The Kenwood Press
: 12/01/2017

Twinkle, twinkle holiday lights!

Shannon Lee



Twinkle, twinkle holiday lights!

By Shannon Lee
The elves have visited downtown Glen Ellen and we now have the holiday feeling in full force every evening. Every year a dedicated (secret?) volunteer group provides this uplifting community service and this year, more than ever, we are so grateful to see these happy lights.

For more upcoming holiday cheer, join your friends and neighbors at the Free Community Holiday Meal - put on at Valley of the Moon Winery, organized by Glen Ellen Forum, and sponsored by Costco and Weber. Save the date and make your reservations (1 p.m. or 3 p.m. seatings) for this Sunday, Dec. 3. Contact forum@glenellenca.org for details and to RSVP (no later than Dec. 2). Also, be sure to join the community at the next Glen Ellen Forum meeting on Monday, Dec. 4, at 6.30 p.m. at the Garden Court Café.

And Glen Ellen's annual caroling this year will be on Saturday, Dec. 16, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Meet in front of the Jack London Saloon to take a wagon ride with Santa and Neil Shepard's beautiful Clydesdale horses.

Message from Julie Atwood, the HALTER project

“Our recent experience with epic wildfires that destroyed entire rural and suburban neighborhoods, many farms and ranches, and much of our largest city, Santa Rosa, has reinforced the importance of community in an increasingly disconnected world. While my house survived, my animals have all been sent away because their pastures and shelters were destroyed and their environment is not safe. My space feels very empty and my anchor is adrift. For many, our community is our family. Animals are vital, not only as a livelihood or hobby, but also to our feeling of wellbeing, connectedness, and home.

“We survived with our animals in very challenging 'shelter-in-place' conditions, with no time or escape route to evacuate. We had a plan, and it worked. Many of our ranching neighbors were similarly prepared. We realize we could have done some things better. We hope that sharing our story and lessons learned will be useful. Community outreach for Animal Emergency Preparedness and First Responder Animal Awareness and Safety are the dual 'missions' of The HALTER Project. Since 2014, we've been reaching out to our neighborhood, and other communities around California, to help people live more safely and prepare for emergencies.

“We have received many requests to help organize neighborhood groups, HOA, and club 'preparedness plans,' and have included lots of great resources and links to help you organize. We've updated the HALTER Project website (www.halterproject.org) to include more 'Ways to Help' donation links supporting local, regional, and national disaster relief as well as links to programs that support animals in emergency and disasters year-round, first responder training, and education. We hope you will use the website as a go-to resource. Please encourage others to share your commitment to preparedness.”

(FYI: HALTER stands from Horse and Livestock Team Emergency Response.)

A poem from Ed Davis (written about Glen Ellen around 25 years ago, but so poignant today, thank you, Ed, for allowing me to share).

The Place That We Come Back To

This is where we live.

No two of us see its textures with the same eyes, hear its rhythms with the same clarity, or feel its happiness, heartbreak and hope with the same intensity - yet we each do know it, and no one knows it better.

This is where we live.

As many of us came to this place as left someplace else, but whether we landed here by design, destiny or default, something about it has made us stick. We may be held by the closeness of a friend or a lover, by the anchor of family and the past, or because we like it, love it, or have simply gotten used to it. Some fought hard to get here, and struggle constantly just to stay. Others, here from birth, may never have known anywhere else. But few, if any, are anxious to leave.

This is where we live.

We do not know everyone we see on the street, and most of them do not know us, but we are familiar to each other in a way that makes us something less than friends, but considerably more than strangers. Our closest neighbors often seem entirely obscure to us, and we honor their anonymity as much as we value our own. Yet we do notice their lives going on around us, and we're mostly grateful that they notice ours.

This is where we live.

And this is where our friends live. We don't necessarily have a lot of them, we don't necessarily see them every day, but they're here, and they're close, and we feel better for it. The times we look forward to are often spent with them, and they're just as often in the times we remember. We laugh with them, and worry, and willingly mingle our tears and triumphs and pains with theirs. We have other friends in other places, friends we love as much and miss even more. They are the friends we tell our lives to. These are the friends we live our lives with.

This is where we live.

And it's just the way we like it, just the way it's always been - but it isn't, and we know that, and we wish it wasn't so. We don't resist change as much as regret it, and if we could turn the clock back many of us would, back to the very moment we arrived. We remember what the air felt like then, how the sounds were clearer and the colors brighter, and the way a simple evening breeze could sometimes break your heart. We remember it, and miss it - until one morning we open our old eyes to a new day and realize that it's all still here and always has been. The only things that no longer change are those things that no longer live, and this place is very much alive.

This is where we live.

It's where our children grow, and our work gets done, and our evenings pass with our lovers in our arms. It's the place that we come back to and the place that we lose people from. And each of us understands, in a way that we seldom acknowledge but can never deny, that this place would not be the same without us, and we would not be the same without it.

This is where we live.

This is home.

Buzz from around the bend…

Glen Ellen-connected Michel Michelis has once again mounted his Cirque de Bohème at Cornerstone. An old-style circus show based on the French tradition of the 1920s, this original spectacle of poetry, music, mystery and circus talents (tightrope, trapeze, contortionism, etc…) will perform on weekends through Dec. 17. Go to www.cirquedeboheme.com for more information and ticket purchase.

If you would like to volunteer with the traditional annual Pixie Corner holiday gift bazaar for the kiddos at Dunbar School, week of Dec. 18, please contact dunbardolphinspto@gmail.com.