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BJ Blanchard: Notes from Glen Ellen, Hidden in Plain Sight

It’s striking what one sees when forced to amble around town on foot. Ancient, long-forgotten barns just out of sight from the road. Pleasing little cottages that one flies past in an automobile. Walking down a lane, a whiff of honeysuckle and jasmine.

On recent early-morning saunters, we have encountered remarkable things that were hidden in plain sight in our Glen Ellen vicinity. Take, for instance, the two huge, rufous-red, long-horned beasts munching tall grass in the shade of an old pine, 10 feet from the road on Jack London Ranch Road. Could these astonishing animals be Mongolian creatures? They are Scottish Highland cattle, I’m now told, one named Daisy and one named Dot. Placid and sweet-looking, they seem incongruous in this land of redwoods and vineyards.

Another sweet walk on a back-country road around dawn, there’s a sweet memorial to someone who died here. Presumably, running into the tree to which it is attached, this person was loved by people who will not forget him/her, and who freshen and water the little memorial to this person they loved.

Down at the base of Warm Springs Road, folks have mounted a banner in an attempt to honor the frontline workers of our community who are hard at work. The grocery people, the post office people, the medical people, and on and on. The banner says, “Bouquets of thanks to our Frontliners” and offers sincere gratitude to those still working. As with firefighters, the community is thankful and appreciative.

Anyone who walks in Sonoma County Regional Park is familiar with the small, hand-built, grave-like enclosure. Within its walls are the names of Sonoma County people who perished in the 2017 fire. Who took the trouble to create this monument so that the victims of the fire are not forgotten?

On a falling-down fence, there’s a child’s hand-written note, from a yard sale? From a lemonade stand?

A quiet hike up Cavedale Road reveals a memorial that must be well-known to Cavedale-ians, but unknown to me. It marks the 1915 cut-off, and was built “Under the Management of Public Donations as follows: E.E Hickin, A.W. Landis, C.W. Bultler,“ etc., donating between $5 and $165 to improve and upgrade this short-cut to Cavedale and, presumably on to upper Trinity Road.

What hidden gems have you discovered while renewing your emotional batteries on masked-walks around town?

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