Esalen, June 28-30, 2004

  1. It's foggy in the morning of Tuesday, June 29. I wander towards the main meeting hall, office, reception, dining hall, lodge, and sunlit lounge where you can get coffee at 7 a.m. before the dining hall opens at 8:30. In advance of the Fourth of July art explosion and celebration, there is a large banner at the head of hall, and a 15 foot tall Princess or Goddess of some sort. She is continually being worked on, scaffolding at her front.

  2. At the other end of the lawn that connects to the main lodge, there is a blue dragon or Viking ship of some sort, also seemingly under construction.

  3. The blue princess, up close and personal. Is she a trickster?

  4. The marvelous carved wood supports that grace our walkway to the dining room - each plank is carved, and painted a cheerful yellow. An altogether startling and happy sight.

  5. Believe it or not, this coiled nest of brances is at least 12 feet tall. It is a sphere that human creatures find refuge in.

  6. Plants by the pool. But hark. This is actually the first in a long series of pictures of the delicately metal-woven shades for the outdoor lamps. See the metal flower in the midst of the succulents.

  7. It's the Big Sur coastline, wild and seductive, but look to the left and you'll spot the buildings that enclose the Esalen natural hot springs baths.

  8. The silver blue of the ocean under the gentle foggy haze. Soon enough it will glitter gold, when the sun burns off the fog.

  9. What better place for a massage, than on a table perched above the hot baths?

  10. I think this is a discrete enough picture. You can see here two stone-encircled baths, and someone moving between the two. There is no way to exaggerate the wonder of soaking in a natural hot spring, while watching and listening to the waves of the Pacific crash below.

  11. One of the house cats assumes a regal position on the bannister leading up from the baths. That would be the ocean off to the left, that field of blue-gray.

  12. The Esalen pool, also fed by natural hot springs. It is perched on the main lawn, below the dining hall, looking directly out onto the ocean.

  13. From the main lawn, looking up towards the sweep of vegetables gardens, and taking in the volleyball net.

  14. Esalen is about a mile or a mile and a half strip of land, narrow but stretched out along the ocean. A bit far up the strip of land, you run into the Art Barn. It's a place heavily decorated with whimsy, and inviting to artists of any stripe. Just go in and start painting.

  15. Another angle on the barn of art.

  16. The inside of the Art Barn. Hard to tell from this photo, but all the supplies are set out for the ready.

  17. A fireplace and a cloth yurt of sorts are perched above the ever-present ocean.

  18. Every sort of architecture is represented at Esalen. Here we have a soothing thatched-roof stone hut.

  19. Play along with me on this, people. See the thatched-roof hut; then the wind-swept Monterey pine; then to the right, a gallant cactus. I thought the trio needed to be captured together.

  20. A large vegetable garden, out of sight of most of the guests. Note the truck in the middle, to get an idea of size.

  21. A vigorous stream wends it way to the ocean.

  22. The lower vegetable garden. The dirt in the wheelbarrow is dark, rich, moist, fertile.

  23. A place to sit in the garden.

  24. A roadrunner globe set amongst the nastursiums.

  25. The lawn at Esalen. It's quite wide and long and dotted with comfortable wooden chairs. A great place to read or to write. All the lawn chairs face the ocean, mere meters away.

  26. A close-up of a fellow lawn relaxer.

  27. The Esalen bath houses, perched solidly about 50-meters above the crashing surf.

  28. The showers at the end of the world. These are the showers you clean off in, before going into the Esalen baths. The showers are perched just like that, aboe the ocean, right under the moon and stars. There can be no nicer shower on the planet.

  29. I managed to visit the baths when few people were there, and I managed to snap a few shots of the baths themselves. This shows the circular bath on the "quiet" side (as opposed to the "silent" side), and its view out onto the ocean and cliffs.

  30. This is literally the view from the circular bath, just seen; this is taken with me standing in that bath.

  31. Have dinner on the patio, why not? It's sunny and warm and the ocean whispers seductively. The patio view is off towards the baths.

  32. After dinner, a few musicians start a jam session under the colorful tent on the patio.

  33. It isn't clear in this picture, but, there is an elaborate filigreed wire mesh sort of covering for the fire pit in the patio area.

  34. An enormous succulent stands up with the Monterey pines.

  35. I love the careful filegree work around the lamps. Beware, more to come!

  36. Note the careful iron work on the railing by the bridge. This is the direction towards the baths.

  37. An art shot gone bad. I wanted to get the setting sun in back of the lovely filegree.

  38. A close-up of the lamp and filegree.

  39. Sunset stark, placing trees and brush in dark, grabbing all attention to its glowing white orb.

Marianne Mueller
Last modified: July 5, 2004