1213. May you touch dragonflies and stars, dance with the fairies and talk to the moon. ~Morgan Bergeron

THERE are fairies at the bottom of our garden!
It’s not so very, very far away;
You pass the gardner’s shed and you just keep straight ahead —
I do so hope they’ve really come to stay.
There’s a little wood, with moss in it and beetles,
And a little stream that quietly runs through;
You wouldn’t think they’d dare to come merrymaking there–
Well, they do.

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There are fairies at the bottom of our garden!
They often have a dance on summer nights;
The butterflies and bees make a lovely little breeze,
And the rabbits stand about and hold the lights.
Did you know that they could sit upon the moonbeams
And pick a little star to make a fan,
And dance away up there in the middle of the air?
Well, they can.
~Excerpted lines from a poem
by Rose Fyleman

And if ever there were a place on a summer night such as this to look for the fairies at the bottom of the garden, I’d start by peering up into this enchanting, blue clematis bloom.

Praise Him(God), sun and moon; praise Him, all you shining stars. ~Psalm 148:3  ✝

**Image of blue clematis taken in my garden by me

1211. The summer came to life. It burst from gray to fierce blue and gold in the blink of an eye; the air pealed with grasshoppers and lawnmowers… ~Tana French

Grasshopper Green is a comical chap;
he lives on the best of fare.
Bright little trousers, jacket, and cap,
These are his summer wear.
~Excerpt from a poem
by Nancy Dingman Watson

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Gary the Grasshopper sat down in the sun
and sang of the way that his life had begun.
First off as an egg he was laid in the ground
and there he remained with never a sound,
his body unmoving, all pallid and white,
till Spring came around and the weather was right.
He remembers quite clearly the day of his birth
he wriggled and pushed his way up through the earth,
then on reaching the surface he threw off his skin,
he had to do this so his life could begin,
but it wasn’t a problem because underneath
he was wearing another as green as a leaf.
Once born he went looking for something to eat
he really liked salads and seldom ate meat,
and being quite young he thought it was good
to eat just as much as he possibly could.
He grew as he ate, and three times since then
he’s needed to make a new skin once again.
But now he’s full grown and he’s learning to be
an adult grasshopper both handsome and free,
so he sings in the night, and all through the day
till a suitable lady should wander his way,
and when they’re together, and after the rain,
they’ll start the ball rolling all over again.
~Gordon J.L. Ramel

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Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded? He(God) sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in. ~Isaiah 40:21-22  ✝

**All images via Pinterest; collages by Natalie

1194. We could never have loved the earth so well if we had had no childhood in it. ~George Eliot

There is a garden in every childhood,
an enchanted place where colors are
brighter, the air is softer, and the morning
more fragrant than ever again.
~Elizabeth Lawrence

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If you love a flower, don’t pick it.
Because if you pick it, it dies and
ceases to be what you love.
So just let it be…
Love is not about possession.
Love is about appreciation.
~Osho

As a child and an adult, I’m overcome with wonder when I smell a flower, like this lily. They are so very beautiful and fragrant, and I’m also fascinated by their stamen and anthers. Just look at the amazing red anthers on this one. Is it any wonder pollinators are attracted to them? My youngest grandson is one of those beautifully innocent children who is filled with curiosity. And as we worked in the garden one day last summer, he was quite taken with these anthers and I explained that they were food for pollinators. Afterwards I turned to get a tool out of my bucket, and when I swiveled back around, he had red all over his little mouth. Stunned, I asked if he’d eaten some of the pollen, and he said yes. As I reeled from the possibility that I might have killed my grandson or at least let him become very sick, I asked him why in the world he would have eaten the pollen. He said, “Well Mompy, I figured if it doesn’t kill the bees and such, it won’t kill me.” Before I took him in to wipe off his mouth, I decided to phone my daughter who just laughed and said, “That’s my Joe.” As it turns out he was okay and did not get a bellyache, but we had a long talk about not putting things in our mouths without first being very sure that the substances are not toxic to humans.

The one who gets wisdom loves life; the one who cherishes understanding will soon prosper. ~Proverbs 19:8  ✝

**Image found on Pixabay

1181. People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us. ~Iris Murdoch

[F]lowers… adorn our lanes, fields and fells, and…
smile upon us and cheer and bless us in our country rambles….
the lovely blossoms…
kiss the clear brooks and mountain wells…
~James Rigg

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I know someone who kisses the way
a flower opens, but more rapidly.
Flowers are sweet. They have
short, beatific lives. They offer
much pleasure. There is nothing
in the world that can be said
against them. Sad, isn’t it,
that all they can kiss is the air.

