462. Color, like features, follow the changes of the emotions. ~Pablo Picasso

Have you heard summer shout?
Well it is and has been here;
And its voice is red hot and full of fire.


Red is a fading sunset on the horizon.
It’s a burst of flame;
A spray of the fire leaping towards us.
It’s the heat of the warm afternoon.
It’s a flickering flame of a tiny candle.
It’s the spark able to spread the wildfire of love.
Red is reverent, and it’s holy.
Red is the color of heat.
It’s full of passion.
It’s bold.
Red has the brawn of an ox,
The skill of a pride of lions,
And even the diligence of a colony of fire ants.
It does not back down or grow weary.
Red stands his ground firmly.
It’s charming and romantic.
Red is like a harvest of fresh raspberries:
Satisfyingly and deliciously juicy.
Red is optimistic.
Red is the color of a rising dawn
that glides across the morning sky and through the misty white clouds.
It’s the hot August sun, beating down on your entire body,
and filling you with warmth.
~Edited and adapted poem by Sunny Summers

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. ~Ephesians 3:16-19  ✝

264. Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence. ~Erich Fromm


Sometimes we write love in small letters-
Spreading the butter on his toast or
Wiping down the kitchen counter dabbed with
Peanut butter and jelly…

Love is often dangling on a clothesline
And snatching a peek at a sleeping face;
It is the giving up and giving in
To another’s want with joy…

Blowing, kissing and holding tight is
Love’s voice upon a sore finger, a wrinkled
Cheek, a weary shoulder than saunters at
Days end hopelessly…

Minutes are just as vital in love’s scaling
Upward climb to perfection, the afternoons
Picking strawberries and the morning
Prayer that’s an alloy…

Write love, in capital or small, it doesn’t matter–
Pen it with every touch; add it to tuna casseroles
And let it water down every heartache at
Your midnight soliloquies

But compose it…
Jot it down
and engrave it without restraint!
Dirty your hands in it
and clean a soul with
Like the only work you’ve employed.
~Deborah Jeanne Avila

If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love,  I am a noisy gong or clanging symbol.   And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing…  ~1 Corinthians 13  ✝

254. January opens the box of the year and brings out days that are bright and clear and brings out days that are cold and gray and shouts, “Come see what I brought today!” ~Leland B. Jacobs

Is it winter? Is it not?
Is it cold? Is it hot?
The two-headed Janus knows not.


Where I live unseasonable warming trends often occur in January, and when the month keeps its “box” open-ended long enough, some things in the garden are duped into thinking it’s time to get going.  If the lie that spring is upon us continues on into February, that month as well is made a partner in the deceiving treachery.   Then when the wintry weather falls back into place and worsens, as it nearly always does, the new growth is the innocent victim of the two traitorous libertines.  Such is exactly what happened last year when they were finally exposed as the charlatans they were by a mid-February ice storm.  After weeks of mild weather, frigid rain descended from a whitish cloud cover blown in on arctic winds.  As the temperatures fell from the 70’s and 80’s to well below the freezing mark and everything became encapsulated in tombs of ice, an almost audible death knell sounded.  For days the sun was unable to burn a hole in the clouds, and while the storm’s icy bite endured, the birds who over winter in my yard were, if visible at all, seen only in the mornings.  When they were present, I’d see them huddled close to their birdhouses or in the bay tree or azaleas near the house, but by afternoon they’d have disappeared completely into the day’s dismal gloom.  Neither did I see any of my neighbors nor the squirrels who’d been so busy as of late, and that collective absence of life forms led to a disturbing sense of aloneness that I did not like at all.

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, until the destroying storms pass by.  Psalm 57:1  ✝

190. Listen! the wind is rising, and the air is wild with leaves… ~Humbert Wolfe

Yet one smile more, departing, distant sun!
One mellow smile through the soft vapory air. . .
Yet a few sunny days, in which the bee
Shall murmur by the hedge that skirts the way,
The cricket chirp upon the russet lea,
And man delight to linger in thy ray.
Yet one rich smile, and we will try to bear
The piercing winter frost, and winds, and darkened air.
~William Cullen Bryant


What a season of contrasts autumn is!  Many of its striking contradistinctions and “mellow smiles” can be seen on a single day, and yesterday was a fascinating example of Fall’s many faces.  Early in the morning the sky was a clear, brilliant blue, and as I wandered the yard I found a butterfly prettily perched on the leaves of a climbing rose.  Then the winds picked up and threatening clouds blew in.  About 30 minutes later, a narrow band of rain clouds passed over us leaving not a single drop, however, in their wake.  Afterwards the sun sat smiling again in the sapphire sky, but it was streaked with a few bands of Cirrus clouds.  Not too long after that the stormy/clear scenario repeated itself.  Finally late in the afternoon a blustery wind blew down like rain more of the yellow leaves off the willow tree as it chased the sun away for good.  What had been an almost balmy day in the mid-70‘s had rapidly changed, and the bite of the chilling north wind stung my unsuitably-clad body when I went out to unplug the fountain and close up the greenhouse.

