Tag Archives: water

We are watered by mystical streams.

“Today the whole creation is watered by mystical streams.”THP1120160crp

This was one of the lines from the rich 7th-century composition of Patriarch Sophronios of Jerusalem, which was among the readings of Theophany and the Great Blessing of Water that we heard yesterday. More than ever before, I experienced the feast as a shining of The Light of the World and the refreshment of The Living Water, partly because of words like this in the service.

The quantity of verbal expression of various aspects of our faith is really overwhelming, and I can only process what seems to be a small fragment, each time when the different feasts roll around again.

First we celebrated Divine Liturgy in our “big church.” I had the same experience as last week, in the way the morning sun streamed down through a high window and hit me in the face. This time I wasn’t completely blinded; if I squinted just so, the candles and lamps flickering around the church appeared, for those few minutes, as they might outdoors on a foggy night, perhaps carried by worshipers in a procession of the “Feast of Lights.”

It happens that a photo was posted to our parish Facebook page, taken by someone who was there that day last week, and it shows the church with the bright beam that angled across the altar and nave and fell on me. Mr. Glad said, “You need to find another place to stand,” and I answered, “Oh, no, I like it when that happens.” Actually, I don’t often get to be in that place.TH ray of sunlight 1-2-15crp Both times I was on the left in front of a pillar. On Theophany, when the light was coming in the chandeliers were also being set swinging nearby; we were singing a hymn, and the sweetest incense was beautifying the air to honor the Lord.

After Liturgy we processed to the “little church” for The Blessing of Water, accompanied by the bells and singing together. The service opens with:

THP1120222light and water 15“The voice of the Lord upon the waters cries out, saying, ‘Come all of you, receive the Spirit of wisdom, the Spirit of understanding, the Spirit of the fear of God, of Christ who has appeared.’”

We heard multiple readings from Isaiah such as, “Ho, everyone that thirsts: come ye to the water.”

And more images from the exuberant service of blessing:

The land and the sea have divided between them the joy of the Lord….

King of all, you accepted also to be baptized in the Jordan by the hand of a servant, so that, having sanctified the nature of the waters, you, the sinless one, might make a way for our rebirth through water and Spirit and re-establish us in our original freedom.

The Jordan turned back and the mountains leapt as they saw God in thetheophany light and water pouring 15 flesh, and the clouds uttered their voice, marveling at what had come to pass, seeing Light from Light, true God from true God, the Master’s festival today in Jordan; seeing him drowning the death from disobedience, the goad of error and the bond of Hell in Jordan and granting the Baptism of salvation to the world.

On the home front, Theophany was the day Mr. Glad wanted to take down the Christmas tree. I resisted that idea for a long time, though I tried not to reveal my stubbornness. We had an easier time getting it out than we’d had installing it.

This morning coming downstairs I was startled by the bare space where the tree had been, but I quickly thought of how we have entered the season of house blessings, when by prayer and faith we will receive much more than we have lost — indeed, a different order of gifts, the “mystical streams” that are so hard to capture in words but impart the very Light of Christ Himself.

Christ Himself told us about these realities, as we read in the Gospel of John, when he said, “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water’….whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

This is the best way to enter a new year.

Rainyness

sage & rain 9-11-14

Just hours after my last post, my prayer for rain, showers did fall on us. I knew that there had been a weatherman’s chance of that in addition to our hope. P.G., as the Irish say, Please God, there will be a dampening in those places that need it most, to retard the incendiary possibilities!

When I drew the blinds this morning, a hummingbird was feeding at the Mexican Bush Sage, but when I went to get my camera he must have gone home and got the message that it’s too wet right now for that, because he never would come back. But he will, and a passel of relations with him, because they love this sage.

I’ve been wanting to take a picture of our bush that is humongous this summer. It only came into full bloom within the last week or so, but it will keep going until Christmas and beyond. It’s a plant whose stems must be cut to the ground every winter, and then this happens! Without being irrigated, I might say. Not long ago I included it here in a list of drought-tolerant plants.

So thankful for a rainy day, even if it doesn’t register on the rain gauge. A friend is bringing Indian food for lunch today – and doesn’t that sound perfect?

sage w cross 9-11-14

green and blue coastal views

As I mentioned in my last post, we took a short trip down to California’s Central Coast – which we were amused to hear referred to as The North Coast, by those evidently oriented not to the whole state, but to Los Angeles…?

While anticipating the getaway, which was all my dear husband’s idea, I started thinking about the edges of the oceans, and how they give us a certain perspective. If you sit or stand on the shore and look seaward, you have all those millions of people behind you, and before you a vastness of water and sky to soothe the eyes and mind, and to make you think. Why don’t we all constantly gravitate to the coastlands so that we can be philosophers? It must be because we have so many worthy things we are called to DO.

Part of me wants to philosophize in this post, about a score of ideas and realities that are connected in a fascinating way. I could even write a short book for me to read about the ramblings of my mind over the last week, stimulated as it was by books and movies and history and theology that all seemed to relate to our trip.

But I will restrain myself, because I had my time sitting by the shore and now that I’m back inland I need to get on with other things. I won’t want to take the time to read that book anyway, so I’ll just make this a simple chronological report.

It was at Paso Robles on Hwy 101 that we cut over toward the coast, and the hills began to be greener, with even greener fields of newly-sprouted Something scattered here and there. The farms! Of course we have lots of farms in our county, too, but south of us they grow lots of different things and it does my heart good to see it. Thank you, Lord, for sending the rain to green-up the hills that will soon be golden — and brown — again.

