1447. The air is like a butterfly with frail blue wings. The happy earth looks at the sky and sings. ~Joyce Kilmer

It is a glorious privilege to live,
to know, to act, to listen, to behold, to love.
To look up at the blue summer sky;
to see the sun sink slowly
beyond the line of the horizon;
to watch the worlds come twinkling
into view, first one by one,
and the myriads that no man can count,
and lo! the universe is white with them;
and you and I are here.
~Marco Morrow

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Morrow mentions only the summer sky, but it’s a privilege to look up and behold the wonders of the sky at any time, isn’t it?! This time of year an especially breathtaking view of the sky can be seen by looking through flowering trees. But why is it that we like to gaze up at the heavens with or without trees? What are we looking for? And when our look up at the embracing canopy over us, why do words of wonder and awe enter our thoughts and subsequently fall from our lips? What is it about what we see that fills us with utter amazement? Is it because of the firmament’s majestic beauty and/or our puzzlement about the mysteries therein? Or is it because in our looking we become aware of a knowing that transcends ordinary knowing? Could it be that we recognize the handiwork of the One to whom we’re inextricably and lovingly connected? As we look and listen, can’t we hear the Holy One’s voice in the deepest part of ourselves, that quiet voice telling us that the sky and earth and life are not the result of a random happenstance but are acts of His divine and loving grace poured out for our benefit? Maybe in the sky and all else that delights our senses we see the quicksilver flicker of a tiny flame which illuminates our Maker’s face, a face our eyes have forgotten but our hearts still remember? Indeed, what a “glorious privilege it is to live, to know, to act, to listen, to behold, to love” under the tutelage of our grand and caring Father! And how wondrous it is that the knowing can come from just looking and listening and giving ourselves to Him!

It is God’s privilege to conceal things and the king’s (and mankind’s, says Natalie) privilege to discover them. ~Proverbs 25:2 ✝

**All photos taken by Natalie; collage by Natalie

1371. On being asked to write a poem against the destruction of the natural world… ~Dale Biron

Poems we love are just songs
we must sing again and again.
~Dale Biron

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Well, yes I have written such poems on occasion and several times in fact, not because I was asked, but just because my heart or soul or maybe some other nameless part of me couldn’t help but do so. I’ve quoted Rachel Carson, Walt Whitman, and Wallace Stegner just to add intellectual heft to my haranguing. And based on what I can tell, so far none of my writing or talking has made a single bit of difference, except that I now stare dumbstruck at the magnificence of a single ocean wave, and cannot take my eyes off clouds and full moons or Giant Egrets, taking one tiny sacred step at a time. After all, isn’t every poem ever just a search and rescue party for our heart and soul– nothing protected, nothing saved, nothing sustained, except maybe, just maybe, me, and you, and every other blessed thing. ~Dale Biron

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And ya know what, I personally think one can write poetry with a camera or a paint brush or with a musical instrument or a sculpting knife and on and on it goes, so that those perhaps bereft of the ability to rhyme may be gifted poets too. The Lord remains the master poet Himself as the stroke of His mighty “pen” plays on in His Creation.

The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy. ~Psalm 65:8  ✝

**Images found at: http://petitcabinetdecuriosites.tumblr.com/tagged/flowers

1352. If God had wanted to be a big secret, He would not have created babbling brooks and whispering pines. ~Robert Brault

Nor would He have created blue skies, nor sandy beaches nor stars above, nor beautiful flowers, nor falling snow, and on and on the list of clues goes. God wants to speak to us through all that He has made. All of Creation gives pointers into Yahweh’s mystery because it is part of His grand plan that we draw near Him for in so doing we discover our divinely-inspired and eternal connection to Abba, our Loving Father.

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The most beautiful thing
we can experience is the mysterious.
It is the source of all true art and all science.
He to whom this emotion is a stranger,
who can no longer pause to wonder
and stand rapt in awe, is as good
as dead: his eyes are closed.
~Albert Einstein

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Einstein is right; it’s impossible for science to explain everything and in the pause of wonder, rapt in awe, we come to appreciate the endless and vast wonders of what God’s mind imagined, what His words spoke, and what His hands created. Thus in being brought close to the heart and mind of God, one’s sense of childlike astonishment returns the I nexpressible joy and utter excitement of life. And it helps us to know on a more conscious level that there’s more to life than what we can understand and explain. That’s why I like to think of the unfathomable mysteries around us as sacred benedictions, blessing at the close of earth’s daily holy orders that encourage us to stay in the Lord’s keeping and to continue looking for more revelations of the Holy One’s nature and intent for our lives.

