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March 6, 2012

Wildflowers & Birds of Tassajara

Experience the glory of Spring in the wilderness landscape surrounding Tassajara.

“Every year I look forward to being at Tassajara for the Wildflowers and Birds retreat,” says Diane Renshaw of the yearly tradition. “It’s a wonderful time of the year, mostly spring but often with a bit of winter or summer mixed in.  I always think I know what I am going to see but each year has its surprises.”

Diane, an SF Bay Area ecologist, Daiyu Judith Randall, Tassajara Guest Manager, and Myo-On Gloria Lee, student of Zoketsu Norman Fischer, will again join together this spring to revel in the natural beauty of Tassajara and explore what unexpected gifts are on display.

Flower photos by Valerie Boquet

“One year there were clouds of California tortoiseshell butterflies whirling about everywhere, and on our hike we found their many empty chrysalises dangling from much-chewed Ceanothus leaves,” Diane continues. “Another springtime we discovered the wet, mossy nest of the Dipper on streamside rocks by the Narrows, and a Canyon Wren serenaded all of Tassajara from its little nest at the kaisando.  A little-known white-flowered Phacelia blanketed the mountainsides the springtime following the Basin Complex fire in a one-year-only display; the next year cascades of native morning glory draped the burned shrubs up on Flag Rock. We can count on seeing Northern Orioles and Black-Headed Grosbeaks and lupines and Clarkias and many other familiar favorites, but what will appear that we don’t expect?  I love that aspect of this retreat.  My co-leaders, Judith Randall and Gloria Lee, provide a good Zen anchor to whatever unfolds, and the retreat participants always bring their own wonderful contributions to the event.  I love that aspect, too!”

Judith Randall adds: “The retreat is being out on the trails in this sea of spring wildflowers and we take along the mindfulness bell and pause and really take in the whole landscape and the breeze and the colors and each other. And the other part of of course is Diane Renshaw’s incredible leadership; she knows so much about the flowers and loves both Zen and nature so much that her passion just spills over for all of us.”

Diane Renshaw, Judith Randall, and Gloria Lee lead Wildflowers and Birds of Tassajara from May 10-13.