11. The moment one gives close attention to anything,
even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome,
indescribably magnificent world in itself. ~Henry Miller

Each blade of grass has its spot on earth whence it draws its life,
its strength; and so man is rooted to the land
from which he draws his faith together with his life.
~Joseph Conrad


Against the backdrop of autumn’s falling leaves ornamental grasses shift and sigh adding an ethereal element to the landscape.  With airy flower panicles, fluffy seed plumes, and striking seed heads ornamental grasses provide charming “fringe accents” in yards and gardens. Even after the onslaughts of freezing temperatures, grasses continue to grace the landscape with beauty.  They add subtle colors, assorted textures, and the dimensions of motion and sound.  Throughout winter’s “vale of grief,” they capture and play with whatever light is available and in so doing speak of life and give us something “that glimmers in the sleep of things.” The “music” of their swishing and swaying reminds us that what’s happening isn’t an ending but merely a transition for the next beginning.

In a poetic conversation with the Lord, Edna St. Vincent Millay said, “God, I can push the grass apart and lay my finger on Thy heart.”  A Quaker and itinerant preacher named Elias Hicks wrote that “the fullness of the godhead dwelt in every blade of grass.”  And Thomas Carlyle, a Scottish writer, asked, “To us also, through every star, through every blade of grass, is not God made visible if we will open our minds and our eyes.”  These writers, like me, realize that man was meant to be “rooted to the land and therefore to God.”  But, the “umbilical cord” that connects all humanity to Creation and God seems, for many, to have been severed.

The Lord, however, refuses to remain separated or removed from that which He has made.  In an effort to reconnect people to the land and to provide healthier food, many neighborhoods are finding places to build community gardens.  More and more people are getting involved in caring for the land in these communal plots.  Also many schools across the nation are incorporating habitat gardens into the learning experiences of their students, and we are seeing a rise in “hobby farms” where retired professionals have started a second career as a hobby farmer or others who are still working are spending their spare time on their own small farm.

You care for the land and water it; You enrich it abundantly.  The streams of God are filled with water to provide the people with grain, for so You have ordained it.   You drench its furrows and level its ridges; You soften it with showers and bless its crops. You crown the year with Your bounty, and Your carts overflow with abundance.  The grasslands of the wilderness overflow; the hills are clothed with gladness.  The meadows are covered with flocks and the valleys are mantled with grain; they shout for joy and sing.  ~Psalm 65:9-13   ✝

10. For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver. ~Martin Luther

For man, autumn is a time of harvest, of gathering together.
For nature, it is a time of sowing,of scattering abroad.
~Edwin Way Teale


Like Teale I knew that autumn’s winds were scatterers and sowers, but until I did some research, I didn’t realize how much the autumnal shedding of leaves accomplishes.  For the sake of the sod, the fallen leaves cover the ground like a protective blanket.  It’s also easier for leafless trees to conserve much needed moisture in their branches and trunks, and since cold, dry winter winds strip moisture from trees through their leaves, losing their leaves is self-protective mechanism.  It would also be very costly energy wise for trees to keep their little leafy food factories up and running with less light and heat.   Because the transport of water from the ground into the trunk and leaves would be a damaging drain on a trees’ limited resources, the loss of leaves puts trees into a state of dormancy thereby reducing the amount of energy they need to live.  When leaves “come to rest upon the ground,” their work is far from over.  As they lie there, they become food for soil organisms which are vital to the overall health of ecosystems.  In addition the decomposing leaves restock the soil with nutrients and make up a part of the spongy humus that absorbs and holds rainfall.  And finally with the arrival of spring and warmer temps, bacteria, fungi, and insects come into play because the fallen leaves are chewed and rotted which in turn releases nutrients for plant growth.

“For the wisdom that fashioned the universe and can be read in earth’s dark depths and in heaven’s infinity of lights thanks be to you, O God.”  ~John Philip Newell

9. O Autumn…pass not, but sit…and tune thy jolly voice…and all the daughters of the year shall dance! ~William Blake

In the garden, Autumn is, indeed the crowning glory of the year,
bringing us the fruition of months of thought, and care, and toil.
~Rose G. Kingsley, British Gardener and Writer


Now that the year has grown long in the tooth, the migratory birds have moved on to warmer lands.  But the birds who overwinter here are still very visible and busy.  However, on the chillier days they, like me, “remain perched” early in the morning and later when the sun is well over the rooftops.  Nevertheless, in spite of our periodic and combined lethargy, we still manage to be out and working during the warmer parts of the day.  The “common feast for all” the garden spreads may be nearly gone and the bird’s tired wings along with my tired feet may drag somewhat, but autumn’s remaining golden glory continues to quicken our spirits.  In fact even after winter ravages the land, we, man and beast alike, who live close to the soil will venture out on the occasional warm day to search with hungry eyes for any signs of what we know lies waiting to emerge from beneath the surface of things.

