Yesterday morning my darling daughter rang me to read her latest post prior to publishing. This is a weekly ritual. First line: “I ran away from home yesterday.” Intriguing! And dangerous, I knew. I could feel the adventure pangs immediately and the more she read the stronger they got. I punctuated her last words with my own longing, “What are you doing today?” Decisions made, within the hour I was on my way. Because even though the apple tree was bursting with pink and white blossoms in the back corner…
And even though the rose arbor was drunk with its own red beauty…
I still wanted to Get Away.
So get away I did! LOL!
Antonia met me just outside the greenhouse of the retreat where she is living and working, sporting a big smile, a warm hug, and an intriguing question. “Guess who’s here?” Just exiting the greenhouse was a beautiful woman, a very old friend, whom I had not seen in ten years! Wow! This is getting off to a great start! We embraced warmly and then, smiling, gazed at each other to fully take in the changes that transpire over a ten year period. A lovely, warm and acknowledging special moment. OK, then! What’s next?
What was next was a delightful run to town. We parked and walked the short distance to a fabulous cafe, famous for its brick oven pizzas and delicious salads. I admired the carefully crafted brick walls with large open uncovered windows and the decorative ceilings. This was the kind of eatery that restores the heart and soul. Of course the company of my lovely daughter had much to do with it. Filled up with a yummy luncheon we set out to explore the small town in the heart of Sonoma County’s wine country, which to date neither of us had really taken the time to do. I stopped almost immediately when I spotted this crop of red clover which blossoms in abundance in Sonoma County at this time of year and which I LOVE!
That documented we ambled down to what was clearly an old general merchandise store to see if they might have a pair of gloves Antonia could wear that afternoon when she planned to transplant dozens of zinnia starter plants into the warm ground. Entering we were met by old wooden floors and stacks and stacks of red, black and white cowboy hats and all manner of Western paraphernalia! What a kick! Embroidered cowboy shirts hung on racks and silver and turquoise bolo ties hung at the counters! Big smiles. The store was deep and wide and the further back we went the more varied the merchandise became. One could readily feel this was a store that had long served the local population with their general needs. A kind elderly gentleman climbed a ladder to search among his stacks of shelves and found the perfect gardening gloves for Antonia. Then bounded down to ring them up along with two bottles of local honey, one made from clover, and the second from eucalyptus trees, with a deep rich color one can rarely find in a grocery store. What a treat!
As he rang up our purchases two little dogs emerged from behind the counter to meet and great us. Pixie was a small brown terrier and Chase was a little white scruff of a dog with Jack Russell Terrier roots. Once they felt fully acknowledged they politely receded to their posts. “So,” I said to the owner, “This feels like this must have been THE general merchandise store for this community for a long time.” The man seemed pleased. “My grandfather opened this store in 1918.” We both smiled. Encouraged, he offered more, “Over there was a tinnery. And back there was a mortuary. And up front was the store with all the goods you could need.” Oh, my! These are the moments one cherishes in pondering that the old Western towns of Northern California still abound and need only a bit of prodding to uncover and admire. Our appreciation of where we’d stumbled deepened. We knew this was a treasure and that we would return.
A bit more poking around and we were ready to return to the retreat grounds. What would I find there? I decided to spend time exploring the large numbers of rare and unusual birds that live on the property. Antonia kindly showed me to that area where I might indulge and explore the possibilities, though cautioning me about not letting any escape. Thus you will see some of them through wires, my dearies. Not taking chances! Here are some of the beautiful creatures I met. First there was this amazing peacock. I was blessed to inspire a full display, apparently.
I was also blessed to find these doves. The mom was sitting on a clutch of eggs. The father dove sat protectively above her. I moved on quickly, not wanting to upset her in any way.
Just as I was moving respectfully away from the doves I heard a gentle whirring sound and looked down into the cage next door to view this surprising display!
Oh, my goodness! Antonia quickly joined me. “I’ve never seen him do that before!”
Well, then! Emboldened, I opened his cage door slightly enough to get a full view. This, dear readers, is a silver pheasant, found in forests, mainly in the mountains, of mainland Southeast Asia and the eastern and southern areas of China. Amazing dear creature!
Landing on the lower level, I went on to visit the row of parrots who live in very large cages that (not to worry) are regularly visited and cleaned. These guys get a lot of attention. I, however, having been bitten on the tongue, once, by a parrot named Maxine (I was teaching her to sing), am reticent to ever get too close to one, so here you go. Beauty in a box.
And this guy.
OK, done with the parrots!
I will round out my bird foray with the hilarious emu! What a curious funny character he is!
Nearly ready to depart, I ask Antonia to snap my photo beside a 600 year old tree that graces the center of the retreat property. Do I look restored? I think I do.
As I return home over the winding roads of Mendocino County a curious reality is not lost on me that the adventure I sought out that nurtured me was to the very locale Antonia had sought to leave the day before. And it was in her acting on her own inner impulse for exploration that inspired me to do the same. There is wisdom in seeking out the new for restoration. I recall that teacher Stephen Gaskin used to say that with every new road you take, every new mountain you climb, each new view you view, your consciousness is expanded. What new paths might you take to nurture and expand your mind and heart and soul?
Love and day trip blessings!
Posted on April 10th, 2010 by Kathryn
Filed under: Field Trips