The Stanford-US Russia forum brings together Americans and Russians for a week-long conference at Stanford and in Washington, DC, where they share their collaborative research projects. But before the academics begin SURF kicks off at Fort Ross, where the students do community service, learn about their shared history at Fort Ross, and just soak up the glorious Sonoma Coast. It’s one of our favorite exchange programs and we are proud to contribute to this project. Thanks to Renova Fort Ross Foundation for underwriting SURF, and to all the FRC volunteers and board members who came out to lend a hand.
There are certain plants, some unique to Sonoma County and some found throughout the world, that will tell you when spring has arrived. The willow trees that grow with such vigor near our waterways grow buds that swell and burst with bright yellow fuzzy catkins to mark the first day of spring.
Last Saturday Fort Ross welcomed the return of the season with our Kedry volunteers for their annual Spring Celebration. Kedry families came from around the Bay Area to re-create the festive “Verbnoye Voskresenie” (Pussy Willow, not Palm, Sunday) where holding hands and branches of willow catkins they walked from corner to corner of the compound touching every wall, tree, and person in their path with the fuzzy flowers as a symbolic way of reconnecting to spring, nature, and the traditions held by their ancestors long ago.
The walk was accompanied by traditional Russian/Slavic songs which filled the compound and took you back in time. Games and dances followed with more songs and traditional activities and crafts. The pechka, a brick oven located in the officers barracks, was lit and filled with delicious breads hand rolled by Kedry families. The ladies finished the afternoon with songs and textile crafts that included knitting and weaving demonstrations. It was a beautiful day to honor the connection between culture and nature and all that spring provides!