Surely paradise must be very much like Southern California in early September. Sometimes I wish these late summer afternoons would last forever. Recently I was headed to a seven o'clock Taize "hour of prayer" at St. Francis but first I took a long walk, up and around the steep streets north of Sunset Boulevard, lost in thought, the air rich with the fragrance of lavender and wild fennel and sage. Way up near the top of the hill, I ran into a shirtless man who was also walking.
Apparently we'd passed one another because he stopped and said "Is this your regular walk? I saw you up at the crest."
"Yeah, I'm out here all the time, wandering about."
"I live over by the Franklin Hills but I thought I'd come over this way today. I've had heart surgery so I have to get my exercise. Beautiful, isn't it?"
We stopped and gazed out over the hills, at the cypresses and the palms and the sky just beginning to turn pink.
"Beautiful," I agreed.
"This time of year...there's a reason they call it the Golden State."
I extended my hands, palms up, as if to embrace the whole world.
"We love L.A." I summarized.
Such serendipitous moments of communion are some of the sweetest fruit of the contemplative life.
And all the way down the hill to church, I thought, That was Christ. I just ran into Christ.
|cross, lit at night, on hill above Forest Lawn cemetery in Glendale, California|