Autumn’s song is indeed “a rich and lusty melody.”  It induces a healthy renewal in bodies wilted by summer’s long siege of torrid heat, and it creates a restful peacefulness that washes away the “fret and fever of life.”  “It’s jolly voice” sings a comforting song of promise that speaks of God’s circadian rhythms of life–the rhythm of changing seasons, busyness followed by stillness, “youth’s energy followed by age’s measured pace.”

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. . .  ~Ecclesiastes 3:1   ✝

8. the sky has broken and the earth sea-washed is all diamond ~Kenneth White

Grace comes into the soul, as the morning sun into the world;
first a dawning, then a light,
and at last the sun in his full and excellent brightness.
~Thomas Adams


There is a sort of pregnant pause at the exact moment light splits the darkness.  It’s a brief moment in which all creation seems to bow in a great and reverent silence.  It’s as if all those who witness the light’s return praise the Holy Feet on which it comes.  From my window I see this gladsome response as birds lift up and take to wing and as the squirrels leap high in the trees before the deliberate busyness of their respective days begin.  Could it be then that our first response should be to celebrate the gift of the new day and thank its Holy Giver before ere we begin anew.  It was certainly so with the Celts who believed creation was not simply just a gift, but also “a self-giving of God whose image was to be found deep within all living things.”  Why then isn’t that the order of the day in our world?  Perhaps it’s because modern man lives so far away from the natural world that he feels little to no reverence for Creation and therefore has become alienated from God’s living presence.  J. Philip Newell put it this way, “divorced from the brilliance of the first day man lives in a type of exile from his true self and what is deepest in creation.”  He explains further that in this exile, he chooses to ignore the yearning for the light that stirs within himself and chooses instead to follow life’s superficial distractions.

But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you. . .  ~Job 12:7   ✝

7. Meditation and water are wedded forever. ~Herman Melville

Water, the Hub of Life.
Water is its mater and matrix, mother and medium.
Water is the most extraordinary substance!
Practically all its properties are anomalous,
which enabled life to use it as building material for its machinery.
Life is water dancing to the tune of solids.
~Albert Szent-Gyorgyi


Seldom do I see a body of water that it doesn’t seduce me with its wiles into a meditative reverie.  In that quiet stillness I feel drawn to peer down into its mysterious depths until imagined or perhaps real images of earth’s origins come alive.  Water seems to possess in all its forms and properties extraordinary qualities so otherworldly that the phenomena of water reaches down and touches pools in “the temple of the inner being.”  While looking into its depths an unmistakable awareness of the Divine’s presence surfaces and holiness rises like a mist.  Gauzy reflections in water quiver and quake as if they possess a life of their own.

Although I know not where it rests in the human psyche, I believe somewhere therein mortals remember their watery beginning and recognize familiar things not of this world, things they know without tutelage or reason.  In the same way a child instinctively recognizes its biological mother after the umbilical cord is severed, I believe we, who are separated here from the Source of our being, retain a sense of His parenting presence because we are of the Lord and inextricably a part of Him.

6. There is pleasure in the pathless woods. There is rapture in the lonely shore. There is society where none intrudes. ~Lord Byron

She sat down in a weed patch, her elbows on her knees,
and kept her eyes on the small mysterious world of the ground.
In the shade and sun of grass blade forests,
small living things had their metropolis.
~Nancy Price


In and around blossoming things there is another mysterious metropolis.  This one is above the soil, and therein airborne things move around yearning to “possess the sweet of every flower that blooms.”  In that realm two simple equations are in place:  a) if there are no flowers there are no pollinators;  b)  if there are no pollinators there are no flowers, no fruits, no crops.  The hum or buzz of a pollinating agent and a flower’s blooming go hand in hand; together they commit reproductive acts of love as they dance the sacred dance of life orchestrated by the Lord.  In so doing they “remind us that there are other voices, other rhythms, other strivings, and other fulfillments. . .” in God’s grand plan.

Recently in a National Geographic snippet on the internet, the narrator remarked that present-day humanity is the recipient of a 400,000,000 year old legacy bequeathed by earth. Imagine that!  For all those years the sun has not failed to rise and set at its appointed time, fruits and crops have not failed to burst forth and ripen, and the earth has not failed to make its trip around the sun.  One season has followed another repeating the Genesis story over and over again as per the Lord’s plan.  Like the fruits and flowers and pollinators, our time here is very brief, and we who are fashioned by the same holy Hands as the sun and earth are no less adored and significant in our loving Father’s eyes.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. . .  ~Ecclesiastes 3:1   ✝