1061. You never enjoy the world aright, till the sea itself floweth in your veins, till you are clothed with the heavens and crowned with the stars. ~Thomas Traherne


The voice of the sea
speaks to the soul.
The touch of the sea is sensuous,
enfolding the body 
in its soft,
close embrace.
~Kate Chopin

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I had to go. I just had to go down to the sea today if only through photographic memories. I haven’t been to the beach in so long, and it appears that I won’t get to go this year either, at least not for months and months. As a child, I was weaned and grew up on the beautiful, blue waters of the Pacific Ocean, and since then sand, shore, and sea have haunted me. Via sensory perceptions even as a young child I heard a voice, a clear voice-a familiar voice-a welcome voice-a sacred voice who reached down into the depths of my soul to touch me in ways that are still not easy to articulate. But here goes. Since the sea is always moving in its ceaselessness, I became aware of its cadenced rhythms early on. Day after day, night after night its undulations never stopped, and I found myself comforted by the sounds they created. Even when it was just along the shore and not out in a boat on the deep water, the songs of the sea continued to poignantly reverberate as they rolled in on the waves to the sandy shore. These were songs as primordial as the days and as ancient as the Holy One Himself who yet hovers over the waters, and when I sat quietly listening, waiting, and watching, I began to feel and internalize the pulsing rhythms of the sea while their songs filled up the space around me, its devout, hearkening witness. “Wild silences,” as haunting as the call of the gulls, were “heard” as well, and the elements of light and darkness affected and enhanced the ocean’s charms, chants, and silences as it enfolded me in its embrace. What’s more a lonely beach, devoid of crowds, also transports of delight to the magical, mystique of the sea. For it was then, and only then, that I was privy to the voices of the ocean’s more wistful “shy presences,” the ones with the subtle, emotive melodies.

If you look at the map in the collage you will see a blue marker where our house at 68 Prospect Avenue in Long Beach, California was. It was only a half a block from Ocean Boulevard, and once I crossed that busy street, all I had to do was take the stairs down from the seawall onto the sand. Between the houses on each street ran an alley way that you can see in one of the photos beneath the map. This passage way was one of my favorite places to travel as it was along those fences  that so many of the cherished, fragrant flowers grew, and in the distance you can actually see the ocean.

The seas have lifted up, Lord, the seas have lifted up their voice; the seas have lifted up their pounding waves. ~Psalm 93:3  ✝

**Images via Pinterest and Safari; collage created by Natalie

852. Silence is exhilarating at first – as noise is – but there is a sweetness to silence outlasting exhilaration, akin to the sweetness of listening and the velvet of sleep. ~Edward Hoagland

God’s poet is silence!  His song is unspoken
And yet so profound, and so loud, and so far,
That it thrills you and fills you in measures unbroken—
The unceasing song of the first morning star….
~Joaquin Miller

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There is a silence
into which the world cannot intrude.
There is an ancient peace you carry
in your heart and have not lost.
There is a sense of holiness in you
the thought of sin has never touched.
All this today you will remember.
~From a COURSE IN MIRACLES
by Marianne Williamson

He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters. ~Psalm 23:2  ✝

**Image of the water lily found on Pinterest

842. A butterfly lowers and rises with the wind’s gusty breath, as if coupled within a dance of loving tenderness. ~Author Unknown

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Dance on my beautiful, winged friends
to “la sublime danse de la vie!”


Thou songless wanderer mid the songful birds,

With Nature’s secrets in thy tints unrolled

Through gorgeous cipher, past the reach of words…

~Excerpted italicized lines from a poem by
Thomas Wentworth Higginson

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In a small grassy field
With the trees all around
There’s a fairy ring ancient and old
And at times you can hear
Perfect echoes of sound–
‘Tis the music of ages untold

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For the crickets keep time
To a waltz or a reel
And the birds fill that lovely expanse
With the notes to a tune
With a light, airy feel–
In the field where the butterflies dance

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Where the wildflowers bloom
With a sweet perfume
In a rainbow of colours and shades
Where the maids hurry down
From the hill-top town
And the butterflies dance with the maids

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On a winged pirouette
Or a six legged slip
How they dance, and they wheel and they turn!
And their wings flash in time
To a bright Scottish trip
While the lassies turn ’round by the burn

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Where they splash in the stream
Or they lie and dream
Where the bullfrogs thrum
While the butterflies wing
And the hummingbirds hum
While the merry maids sing
In the field where the butterflies dance
~Excerpted verses from a poem
by Isaiah Zerbst

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…a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance… ~Ecclesiastes 3:4  ✝

