I can’t imagine anywhere better to spend this weekend than enjoying the two beautiful preserves here in Glen Ellen. May 17 and 18 feature two of the most exciting fundraisers our town ever sees.
Both the lovely gardens of Quarryhill Botanical Preserve and the wilderness of the Bouverie Audubon Preserve hold fund-raisers to benefit their education programs for school children. Both preserves offer free hikes to schoolchildren throughout the Bay Area where the kiddos are immersed in nature and educated about our natural world.
But this weekend, the two events are just for adults, with libations and celebration.
Quarryhill’s event is called “Wild Collections, Expeditions for Education” and takes place in the evening of Saturday, May 17, beginning at 5 p.m. Guests will stroll the lovely flower-festooned paths of Quarryhill, stopping along the way for snacks and entertainment. We wonder if the giant flower fairies will return. Last year’s photograph with one of these lovely ladies is my prize pix of the year (sorry Robbi Pengelly, but it’s true). The evening ends with an inspiring speech given by Sir Peter Crane, dean of the Department of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University. He will speak about the importance of environmental education for children.
Art of eating
Almost directly next door, at the Bouverie Preserve of Audubon Canyon Ranch, is its fundraiser, called the “Art of Eating” in honor of M.F.K. Fisher’s famous tome of the joy of eating, the next day, Sunday.
For the final decade of her life, M.F.K. lived in Last House at David Bouverie’s ranch. She and David were dear friends and they made an arrangement that worked well for both of them.
The Bouverie event takes place on Sunday afternoon, May 18. Julie Atwood is planning a festive, gala picnic with famous fried chicken and potato salad from chef Tanya Holland and an auction to raise funds for the Bouverie’s education program. If anyone in this Valley knows how to throw an elegant and fun picnic, that would be Julie.
My suggestion: invite your out-of-town friends to experience the delights of Glen Ellen at its most sophisticated. Buy your tickets early and don’t miss these two special back-to-back parties. Check out the websites, quarryhill.org and egret.org for the Bouverie. See you there, all gussied up in your finery including hats and hiking boots … keeps the yellow jackets and rattlesnakes at bay (at least, that’s what we hope).
Frogs among the lotus
Last week, on one of those nearly perfect spring days, I went to my regular meditation hour at the Sonoma Ashram on Craig Avenue. I meet with a group of women, mostly Catholics, one even an ex-nun, to meditate in the peace and quiet of the Ashram. Following meditation that day, my friends and I sat in the warm sun, sharing the ups and downs of our lives.
After that, I took a stroll through the lush Ashram gardens, ending up at the maze. After several rounds of silently walking its concentric paths, humming my mantra, I retired to the nearby pond and watched the frogs leaping and playing in the shallow waters, amid the blooming lotus flowers. It was a pleasant respite from the rest of the day, full of letters, bills, and other worldly concerns.