The Lily Pond hosted our second annual Earth Day Celebration on May 4th, 2019. Many thanks to all who came out to welcome Spring, meet the animals, and enjoy a vegetarian farm-to-table dinner and music in the lovely natural setting of the sanctuary!
A group of conscious souls gathered in the afternoon for an interactive, nature-based program of blessings for the planet and all sentient beings. We collaborated in the creation of a 4-foot flower mandala, with the intention of putting the energy of harmony and cooperation into the land. Participants gathered handfuls of pink, magenta, coral and peach flower petals, placing them into a circle of eucalyptus leaves. Wild blueberries and corn were added as a gift for the birds and raccoons. Crystals were then placed within the petals to radiate the beautiful energy. The mandala came together to stunning effect, with the eucalyptus leaves shimmering in the breeze. We observed two hawks that had begun circling above the mandala. The natural world was taking notice.
Our small gathering offered light, love, and blessings for the land, waters, plants, animals, and people to the accompaniment of program co-host Lorna McMurray’s inspirational songs. We visualized the land being filled with light, producing healthy crops to feed the planet via sustainable, eco- friendly methods. We asked that comfort and protection be sent to species within the animal kingdom experiencing difficulty, such as the elephants and rhinos hunted for their ivory; the wild mustangs being rounded up and forced off their land in the American West; the bees, who are struggling to cope with chemical-filled air; and for relief of suffering for all animals trapped in factory farms and research laboratories. We focused our intention for peace among nations and that our leaders be given the wisdom and courage to make choices for the highest good of all. We created a Bouquet of Rememberance to honor our ancestors and departed loved ones. And finally, each participant was given the opportunity to ask the group’s support in envisioning success regarding any challenges they are facing, goals they are seeking to accomplish, or projects they wish to complete. We came together to bless and be blessed in the knowledge that the accomplishment of global change begins locally with each individual in connection to the whole.
The process of collaborative creation. Photographs kindly donated by Stephanie Stanton.
At 5:00pm, we were joined by a larger crowd who came to meet the animals and enjoy cocktails, dinner and live jazz music by the pond. Founder Susan Bandy led a tour of the sanctuary, introducing our 30 dogs, cats, and horses. Guests viewed the new parrot aviary and had a chance to talk with Barn Manager Denise Elmendorf and Caretaker Brenda Izzo. The Lily Pond works with local rescues and veterinarians to provide a home for those animals considered least adoptable. This means we often welcome animals who are older in age, have special needs, or require hospice care. Each one is special and has a story!
Following the tour, the Berkshire Jazz Underground Trio struck up a tune and everyone enjoyed a vegetarian local farm-to-table dinner catered by the talented Lori Stern, who features fresh edible flowers in her cooking combined with beautiful presentation. The feast included garbanzo fritters with kumquat chutney, purple cabbage risotto, roasted sweet potatoes and squash with dandelion chimi-churri, honey roasted beets with goat cheese, cauliflower “meatballs”, chicory greens with pickled apples, and stuffed flowered focaccia. Of course, Lori’s famous pressed flower shortbread cookies and savory biscuits were in plentiful supply, accompanied by a stunning pressed flower tiered cake made with raspberry rose jam. It was as delicious as it looked!
We concluded the evening by floating wish lanterns on the pond at sunset. The lights flickered magically across the waters of the pond. Guests left with a complimentary jar of fresh honey made and generously donated by Ollie Westfall of OMI Apiary.
We are so grateful for the opportunity to share our work at the sanctuary with our guests and to spend a day in gratitude surrounded by the beauty of the natural world. As that wise bard William Shakespeare once wrote: “One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.”