Refresh my heart in Christ.
Continuing Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God, and Mumford, The City in History, as before.
Today, an excursion up the winding roads into the hills of the Santa Ynez Valley with Fr. Brendan Buckley of Old Mission Santa Ines to the ranch formerly owned by Ronald Reagan, Rancho del Cielo. Reagan purchased the 688-acre Tip Top Ranch in the mid-1970s and renamed it Rancho del Cielo, a name he thought more becoming of such a heavenly place with views of both the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez Valley. He proceeded to build fences and a pond, and he built an extension to the small adobe house while keeping its dimensions suprisingly modest. This was his refuge from the White House, if not the presidency, during the 1980s, and it would remain his beloved getaway until the advances of Alzheimer's disease forced him to let it go in 1993.
What struck me about the place, besides its simplicity (two fireplaces heated the home) and modesty (Ronald and Nancy slept on two twin beds yoked together) was the relative lack of political memorabilia. Instead, all you saw were portraits of his beloved horses on the walls and Western novels on the shelves. If you did not know who Reagan was, you might think you were walking through the home of any old rancher with a penchant for nostalgia for Americana and the Old West. To say horses was his passion is an extravagant understatement! Today's visit does not change my estimation of Reagan as a leader, alter my judgment of his legacy, or diminish the vehemence of my disagreement with his political philosophy and public policies, but I did gain a sense of his personal goodness and felt lifted up by it.
So many clouds in the sky, but the sky cannot be clouded over.