Saturday, December 31, 2022

December 2022 In Town

December 2022 blog header
Urban Wilderness Lectionary Project for December

posada goats and sheep
• Goats and sheep who visited during our Posada and Toy Gift Shop. There also were chickens, but as an innkeeper I didn't get to visit them because they'd already been crated up and were ready to travel back home by the time I arrived at their pen.

posada toy shop
• Toy Shop and Snack sampler from our Posada Day.

Los Angeles Mountain Lion King P22
• They captured the Lion King of Los Angeles, NPS P-022, transported him to San Diego Zoo's Safari Park for observation, and after discovering the mostly Griffith Park resident puma-mountain lion was "drastically underweight" with kidney and heart failure, parasites, and injuries from a probable vehicular encounter, made the difficult decision to euthanize him. The sad loss of the big cat who roamed the wild and wonderful urban jungle of Los Angeles, often hanging out around the Hollywood Sign, was the top LA story of 2022. There's now a petition to get P-22 a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Here's P-22's official bio; you can read many more puma profiles on the National Park Service website, though the California Department of Fish and Wildlife manages mountain lions.

Christmas trees and Toy Shop Sign
• Toy Shop sign and Christmas Trees sampler on our Posada Day.

Living Local 2022
California backyard sunflower

Friday, December 09, 2022

Five Minute Friday :: Simple

home on the land
Five Minute Friday :: Simple Linkup

Do you know the song "Simple Gifts," written by Shaker elder Joseph Brackett in the mid-nineteenth century? It's made rounds as standalone music, became famous from its major part in Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring ballet score and symphonic landscape. The tune later assumed new life in Sydney Carter's "Lord of the Dance" that summarized Jesus' life from pre-existent Word through ascension.

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free,
'Tis the gift to come down where I ought to be;
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

Before considering a simple trajectory, I searched my iMac for farm because as complex and sophisticated farming has become, as much experience and intuition farmers always have needed for their land to yield quality crops, agriculture retains a sense of basics, an aura of simplicity, the reality of no value added—at least at harvest.

You well may love to snack on berries, fruit, or tomatoes whilst tending your backyard garden, but a lot of what the ground yields can't realistically be eaten as is. Minimally it needs to be washed, often cooked. Grains need to be dried, threshed, milled. You need to assemble and probably dress a salad; sauté, roast, or stir-fry veggies; combine ingredients before baking your classic bread, yet all those end products happen because of simple, untreated basics that come from the valley of love and delight. Right?

farm banner original ink drawing
Although I've done a little digital art from scratch, my best results come from analog pieces I scan and then modify on the computer. But if those simple originals are no good—the art I show the public won't be, either. I colored today's farm header image from a scan of the original simple drawing.

There's nothing wrong or amiss with my simple original ink on paper farm drawing, but like some newly harvested grains, fruits, or veggies, despite being a good start, it's not ready for literal consumption. You know what else? There's nothing more glorious than simple fresh-picked berries or sunstruck tomatoes. What are your favorites?

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Wednesday, December 07, 2022

Five Minute Friday :: Instant

Advent 2 candles and words of hope
Five Minute Friday :: Instant Linkup

Two Sundays ago we started to wait for Jesus' arrival again as the church began a new year of grace. Emmanuel—God with us. With so much in this century happening so fast you could call it instantaneous, the idea of waiting for anything feels countercultural because it is against the norms and habits of the dominant culture or way of doing life.

Yet waiting for light during the increasingly long days of December in the northern hemisphere feels like a natural and a wise thing to do. We assume a posture of patience amidst the urgency of knowing light is life at least as much as water is life. Jesus arrived on earth two millennia ago; in the power of the Holy Spirit the church continues his active presence here, but we still long for, wait, and hope for the fullness of Jesus here and now. We wait to celebrate Nativity again, to sing "Word of the Father, now in Flesh appearing" again.

Life essentials have become faster than they used to be. Fast food (comida rapida around here), instant breakfast. In contrast to snail mail that contrasts with pony express of ages past, we have instant messaging. People even tend to prefer texting to emailing because, ya know, emails are too slow. Fast fashion. Quickly assembled, with instant appeal because this style is trending today. Who cares about tomorrow? About yesterday?

Hey readers, the food, the fashion, the communications only look quick. None of them is instant in the least. Do you know how much time the ingredients spent growing, the farmers harvesting, trucks transporting, cooks preparing? What it takes to grow cotton, spin yarn, cut sew knit package ship? How about the centuries of tech that made DM, IM, text—and even email possible? Life never is instant.

Do you know how long God's people waited for a redeemer? How long did Jesus the primal word wait during the first eons long advent? God's promised advent never feels here, yet always is happening.

We spend most of our days in patient restlessness because the total fulfillment of that promise isn't yet. Slow fashion—better quality than fast? Slow food—more flavor than fast? Slow advent—better results than fast? Snail mail—better communication than a text? No worries, because no thing ever really is instant.

Two Sundays ago we started to wait for Jesus' arrival again as the church began a new year of grace. Emmanuel—God with us.
The one who testifies to these things says, "Surely I am coming soon."
Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!
Revelation 22:20
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