April 15 holds a special place in our national psyche as the date by which taxes are due. For those who procrastinate, the day can be highly stressful, extended hours at the post office notwithstanding.
So what to do about this? The University of Virginia’s Blandy Experimental Farm has just the thing: an evening “Mindfulness in Nature” walk in which Shell Fischer, an Insight Meditation instructor, will lead participants in guided meditation, silent walking and personal reflection.
Blandy is the home of the State Arboretum of Virginia, and this program is the first of six walks and tours scheduled for April and May, part of the Foundation of the State Arboretum’s public program series. (See program details)
On April 20, two tours will touch on the property’s history, collections and gardens. The morning tour will be in English, while in the afternoon, Blandy docent Bob Vazquez will lead the farm’s first Spanish-language tour.
Blandy’s 700-plus acres are beautiful at any time of day and in any season. To take fuller advantage of this, full moon walks are now offered, and have proved to be among the most popular programs. Participants will set out at dusk on two evenings this spring. An April 24 walk will be perfect for families, while the May 24 tour is for those 14 years and older.
An April 30 trip will take participants on a half-day walk through the Thompson Wildlife Management Area, site of one of the East Coast’s most spectacular displays of trilliums and other spring wildflowers. Botanist Marion Lobstein will lead the group, identifying plants the group encounters.
On May 16, retired physician Doug Bartley will lead a walk titled “Myth, Magic & Medicine.” He will focus on the newly refurbished herb garden, and share his knowledge of the many spiritual and medicinal uses of herbs and other plants in the arboretum’s collection.
Programs require pre-registration, and details are available on the Blandy website. Or if you prefer, come visit on your own or with your dog; you can even bring your horse and explore the property on over six miles of bridle trails.
The State Arboretum of Virginia is part of historic Blandy Experimental Farm, a research field station for U.Va.’s Department of Environmental Sciences. It is open dawn to dusk, 365 days a year, at no charge. It is located on Route 50 in Clarke County, about 10 miles east of Winchester and 20 miles west of Middleburg. It is about two hours by car from Charlottesville. Directions and a calendar of events are online. For information, call 540-837-1758, ext. 224.