584. Autumn is the dim shadow that clusters about the sweet, precious things that God has created in the realm of nature. ~Northern Advocate

Is not this a true autumn day?
Just the still melancholy that I love–
that makes life and nature harmonize.
…the trees give us a scent that is
a perfect anodyne to the restless spirit.
Delicious autumn!
My very soul is wedded to it,
and if I were a bird I would fly about
the earth seeking the successive autumns.
~George Eliot

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Goodbye “dreamful autumn,” your “pale amber sunlight” and the “twilight silences” of your “prosaic days” have created their usual “golden spell that penetrates the soul with its mysterious power.” “The leaves by hundreds came…The sunshine spread a carpet, and everything was grand; Miss Weather led the dancing; Professor Wind, the band…the sight was like a rainbow new-fallen from the sky” while “the sound of life” wound “down to its cyclic close” with a “bittersweet, mellow, messy leaf-kicking pause” and “flaming torches” that lighted “the way to winter.” “The mild heavens,” “the tenderly solemn” days and nights, the “reverent meekness in the air,” the bursts of “color and beauty, radiant with glory,” “the fading of holy stars in the dim light of morning,” “the closing up of a beautiful life” all touched again “something old in the human soul.” Your “ripeness and color and time of completion” came “like a warrior, with the stain of blood upon his brazen mail.” His “crimson scarf” was “rent…” “The wind” wafted “to us the odor of leaves that” hung “wilted on the dripping branches…” as your “funeral anthem of the dying year” played on. “The whole body of the air” was “enriched by” the “calm, slow radiance” of your days, and so we listened with delight to your “rhythms that are the heart of life.” And now the “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” and the wild “music of autumnal winds amongst the faded wood” have lowered to the gradual hush that always comes “with the deepening of autumn” and the approach of the winter solstice. Oh, “delicious autumn,” “the hush before winter,” “the year’s last, loveliest smile” your “magic of earth-scents and sky-winds” truly are “ordained for the healing of the soul.”

“Nevertheless, I (the Lord) will bring healing to it: I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security.” ~Jeremiah 33:6   ✝

**Image via Pinterest with added text by Natalie

302. So deeply is the gardener’s instinct implanted in my soul, I really love the tools with which I work – the iron fork, the spade, the hoe, the rake, the trowel, and the watering pot are pleasant objects in my eyes. ~Celia Thaxter

Toward seven o’clock every morning,
I leave my study and step out on the bright terrace;
Here my tools lie ready and waiting,
each one an intimate, an ally:
the round basket for weeds, there’s a rake here as well,
at times a mattock and spade,
or two watering cans…and a small hoe…
~Edited and adapted excerpt from a work by Herman Hesse


I have raked the soil and planted the seeds
Now I’ve joined the army that fights the weeds.
For me no flashing saber and sword,
To battle the swiftly marching horde;
With a valiant heart I fight the foe,
My only weapon a trusty hoe.
No martial music to swing me along,
I march to the robin redbreast song.
No stirring anthem of bugle and drum
But the cricket’s chirp and the honey bee’s hum.
No anti-aircraft or siren yell
But there’s Trumpet-creeper and Lily-bell.
With a loving heart and a sturdy hand,
I defend the borders of flower-land;
While high over Larkspur and Leopardsbane,
A butterfly pilots his tiny plane;
But I shall not fear his skillful hand,
My enemy charges only by land.
~Alma B. Eymann

So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well.  ~Matthew 13:26    ✝

**photos via Pinterest

299. Last weekend, there came a bitter cold snap, which did great damage to my garden…It is sad that Nature plays such tricks on us poor mortals, inviting us with sunny smiles to confide in her, and then, when we are entirely within her power, striking us to the heart. ~Edited and adapted excerpt from Nathaniel Hawthorne

Who loves a garden
Finds within his soul
Life’s whole,
He hears the anthem of the soil
While ingrates toil;
And sees beyond his little sphere
The waving fronds of heaven, clear.
~Louise Seymour Jones


I’ve been trying to figure out today what it is about a garden that is so seductive and irresistible for me, but I’m still no closer to an answer than when I’ve pondered it before.  I just know that something in nature calls to me and touches me on a deep level, brings glad music to my heart, and feeds “life’s whole” within my soul.  That’s why the losses due to last weekend’s dirty “trick” have struck a grievous blow to my heart which in turn has sent me sinking down, down, down into what one writer has called winter’s “vale of grief.”  Normally I can shake things off pretty quickly, but in addition to that casualty the arthritis in my left knee and left foot have me hobbling around on a cane, unable to get outside and do things that need to be done in the garden, and that’s creating a bluer than blue, bluish “funk.”  Now after spending way too much time inside, stationary and feeling a bit sorry for myself, I’m STARVED!!!  Like a junkie, I need my “fix.”  I need to hear the “anthem of the soil.”  Moreover, I need to touch the earth and dig in the dirt.  I need to feel Eden’s beating heart, her rhythms.  I need to hear the birds singing over my head.  I need color.  I need to see things growing and to look upon flowery faces, even a wretched dandelion would do.  I need to feel the sun’s warmth on my back.  And as much as anything else I need to feel God’s palpable presence in my tiny corner of His sanctum sanctorum.

Alas, sadly, I’m afraid it will be sometime before all those needs are met.  So I dug around on Pinterest board’s trying to find the kinds of images that typically draw me into a garden’s web of magic and glory.  Since I have no way of knowing when Old Man Winter will return to his arctic cave nor when my body will stop betraying me, they and a a little garden poetry will have to suffice.

From there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find him if you search after him with all your heart and soul.  ~Deuteronomy 4:29   ✝