I've been away from Ashland for a few months and happily returned just 5 days ago. It always feels like coming on vacation when we come home to this lovely town, so full of opportunities for entertainment and friendship. In just these few days we have gone to two Ashland Festival Plays -- Fingersmith, a convoluted mystery about two young women caught in nefarious schemes in 19th century England; and Guys and Dolls, the lively musical about New York gamblers and their "dolls" during the depression. In the fortuitous way Ashland often works, two of the play tickets were handed to me as I sat in a hair salon, by a stranger who had complimentary passes she couldn't use at the last minute.
I also had an evening of attending the Ashmug meeting, a group of Apple users who meet monthly at the local hospital, where I learned more about social networking. Then I moved on to a free event at the college presenting previews of the upcoming Ashland Film Festival, which this year had 1200 entries and 98 films selected to be shown April 9 to 13. And today I enjoyed tea at the new Dobra Tea House while tonight we are going to a third play for the week, this one at the Ashland High School, which has an extraordinary group of thespians, assisted by some of the ASF staff, and always has great shows.
|Tea at the Dobra Tea House|
Ashland is a wonderful place for anyone who loves entertainment, music, wine, dance, parks, outdoor hikes, farmers markets, books and all other ways to be with friends, and feel engaged. Wherever you go you are likely to find friends and neighbors, quality entertainment and great food. And you are likely to be there within ten minutes.
After a few months in California coming home is like coming to a calm abiding center with many paths into mental stimulation, connection and pleasure. In addition to theater and music and art there are rich spiritual options: many small centers are available to meditate, do yoga, or Qigong, study Ayurveda or Chinese herbology, explore existential questions and hear progressive speakers, particularly in Buddhist, Judaic, Sufi and Christian traditions. (I have my own center here -- a place for Non-Dual education and transpersonal counseling called Shanti River Center.) There are also health and wellness programs at the Coop Market, art, weaving and every kind of dance classes or club. Also rowing, frisbee golf, biking, etc, etc.
When I travel it is a time for seeing family, for walks on the beach, for the basics of life. But when I come home I return to work I love with people I love and a great engagement with creativity flowing all around me. It would be too much to ask of a town of only 20,000 but somehow it all spsontaneously came together here. No wonder it is a top retirement destination for active folks who know how to have a good time.