31 Days in which I Am Saved by Beauty – Day 19

Today we got frustrated,
and disappointed,
and enraptured —
all at the same time. 

We drove across town to the Old Mission.
Our assignment?
Get fingerprinted,
so that a background check could be run,
so that we could serve as volunteers
at our soon-to-be-seven-year-old 
granddaughter’s school. 

Our daughter-in-law carefully 
researched the date,
wrote us some instructions
and said in passing,
“It says to call ahead and make
a reservation,
but we just walked up and got
in line. You probably don’t need to.”

Wrong. 

So we’ll wait til next time.
But when I turned around from the office
complex, I realized that the early morning
cloud cover had burned completely off,
and we had a lovely shot of one of 
the most beautiful buildings in our state,
the Queen of the Missions.

I didn’t have much time,
as my husband was peeved and restless,
but I aimed my camera and rattled 
off a few shots, wondering
what I might have captured
in the three minutes I grabbed.

Someday, I will post some interior shots on this blog,
but today, I was fortunate to get these angled exteriors.
To tell you the truth, everything
about this site is lovely.
Standing on those front steps,
you can see all the way to the ocean.
And you can imagine Father Serra
surveying this beauty and sighing, 
as he traveled the Camino Real up and down
the coast of Alta California.

These bells actually ring,
reminding parishioners to pray,
calling them to mass,
inviting people to stop,
for just a moment or two,
and remember that being busy
is not all there is to this life.

There is a fountain here that is as old as the Mission,
part of the original aquaduct system that brought
water to the crops,
supplied the laundry workers,
and provided drinking water for everyone,
priests, soldiers and Indians alike. 
The angle of the sun was just right today,
and the gently rippling water
caught the reflection of Mission Santa Barbara.

She is a lovely old thing, isn’t she?
And she wears her years very well, indeed. 



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