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Spiritual Sundays

7 Apr

The Boy and I, by virtue of living in crunchy granola California, have turned increasingly spiritual and high-minded. Afloat on an ocean of good intentions and noblesse, we invite you to share this beautiful, light-radiant journey with us as we experience it each Sunday:

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Our first act of worship feeds the soul (and other assorted body parts). Gently-poached eggs rest calmly upon a pair of perfect crabcakes, drizzled with hollandaise and a smidgen of paprika. Completing the holy trinity is a side of herbed potatoes that can be best described as divine. The benediction virtually spills out of us and far in the distance, angels tune their harps.

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Consider it your fabulous fortune that you are about to be enlightened: Did you know Zoroastrians in India worship 3 grades of fire at 2 different kinds of fire temples? Agyaris, temples of the lesser fire, are places of worship where the fire consists of only 11 different varieties (from the homes of artisans, farmers, soldiers and civil servants, priests, etc.) Atash Behrams, temples of the greater fire, house a perenially-burning entity (as does an Agyari) that is the combination of 16 unique fires. Why am I sharing this today? Because the picture above is our version of an Agyari. Prostrating before Tiffany-blue platters and paying homage to lemon-print cushions, the Boy and I worship Our Lady of Immaculate Homesteads.

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Our next pilgrimage takes us to this vibrant green wood, a good indication of afterlife beauty. The hum of humanity falls away, and all at once, we are enveloped in A Great Calm. Here, we rest on this bench and ponder Questions of Significance. Like whether we should have ordered one pancake less that morning. Or whether almonds should be coated in dark chocolate or caramel. If our stomachs weren’t that loaded, we would feel our souls levitate.

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Turning our attention to more earthly pursuits, we gaze upon the wonder of this valley. Deer watch us from a distance, and so pious are we that not once do we discuss the venison cutlets at the Rendezvous in Pondicherry. Somewhere beyond those purple-hazed mountains lies an abbey that I would run into after trilling about hills and music and my heart wanting to sing every song it hears.

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At the entrance of our favorite forest, we take a moment to breathe. Heady from the oxygen-and-pine-needles high, we resemble whirling dervishes, spinning our sins away. Our veneration, friends, is about to get intense.

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The forest floor greets us, an emerald ocean of universal compassion, swathing us in its cool, unjudging love. It is the natural equivalent of the Hugging Amma, and we demonstrate obeisance by furiously capturing it for posterity. This is one deity that must grace our humble home.

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Presently, we chance upon a stream, and proceed to wash away our sins by wiggling toes and splashing each other’s sinful faces. Did you know we need to wash before we enter the inner sanctum of an Agyari or Atash Behram? For every cleanliness-obsessed Parsi, there are three rules on how to scrub behind the ears. Heaven seems just around the bend, as we are tempted to float on our backs and sail away to a parallel plane, where our spirit guides dole out personalized M&Ms in silvery gauze gift bags.

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But then, gentle reader, we chance upon this. And our wretched spirits soar to the tops of these cloud-cossetted trees, awed by this magical Land of Wishing Trees, and never mind the mixed Blyton references, have you ever seen a 5’9″ woman this dwarfed??? Even as our bodies shrink and our souls expand, we whisper gratitude into the ether and thank the universe for landing us plonk in the middle of this paradise.  Newly awash in this unique redwood incense, we turn homeward, blessed for being able to choose our definition of spirituality, and for this, the best of Sundays.

 

Feliz Navidad

25 Dec

This Christmas, we wish for peace.

In our hearts, homes, on the streets, in villages and cities, where all creatures dwell, and especially in places of conflict all over the planet.

Peace of mind, peace with our bodies, and the spirit of peace between us.

Merry Christmas, good people of the blog.  Here are some glimpses of our season so far.

[Credits: The Boy and his Pentax K5 DSLR (except Picture 1)]

From Darkness to Light

13 Nov

 

[Credits: OJ and her Olympus E-520 D-SLR]

Our warmest wishes for a bright festive season.

Paris Amour

30 Apr

The first time I met Ceej at a common friend’s party, he poured wine over my pizza, all the while yammering in a French accent, leaving me in splits. And no, neither of us was the least bit drunk. (In fact, I’ve never been drunk, but don’t let this declaration distract you.) Over the years, it became our funny routine–him spouting English in a French accent, me cracking up every single time. In Bombay, in Goa, in Stratford-upon-Avon, and London. And now, we were meeting in Paris, where the accent could come home to roost.

It was he who knocked on the door and received a bear hug from me. We were in Paris in the springtime–with a weekend to live it up!

Come walk/sail/ride with us through the city of amour:

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[Credits: OJ and her Olympus E-PL2 DSLR. And the stunning capital of France.]

But would I bore you by droning on about the touristy usuals: gawking at the Tour Eiffel, hopping on and off the Batobus, elbowing Chanel-crazed Chinese tourists at the Galleries Lafayette, whispering up at the Rose windows of the Notre Dame, taking in views of Paris from Sacre Coeur, downing one too many nutella crepes, cruising the Seine, nibbling at escargot and pain au chocolat, pinching oneself in disbelief at the Louvre, traipsing down the Champs Elysees?

Excitement of another kind lies in a political rally, a mere dozen days away from national elections, where a tourist from California was swept up in a frenzied crowd chanting “Nicola! Nicola!” and waving the colors we know as the Juliette Binoche movie trilogy. The mob hustled, the roar grew louder, the police were on high alert, children were passed from shoulder to shoulder, and little old ladies strained to wave to the President, who, having finished an impassioned speech, drove away in a massive convoy. Couple that with the Paris marathon and I’d call it a pretty eventful weekend. Even if we missed the Moulin Rouge thanks to a strep infection.

Ceej and I parted ways, he to Geneva, me to London, and we knew we’d meet in another country, another city, but he knew, and now I do too, that there is none like Paris in springtime.

You Don’t Sing Me Love Songs…

21 Mar

….but you do bring me flowers. One of two ain’t bad, no?

Hands up those who can name that song!

Oh, and Navroze Mubarak, lovely people. There’s a spring in my step and you’ll soon know why.

[Credits: OJ and her Olympus E-PL2 DSLR. And the Boy, for providing the subject.]

Meet Mt. Diablo

11 Mar

Last weekend, the Boy and I drove to Mt. Diablo State Park for some photography and rambling. Armed with cameras, hats and enough water to drench Nevada, here’s what I did with my afternoon:

Meet Bushy. The squirrel with an attitude. “I charge, you know,” he said, before deigning to pose.

I love roots. Especially mine. :mrgreen: These aren’t too shabby though.

Clearly, I was barking up the right tree.

This one made me think of ‘The Woman in Black’. And that creeped me out.

So I moved on to brighter subjects. Like this web in the sun.

Before branching out into Creepsville again.

Hello, smiled the solitary ornithologist. And disappeared into the trees.

So I busied myself with more available men. One, to be precise.

And got distracted by the most breathtaking visual of the day.

~The End~

[Credits: OJ and her Olympus E-PL2 DSLR, with a 40-150mm zoom lens, and art filters. Yeah, I’m fancy like that.]

Beginnings

31 Oct

[Credits: OJ and the Boy’s  Olympus E-520 DSLR.]

Here’s to them. May they be crisp and fresh and straining at the seams with hope.

The season’s gladdest wishes to you, my friends. You are in my thoughts.