Friday, November 20, 2009

Ready Hearts

Thanks to the vision of our next-door neighbor Art Simonian, the former city manager, Yorba Linda has a network of walking and riding trails that run up and down the rolling foothills where a future President and his brothers ran and played. Kathy and I partook liberally of Art's handiwork during a five-mile walk today, also enjoying perfect weather and late-autumn color. Heading down to Yorba Regional Park, which runs along the north bank of the thoroughly domesticated Santa Ana River, we spotted a flock of geese which I was tempted to frighten so I could get a shot of them majestically taking wing. I was glad I didn't, not only for their sake but that of the more serious photographer I spotted on the opposite bank (you can see his pickup truck in the photo) who got out his long lens and pointed it at the watchful birds as I walked back up the embankment. Maybe they'll show up soon on an inspirational poster or blog entry about dreams taking flight.

Kathy and I hadn't been in the park for years. We were almost by ourselves today. A man was taking a picture of his sports car, so look for that on-line, too. A family of three were fishing and enjoying the quiet. It used to be a lot busier (and will be again on the next long weekend). Until his death in 1858, Bernardo Yorba, namesake of our town, operated a 13,328-acre land-grant rancho here, running cattle, growing corn, beans, and watermelon as well as grapes for wine-making. His father, Jose Antonio, had an even bigger spread on the south side of the river. As we walked, we thought of our late friend Jo Lyons, a knowledgeable local historian who probably could have told us where Bernardo Yorba's two-story adobe hacienda had stood before being torn down in 1926. I was pleased to read later that the regional park was the good work of the Nixon administration, which provided Orange County with a grant to build it in 1972.

Walking back up Fairmont Blvd., we passed a Lutheran church I've driven by a thousand times. Viewing the marquee from the sidewalk, we learned that it is part of the conservative Wisconsin synod, the third largest Lutheran denomination. Founded in 1850, it has about 400,000 baptized members. An an Episcopalian, I feel a kinship with small sects, although it's yet another reminder of how fractured the body of Christ has become. Near home, we spotted our first East Lake Santa, one thing we all may agree about. On a peaceful, sunwashed day, the heart feels ready for Advent and Christmas.

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