Do you miss Tassajara?

Perhaps you've never been there, but want to learn more?

A good way to come to know a place is through storytelling. Listening to tales, we hear what is meaningful to us, and catch the teaching that is directed towards our heart. Sharing our memories and perceptions is one way to convey this immersive experience we call Tassajara.

Please join us as we tell some tales of Tassajara, told in the wild tongue of fire, flood, and the mountain landscape; in the pervasive, secret dialog of the sentient plants and animals who inhabit and shape that place; and in the art, narrative, and written words of the people who have cared for and been shaped by this place for tens of thousands of years. We will tell these stories using images, sounds, and the magic of language, spoken and unspoken

Tales of the Esselen People

The first people to have tales to tell about the Tassajara area were the ancestors of the Esselen People. They had not yet met Bodhidharma, but they certainly knew Coyote. The first Tale is about them and particularly about some beautiful handprints they left behind.

Tales of the Old Resort Days

The second Tale starts with the first Anglo visitors, who were hunters and prospectors in the 1860s. The Hot Springs were an identifying feature from the beginning, and refreshed guests of the Tassajara's resort and hotel since the early 1900s.

Tales of Wildfire

The third Tale is about Tassajara's fire ecology. The Esselen who lived by caves recognized how fire can be a very useful tool. They understood the benefits as well as the dangers of fire, and have practiced various kinds of fire management for millennia.

Meet Your Guide

Diane Renshaw is a longtime Zen Practitioner whose roots at Tassajara run deep. She began Zen practice at Tassajara in 1978, received lay ordination in 1993, and has been working with SFZC as a consulting ecologist for over 25 years. Over the decades she’s promulgated the cultivation of native plant species on the grounds. She curated the new bathhouse landscaping in 1993 with former head gardener Gloria Lee, starting the practice of collecting seeds and cuttings and rearing the planting stock at Zen Mountain Center.

Diane is willing and enthusiastic in sharing her passion and love for Tassajara’s history and ecology, and in her we have a great gift that not only connects us to our human, animal, and plant ancestors, but whose work will undoubtedly shape the descendants for whom Tassajara will become a treasure in the future.