Despite still feeling foggy and low following my brother’s recent death, I am glad to share some photographs of our visit to California’s first Mission Church, established in 1769. It somehow feels appropriate in that I am quietly musing about life lived by us humans, how our lives unfold and bloom and pass away so quickly.
This place is marked by calming hideaways and corners and lovely plantings. I was glad to see a statue of the tireless, brilliant and compassionate St. Augustine–a fascinating person I discovered in childhood– in the serene garden. He presided over a clear pool of water, hands reached out to birds and bees and all–and flowers left by visitors. I nodded at him as I snapped pictures.
I am not Catholic so perhaps experienced all of it differently than one who is, though this active church is open to all. It emanated a beautiful, meditative feel of refuge and prayer. But it also was built in the home territory of large numbers of Native Americans who had resided there for thousands of years. Father Junipero Serra, aged 52, accompanied a party for a second Spanish land expedition and founded the Mission at Presidio Hill. Five years later it was moved to a better site. The history is complex and can be found on their website, here: http://www.missionsandiego.org/visit/history/
But I offer several moments I had the pleasure of experiencing as we wandered about the church and grounds. First the past and current sanctuary used for services and its immediate surrounds. The old ways and lives seemed to whisper to me as I paused to take it all in. The breezes were soft inside the thick walls.
The courtyard and garden was breathtaking to me. I found it hard to leave but enjoyed further meandering trough shadow-bathed corridors, then into splashes of Mediterranean-hot, clear light.
As we paused in walkways, more markers of the past were observed with uneven flooring and windows, crooked doors, arches that opened to more maze-like areas or gardens. One could well imagine both the activities and quietude here.
We moved into the sting of heat and blinding light to find an outside walkway or two, then found our way out. It was a good visit to the Mission Church, but we were ready for a hike at Torrey Pines State Park–perhaps next week’s post!
9 thoughts on “Wednesday’s Words: Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala”
Thank you for bringing me with you . . . beautiful and meditational images, a deeply soft tribute . . . my heart goes out to you over your brother.
Liana, Liana, thank you
I wrote another post that was more intense by far on last sat. after he passed…a jazz musician, troubled soul and a maverick who made it til 79…
So sorry to read about your brother. Beautiful reflections and stunning photography
Thanks, Derrick…and glad you enjoyed pictures. (Wrote a piece for him and posted on Sat., as well.)
I agree that – “Death’s Sorrow, a Song that Sings Without Invitation” ; however, Death’s a new opportunity for life to keep moving despite the challenges. Death is positive, as it gives “Moksha” and “Nirvana” to the souls from the sufferings on this earth.
I have lost my father too, just the previous week, and I know the pain it leaves behind.
May God bless all souls.
Dud you meant to comment on the post abut my brother and not about my San Diego trip? I guess I did mention loss of my brother when writing re: the Mission Church, too!…In any case, thank you for your sharing. Yes, life is eternal in my belief. I am sorry for your own sorrow; blessings your way.
(And Navmeet, I am sorry for the typos–I am not a great a typist but even less focused on it tonight….)