We flew to California to celebrate Thanksgiving withfamily. We were in Long Beach only 5days, but we packed many activities intothis short time. Before we left we boardedour cats Cody and Mitsou at the veterinarian even though they would have lovedto come with us. (Click on pictures to enlarge.)
Another cat was waiting for us when we arrived.
Ten people, three children and a baby were going to be atthe Thanksgiving meal, but it seemed that we prepared enough food for thirtyfive at least. We did buy the pies at alocal bakery where they offered a good variety – including mince pie, my favorite, which isvery difficult to find in Atlanta.
The menu included many of our family’s favorite dishes.
We were pleased to see our three grandsons, including the 4 ½months baby who keeps growing.
The eldest grandson’s 5th birthday was alsocelebrated that week. The cake wasdelicious.
On the deck, a visiting squirrel wanted to come inside toget a piece of cake I think.
On Friday afternoon – what is called Black Friday by thestores; they offer big sales and huge crowds go shopping – we did not goshopping – we drove for about 30 minutes to Rancho Palos Verdes along thePacific Ocean. My youngest daughterwould have liked to be married in the chapel there, the Wayfarers Chapel, butit only held 100 people, so she was married in Savannah, Georgia. TheChapel was built in 1951. At the time itstood alone on an almost deserted cliff overlooking the Pacific. Now trees, flowers and shrubs are surroundingthe Chapel.
The architect, Lloyd Wright, son of the famous Frank LloydWright, was inspired by the majestic California Redwood trees. He wished to create a “tree-chapel” - redwoodpillars were used in the Chapel and coastal redwood branches can be seenthrough the glass walls from anywhere inside the Chapel. The glass walls offer protection from theelements but also create a sense of outer and inner space. Nature and architecture unite to create anatural sanctuary.
Below is a 1960 era postcard.
This Chapel is part of the Swedenborgian Church of NorthAmerica. It serves as a memorial to itsfounder, Emanuel Swedenborg, born in Stockholm, Sweden (1688-1772.) Swedenborg was a scientist turned mystic. Hewrote anonymously articulating a new understanding of Christianity. His writings promoted a Church based on loveand charity rather than multiple churches named after their founders based onbelief or doctrine. His ideas were endorsed by AmericanTranscendentalist thinkers like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry James, Sr., andEnglish Romanticists such as William Blake, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, ThomasCarlyle, etc. More modern adherents wereHelen Keller, J. L. Borges and William Butler Yeats. The well-known Zen author D. T. Suzuki wrotea book called “Swedenborg: Buddha of theNorth” (which I have had in my library for quite a while – but have not readyet…)
My husband and I were married in the Swedenborgian Church ofSan Francisco in 1967. It is a lovelysmall church and the only one in San Francisco designated a National HistoricLandmark. It was built in 1895 withnatural materials by an elite group of early California pioneers including thenaturalist John Muir. This churchallowed non-members of the Swedenborgian religion to be married there. We took our wedding pictures in theirgardens. The gardens of the WayfarersChapel are also enchanting. There is a reflectingpool in front of the garden and next to it an apple tree dedicated to JohnnyAppleseed. John Chapman (1774-1845) wascalled Johnny Appleseed because he introducedapple trees to large parts of the Midwest. He was also a missionary for the Swedenborgian Church.
We visited the Chapel in the afternoon and decided to stayuntil sunset. We walked along the gardenwhich is beautifully maintained. In2004, Eric Lloyd Wright, son of the architect, created a Landscape Plan whichwas adopted to guide future botanic development.
As we waited for the sun to come down we admired theoutstanding view and the outline of Santa Catalina Island in the distance.
The view towards the hills was also impressive.
The sun was going down quickly creating golden shadows.
I was behind a tree – it was hard to have a good view of thesun
so I hurried closer to the cliff to see better.
I purchased the little Self-Guiding Walk guide. In the back is this poem –
Pausefor a moment, Wayfarer,
May theharmony of sky
and water,leaf and rock,
Nourishthe creation and growth
of yourinner being
As yourfare through this life
and oninto the life beyond.