The face of the earth ever renewed.

common yarrow

This sunny morning my neighbor Kim and I drove separately to the coast and met for a walk. On my winding way through the hills, I noticed Queen Anne’s Lace swaying in the breeze along the roadway. Trees, grasses and shrubs were painted in the gentlest pastel colors of lavender, green, and yellow-orange. The Psalter played through my speakers, and one of the Psalms I heard was 104, which is part of every Orthodox Saturday Vespers. It begins:

Bless the Lord, O my soul!

O Lord my God, You are very great:
You are clothed with honor and majesty,
Who cover Yourself with light as with a garment,
Who stretch out the heavens like a curtain.

He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters,
Who makes the clouds His chariot,
Who walks on the wings of the wind,
Who makes His angels spirits,
His ministers a flame of fire.

beach suncup

Once we set out at our brisk pace, I was distracted somewhat from my surroundings, except through my bare feet, which kept me tuned to the cool and firm sand under them, or the waves that splashed over. Though lots of people walked close to the surf, the beach in general wasn’t crowded. I had the feeling it must be the healthiest place around, with the quantities of sea air flowing freshly in and around us all.

I lost track of time. Eventually we parted in the parking lot, and then I wandered by myself in the dunes for a while looking at flowering plants known and unknown to me. I’ve managed to identify most of them — I think.

Ribwort Plantain
Silver Beachweed
non-native sand spurry
what we call ice plant – native of South Africa
Buck’s-horn Plantain

O Lord, how manifold are Your works!
In wisdom You have made them all.
The earth is full of Your possessions—
This great and wide sea,
In which are innumerable teeming things,
Living things both small and great.
There the ships sail about;
There is that Leviathan
Which You have made to play there.

These all wait for You,
That You may give them their food in due season.
What You give them they gather in;
You open Your hand, they are filled with good.
You hide Your face, they are troubled;
You take away their breath, they die and return to their dust.
You send forth Your Spirit, they are created;
And You renew the face of the earth.

Yellow Bush Lupine

If I hadn’t had another obligation in the afternoon, I think I would have meandered up and down the coast till dusk. I’ve never been more thankful that I live close enough to be in the domain of the sand and the sea and the flowers, on a warm and sweet June day.


14 thoughts on “The face of the earth ever renewed.

  1. This is an interesting variety of seaside plants – I am happy to see what you call an ice plant from my part of the world too. They are called vygies in Afrikaans – a reference to the fruit which has a similar shape to a fig.


    1. I noticed that a couple of the common names my identification app suggested for “ice plant” included the word “fig.” Is it used as a freeway landscape plant in its native land? Because another name here is reportedly “Freeway Ice Plant”!


  2. Oh, how I wish I could drive to the coast, or even a big lake! It’s okay. My blue sky will have to be my water. Growing up in the PNW, I had the coast but also the clouds and rain. Here we have BIG SKY which is a different kind of blessing. I love your musings and your observations, good thinker. The Psalter. LOVE.


  3. Wandering around in the sand dunes all day looking and paying attention…. what could be better? So great that you were able to do just that.


  4. I am so with you on loving the ocean. I went there this afternoon with my mom, but up here in Oregon. Our first official summer day was just beautiful, and there’s no better place to enjoy it than at the beach. I love to walk in the sand where the surf can wash over my feet. I love the air, the feeling, the color of the water, everything! But I couldn’t tell you the name of a single one of the plants there! You are like my good friend, Laurie in your curiosity and love of gardens and plants, and I think that you are both amazing. And your love for the Lord is so sweet and inspiring, too.


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