1317. When I am among the trees, they give off such hints of gladness. ~Excerpted and combined lines from a poem by Mary Oliver

Autumn is the American season.The leaves
take fire on the trees and hang there flaming.
~Excerpted and combined lines
by Archibald MacLeish

Screen Shot 2016-12-09 at 7.33.10 PM.png

MacLeish is right; the leaves hang in varying shades of flaming red and orange and yellow. And I’m happy to report that it seems the weather guys were a tad overly zealous about the forecast last night. Although it did freeze, the temperature did not fall far enough below freezing to vanquish autumn’s glory after all. Now tonight may be a different story. But we’ll see. My grandfather used to say that anyone who tried to predict the weather in Texas was either a fool or a jackass because ya just never know for sure what the weather’s gonna do in the Lone Star State. However since NOAA is predicting temps in the low 20’s tonight and just in case they’re right this time, I went out today and took one last photographic look at autumn’s splendor, not only that which aflame hangs but also that which ultimately falls to the ground.

Screen Shot 2016-12-09 at 7.45.31 PM.png

Four hundred year old trees,
who draw aliveness from the earth
like smoke from the heart of God,
we come, not knowing you
will hush our little want to be big;

Screen Shot 2016-12-09 at 7.37.27 PM.png

we come, not knowing
that all the work is so much
busyness of mind; all
the worry, so much
busyness of heart.

Screen Shot 2016-12-09 at 7.50.47 PM.png

As the sun warms anything near,
being warms everything still
and the great still things
that outlast us

Screen Shot 2016-12-09 at 7.29.03 PM.png

make us crack l
ike leaves of laurel
releasing a fragrance
that has always been.
~Mark Nepo, In Muir Woods

Let the trees of the forest sing, let them sing for joy before the Lord… ~Excerpt from 1 Chronicles 16:33  ✝

**In the photos are leaves from an assortment of local trees including my Japanese Maple as well as fallen leaves both conglomerates of such and individual ones on my front sidewalk. My favorite was the carpet of yellow Gingko Biloba in the yard of a house my daughter used to own.

1316. So much has been given to me I have not time to ponder over that which has been denied. ~Helen Keller

For three things I thank God every day of my life:
thanks that he has vouchsafed me knowledge of his works;
deep thanks that he has set in my darkness the lamp of faith;
deep, deepest thanks that I have another life to look forward to–
a life joyous with light and flowers and heavenly song.
~Helen Keller

Screen Shot 2016-12-08 at 7.57.47 PM.png

Oh autumn, how late you came, but how glorious you have been! Today, however, winter’s first cold, cold breath has blown hard across the garden and these flowery “babies” I found today will perish in the frigid hours before dawn’s first light. In gratitude for their coming I shall like Helen and the author of the poem below go to sleep tonight thanking God that they came at all.

Screen Shot 2016-12-08 at 7.21.21 PM.png

Every night before I go to sleep
I say out loud
Three things that I’m grateful for,
All the significant, insignificant
Extraordinary, ordinary stuff of my life.
It’s a small practice and humble,
And yet, I find I sleep better
Holding what lightens and softens my life
Ever so briefly at the end of the day.

Screen Shot 2016-12-08 at 7.54.01 PM.png

Sunlight, and blueberries,
Good dogs and wool socks,
A fine rain,
A good friend,
Fresh basil and wild phlox,
My father’s good health,
My daughter’s new job,
The song that always makes me cry,
Always at the same part,
No matter how many times I hear it.

Screen Shot 2016-12-08 at 7.21.44 PM.png

Decent coffee at the airport,
And your quiet breathing,
The stories you told me,
The frost patterns on the windows,
English horns and banjos,
Wood Thrush and June bugs,
The smooth glassy calm of the morning pond,
An old coat, a new poem, my library card,
And that my car keeps running
Despite all the miles.

Screen Shot 2016-12-08 at 7.22.02 PM.png

And after three things,
More often than not,
I get on a roll and
I just keep on going,
I keep naming and listing,
Until I lie grinning,
Blankets pulled up to my chin,
Awash with wonder
At the sweetness of it all.
~Carrie Newcomer

Screen Shot 2016-12-08 at 7.43.37 PM.png

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 2:6-7  ✝

Screen Shot 2016-12-08 at 7.20.39 PM.png
**This tiny little sunflower came up from a fallen seed that had dropped down out of the bird feeder. I’ve been watching to see if it would bloom before winter nipped it in the bud and sure enough it did. The photos are not my best effort this time, but it was too darned cold to stand out in that cold north wind for long.

