Friday, July 9, 2010

Busy at The Sea Ranch

Our interlude between phases of our National Parks adventure is coming to an end. We've had a busy time of it with several high points. One was to enter into the ordinary life of the community by doing a quick run for a Community Resources Connection (CRC) client. Another was to get an update on the activities of the Friends of the Gualala River's Steering Committee, an active, dedicated, and thoughtful group committed to protecting the river and its watershed.

A really high point was Joan's birthday, July 5, which we celebrated with a picture-perfect dinner at the Albion River Inn - feast of tastes presented as art.

On July 3rd, there was a celebration of Larry Halprin's life. Larry was a world-famous landscape architect and planner, with credits for many familiar venues - Sproul Plaza at UC Berkeley, San Francisco's Ghiradelli Square, Seattle's Freeway Park, the entrance to Yosemite's valley floor, and the FDR Monument in Washington DC. More important for those of us at The Sea Ranch, Larry was its chief designer. Many people contributed to The Sea Ranch concepts and vision, but Larry provided the central thrust toward "living lightly on the land," toward structures that blended into the land, and toward a community that was committed to the values he articulated. The values were validated in workshops Larry ran in 1983, 1993, and 2003. Saturday's celebration included a mini-workshop in which Sea Ranchers got to experience The Sea Ranch in much the way Larry did in his early studies. The day concluded with a picnic followed by a ritual led by Larry's widow, Anna, who in her late 80s continues to lead avant-garde dancing that connects people with the environment.

We've had a chance to catch up with many friends and the joys of their summers while we tell our tales of camping. And we've caught up on the problems of The Sea Ranch - would that more Sea Ranchers had taken come to the Halprin workshop and gained an appreciation for just how special The Sea Ranch concepts and vision are, and how fragile they are to the pressures of development and ordinariness - making me glad to be plunging back into the National Parks soon.