Forests Within Forests

Love all creation, the whole of it and every grain of sand within it. Love every leaf, every ray of God’s light. Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things. ~ Staretz Zosima; The Brothers Karamazov – by Fyodor Dostoevsky

All created things are marked with the seal of the Trinity... The contemplation of nature has two correlative aspects. First, it means appreciating the “thusness” or “thisness” of particular things, persons and moments. We are to see each stone, each leaf, each blade of grass, each frog, each human face, for what it truly is, in all the distinctness and intensity of its specific being. As the prophet Zechariah warns us, we are not to “despise the day of small things” (4:10). “True mysticism”, says Olivier Clément, “is to discover the extraordinary in the ordinary.” ~ Metropolitan  Kallistos Ware; The Orthodox Way

I discovered my first moss forest, around the age of 6, after attempting an exuberant cartwheel, and taking a nose-dive into a shady emerald pillow of puffy moss. Its mini forest seemed like a microscopic jungle, with perhaps millions of tiny tree-like spore stalks! If one were an actual fairy tale giant, this would be (no doubt) how one would view the world from on high.

When walking through nature I marvel at the many layers of forests. There are forests within forests. I may be in a forest, but, there on the nursing log laying beside the trail, is another kind of forest! Moss is an ancient organism, and has many uses. It’s amazing.

Truly, the so-called little things in life, when noticed, are actually Huge. Cosmic.

St. John Chrysostom says, “Nature is our best teacher.”

Indeed.

God’s Gift of Creation is intricately and mysteriously connected.

Let us open the noetic eyes of our heart to discover the extraordinary in the ordinary.

The world is more than we know.

Sweet Essence of Eden

Fragrant, plumeria blossom falls to rest on neighbouring Heliconia Rostrata leaf (Hanging Lobster Claw Flower) ~ Kauai 2023

Every flower is fragrant through the power of the Holy Spirit, in a delicate flow of aroma and tenderness of colour; the beauty of the Great contained in what is small. ~Akathist Glory to God for All Things, Kontakion 3

Without winter there would be no spring, and without spring there would be no summer. So it is also in the spiritual life: a little consolation, and then a little grief-and thus little by little we work out our salvation. Let us accept everything from the hand of God. ~St. Joseph the Hesychast

Everything that God has created is beautiful!

Even the flowers are full of grace!

Like so many places all over the world that are special to each one of us – to me, Hawaii is the Living Epitome of Heavenly Fragrance. It still contains the Sweet Essence of Eden with: Aromatic maile (MY-lee) leaves from the rainforest… Divinely fragrant, mangoes that hang as luscious, topaz jewels… Delightfully perfumed blooms of pikake, jasmine, lilies, and plumeria…

All of these and more, help awaken the numinous senses with Awe in Nature’s Mysterious Beauty of the Great.

When we perceive God’s Gift of Nature, how can we not admire it?

How can we not be grateful for consoling glimpses and reminders that Paradisiacal Eden – once our Original Home – is never very far away from us?

May we take time today to observe, touch and smell one flower!

May we listen to the still, small, voice of flowers that continue to magnify our Creator!

May we actively allow our day to be filled with the Sweet Essence of Eden and the Divine Fragrance of Christ!

Happy Sts. Peter & Paul Day!

July 12/June 29

Icon of Saints Peter (left) and Paul (right).

The long Apostles’ Fast is over!

Greetings on this ancient, joyful feast day, commemorating the Holy Apostles Saints Peter and Paul. They are celebrated together because of their great roles in the Church as fathers and guides to all Christians.

O first-enthroned among the apostles and teachers of the whole world: Entreat the Master of all, that He grant peace to the world: and great mercy to our souls. ~ Troparion of Apostles Peter & Paul (Tone 4)

With hymns of praise let us honour the true preachers of piety, the all-radiant stars of the Church: Peter, the rock of Faith, and Paul, the teacher of the truth and initiate of the mysteries of Christ. For both of them having sown the word of truth in the ears of the faithful beseech Christ God Who giveth fruitfulness unto all, that our souls be saved. ~ Stichera for Apostles Peter & Paul (Tone 6)

Remembering the Old English Poem associated with the tradition of harvesting lavender on (or around) this particular Feast Day, we added a small, fresh bouquet of Provence Lavender at the festal icon of Saints Peter and Paul. “If you wish lavender bushy and tall, then tend on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul.

We have 4 lavender bushes that need “tending”. Their harvested stems are bundled securely into individual bouquets, (but not too tightly, and making sure they’re not damp) then hung upside down (flowers at bottom) to dry in the house, avoiding direct sunlight. It can take about 3 weeks for the stems and flowers to dry. Meanwhile, the house smells amazing! Lavender can easily be made into drawer/closet/car sachets, sleep pillows, or kept/shared as a dried floral wall decoration. If they dry straight enough, you can pop them into a dry vase to keep. I also strip some buds off several stems and put them in a lidded glass jar and stored in a dark kitchen cupboard- for use in… tea, lemonade, vinaigrettes, or baking. During winter use, it’s a joy to remember they were picked on a sunny summer Saints’ Day! Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, pray to God for us!

Culinary Lavender Summer Recipes…
Lavender-Rose Vegan Mini Mochi
Lavender Dream Cookies

Happy Saint’s Day – Reader Peter H.! May God grant you many years!

Memory Eternal – J. Paul T. 🐓 and Paul G.!

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