March 10th to 14th I headed down to the Bay Area and back with St. Andrew’s School. We visited Chico, San Francisco, Los Altos, and Orinda. It was a truly delightful trip and just what I needed after a somewhat hectic month of sudden change and lots of adjustments.
The weather was pretty bad, but honestly, it just felt like home to me, and I didn’t mind the rain. After all, I was born in Vallejo and spent my first 28 years in Sonoma. The sky looked like my sky and the ocean was my ocean and I knew the flora and fauna and greeted the flowers and trees like old friends. I hadn’t realized there are no calla lilies in Idaho, and it’s been ages since I’ve seen a scrub jay or a grey squirrel. North Western California in a wet spring is spectacular and reminds me of places in England or Ireland.
Our first night was spent on the floor of the parish hall of St. Augustine’s Anglican Church in Chico. We had gotten plenty of food for the trip at Winco and made breakfast, packed lunches and had morning prayer in the lovely sanctuary—all rich old dark wood—before we set off on our adventure. Because the freeway was very wet, we took the back roads, which was pleasant.
Once in the Bay Area, we headed right for the Legion of
Honor Museum where I got to see antiquities and famous art from many eras. Then we visited our friends at the Holy Virgin Cathedral. It is a large Russian Orthodox Church which, like St. Andrew’s, has a school connected to it. The students were just finishing up afternoon prayers when we arrived and we watched as they kissed the glass covering of the relicts and had the sign of the cross painted with holy water on their foreheads by the priest. We bought a few things at their bake sale and I bought presents for friends at the gift shop. We had dinner at a wood fired pizza place and sang for them.
Then, we made our camp at St. Luke’s Chapel in the Hills Anglican Church, in Los Altos, where we sang for the evensong service. Unfortunately, because of the bad weather not many people came, but the few who did where very enthusiastic and we enjoyed talking to them afterwards while eating the large table of snacks provided for us.