An unworthy Deacon, named for the brother of God: James, striving to "work out his salvation with fear and trembling" within the Tradition (paradosis) of the Eastern Orthodox Faith. It is a strange and marvelous journey, and I am accompanied by the fourfold fruit of my fecundity. My wife, the Matushka or Diaconissa Sophia, is my beloved partner in the pursuit of Theosis, and she ranks me in every way.
Alaska and Rie Munoz I've never been to Alaska, but something about it has always held an appeal to me. It may have begun with that wonderful television series Northern Exposure that coincided with my trek from Southern California to the Pacific Northwest....ahem...which, given the size of "the last frontier" state is arguably a suburb of Alaska. Or at least I like to think so. Gaining an inkling toward salmon and steelhead fishing here only added to my interest in Alaska. And then, of course, came Orthodoxy which as we all know has a rich connection and history with Orthodoxy.
Later I began reading articles and books by Fr. Micael Oleksa, who as it turns out, is likely a distant relation of mine (My Great Grandmother was an Oleksa). Fr. Michael writes extensively about Alaskan native culture and the Orthodox Church therein - I highly recommend his works to you. On Father Michael's webpage you will also find THIS. Over the years I have found myself stumbling upon artwork (in a friend's living room, on a greeting card, in a local shop) by Rie Munoz and each time I find myself quite attracted to them. Life in Alaska is a common theme of her work and Orthodox Churches can often be found, as you can see.
I'm no art critic - I'm simply not cultured enough to explain what I like about these. Suffice to say I sense a simple warmth and happiness in them. Were I a wealthier man I would certainly be a patron of hers.
Someday I will get up to Alaska. To see the Northern Lights in their FULL glory (we see them here from time to time, though as through a dirty glass), to drift its mighty rivers and fish for massive steelhead, to visit the many Churches, take a St. Herman pilgrimage, and maybe even meet my "cuz." (Fair warning Fr. Michael!)
I'm not sure I could ever live in Alaska. I've no worries about bitter cold, but our winter days are short enough here as it is...however, that being said, I understand the extra sun in the summer can make for some astonishing crop growth.
My guess is that your arrival to Washington from Southern CA occured about the same time as ours; due to your Northern Exposure reference.
The picture of 'Ringing the Church Bell' pleasantly reminds me of the bell tower at a Monastery I like to visit. Their "bells" include, along with a bell, an empty oxygen tank and a part of an auto engine.
I saw the Northern Lights one night at 2 a.m. on a deserted, snow covered road in the Yukon. It was 30 below zero and the sky was crystal clear when the show began. The ribbons of color unfolding above us were. . .well, words fail me. It was so quiet, we could hear them whisper. I hope you can see them up close one day.
I can't see nature's wonder and not believe in God. I've had similar reactions watching fog settle over Ice Lake in the Eagle Cap, Mars rising above Mt. Howard, and listening to a glacier crack and moan as I lay huddled in my tent on Mt. Baker. Anyway...
Yep, that sounds like our print of Priest and Cat. We've got another one waiting to be framed. I absolutely love her stuff, and while she's not Orthodox herself, she is very sensitive to the Church's presence in Alaska.
Mimi...Fr. Michael and I have talked a great deal about our family. Both come from Ukraine but the family split up in escaping a Turk invasion and his relatives ended up in Poland and mine in Slovakia.