At the shelter they had received a load of sand for a building project, and it rained to form two huge puddles so thee was no interesting anyone in Frisbee, a ball or chalk. That completely consumed them until someone found a cat with kittens. It was like the pull the the moon on the tides - no stopping the surge of children. Fortunately Mom Cat got wind of the onslaught and took the family to safely outside the locked gates. Play in the puddles resumed.
Tonight was the perfect culmination to the trip. I stumbled into the local Russian Orthodox church as the service was beginning. Around every post and pillar and icon they had installed 15 foot limbs off the local trees. It was like walking into a new forest. Everyone had bundles of branches and flowers from home and there was a que at the Candle Purchase Window!
There were 5 guys in hats (also the sign of a Big Event) and one in full Jeweled Chapeau Splendor. There were also 6 others fancy clad clergy, one of whom was whispering directions to everyone including the Very Ancient Most Awesomely Dressed elder. Whenever this Most Big of Biggies stood anywhere he had to have a rug under him so they were constantly laying down and rolling up the rugs. Everyone was in greenest/goldest of greens/golds. Our CCS director told us it is Holy Trinity Sunday, but I can find no calendar that explains why it is not Pentecost.
They made the incense at St Mark's look like a puff of air freshener.
The usual crowd of 10-12 had swelled to 70 or so. And most amazing of all there was congregational singing! I was hoping for "Holy, Holy, Holy" but whatever it was everyone knew the words. Because there are no pews, let alone pew racks for the hymnals. This is the first time I have seen a corporate action in a Russian Orthodox Church. There is lots of active involvement in crossing and bowing at random times and very seldom at the same time, but no response from priest to congregation.
The altar guild is usually scurrying around putting out Teeny Candles before they become hard to clean wax drippings. Today even they were shooed out as everyone processed out to the entrance (my escape route) and back in. I left after an hour as they began to read the Gospel. It was so wonderfully understandably holy even the only word I recognized was "thank you." I guess that's a pretty good one to know.
So Thanks Be to God for whatever day it was - it was a great one. Signing off for home -