On left: Eve offering the apple to Adam in the Garden of Eden and the serpent (detail), c.1520-25 (oil on wood) by Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553).  On right: murti of Lord Buddha displaying the “dharma chakra mudra” (detail).

California's abundantly fruitful and beautiful geography is due in such large part to its tremendously chaotic geology. As these two tectonic plates slowly grind and smash past each other, they leave us a crust which is literally ever quaking, ever threatening discord, and which occasionally erupts with a violent upheaval of latent tensions and apparently dark energies. But so true it is that this darkness itself is divine, is of course, only nature, who in Her wisdom, allows that chaos to run its full course and blossom into some of the most verdant and breathtakingly spectacular land in the world. Our own underlying chaos, our own suffering, is for each of us the very source of our nourishment, nourishment of which to partake and to share. And the internal upheavals as our inner continents collide and drift past each other is the purely natural and divine dynamism that creates our own sublimely expressive and stunningly unique beauty. I pray we may we all recognize each other's beauty, and the blessedness of the battle that helped create it.