Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Golden Ribbons

If you've ever been in the state of California in March, you have seen this beautiful sight. Just before the onset of spring (or perhaps this is the onset of spring), these ribbons of golden mustard flower twirl on hillsides from Sonoma all the way down to San Diego. They cannot be missed. But their origin is far more beautiful than the flowers themselves.

When Blessed Junipero Serra came to Mexico from Spain in the 1700's and heard of the rich land and verdant fields in the north, he set about spreading his faith in a new direction. As he travelled through California he scattered Spanish mustard seed all along his path, establishing nine missions (which later grew to 21 missions) along his lush carpet of gold. Blessed Serra is largely responsible for the Catholic population in California.

I am so happy to see the mustard flowers again this year. They didn't bloom last March (in my area, anyway) due to the drought we experienced that winter. This year we've had lots of rain, yielding hillside upon hillside of Father Serra's gift to the land.

For more information about Blessed Junipero Serra and the California missions, go here and here.
(And while I'm posting this I think my husband would like me to tell you that I scraped up my calves while jumping over a four-foot tall prickly bush (wearing a skirt) to get the top photo above. I'm glad I did it - the shot was worth it, but I must really love my readers. :)


Cheryl M. said...

Kristen - you did very well on that photo....scraped calves and's one gorgeous shot!! Great informative story also! :)

Erika said...


KC said...

That is absolutely gorgeous. Wow.

Kimberly said...

What a feast for these winter-weary eyes!

scmom (Barbara) said...

I appreciate the sacrifice -- gorgeous picture! Thanks for sharing.

Jeannine said...

What gorgeous pictures and what a wonderful story! And thanks for the photography tip, although I'm not sure I'm as dedicated to the great shot as you are!

Almost Catholic Momma said...

I've taken those flowers for granted all my life living in California. What a beautiful story. Thanks for sharing!

Margaret in Minnesota said...

When I think of California in all its beauty and rich Catholic history, I think of you, my friend. Our Easter's will be very different this year in terms of landscape, but I daresay our hearts will be united.

Love to you and your beautiful family on Easter Sunday and always,

Margaret of (snowy) Minnesota

PS. I loved the photo of your pint-sized Padre Pio!!

stephanie said...

Like "almost catholic momma", I grew up in California, but never knew this. Thanks!

kimberly said...

A blessed and joyous Easter to you and yours!

jstark said...

I love Bl Serra. I love the Cali countryside. Hubby and I were there the day after Christmas at Capistrano. It was simple and not overdone like many things are now.

I gasp at the simplicity of God while we make everything a bigggg deal. God does set a wonderful area while it takes effort for us. It is no effort for HIm. He doesn't expect us to have a perfect house and whatever else we think should be sooo perfect.