thomas m wilson

Esalen – Part Two

February 3rd, 2008

Now for the place…


We are on the edge of some cliffs above the ocean. The days are cool, maybe 15 degrees? I can’t tell you what temperature it is with certainty as the Americans use Farenheit which I don’t understand.

Yesterday I walked up the canyon, and looked around and saw big trunks, dignified and ramified by thousands of years. Leaving the dining hall (to the right of this photo) and the society of this place, I was confronted by nature. A sudden lifting of the veil and I see that I am in a place, not just a sea of talking heads. Up the path I sat and watched the water shoot down the creek before me. Turning to my side I noticed shafts of sunlight catching and highlighting the green grass on the ground around me. The air is cool and humid here, and I can’t ignore that I am in a place not just a society.


In the mornings the ocean hits the rocks and creates a fine mist of spray along the coast as you look south from the dining hall (here I’m looking into a reflection from the window of the sun-room).


My ambivalence about the earnest and irony-deficient character of Esalen village life is not extended to this patch of the Big Sur coast. I love it.