Category Archives: Psalms

Botanical with Familial

GL Tilden succulents 9-15

This weekend I had the unusual experience of having separate visits back-to-back with the families of two of my children: one on Friday midday, the other Friday night and Saturday. First Soldier and Joy invited me to meet them at Tilden Park in the Berkeley hills, a place I’ve been a few times in my life, most notably as a Brownie attending day camp there in ages past.

GL Tilden Bot Grdn path 9-15
Tilden Park Botanic Garden
GL rabbitbrush Tilden 9-15
Rabbit Brush

This park covers more than 2,000 acres, which makes it twice as vast as Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, which already is 20% larger than New York’s Central Park. Within its boundaries you can find wilderness areas, a lake and a golf course; ride the merry-go-round or horses, and feast on great views of San Francisco Bay. We only had time to focus on three pleasures.

GL No Calif Fuschia Tilden 9-15
Northern California Fuschia

Our firsP1000830crp G w Liamt fun was riding the little steam train that winds around among the oaks and conifers. Liam took careful note with a serious countenance of the scenery going past, but Laddie has little patience for sitting still, so he was glad to get off again and run. We soon were picnicking on pasties and lemon cake that Joy had brought, and then decided to look at the botanical gardens.

These gardens were founded in 1940 and have well established and extensive paths and plantings. Even though it is late summer, we found many flowers and things to look at, but we all imagined coming back in the spring to see it when it is not so dry.

GL Tilden sign 9-15

It showcases California native plants, from all over the state, which are often grouped in habitats imitating their natural homes, such as a redwood forest and a mountainous granite slope.

GL Tilden Bot. Gardens redwood grove 9-4-15
redwood grove

GL Bodega Coast from Head 9-5-15

Since a couple of our party were people who need their naps, and I had the nasty three o’clock rush hour traffic ahead of me, we weren’t able to ramble long enough to feel completely satisfied in our explorations, so I think we all want to return another time. Hugs good-bye, and home I went.

A couple of hours after I arrived home, Pearl’s family came to visit, all but one. The oldest is in the process of flying out of the coop, so their numbers are diminished. We had a relaxed visit, especially for the first twelve hours or so, and then we drove out to Bodega Bay for lunch and hiking.

GL crp bayshore shallows
bayshore shallows

We also couldn’t do everything we’d have liked. The Marine Lab is closed on Saturdays, and we had hoped to visit there. But we did go out on Bodega Head and hike up to the bluffs – what a gorgeous day we had for it! The Northern Coast is foggy a lot in the summer, until August and especially September when you can hit more pleasant weather. Today was not too warm, and the breeze didn’t turn into wind. We could do without our sweaters most of the time.

GL crp lotus
lotus
GL crp yellow lupine pods
yellow lupine with seed pods

Out here nothing is getting watered, and the hills were a dull brown. I kept thinking of the sign from the park yesterday. But as usual, I found many specimens of plants that interested me, mostly old friends. Because I’m planting a new garden, and hope to have a greenhouse in it, I broke off some of the crackly seed pods from the big yellow lupine bushes, and dropped them into a pocket of my purse. Maybe I can get them to grow at home.

Pearl and Maggie and everyone departed in the afternoon, and I went to Vespers, which is always a blessing; but on a day when I’ve been out in nature it is especially lovely to hear Psalm 104 which always opens the service, with its mention of the watery depths, the birds and mountains, trees and grasses, and how God lovingly provides for all of us.

GL cormorant rock Bodega Head
Cormorants on rock

All creatures wait on thee to give them their food in due season.

GL Bodega Bay from Head 9-5-15
Bodega Bay from the Head

When thou givest to them, they gather it up;

When thou openest thy hand, they are filled with good things.

….

How manifold are thy works, O Lord!

In wisdom hast thou made them all…

Yes, this has been my experience.

The earth is full of the Lord’s mercy.

This passage I just happened to read today seems to be just right for contemplating at the beginning of a new year. Its focus is the Lord’s nature and works, but it includes instruction to us humans, too. The second line makes me think how all of our art and culture ought to be to His glory, and done to the best of our ability, demonstrating the best of our humanity made in His image.

Sing to Him a new song;
Sing praises beautifully with a shout.
For the word of the Lord is right,
And all His works are done in faithfulness.
He loves mercy and judgment;
The earth is full of the Lord’s mercy.

Psalm 32: 3-5 (Septuagint)

Lord, fill us with Your Holy Spirit this year so that 

we would be in unity with that mercy that your earth is full of, 

and may our lives be a beautiful praise song to You.

I lie down in a pasture.

As my last post was contrary to my blogging principles, describing something Ugly, I now feel it urgent to put up Something I Especially Like.

Last night was one of those when I lie awake for hours in the middle of the time when I want very much to be asleep. (This morning I realized the problem stemmed from drinking very strong tea at an afternoon wedding.) Sometimes while in this predicament I manage to stop grumbling and to pray instead, and my favorite thing to pray is the 23rd Psalm.

20 to 25 years ago and even earlier I used to have the children copy out and learn a poem every month, and I ran across some of their work yesterday. I get sentimental looking at the handwriting and printing, knowing right away what poem was copied by whom. But I won’t reveal that information. I’ll just say for the record that this psalm was printed by a boy! (Click on the picture if you want a more readable version.)