Who…is like You, LORD? Who is like You—majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders? ~Excerpted passage from Exodus 15:11  ✝

**These images were taken in the springtime, but that chair and others like it are always in close proximity to my door, and I sit in them on most everyday of the year even if it’s for just a short while.

1276. I breathe the fragrance myself and know it and like it, … I will go to the bank by the wood… ~Walt Whitman

I feel the need to “coddiwomple!”
To be out where autumn’s breath fills my lungs,
where the presence of the Lord is afoot,
where the miracles of nature abound,
where wonder and awe feed my soul,
where I find rhythmic harmony and peace,
where I see visible signs of God’s goodness,
where the simple pleasures of life bring me joy,
where the child I once was rises to the top,
where she laughs and my heart sings
be it in woods, fields, or gardens,
where I feel alive and well!
Indeed it is time to
coddiwomple
again!

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To wonder, to know,
To explore, always asking:
What am I?
Who am I?
What will become of me?
Of my knowledge?

Am I squandered on the world?
Cheapening existence through vanity?
How long before I am fit to say, I know this!
Rather than, I think this.

That in itself questions self,
Whether our thought and mind is
Our own knowledge and assurance.
At what point in time do we stop marching?

Pencil upon paper, sight upon colour and light.
A fixation upon what we comprehend
And that, which is incomprehensible.
Are we gambling with the gifts we are given?

Are they gifts?
The ability to question choice, life, the air we breathe;
The sun, the moon, clouds, stars, the earth, wind, rain, height.
Random, our teachers abandon us,
Fending for all we are on our own
‘Tis a lonely path humans follow, trying to fill the void
~Edited excerpt of a poem,
To Wonder, by Lily

“Go in peace. Your journey has the Lord’s approval.” ~Excerpt from Judges 18:6  ✝

**Text above images by Natalie. Images found on  Pinterest; collage by Natalie; backgrounds and special effects via iPiccy

1252. The first act of awe, when man was struck with the beauty or wonder of Nature, was the first spiritual experience. ~Henryk Skolimowski 

O Marvelous!
What new configuration will come next?
I am bewildered with multiplicity.
~William Carlos Williams

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Soil . . . scoop up a handful of the magic stuff.   Look at it closely. What wonders it holds as it lies there in your palm.  Tiny sharp grains of sand, little faggots of wood and leaf fiber, infinitely small round pieces of marble, fragments of shell, specks of black carbon, a section of vertebrae from some minute creature. And mingling with it all the dust of countless generations of plants and flowers, trees, animals and – yes – our own, age-long forgotten forebears, gardeners of long ago. Can this incredible composition be the common soil? ~Stuart Maddox Masters

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I went out first thing this morning to see if I might find something picture worthy and came across some rather extraordinary things. A garden is not just about flowers or vegetables or fruits or trees. It’s about the soil and creatures as well. Some might think what I found is strange, bordering on ugly or scary, but they are essential to the life of a garden.

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First I came upon the sedum at top starting to show color followed by a mystical passionflower not yet fully open. Then I found the two fruitings, above and below, of fungi in the soil. Fungi perform an essential role in the decomposition of organic matter. In fact they are the principal decomposers in ecological systems, and interestingly fungi are genetically more closely related to animals than plants. These two are strangely beautiful in a way, don’t your think?

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If you want to live and thrive,
let the spider run alive.
~American Quaker saying

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Next I found this huge spider, and although I’m not a fan of spiders, it was an awesome specimen sitting in the middle of an amazing web. I’d seen this same kind of spider in almost the same exact place two years ago, but this one is much bigger than the previous one. So I snapped my photos quickly and gave it a wide berth as I moved on. I was willing to let him run alive as the saying goes, just not after or on me.

For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations. ~Isaiah 61:11  ✝

1210. If grief can be a doorway to love, then let us all weep for the world we are breaking apart so we can love it back to wholeness again. ~Robin Wall Kimmerer

Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us
to encounter everyday epiphanies, those
transcendent moments of awe that change
forever how we experience life and the world.
~John Milton

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When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
~Wendell Berry

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He (the Lord) maketh me lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. ~Psalm 23: 1-2  ✝

**Images of wood drakes and great herons via Pinterest; collages created by Natalie

1151. Cherish sunsets, wild creatures and wild places. Have a love affair with the wonder and beauty of the earth. ~Stewart Udall

Life has loveliness to sell,
all beautiful and splendid things,
blue waves whitened on a cliff,
soaring fire that sways and sings,
and children’s faces looking up,
holding wonder like a cup.
~Sara Teasdale

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Wowed! When was the last time you were wowed, really, really wowed? I love being wowed! I’ve always loved being wowed! And for awhile after becoming a grown up, I spent some hard years when I wasn’t wowed by much of anything! I was frequently overwhelmed but not wowed! Then I started a garden and now seldom does a day go by that I’m not wowed by something. And I know I’m an easy mark because I adore flowers and birds and butterflies and bees and sunsets and rain and oceans and such. Nevertheless, easy mark or not, I still maintain that the Lord has made incredible things and that they are meant to wow us! So don’t just look at my flowers; notice the colors, look at the shapes, and the amazing details like the pistils and the anthers.