Yes, yes! We are the lucky ones. ~Mary Oliver

Greet one another with a holy kiss. ~2 Corinthians 13:12 ✝

**Image taken by Natalie

1139. If it’s drama that you sigh for, plant a garden and you’ll get it. ~Edward A. Guest

‘Tis like the birthday of the world,
When earth was born in bloom;
The light is made of many dyes,
The air is all perfume…
~Excerpt from a poem by Thomas Hood

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One of my favorite poems in all of “poemdom” is this one below by Robert Browning. In fact I recite it to myself at least once every spring.

The year’s at the spring,
And day’s at the morn;
Morning’s at seven;
The hill-side’s dew-pearled;
The lark’s on the wing;
The snail’s on the thorn; God’s in his Heaven—
All’s right with the world!

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Spring began very early here, almost a month and a half ago, but this morning was the first one exactly like the quintessential spring morning of which Browning spoke. A heavy dew had blanketed everything that lay before my eyes making grass and flower sparkle, and in the sparkle was the sort of magic that thrills this old gardener’s heart beyond measure. So I sat spellbound forever so long in my chair watching the birds feed and the squirrels play and the breeze ruffle petals and leaves. My little piece of Eden was gloriously alive as well as all of her adoring paramours. What a  magnificent sight to behold it was as light oozed into all the dark corners, not only outside the window but also in the windows of my being! What had been created in the beginning continually points to the Creator, and oh what a Creator He is! My eyes were filled, my ears were filled, my cup of life was filled, and in and of it all was Yahweh, that Holy Presence, who continually fills my soul with His goodness and grace. Oh how I adore Him and His wondrous Eden!!!

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. ~Psalm 23: 6  ✝

1128. One of the healthiest ways to gamble is with a spade and a package of garden seeds. ~Dan Bennett

Gardeners are artists,
 their brushes a tiny seed,
an ever changing picture emerges from their deed.
~Author Unknown

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Watching hands transplanting,
Turning and tamping,
Lifting the young plants with two fingers,
Sifting in a palm-full of fresh loam,–
One swift movement,–
Then plumping in the bunched roots,
A single twist of the thumbs, a tamping and turning,
All in one, quick on the wooden bench,
A shaking down, while the stem stays straight,
Once, twice, and a faint third thump,–
Into the flat-box it goes,
Ready for the long days under the sloped glass:
The sun warming the fine loam,
The young horns winding and unwinding,
Creaking their thin spines,
The underleaves, the smallest buds
Breaking into nakedness,
The blossoms extending
Out into the sweet air,
The whole flower extending outward,
Stretching and reaching.
~Theodore Roethke

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. ~Colossians 2  ✝

1115.Two of my favorite things are sitting on porch, smoking a pipe, and playing my harmonica. ~Edited excerpt from Abraham Lincoln

I return to my front porch to find
the place where the air smells sweeter and
the sun feels warmer than at any other
bend in life’s long road.
~John Sarris

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After the end of a long hot day
At the end of my rope – with nerves all frayed
I sat on the porch…to rest a spell
As the sun slipped…slowly behind the hill.
Calmed…by the lingering…after glow
I watched…the star-speckled night unfold.
Crimson streaks…on a sky of blue
Melted…in a thousand…different hues
That got lost…in the dark…without the light
Leaving…just their shadows…in the darkness.
And in fields…of clover…across the way
The crickets…began…their serenade
As fireflies danced…with sheer delight
Glowing…in love…with the ebony night.
And there…ahead…at the end of the road
Above the bridge…where the river flows
It rose – like magic – before my eyes
An orange moon…so big…it filled the sky.
~Edited poem by Elaine George

You(God) know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. ~Psalm 139:2  ✝

**Images via Pinterest and the internet; collage created by Natalie

1032….that blast of January would blow you through and through. ~William Shakespeare

The night is darkening around me,
The wild winds coldly blow…
~Excerpt from a poem
by Emily Brontë

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The world is resting without sound or motion,
And behind the oak tree the sun goes down
Painting with fire the spires and the windows
In my tree-shaded neighborhood.

Beyond calm streets pastures lie
Silvered with haze as fruits still fresh with bloom,
And the birds weave in flight across the zenith
On a sudden aerial loom.