**All images via Pinterest

769. It takes a whole village to raise a child. ~Igbo and Yoruba (Nigeria) Proverb

Everyone in the family participates especially
the older children, aunts and uncles, grandparents, and even cousins.
It is not unusual for children to stay for long periods with
their grandparents or aunts or uncles.
Even the wider community gets involved
such as neighbors and friends.
Children are considered a blessing
from God for the whole community.
~Edited excerpt
by Rev. Joseph G. Healey

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The ancient human social construct that once was common in this land was called community. We lived among our villagers, depending on them for what we needed. If we had a problem, we did not discuss it over the phone with someone in Mumbai. We went to a neighbor. We acquired food from farmers. We listened to music in groups, in churches or on front porches. We danced. We participated. Even when there was no money in it. Community is our native state. You play hardest for a hometown crowd. You become your best self. You know joy. This is not a guess, there is evidence. The scholars who study social well-being can put it on charts and graphs. In the last 30 years our material wealth has increased in this country, but our self-described happiness has steadily declined. Elsewhere, the people who consider themselves very happy are not in the very poorest nations, as you might guess, nor in the very richest. The winners are Mexico, Ireland, Puerto Rico, the kinds of places we identify with extended family, noisy villages, a lot of dancing. The happiest people are the ones with the most community. ~by Barbara Kingsolver

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. ~Ecclesiastes 4:9, 12   ✝

**Images via Pinterest, collage created by Natalie

724. Earth, thou great footstool of our God, who reigns on high; thou fruitful source of all our raiment, life, and food; our house, our parent, and our nurse. ~Isaac Watts

So will I build my altar in the fields,
And the blue sky my fretted dome shall be,
And the sweet fragrance that the wild flower yields
Shall be the incense I will yield to thee.
~Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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All those days
you felt like dust,
like dirt,
as if all you had to do
was turn your face
toward the wind
and be scattered
to the four corners
or swept away
by the smallest breath
as insubstantial—
Did you not know
what the Holy One
can do with dust?
This is the day
we freely say
we are scorched.
This is the hour
we are marked
by what has made it
through the burning.
This is the moment
we ask for the blessing
that lives within the ancient ashes,
that makes its home
inside the soil
of this sacred earth.
So let us be marked
not for sorrow.
And let us be marked
not for shame.
Let us be marked
not for false humility
or for thinking
we are less
than we are
but for claiming
what God can do
within the dust,
within the dirt,
within the stuff
of which the world is made,
and the stars that blaze in our bones,
and the galaxies that spiral
inside the smudge we bear.
~Jan Richardson

“Or speak to the earth, and let it teach you; and let the fish of the sea declare to you. “Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this… ~Job 12:7-9    ✝

*Image via Pinterest

576. Time-honored, beautiful, solemn and wise – noble, sacred and ancient – trees reach the highest heavens and penetrate the deepest secrets of the earth. ~Author Unknown

And this, our life, exempt from public haunt,
finds tongues in trees, books in running brooks,
sermons in stones, and good in everything.
~William Shakespeare

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Owl in the Black Oaks

If a lynx, that plush fellow,
climbed down a
tree and left behind
his face, his thick neck,

and, most of all, the lamps of his eyes,
there you would have it—
the owl,
the very owl

who haunts these trees,
choosing from the swash of branches
the slight perches and ledges
of his acrobatics.

Almost every day
I spy him out
among the knots and the burls,
looking down

at his huge feet,
at the path curving through the trees,
at whatever is coming up the hill
toward him,

and, though I’m never ready—
though something unspeakably cold
always drops through my heart—
it is a moment

as lavish as is fearful—
there is such pomp
in the gown of feathers
and the lit silk of the eyes—

surely he is one of the mighty kings
of this world.
Sometimes, as I keep coming,
he simply flies away—

and sometimes the whole body
tilts forward, and the beak opens,
clean and wonderful,
like a cup of gold.

~by Mary Oliver

The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. ~Psalm 19:7   ✝

** Image via Pinterest

575. The view of the highway was so bad that you could not even see the next exit. The moment it loomed out of the mist it disappeared again, as if the world created itself and was blotted out again. ~Adapted excerpt from Janet Fitch

As on many mornings of late autumn,
there is an ever so sly fog –
water in it’s most mystical incarnation –
slithering over, around, and through,
making everything look ancient and unsolved.
~Edited and adapted excerpt
from Jaimal Yogis

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Foggy Day Haikus

Condensed water
lies low on the road like a
blanket from above

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Foggy dew drops hang
on withered, fading grasses
creating magic

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The cloudlike masses,
layers of minute droplets
make all hard to see

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Everywhere one goes
clouds on the ground insist we
must move slowly
~by Natalie Scarberry

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I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you. ~Isaiah 24:2   ✝

** First image via Pinterest, all other photos taken by Natalie