Tag Archives: lavender

The hours of the ultimate hour.

In 2018 Orthodox Easter, Pascha, falls on April 8th, a week later than Easter in the West. So today is our remembrance of Christ’s Entrance into Jerusalem, Palm Sunday. Saturday evening I am writing after attending our Vigil service for the feast, where  toward the end of the service we were given palm branches to hold, to take home and bring back tomorrow morning and hold them all through Divine Liturgy.

This morning, on the feast of Lazarus Saturday, another feast of victory, five catechumens were baptized and received into the church. The scent of holy chrism drifted over to me as they were being anointed in chrismation and I began to weep.

All week the Newly Illumined will wear their white robes to services. I caught a picture of one of them receiving a hug. What a gloriously happy day for us all!

You can see how even before palms were given into hands, the cathedral was fully decorated with them. Blooms are opening to decorate the church gardens about now as well.

I wanted to share an excerpt from a pamphlet on Holy Week by Fr. Alexander Schmemann:

But as in Lazarus we have recognized the image of each man, in this one city we acknowledge the mystical center of the world and indeed of the whole creation. For such is the biblical meaning of Jerusalem, the focal point of the whole history of salvation and redemption, the holy city of God’s advent. Therefore, the Kingdom inaugurated in Jerusalem is a universal Kingdom, embracing in its perspective all men and the totality of creation.

For a few hours – yet these were the decisive time, the ultimate hour of Jesus, the hour of fulfillment by God of all His promises, of all His decisions. It came at the end of the entire process of preparation revealed in the Bible: it was the end of all that God did for men. And thus this short hour of Christ’s earthly triumph acquires an eternal meaning. It introduces the reality of the Kingdom into our time, into all hours, makes this Kingdom the meaning of time and its ultimate goal.

The Kingdom was revealed in this world – from that hour – its presence judges and transforms human history. And at the most solemn moment of our liturgical celebration, when we receive from the priest a palm branch, we renew our oath to our King and confess His Kingdom as the ultimate meaning and content of our life. We confess that everything in our life and in the world belongs to Christ, nothing can be taken away from its sole real Owner, for there is no area of life in which He is not to rule, to save and to redeem.

– Fr. Alexander Schmemann

Leaves and flowers before the rain.

gl-2016-10-24-09-38-16My early walk was so variously interesting and nourishing, I thought it alone would have taken all morning. First thing, down by the creek I got the briefest glimpse of a strange bird, not a jay but with blue around its head somewhere, and I heard its call, but it always flew through the trees just out of sight.

The skies were cloudy, my house was chilled, but the air outdoors was gentler than is typical for these parts, and all the deciduous trees made their own light against the dark background. It was natural to be looking up, and to notice the music of bird conversations. I was made aware today of how wild birds live their own separate existence, so mysterious and otherworldly. When one is caught in a camera lens or is slowed down by an injury, making it possible for me to draw a little closer and examine the feathers or the colors, or to look in the bright eyes, the only reasonable response is reverence.


And yet, the creatures are everywhere. It is estimated that there are 10,000 bird species and 200 – 400 billion individual birds in the world. Most of the free ones seem always to be just beyond reach, airy and on the move. Egrets at least will stand still long enough to be stared at. This morning a human mom, her baby in a stroller, was looking over the bridge, and when I asked her if she’d seen any waterfowl, told me about two egrets down by the next bridge. I went there, but they were gone.


What I did see was a turkey vulture! Normally I think they are repulsive, but that may be because they are circling a dead something on the ground, or eating carrion on the highway. When I saw this one sitting on the bank of the creek, all parts but his head looked almost pretty. He was so slow and still, I think he might have been sick or injured. When I came closer he flew clumsily on to a nearby branch.

A breeze was coming up — rain was on its way. Some of the leaves were hard to capture with my camera as they fluttered and waved around, and I thought it amusing that I was so determined to take more Autumn Color pictures. It seemed that just a couple of days ago I was thinking that I was tired of them. It is true, this saying of G.K. Chesterton: “There is no such thing on earth as an uninteresting subject; the only thing that can exist is an uninterested person.” Today, I was keen on leaves.


