A Sojourn to Esalen

I've been rather quiet this month, and I'm ever so grateful that Ms. Country Mouse has filled in with an especially large number of fascinating posts. Partly I've been away, and one of the more enjoyable trips has been to Esalen. On their own home page, Esalen describes itself as follows:

Esalen is more than a retreat center or an educational institute. Anchored by the inspiring beauty of Big Sur and an unparalleled intellectual history, Esalen is a world-wide network of seekers who look beyond dogma to explore deeper spiritual possibilities; forge new understandings of self and society; and pioneer new paths for change.

In the sixties and seventies, a lot of the important bodywork and therapeutical modalities (Feldenkrais, Rolfing, Gestalt) originated in Esalen, and a lot of that spirit is still there. Esalen also includes an organic farm, photo above, and is home to Monarch butterflies, magically fluttering over the flowers or resting in the Eucalyptus.

For the native plant gardener, there is surprisingly little to see. A 10x10 feet native plant garden (with a sign, no less) made me wonder why anybody would want to include native plants in their gardens.

On the other hand, I was charmed by the California fuchsia near the large eating porch - it wasn't even labeled as a native plant but the hummingbirds did not seem to mind.

The truly impressive garden feature, though, were small succulent gardens that could be found throughout the property. I don't remember seeing them when I was at Esalen a few years ago, so it's impressive how far these have come in a short time.

Below, a beautiful succulent ground cover, with the kelp-fence in the background. 

And here the view from the other side.

I liked how old pieces of metal had been repurposed as container.

And I enjoyed the play of colors and textures.

With the ocean in the background, the sound of the waves as our music, and the interesting things to see and learn, I can only hope I'll have a chance to go back some time soon.


Country Mouse said…
I love the succulents - I've been putting a lot of rocks and another informal stone staircase on "hummingbird hill" - the area sloping up to my dad's cottage from the driveway - and hope to mix in low growing succulents along with penstemons and other humming bird favorites. These gardens are inspirational!