We bring fruit.

In his second epistle the Apostle Peter makes mention of the transfiguration of our Lord that occurred on Mt. Tabor; we heard this reading today in Divine Liturgy:

II PETER 1:10-19 

Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble;

for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth.

Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you,

knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me.

Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease.

For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.

For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.

And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts…

We were celebrating this wonderful Feast of the Transfiguration, when “as much as they could see it,” the Uncreated Light was revealed to three of Christ’s disciples. From where I was standing, I could see up high the fresco showing the event, and the disciples fallen to the ground. Matthew tells us that “He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.”

It’s traditional to bring fruit to be blessed at this feast:

And in our parish, which has a vineyard on the property, it’s also traditional to process
through the rows as the grapes are blessed while still on the vine.


I’d never noticed the wild blackberry bushes nearby, but on the way back
to the church they provided snacks for whoever would partake.

In his article, “Fruit of the Transfiguration,” Fr.  Vladimir explains the connection between this feast and the bringing of fruit as a sacrifice. In this season of the year when we harvest our earthly tomatoes and peaches and zucchini,  we also come near to the end of the liturgical year, and get a glimpse in Christ’s transfiguration of the ultimate fruit and goal of our spiritual life.

Later in the day my godmother sent me a short video lesson from Bishop Alexei of Alaska, in his series on the Nicene Creed. He was talking about how our faith in God as the Creator of everything seen and unseen helps us to have the right perspective on nature. He referred to the “golden pool of God’s love,” or “the golden pool of virtue,” which we can experience when we learn to focus our hearts not on that which is seen, but on the One who brought it all into being. This goldenness seems to be another way to express the radiance and light that comes to us in the person of the Savior.

He made me realize that the virtues are the spiritual fruits that this feast brings to mind. Again, God is the Creator and Source of all invisible things like faith and love and kindness and patience. Just as we are incapable of creating the contents of our fruit baskets that we brought this morning, so we are not creators of the virtues. But we can work the soil with our prayers, and irrigate with the sacraments, and receive with thanksgiving the graceful sunshine in our hearts. “All that we have comes from God and we give it out of His hand.” (I Chronicles 29:14)

On the Mountain You were Transfigured, O Christ God,
and Your disciples beheld Your glory as far as they could see it;
so that when they would behold You crucified,
they would understand that Your suffering was voluntary,
and would proclaim to the world,
that You are truly the Radiance of the Father!

A secretary of the invisible thing.

SECRETARIES

I am no more than a secretary of the invisible thing
That is dictated to me and a few others.
Secretaries, mutually unknown, we walk the earth
Without much comprehension.  Beginning a phrase in the middle
Or ending it with a comma.  And how it looks when completed
Is not up to us to inquire, we won’t read it anyway.

-Czeslaw Milosz

A Milosz poem in the original Polish. I like the doodlings that resemble my own “secretarial” scribblings, though I feel I am not as good at taking dictation.

A dream of walking.

“My dream, even now, is to walk for weeks with some friend that I love, leisurely wandering from place to place, with no route arranged and no object in view, with liberty to go on all day or to linger all day, as we choose; but the question of luggage, unknown to the simple pilgrim, is one of the rocks on which my plans have been shipwrecked, and the other is the certain censure of relatives, who, not fond of walking themselves, and having no taste for noonday naps under hedges, would be sure to paralyse my plans before they had grown to maturity by the honest horror of their cry, ‘How very unpleasant if you were to meet any one you know!’ The relative of five hundred years back would have said ‘How Holy!’”

― Elizabeth von Arnim, Elizabeth and Her German Garden

The Thracian Filly

by Ivy

My direct experience with horses was mostly long ago when some of my childhood friends owned them and I rode a few times. My late husband and I might have gone on a ride once, too. 95% of what I know about the animals intellectually I learned learned just a few months ago, from the Flicka series of books by Mary O’Hara. I’d wanted to read them for more than thirty years, as I saw my children enjoying them one by one. Finally I was in the mood and our well-worn paperback copies were still on the shelf —  just the right size, too, for reading in bed at night until my eyes would begin to close.

Mary O’Hara

I’ve never read anything like them; I kept wondering who was O’Hara’s intended audience. I used to think they were young adult novels, but now I realize they aren’t. They feature plot threads of coming-of-age, and the young love between one boy and a girl who also loves horses was very sweet and believable. But the adults’ perspective on their children, and the drama of their marriage, seemed to me to be beyond the scope of what a young person would be interested in.

I was surprised at how much the books were about the animals, the wild horses that are the main business of the Wyoming ranch where the family lives and where the boys are expected to participate in the work and bear serious responsibility to a degree that is rare these days. When I read this ancient poem it took me back to O’Hara’s stories, and especially the intimate knowledge of horse behavior that she seems to have.

In the books, not all of the wild horses that the horse tamers deal with are ultimately harnessed and saddled like the one in Ivy’s drawing, and everyone in the ranch family appreciates and respects their free and spirited friskiness and is careful not to entirely kill it.

THE THRACIAN FILLY

Ah tell me why you turn and fly,
My little Thracian filly shy?
Why turn askance
That cruel glance,
And think that such a dunce am I?

O I am blest with ample wit
To fix the bridle and the bit,
And make thee bend
Each turning-end
In harness all the course of it.

But now ’tis yet the meadow free
And frisking it with merry glee;
The master yet
Has not been met
To mount the car and manage thee.

-Anakreon (582 – 485 BC) Greece
Translated by Walter Headlam