1315. The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart. ~Helen Keller

Everything has its wonders,
even darkness and silence,
and I learn, whatever state I may
be in, therein to be content.
~Helen Keller

Screen Shot 2016-12-06 at 8.08.29 PM.png

Oh, what a glory doth the world put on
These peerless, perfect autumn days
There is a beautiful spirit of gladness everywhere,
The wooded waysides are luminous
With brightly painted leaves;
The forest-trees with royal grace have donned
Their gorgeous autumn tapestries;
And even the rocks and fences are broidered
With ferns, sumachs and brilliantly tinted ivies.
But so exquisitely blended are the lights and shades,
The golds, scarlets and purples, that no sense is wearied;
For God himself hath painted the landscape.

The hillsides gleam with golden corn;
Apple and peach-trees bend beneath
Their burdens of golden fruit.
The golden-rods, too, are here, whole armies of them,
With waving plumes, resplendent with gold;
And about the wild grapes, purple and
Fair and full of sunshine,
The little birds southward going
Linger, like travelers at an Inn,
And sip the perfumed wine.
And far away the mountains against the blue sky stand
Calm and mysterious, like prophets of God,
Wrapped in purple mist.
~Helen Keller

I was fortunate enough while working as an educator to be able to teach THE MIRACLE WORKER which is a play written about Helen Keller. Helen had become deaf and blind in infancy and Anne Sullivan was hired by her family to come to their home in Alabama to be her teacher. The inspiring story is one that I believe everyone should read. I have the utmost respect and admiration for these two remarkable women and find it so amazing that a blind woman could write such a beautiful and accurate description of Autumn! The poem was written in 1898.

In that day the deaf will hear the words of the scroll, and out of gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see. ~Isaiah 28:19  ✝

**Image of autumn leaves which look almost like fallen jewels upon the ground was via Pinterest

1310. 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

Trickle, trickle, trickle! Plop, plop, plop! How
Steadily the sand falls in the year’s hourglass.
Wait, wait, wait. Day after day we’ve waited
Until at long last you stepped ever so lightly
Through a door which opened months ago.

Screen Shot 2016-11-29 at 8.39.12 PM.png

How is it that I’m so sure of your presence now?
What is it that speaks loudly of your arrival?
Perhaps it’s the changed hue of a once green leaf,
Or the gusty winds, from both north and south.

Screen Shot 2016-11-29 at 8.38.24 PM.png

Or could it be the chilled hours at dawn and again
At day’s end? Or it could be the slant of golden
Light, or the nip in the air, or the richness of colors
No longer faded by summer’s miserable heat.

Screen Shot 2016-11-29 at 8.38.43 PM.png

Or just maybe it’s being able to dally on mellow
Afternoons, or it could be seeing northers
Push hard against the garden’s weathervane
Or maybe it’s the deep blue of the skies above.

Screen Shot 2016-11-29 at 8.39.41 PM.png

Last season and fourth child of the year,
Autumn, golden, splendid, glorious autumn,
You are late in coming but you’re finally here
And oh, oh, oh, how very welcome you are!

Screen Shot 2016-11-29 at 8.40.37 PM.png

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever. ~Psalm 136:1  ✝

**All of these photos were taken by me in and around my neighborhood today. I know many of you have been enjoying autumn for some time, but the colorful part of ours didn’t starting happening until recently. I know not how long it will last since we are rapidly approaching the Winter Solstice but I shall enjoy ever minute of it until winter topples her and sits on its chilly throne.

1309. O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn’s being. ~Percy Bysshe Shelley

So I like best of all autumn,
because its tone is mellower,
its colors are richer,
and it is tinged with a little sorrow.
~Lin Yutang

Screen Shot 2016-11-28 at 7.39.22 PM.png

If I had to pick a recent, appropriate emblem for deep November, it would be the mellow richness of this rose. Though a wild west wind has blown today, the day I found it, dawn had broken under a heavy fog, and when the mist lifted, this rose and everything else in the garden was left completely soaked. It was as if the heavens had rained down a multitude of tears and tinged the landscape with more than the little autumn sorrow of which Yutang speaks. I for one have to wonder if, with daybreak coming later and later and darkness falling earlier and earlier, a garden knows that the year has almost completed another turn around the sun. If so and because the longing to be, to exist as an expression of the Divine Presence, can be seen in all Creation, that longing is not easily given up.

