Palm Sunday

While Westerners celebrate Easter, eastern Orthodox that use the Julian calendar focus on Palm Sunday this weekend. 

And what do you do when the nearest Orthodox church is at least five hours away? You go into the mountains and photograph furry catkins that resemble pussy willows. Well, I do that anyway.

You see, eastern Orthodox celebrate this day by using their branches.


I am surrounded by those who are somewhat obsessed with the so-called paleolithic diet. This means that they think that just about everything "carby" is bad. So, I don't get to bake that often. Easter—Pascha, which falls on the same day as that of Catholics and Protestants this year—is a good reason to do so.

These are my "unorthodox" Orthodox Pascha kulichi (cakes). I ran out of moulds, so only one is traditionally elongated. "XB" stands for "Christ has risen" in Russian.

Pascha in the Mountains

For Russians and other Orthodox Christians, this is Easter weekend.

Yet around here in the Pacific Northwest, there are no Orthodox churches for hundreds of miles. I spent my Paschal Saturday in the mountains and created this temporary Byzantine-style "mosaic" out of glacial-lake pebbles (segmented from and inspired by the famous Anastasis mosaic from the Hosios Loukas monastery in Greece--that mental art-history library in my head is dusty, but not forgotten!).  

As is the case with my other projects in the same vein, this image, too, is meant to last long enough to be photographed--ultimately eroding with the elements. In fact, even during its brief existence, it never looked the same for more than a few minutes: the sun and the shadows it cast moved fast, as did the wind.

Of course, I sometimes forget that this is America, where certain people see images of Christ in their toast. Perhaps, I should've helped the elements clean up this particular outdoor experiment of mine rather than leaving it out in the wild!

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge: the "mosaic" in context.