Ancient Cathedral

Redwood Cathedral

On the trail at Mount Hermon, a world away from home, I step into an ancient cathedral on sacred California ground. Red-brown priests stand tall, rough to the touch, embraced, entwined in ivy, swaying in the wind. I feel dizzy in their presence. They worship in creaks and groans beside a creek baptismal, that ripples the love of God into my soul with quiet gurgles, flips and dashes.

I wind my way down a steep path, lose my footing, swallow hard, wonder how I will ever ascend. Until I reach water level, sit in the soft sand beside the creek's turns, reflections, cleansing promises.

My mind is pressed with the incense of rotting twigs, fallen leaves, and the priests who yet wave heavenward on every side. I forget to dip my hand, cross myself "Father, Son, Holy Spirit". Too much in awe of this place, I lose my sense, my practice and leave without the liquid blessing.

Still. I see, remember. The ancient cathedral will always be mine.

Sun in the Redwoods photo, by L.L. Barkat.


LL's Return

LL's A Writer's Confession

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Regarding the Coup (a short note to God)

Dogwood & Hemlock

Today, in my Secret Place, I drink You in through emerald ivy and hemlocks hanging still in the sun. Sitting here so satisfied, it strikes me that the confinement of adults and children— between work and school and supposed "leisure" activities that always occur indoors— has a sense of spiritual battle in it.

After all, if sitting with Your creation is a powerful way for us to experience You, then surely to keep us from it is a cool deceit, a spiritual coup meant to disable us.

As Krista Tippett says in Speaking of Faith, "We appreciate religious mystery and truth in words and as often, perhaps, beyond them: in the presence of beauty...in silence." She says we are "starved for silence".

Is that not disabling, to be starved of beauty and silence? "Silence embraced," she continues, "stuns with its presence, its pregnant reality..." (p.52)

It is true. This world, with its swinging hemlock branches and little squirrels' feet and moldering pine needles, fragrant, this silent world is pregnant with You. Waiting to give birth to something in us. And too often we let it be taken from us, without resistance.

Dogwood Against the Hemlocks picture, by L.L. Barkat.

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