As this year draws to its end
we give thanks for the gifts it has brought
and how they came inlaid within,
where neither time nor tide
could touch them, and we also thanks
for the days when the veil lifted
and the soul could see delight;
when a quiver caressed the heart
in the sheer exuberance of being here.
-Excerpted and edited lines
by John O’Donohoe

When we take time to look beyond the trials of life, we see God’s blessings and realize that daily we continue to be given endowments of grace from the Host of the universe. From unmistakable “quivers that caress the heart” we know that we are not alone. We know that we belong to God and recognize a longing within us to touch Him. We know that He sits at the heart of life, and from there works at bringing to fruition that which He inlaid in us from the beginning. We know too that He is beside us in every moment and that our sadness is His sadness, our joy His joy, our loss His loss, our victory His victory.

Give praise to the Lord, proclaim His name; make known among the nations what He has done. ~1 Chronicles 16:8  ✝

1291. The sky was hung with various shades of gray, and mists hovered at times over the garden… ~Excerpted and adapted line by Henri-Frédéric Amiel

Screen Shot 2016-11-05 at 6.26.01 PM.png

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

Screen Shot 2016-11-05 at 6.25.30 PM.png

And at no season, save perhaps in Daffodil time, do we get such superb colour effects as we find in October and November when a cooler version of summer is in effect in Texas. ~Edited and adapted quote by Rose G. Kingsley

Screen Shot 2016-11-05 at 6.24.41 PM.png

I like spring, but it is too young. I like summer, but it is too proud and too hot. ~Edited and adapted line by Lin Yutang

Screen Shot 2016-11-05 at 6.29.48 PM.png

So I like best of all autumn, because its tone is mellower, its colours are richer, and it is tinged with a little sorrow. ~Lin Yutang

Screen Shot 2016-11-05 at 6.30.16 PM.png

Its golden richness speaks not of the innocence of spring, nor the power of summer, but of the mellowness and kindly wisdom of approaching age. ~Lin Yutang

Screen Shot 2016-11-05 at 6.27.14 PM.png

It knows the limitations of life and its content. ~Lin Yutang

Screen Shot 2016-11-05 at 6.37.02 PM.png

Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding? ~Job 12:12  ✝

**All photos taken by me in my yard today. The yard may not has as many blooms now as the riotous days of its early splendor, but it has more than enough to keep feeding my soul.

1287. And all the daughters of the year shall dance! ~Excerpted line from “To Autumn” by William Blake

We should consider every day lost
in which we have not danced at least once.
~Friedrich Nietzsche

Screen Shot 2016-10-29 at 7.45.15 PM.png

I am the Lord of the Dance said He
And we shall dance with each other in autumn’s splendor

Screen Shot 2016-10-29 at 7.50.03 PM.png

I am the Lord of the Dance said He
And we shall dance in the slant of its golden hours

Screen Shot 2016-10-29 at 6.24.34 PM.png

I am the Lord of the Dance said He
And we shall dance beneath skies of China blues

Screen Shot 2016-10-29 at 6.06.04 PM.png

I am the Lord of the Dance said He
And we shall dance amid the glory of colorful leaves

Screen Shot 2016-10-29 at 7.23.18 PM.png

I am the Lord of the Dance said He
And we shall dance alongside blossoms laden with dew

Screen Shot 2016-10-29 at 6.39.45 PM.png

I am the Lord of the Dance said He
And we shall dance in winds that speak of change

Screen Shot 2016-10-29 at 6.20.27 PM.png

I am the Lord of the Dance said He
And we shall dance rings around big plump pumpkins

Screen Shot 2016-10-29 at 6.09.27 PM.png

I am the Lord of the Dance said He
And you and I shall dance as Lover with His beloved

Then young women will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. ~Excerpt from Jeremiah 31:13  ✝

**All photos taken by Natalie except the two images in the collage at the top