Our hotel room in Cambria had a lovely view from the balcony, not just of the ocean, but also of the lush gardens on the property, with some of those favorite plants that I only see when away from home, like proteas and our beloved Pride of Madeira.

Pride of Madeira

The latter is one that we enjoyed many times on wedding anniversary trips we’ve taken, because it blooms in March. This time I told Mr. Glad that we might consider it “Our Flower.”

a protea
town of Cambria from the boardwalk


As soon as we brought in our bags we set off on the boardwalk along the long strand of Moonstone Beach, which appears to have a population of thousands of ground squirrels living under it. They popped up on one side or another every few feet to say hello and beg demurely.

Many benches sit along the boardwalk, too, providing places for philosophers to gaze out at the great beyond. Some had extra, very personalized signs and plaques, screwed into them.

Down below we scrambled on the rocks and found crabs and snails and seaweed in the cracks and tidepools.

All the salt water stands in stark contrast to the drought that is especially bad on the California coast. At our very nice restaurant in Cambria they charged us for water with dinner! Just 30 cents for a bottle, but enough to draw attention to the problem and prevent the waste of all those glasses of water that diners might ignore.

When we left Cambria we drove south and stopped near the town of Harmony to try out the Harmony Headlands trail that cuts through a swath of farmland to link up with coastal bluffs. We could smell the sagey-beachy scent that let us know the ocean was just over the hill, but we never seemed to be reaching a place from which to get even a distant view of it, so we eventually gave up and turned back. On the way back to the car this snake slithered off the edge of the trail. When I followed him into the field he froze and posed.

Neither of us had ever been to the town of Cayucos, which was our next stop. We liked this place a lot, with its casual and less touristy flavor. It used to be a shipping hub in the late 1800’s, and it’s close enough to San Luis Obispo and the college of “Cal Poly” that there were lots of students in town, and surfers to watch as we relaxed on the sand near the old pier.

Cayucos from the pier

At one end of the beach a woman drew in the sand with her foot, to draw attention to a seal pup that was lying like a lump near the shore. I did think it was a lumpy rock, until I saw her circle.

She was also standing guard against dogs who had been bothering the animal that she said was malnourished and waiting for the marine mammal rescue people to come. When a group of school children approached, the pup lifted its head long enough for me to snap a picture.

blue ceanothus, cistus, and CA poppies

Later in the week on our way home I got in more close-up views of some favorite Spring-y color combinations — at a highway rest area!

My tangible souvenirs were three, two rocks and a piece of sea glass, my material Gifts From the Sea. As to non-material and most valuable things gained….I’ll be meditating a long time on that realm of Beauty.

wintertime loves

We in the arid parts of the West have been exulting in rain the last week or so. It’s so comforting and even glorious to wake in the night and hear the rain still coming down. Then to wake in the morning and see it is still falling. We had puddles in the back yard! Thank you, Lord!

Mr. Glad and I do live in northern California, but daughter Pippin lives even farther north in the state, and we drove there early this week for a short visit. Often February is a very snowy month at her place, but this year they’ve had more dry weather and rain than snow, and even the rain stopped while we were there, so we could get outdoors easily for work and recreation.

One day we made a family project out of pruning old apple trees that Pippin and The Professor are trying to revive from years of neglect. I floated back and forth between lopping branches and swinging the kids.

I would get Scout and Ivy going and then run over
to take a picture of the adults on ladders.

Another day we took a short trip to Castle Crags State Park and walked a trail alongside the Sacramento River. Considering the dryness of this year, I was amazed at the thick moss and ferns.

 A pale green, almost white lichen grew on rocks and tree stumps.

yew trees on the riverbank

Everything was wet from the recent rains, and many times our feet slipped on the invisible mosses — or was it algae? — growing on wooden bridges or river rocks.Ivy practiced throwing pebbles into the river, and once she got the hang of it she did not want to do anything else. The supply of rocks was endless.We went to the confluence of Castle Creek (in the foreground below) and the Sacramento River, from which you can get great views of the jagged rocks above, called the Castle Crags. They are high enough that the recent precipitation there was in the form of snow, and some was still unmelted and visible.


My dear husband showed me this large and artsy rock, which you can also see in the photo at the very top of this post, in its original setting. I wanted to take it home. It was a little too heavy for me to carry, so The Professor hauled it back to the car. It came with us on our journey home and is now living by our house. Mr. Glad classified it as a confluitic rock. 🙂

Winter days are short enough that at the end of our busy days there was plenty of time for cozy gatherings in the kitchen or by the wood stove. I read many books to the children. Scout’s current favorite, which I read about on a blog before Christmas and gave to him, is Bumblebee at Apple Tree Lane, and we read it several times.

Ivy likes The Little Fur Family best right now. We danced to the children’s favorite recordings, and also listened to bird calls on the Stokes Field Guide to Bird Songs CD. After ten minutes of loons and other waterfowl, Ivy must have deduced that those bird songs were some kind of dance music, too, and she started twisting and prancing around.

Hot soup is what you need on a winter’s night, so Pippin and I learned how to make French Onion Soup, using the recipe in The New Best Recipe: All-New Edition by Cook’s Illustrated Magazine. The secret that the Cook’s testers learned is that red onions give the best flavor. Our result was sooo good.

And cookies! Pippin had some dough left in the freezer from her Christmas Peppernuts, the recipe that I concocted a long time ago but haven’t made for years. We like our nuts to be nut-sized, so we always cut the frozen dough into little cubes and bake them long enough that they come out crispy. Next Christmas I’ll give the recipe.But for now, since I do love cookies, they make a good ending to my story of a wintry family visit that was warm and sweet.

peppernuts 13-14