Plein air writing for springtime

Posted by on May 4th, 2011

With the start of May, spring has finally arrived in Wine Country. The grapevines are unfurling delicate tendrils on the trellises; blooms are bursting forth between vineyard rows, in yards and on hillsides; and allergy sufferers are sniffling (condolences!).

If the current trend is any indication, conference week July 24-29 is on track to be warm, lush and golden. ([Have you applied yet?](

Napa Valley in springtime

The view from Dry Creek Road, Napa (photo by Catherine)

To celebrate the season, conference fiction director Lakin Khan has developed a new workshop that promises to stretch your legs as well as flex your writing muscles. As she relates on [her blog, Rhymes with Bacon](,

> Docent training, hiking every Sunday from the end of February until mid-April around the Fairfield Osborn Preserve, had become part of my routine, a high point of the week. I loved being under the trees, along the creek, skirting the marsh, looking and listening, learning to identify creatures and plants, feeling welcomed by the world. When training came to an end, I knew I’d have to find a way to continue getting my nature-fix. I’d heard the calls of the Virginia rails, but I hadn’t yet seen them. And the weather was finally starting to get better – no more slogging around in the rain and cold. Plus I knew I’d bulk up again without that weekly straight-up, straight-down-the-hill hike.

> So I concocted a plan, a plan that combined my two desires: lead hikes for writers! Thus, the workshop described below was conceived. If you are in the area, come on up the mountain and join us. If you aren’t, well, then, guess you’ll just have to wait for the blogposts.

> **Workshop: Plein Air Writing:** Combine your love of the outdoors and your way with words while exploring the varied terrains and habitats of the Fairfield Osborn Preserve located on the flanks of Sonoma Mountain. Join Lakin Khan, local essayist and writer, on a Sunday ramble, pausing frequently to observe and take field notes. Later, we’ll use these notes as a basis for essays rooted in nature, writing on site at the Education Center, and continuing at home if you wish.

> This is an ongoing series of six Sundays beginning April 10th (skipping Easter) until May 25th. Meet at the Fairfield Osborn Preserve (link to directions below) at 10:30 a.m.; we’ll walk and write until approximately 2:30 p.m. Wear sturdy shoes, brimmed hat and sunscreen; bring a water canteen, bag lunch, journal and writing implements. Layered clothing highly recommended. $15 a session includes a donation to the Preserve. Four or more sessions, $50.

> To enroll, contact Lakin at [](

> [Directions to the Fairfield Osborn Preserve](, which is at the end of Lichau Road in Penngrove.

Here’s hoping springtime has similarly inspired you to find new creative outlets — and, of course, to write!

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