Into the garden peace comes back with twilight,
Peace that since noon had left the remains of purple phlox,
Heavy-headed asters, the late roses
And the swaying spent hollyhocks.

For at high-noon I heard from this same garden
The far-off murmur as when gales are coming;
Up from the south and down from the north beating
Their stormy music like a drum;

And then hysterical sirens shattered
The brittle winter air,
To say that fierce storms are marching
Across towns and fields and open prairie.

But before the skies rage, they morph
Into violet, for the veils of dusk grow deep —
As earth takes her children’s many sorrows
And stills herself to sleep.
~Edited and adapted poem
by Sara Teasdale

…at twilight, as the day was fading, as the dark of night set in. ~Proverbs 7:9  ✝

**Images via Pinterest, collage by Natalie

1025. The sweetest two words are “next time.” The sourest word is “if.” ~Chi Chi Rodriguez

When a thing’s done, it’s done,
and if it’s not done right,
do it differently next time.
~Arthur Ransome

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Next time what I’d do is look at
the earth before saying anything. I’d stop
just before going into a house
and be an emperor for a minute
and listen better to the wind
or to the air being still.

When anyone talked to me, whether
blame or praise or just passing time,
I’d watch the face, how the mouth
has to work, and see any strain,
any sign of what lifted the voice.

And for all, I’d know more — the earth
bracing itself and soaring, the air
finding every leaf and feather over
forest and water, and for every person
the body glowing inside the clothes
like a light.
~A poem by Mary Oliver

Okay, kiddies, it’s January 1st and thus the “next time” around this old earth for all of us. And as I’ve aged I’ve come to realize that before starting a new chapter in life, it’s always a good idea to give some thought first to what I’d do differently “next time.” What-if’s are never a good choice because they take the focus off the gifts and lessons of today’s reality. What-iffies are like trying to see what’s coming around the corner before one ever gets to the corner. Since there is absolutely no way we can know what’s around that corner, they waste valuable time preparing for what may never happen. And they are “squishy” in nature in that they require of us no firm direction or intent and allow for a lack of faith. Finding bumps in the road around any corner is a given, but after falling and failing as many times as I have, I’ve learned to get up, dust my behind off, and look for the seeds inherent in all mistakes because they gifts from above that teach one how to improve. So off I go once more seeking that which the Lord lays upon my plate and knowing that in every season there is the possibility of all things under heaven which means sorrow will come but it can’t stop me from laughing, loving, singing, and dancing.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old is gone, the new is here! ~2 Corinthians 5:17  ✝

**Images via Pinterest; collage by Natalie

943. If you wish to know the Creator, come to know His creatures. ~Columbanus, Medieval Irish Monk

Out of the waters of God’s life
come the creatures of earth, sea, and sky.
With the birth of the creatures on the fifth day
there is the emergence of seeing, hearing,
smelling, tasting, and touching.
~J. Philip Newell

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One of the keys to listening needs to be simply an appreciative attentiveness to God’s creatures. The Book of Job says, “Ask the animals, and they will teach you; the birds of the air, and they will tell you.” And to look to the animal world is not to look away from God; instead, it’s a way to look at a showing forth of the mystery of God. For it reveals something of the way of God’s seeing and sensing, and one can see as well that in Creation’s mysteries is part of the Christ mystery.

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I’ve seen animals, such as the bird in the photo above, who seem to be bowing before the Creator in gratitude for life, for the day, for His continuing Presence here. There is also the unbroken song of the creatures. And in Revelation John envisaged an unending song of praise being sung by all that swims and flies and has motion. He said every creature on earth here below and in the ocean beneath and in the air above was giving glory to God, singing Holy, Holy, Holy. ~Both paragraphs contain directly quoted, paraphrased, and/or adapted random excerpts from THE BOOK OF CREATION by J. Philip Newell

Consider first the Canada Goose,
brown body, whitish breast
black head, long black neck…
Then there’s the Barnacle Goose…
flight note
a rapidly repeated gnuk
gnuk gnuk gnuk gnuk gnuk gnuk gnuk
(like an ecstatic Eskimo)…
The snow goose
has a pure white plumage
with black-tipped wings…
In Europe you might take her for a swan
or maybe a gannet
till she lets you know abruptly
she’s all goose
so
there they go
through the wind, the rain, the snow
wild spirits knowing
what they know
~Kenneth White

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.” ~Job 12:7-10  ✝

**Mike Bizeau posted the great photo of a bull elk on his blog, and I found the image of the bird with its head bowed on Pinterest