He(God) wraps us the waters in his clouds, yet the clouds do not burst under their weight.  ~Job 26:8  ✝

22. Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened. ~Anatole France

Most cats do not approach humans recklessly.
The possibility of weapons, clods, or sticks
tend to make them reserved. . .
Much ceremony must be observed,
and a number of diplomatic feelers put out,
before establishing a state of truce.
~Lloyd Alexander


A beautiful stray cat came into our world some time back, and slowly but surely we managed to earn some of his trust.  From his size at the time he started coming into our yard we decided he was about a year old, and from his behavior it was apparent he had had some unfriendly encounters with humans.  However, as time went on he seemed to take more and more of a liking to us, and eventually he chose to stay in our yard most of the time.  As he became more accustomed to our presence, he started letting us get close enough to pet him.  Then one day he began loving us back in the way that feral cats do, but the exchanges were always done with that predictable element of guarded caution.  For example when I’d be out working in the yard, he’d follow me wherever I went and throw himself down to nap while I worked, but he never fell so fast asleep or got so close that he couldn’t make a fast get away if need be.  As the months passed he became more accepting of us, so much so that he followed me into my studio one afternoon and napped there.  Subsequently that became a daily thing, and he would even remain there on cold, cold nights.  After that winter, we were so in hopes he would one day let us pick him up and get him in a carrier to go to the vet’s for his shots and neutering.  Sadly though his trust fell just short of that.

The cat clawed its way into my heart
and wouldn’t let go. . .
When you’re used to hearing purring
and suddenly it’s gone, it’s hard to silence
the blaring sound of sadness.
~Missy Altijd

For a short period of time this yellow cat we named Beastie called our yard his home. We had managed to establish “a state of truce” with him, but as it turned out it was never going to be a complete surrender.   One day the call of the wild became much stronger than the call of the safe and secure.  The first time he left us, he was only gone for 6 days, but then he left again the next day for another 5 days.  After the third departure we never saw him again.  What became of our little feline friend we’ll never know.

Give sorrow words;
the grief that does not speak
whispers the o’er fraught heart
and bids it break.
~William Shakespeare

When Beastie disappeared for good, he took pieces of my heart with him, and if I hadn’t given my grief to words, as Shakespeare suggests, I fear my “fraught” heart would have broken and all its chambers flooded with tears.  Jean Burden was right when she said, “Prowling his own quiet backyard or asleep by the fire, a cat is still only a whisker away from the wilds.”  The Beast Man was never far from his feral beginnings, and when the wild called, he could do naught but answer.  Agnes Repplier summed it up best when she said, “it’s impossible to banish these alert, gentle, and discriminating little friends, who give us just enough of their regard and complaisance to make us hunger for more.”  Indeed, I have hungered for more ever since; in fact I’m still hungering and hurting because there’s no more of his sweet life to be shared.  My big backyard that I love so much seems like an empty and lonely place without that “silly” yellow cat to keep me company.  He was a confidant and consultant in my garden dreams and schemes, and I was his protector from pesky mockingbirds wanting to keep him from their nests and from any and all suspicious human interlopers.  I know I need to put this behind me and move on, but it has been a long time since grief has had so heavy a hold on my heart.  There was just something compelling and charming about that sweet boy, and he, a cherished presence too soon lost, will be forever missed.

12. Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky, the flying cloud, the frosty light. . . ~Alfred Lord Tennyson

Yet a few sunny days, in which the bee
Shall murmur by the hedge that skirts the way,
The cricket chirp upon the russet lea,
And man delight to linger in thy ray.
Yet one rich smile, and we’ll try to bear
The piercing winter frost, and winds, and darkened air.
~William Cullen Bryant


With every north wind that blows the landscape unravels more and more; after each assault the downed foliage leaves in its wake mounting numbers of skeletons bracing themselves for winter’s icy blasts.  In addition the ornamental grasses are drying out and taking on their a wild and tattered look, and yet a few touches of color remain in the leaves and flowers that have yet to be exiled.  Still audible in the “honey’d leavings” of warm afternoons are their faint renditions of the lusty songs of life, but regardless of how sweet the sound of that is, the sands in autumn’s hourglass are running out.  Like all things, it too will come at last to its Sabbath and therein rest until its next appointed hour upon life’s stage.