Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Last week I took a field trip to the Getty Villa in Malibu. I especially wanted to see an exhibit called Molten Color: Glassmaking in Antiquity.

I'd take a core-formed two-inch "White Perfume Flask with Purple Zigzags, Greek, 600-300 B.C." over over a two-ton Dale Chihuly installation any day.

I was equally mesmerized by this grape arbor tucked into one side of the reflecting pool (which was devoid of water due to Southern Cal's dire drought). Shades of ancient Rome, Bacchus, molten light, and the bittersweet changing of the seasons.

Afterward I meandered over a south-facing balcony to catch a glimpse of the Pacific through hillsides of eucalyptus and sycamore. Suddenly I felt a fluttering at my elbow--a flock of uniformed schoolkids wanting a peek at the view as well. "Come," I said, and ceded my place, and looked back to admire them--joyful, pointing, taking pictures--like a row of little birds in their identical blood-red polo shirts.

In the bookstore I bought a postcard of St. Michael the Archangel (Constantinople, first half of the 14th century), whose prayer I have memorized and use frequently to good advantage.

On the way back, I stopped in Santa Monica at a yarn store. Come late September, a girl's thoughts turn to scarves.

From there, I walked over to Staples and bought a 2015 At-A-Glance Tabbed Weekly Calendar.

Then I wandered down to the Huckleberry Cafe and Bakery, braved the hordes of screenwriting hipsters, and purchased a ham and gruyere croissant to go (fair).

Pacific Coast Highway was all ripped up, with orange cones and jackhammers; and traffic on the 10-E proceeded at a horrific crawl the whole ten miles to my exit.

I listened to Horowitz playing Scarlatti and thought about how instructive life in LA can be, if only you let it. Pain built into the joy;  hardship built into the hoped-for easeful field trip; squalor built into the beauty; and inexhaustible life tinged, always, with death.

That's the way of the world. Which is why God gave us wine.


  1. That's a hell of a drought not to allow water in a reflecting pool at a museum.

  2. Yes, so God gave us wine. It is amazing you can say that given that you know you can't drink. And yet you can still give God's gift to us. I have to be very careful how much I drink. 3 of 15 people in my immediate family are definitely alcoholic, so it is a danger we all carry. I try to say "only three days this week, and not more than one!" And so the battle continues...my greatest struggle admitting that my insecurities make me run to the thought that I am better than everyone else -that is my morphine. And when I examine it I see the silliness of the temptation. Thanks to healthy communtities in this world: families, churches, blogs, groups and so on. Wherever the One sought is not ourselves, but others in Him and Him in others. I find that here. Thanks for working with Him to help others change their bland waters into divinized wines!

  3. Love your writing, am an avid fan in Rome (originally from L.A.). Stay away from thoughts of wine - that last line scared me. I'm the oldest girl (now past menopause) of 4 kids and have a big sister complex, can't help it, forgive me but you're like my hero. Thank you for sharing your richness with us. God bless you and may Archangel Michael always protect you.

  4. I understand that even the mention of wine maybe triggering--but I do not think that Heather is even close to suggesting that the wine God provides is for someone to get blitzed in the literal sense. However, intoxication is most definitely part of any religious experience... A cup that runneth over--but instead of blackouts, leads to clarity. Instead of the shroud of darkness and booze disabling our inhibitions to indulge in a hook-up to relieve our hearts desperate need and longing for connection-- it disengages our inhibitions in the light to truly empty ourselves and connect with another soul in a way that brings sustaining joy rather than simply a rush of pleasure followed by shame and depression. It is the intoxication that allows us to be seen, that disarms us, that brings our weary and battle worn bodies into a place of sanctuary in which we allow others to see and heal the parts of us that in any other situation we would never reveal. This is why God gives us wine--that we become drunk on love, dependent on connection, and fearless with our hearts. Anyway, that's how I see it.

  5. Yes, not to worry. He gave us wine and those of us who can't drink it in safety can still rejoice for those who can. And the old can rejoice for the young, and drought makes us ever more grateful for every drop of water, and the beauty of the grapes and the vines and the light inure to us all. Early fall brings up these sorts of thoughts!

    Soul of Christ, save me
    Body of Christ, sanctify me
    Blood of Christ, inebriate me...

    Thanks to both of you...

  6. I mean thanks to all three of you!


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