Sanctuary

On a whim Monday, I decided to rise early and catch the ferry from Mukilteo to Clinton. I visited Whidbey Island last year and there was so much I missed ! As it happened, this trip I have discovered where I want to go for my next mini personal writing retreat. 

If there will be a book in my future, I need to get a little traction now. Trying to find quiet, uninterrupted time at home is not to be had. I have a favorite place down south and now I’ve discovered a gem of a small town on Whidbey Island. I got to explore the area near an airbnb I found and it is heavenly. 

I met my friend Joan for a day of exploring. The Price Sculpture Forest had been on my radar for a long time. I had read about it well before it’s October 2020 opening in Coupeville. At nearly 16 acres and over half a mile of trails, this place is a convergence of nature and art. Part museum, part nature walk, the sculptures (all from established artists) honor and celebrate this artistry of the natural world. 

A google search will bring up a wealth of information about the individual sculptures, the artists and the history. The setting itself is stunning with century-old trees, mature rhodies and native understory. 

The Price family bought the property in 2008 with a plan for building a home here. When they chose to build elsewhere, they partnered with the Whidbey Camano Land Trust to preserve these beautiful woods. A conservation easement will protect this natural space from development forever. What an amazing gift for us all. 

Next stop was Rhododendron Campground. The trails are open,  although the campground remains closed. The blooms were in the very beginning stages and peak bloom is a couple weeks away. We moved on. 

Next up was a place we had both wanted to visit. Earth Sanctuary did not disappoint. Chuck Pettis has created a spellbinding 72 acre space that is restorative in many ways. With a 500 year plan for forest restoration, not only is it a model for nature design, but it is a meditative place for personal renewal and growth.

 

There are Tibetan prayer wheels and prayer flags along the trail and scattered “sit-spots” perfect for reflection. There are sculpture and cairns, stone circles and a labyrinth trail drawn from ancient designs and created with Pennsylvania Bluestone and a salal hedge. 

There is a Buddhist Stupa Monument as well as a 20 ton Dolmen. The Dolmen was stunning: a magalith of upright stones supporting a horizontal slab. The space inside is a sanctuary of it’s own and there is an alter of stones and touchstones. When I stood inside at mid-day there was an angel of light across the floor …

The Earth Sanctuary also has ponds and bog. We saw a few wood ducks, a merganser momma with ducklings and lots of red-wing blackbirds. We witnessed a sky dance of an eagle pair and waited patiently for a shot of the quick chestnut-backed chickadees and sparrows. I would encourage a google search of this beautiful place also. So much to see and experience. 

On my way back to the ferry, I stopped at Greenbank Farms. While I didn’t walk the trails here, I did explore the Master Gardeners Path. Lots still in bloom and even more to explore here next time. I happened upon another red-wing blackbird and a family of geese and snapped a couple shots before my second (!) camera battery exhausted itself. 

Pretty good Monday. I didn’t have an actual address for the airbnb I’d like to make home for a few days, but the area in the town nearby is almost perfect for a getaway. I’ll be back soon. Thanks for sharing my day !