One of my singular pleasures since leaving New York City and moving to Claremont, California, is squeezing myself fresh orange juice every morning. The campus of our intentional community has many orange trees so this ritual is a way to connect with the land around me. I have read that this juicy fruit is beneficial for the eyes and the heart and, packed with Vitamin C, it lowers the risk of disease.

Besides the sweet taste, I savor its color — orange, which is associated with summer and the hot sun.

Studies show that this bright color stimulates a heightened sense of energy and activity. It enhances happiness, confidence, and understanding. We remember seeing houses in the Caribbean country of Antigua painted orange, signaling that bold and buoyant spirits lived there.

But everything, even a color, has a shadow side. This week the sun has been bright orange above us — the color transformed due to the smoke and ash in the air from wildfires in California. Photos of San Francisco show city scenes transformed into orange landscapes.

More things I've been thinking about:

A medieval custom for showing deep respect for things was to give them saint names. For example, the Earth was called "St. Terre." Four of my favorite saints are Julian of Norwich, Francis of Assisi, Therese of Lisieux, and Oscar Romero. Who or what can I name after them? Who are your favorite saints, and how might you honor something in your life by giving it a saint name?

Mary Ann and I don't own a car, so we rarely have an experience that other people have in parking lots — forgetting where they left their car. But when we have been with a friend looking for his car, we've thought of this way of coping:

"Caught in a parking-lot maze? Wondering where you parked your car? At first, the rows of seemingly identical vehicles can be overwhelming.

"Turn this moment into a walking meditation. Forget your hurry and bring your thoughts into focus. Take a deep breath and discover your car. It is waiting patiently for your return. Take time and enjoy the search."
— Darrin Zeer in Calm: Relaxing Rituals for Busy People

Next Post: Heat & Practice & Pandemic News