“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”
― Albert Camus

My plan was, when I came homegl-yarrow-lavender-10-24-16, to finish cleaning up the yard before the rain came and made that kind of work more tedious. For some reason two of my lavender bushes are still blooming, but as even they are at the end of the season, I began to prune them back, and then I realized I could bring the cuttings into the house for a dry bouquet. And why not add some yarrow blooms; they are untiring in their production of yellow flowers.

The basil that was spindly and reluctant all summer has beefed up and made something of itself in the last weeks, so I cut all of it and thought I would make a batch of pesto.


And why not bake a cake? Housemate Kit was due to return home today after several months in Guatemala on a missions trip, and wouldn’t she like a cake when she came in from driving through the rain for hours? I’ll tell you more about the cake in another post, but let me just say that it had chocolate in it, and what with all the sampling of 60% cacao chips, and licking of batter and tasting of crumbs, I was getting plenty of caffeine to excite my brain for hours to come – like now.

When I was thick in the business of messing up the whole kitchen with flour, flowers, and cake crumbs, I got the news that some cousins I had expected tomorrow  were also driving down through the storm and arriving this evening instead, and would take me out to dinner.

So the rain came drizzling as I was baking; then sprinkling while I washed the dishes; and by dinnertime it was pouring very encouragingly. After Chinese dinner we came home and Kit had arrived – we all ate cake together, and put the basil in the fridge for tomorrow.


Busy as Bees

Bumblebee on Hot Lips salvia

Tonight at dusk when I was sprinkling the basil through the hose nozzle, I saw a couple of bumblebees frantically getting their last drops of nectar from the Hot Lips salvia bush. It was really hard to get a picture of this one because he was in such a hurry floating and buzzing from one bloom to the next.

Pippin was sitting on the swing with me this week and she noticed as I had, that the honeybees favor the lavender, while the big black bumbles stick to the salvia. Or maybe it is that there are so many honeybees that they get first pick of the bushes, and the few bumblebees segregate to whatever is left over.

The honeybees like the lambs ears, too. I am thrilled to have so many bushes near my swing where I can see hardworking creatures fulfilling their purposes. I put this one in the shadow of my head to get a good shot.

Two lavenders and Hot Lips

Mr. Glad and I have been as busy as bees ourselves. For four days we took care of little Scout again; he keeps us running up and down the stairs and all over the garden, and sometimes we take walks through the neighborhood along the bike path. I showed him the wild fennel and how the young shoots especially are tender for munching and taste like licorice.

wild fennel and blackberry bloom

He’s a quite friendly fellow, and as we were standing on the side of the path nibbling our greens he was lucky to see some people walking a dog. He held up the fennel frond and called to them, “We’re having a picnic!”  It’s only been about three weeks since I was dreaming about picnics I might make happen Someday. That fennel picnic happened with so little effort and no planning at all.

PomPom was just writing about picnics this week and pointed out that our Lord’s feeding of the 5,000 was a blessed picnic indeed. I’m pleased to see that my grandson has a good start on appreciating how substantial are the little things God has growing along the path of life.

Last week I was buzzing with joy, flying down the state a ways to greet the new grandson “Liam.” A couple of days after that, Mr. Glad and I went to a Giants baseball game, which is pretty much an all-day commitment. It was fun to see our team beat L.A.

Then there were the several days with Scout and his mama. And no sooner had they departed for home than we were sent on three errands of mercy in one day. My mister had to drive a distance for the last one of these and isn’t home yet.

Back in April in the Prologue of Ohrid I noticed a couple of references to saints whom St. Nikolai compared to honeybees flying about carrying honey, or laboring diligently at the work for which they were created. Just watching the bees as I rest on my swing makes me happy, and the sight of them reminds me that after a short break I need to be up and at my work again.

I’d like to be more like the honeybees. When the last bumblebee was anxiously trying to get more salvia nectar, all the honeybees had gone from the lavender. They knew enough to give up for the day and go to bed. And so shall I.