speculation and critique during its long construction. Plenty of folks liked it, a number of folks complained. But then, someone always does.
As for me, I like it. I’m fascinated, too, about how clearly it seems to be a giant manifestation of Wilson’s artwork, echoing those complicated construction pieces where parts of his paintings are built up, forming architectural extensions of realistic scenes.
Diversity the spice of life
Having grown up in a simple Eureka neighborhood that was soon invaded by a huge number of tract homes that popped up like fungi in a wet winter, I especially appreciate the cheek by jowl different houses that make Glen Ellen special. The goat circus next to a mansion? Yes, and both are enhanced by their proximity.
Goats, after all, are no strangers to art. Just ask Robert Rauschenberg about his mixed-media work, “Monogram,” aka “Tired of Goats.” And I saw a photo once of a goat eating one of Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup cans. Marc Chagall’s spritely goats could easily tackle Mike’s Circus. And besides, in the circumambulatory architecture of Danny Everidge’s goat circus, do I detect a sly reference to the Guggenheim museum in NYC, and perhaps a slyer reference to its visitors?
We in Glen Ellen celebrate architectural diversity, as much as we celebrate cultural diversity. That’s my kind of town.
Fantasy glimpse within
As for Douglas’s beautiful house, I’ve yet to actually see the inside. But I do admire it from the outside. It took my friend Kathleen Hill’s glowing description of the house for me to have a fantasy glimpse within. Kathleen and Douglas co-hosted a Sonoma Valley Wet Paint auction last year in his new home. Kathleen, along with Lisa and Chris Lavagetto did the prep work in the Ramekins Culinary Kitchen and then served the elegant repast at the event.