Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Wonderful Idea for a Party

(Photo of our Boulder Open Space by David Perry)

I didn't grow up in a family that entertained. My parents never once gave a party or even attended a party. So I have always felt shy myself about entertaining. But last night, if I do say so myself, I hosted a completely delightful party.

I had the wonderful idea of hiring a naturalist to come along with me and a few friends for an evening hike on one of our beautiful Boulder trails and tell us about everything that we were seeing. So the incomparable Mary Taylor Young, author of many field guides and birdwatching essays, joined us.

Now, thanks to Mary, I can identify chokecherries and wild currants and three-leafed sumac with its tart lemonade berries. Now I can identify purple penstemons and yellow cone flowers and the slender Mariposa lily. I can recognize the call of the towee: drink, drink TEEEEEA.

At the end of the evening, as we sat in my little living room having our post-hike wine and cheese and mini chocolate eclairs, Mary asked each of us what our favorite part of the evening had been. For me, it had been sitting on a group of rocks, some distance off the trail, in the stillness of the golden Colorado evening, just listening for birdsong.

Plus, knowing that I can host a truly lovely party, after all!


  1. That sounds absolutely gorgeous! I once went on a nature walk where we stumbled across turkey vulture (those things are absolutely frightening) and Queen Anne's Lace, which has to be my favorite flower. We ended at this small pond by a waterfall, my first encounter with aerated water and butterflies the size of my whole hand outstretched... Having a naturalist with you was brilliant! Great job, hostess!

  2. Ooh, waterfall and butterflies and Queen Anne's lace sounds so wonderful.

  3. When I was a Boy Scout, we had a leader who was a PhD. Botanist with the National Forrest Service. At the time my fellow scouts and I totally lacked appreciation for the knowledge he tried to share and his ability to extend the duration of our hikes. Now I wish I had chance to hike with him again.

  4. Scott, when I was in high school, in New Jersey, we had class trips to NYC to see Leonard Bernstein do a young persons' concert with the New York Philharmonic and totally lacked appreciation for that, too.