How Green Is Our Valley?

How green is our valley? Green.

When the Santa Ynez Valley turns gloomy and rainy, which it does in winter though not often, everything turns green. It happens almost instantly. You go to sleep in oak savanna and wake up in Ireland. It’s a miracle.

Foxen Canyon Road, Santa Ynez Valley
A view from Foxen Canyon Road, Santa Ynez Valley

Nature is miraculous, of course, in all its heart-stopping beauty and staggering cruelty.  This world and this life of ours are so rife and fraught with paradox that we sometimes cannot make sense of it.

This began as one kind of post and will end up as another. I feel compelled to acknowledge the events last week in Newtown, Connecticut.

Foxen Canyon Road, Santa Ynez Valley
Off Foxen Canyon Road, Santa Ynez Valley

No sense can ever be made of what happened in Newtown, nor any other litany of horrors afflicting our common humanity. We can only hope to re-gain some sense of grace, and the ability to seek and find good in what is around us. Eventually, we hope to heal, and in this Christmas season of joy and giving, to know how green is our valley.

Foxen Canyon Road, Santa Ynez Valley
Off Foxen Canyon Road, Santa Ynez Valley

Coming up: Mayhem and merriment, holiday decorating, Martha Stewart’s Christmas party, and Mindy Rice’s wreaths…


    1. Thank you dear Margaret. Your comments make mine. I worry on the rare occasion that I write a “serious” post that it will turn people away, but it seems important to acknowledge events that so profoundly traumatize an entire community and knowing it could have happened anywhere, to any of us. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you, too, xo.

  1. This is beautiful Frances. Maybe the only way to hold the horror is in the context of the miraculous paradox that is life. Amen.

    And a wonderous Christmas to you.

    xo – Sarah

  2. Those photographs ARE a beautiful reminder that God can make all things beautiful and Peace and healing in this season of Hope. Merry Christmas, friend..I mean your Ladyship. (-:

  3. Frances- if you hve the time- you should travel out to Montana de Oro State Park in Morro Bay- the drive out Los Osos Valley road is wonderful, but the best is once you enter the oceanside park…Ireland indeed! Happy Holidays!

  4. Winter in California is my favorite time of year. The green hills make me so happy. My girls tease me about it because I always express my happiness as we drive down the road. But I know my girls love that the hills bring me joy. And as you wrote, they also give a sense of hope, grace and goodness despite the pain in the world. Something about the new growth after everything seemed to be so dead and dry. The beauty is moving.

    I am so grateful to subscribe to your blog. Thank you for this post. xoxo

  5. Frances, I absolutely love reading your blog. Beautiful message today. Also enjoy keeping up with your comings and goings through Blair. Fun, fun! Enjoy your new life and congrats to you both! Love, Georgene Voltz

  6. Oh, my. Your blog and Hollye’s, the best. Hands down, no contest. Wishing you and His Grace a peaceful, joyous Christmas and lots of joy, health and laughter in 2013.

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