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Beauty is nature’s brag, and must be shown
in courts, 
at feasts, and high solemnities,
where most 
may wonder at the workmanship.
~John Milton

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He who can no longer pause to wonder
and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead;
his eyes are closed.
~Albert Einstein

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The point is that when I see a sunset
or a waterfall or something,
for a split second it’s so great,
because for a little bit I’m out of my brain,
and it’s got nothing to do with me.
I’m not trying to figure it out,
you know what I mean?
And I wonder if I can somehow find
a way to maintain that mind stillness.
~Chris Evans

Only those who look with the eyes of children
can lose themselves in the object of their wonder.
~Eberhard Arnold

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He(God) performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted. ~Job 5:9  ✝

**All images taken recently by me in my yard.

1030. What was that? Did you see it? There, there it goes again! Look! It can’t have disappeared.

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In the half light of dawn a quick flash of red had been darting back and forth just beyond the blue gazing ball. Whoosh! There is was again! Surely you saw it that time. No? Ohhhhhh, but I did! Even from 30 yards away the vibrant color and black mask of a male cardinal is unmistakable. Fully awake and focused now I could clearly see what the beautiful flash was, and yet sadly I had not obeyed the call earlier to get up and find my camera. After weeks of early wake ups, I just couldn’t make myself get up out of my chair; I was being lulled into a kind of stupor by the gray, quietude of the early January morn. Then I remembered the last line in Kalidasa’s Sanskrit poem, “The Salutation to the the Dawn. “Look well therefore to this day,” he said. So with a better late than never resolve, I started trying to untangle myself from a blanket and get up from my chair when all of a sudden the amazing crimson creature landed not ten feet away from me on the other side of my patio door. Lots of cardinals live in and around our yard, but until today none of them had come this close to the house. What a brave, cheeky guy was this one who had found and perched itself atop the blackberry vine I’d purchased last week. Though he tarried there a while, I was afraid to move for fear I’d shoo it away. So I eased back down in my chair, watching in awe and admiration until it flew off. Afterwards, I did go grab my camera in case the beauty returned again. Alas, however, it did not. Instead now it was only flying back and forth, along with its mate, from the feeders to the top of my rose arch outside Natalieworld

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Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at His coming. ~1 Peter 1:13 ✝

**Images found on Pinterest

 

897. A garden must combine the poetic and the mysterious with a feeling of serenity and joy. ~Luis Barragan

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause and stand wrapped in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed. ~Albert Einstein

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By Einstein’s definition above, I’m not dead yet, for my eyes still open and I frequently stand wrapped in awe when I find amazing things like what you see in these photos. What caught my eye at first was the marker identifying the vine as a Dutchman’s Pipe whose flowers, it said, have an interesting and specialized pollination mechanism. Intrigued by that I read on to find that because they are quite aromatic, their strong scent attracts insects, and that the inner part of their perianth tube (or pipe stem) is covered with hairs that act as a fly trap. Once caught these hairs wither to release the fly who has been covered with pollen. That in and of itself was more than enough to wow me. But now after also having seen the strangely beautiful and mysterious flower and its seed pods, I can, with complete confidence, attest to the fact that my emotions are not yet strangers either. Once again the Lord’s amazing creativity and imagination have stopped me in my tracks and taken my breath away. Chronic pain may have long been my lot in life to bear, but I can do nothing less than continually praise the Lord and express my gratitude for unlike me there are so many people in the world who have little to nothing but misery, grief, suffering, and grievous iniquities dumped over and over again upon their plates. Such is why tears so often flood these eyes that yet allow me to see and emotions erupt that yet allow me to feel.

Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty? ~Job 11:7  ✝

**Sadly with the recent debacle on computer that I shared with my readers, I’ve discovered that some of my photos are missing or in a black hole somewhere. So I had to use these that I found on Pinterest.

872. The sun is new each day. ~Heraclitus

Every day is the world made new.
I have lived all my life up to this moment,
to come to this day. I shall make of this day –
each moment of this day – a heaven on earth.
~Dan Custer

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Every morning the world is created.
Under the orange sticks of the sun
the heaped ashes of the night
turn into leaves again and
fasten themselves to the high branches —
and the ponds appear like black cloth
on which are painted islands of summer lilies.
If it is your nature to be happy
you will swim away along the soft trails for hours,
your imagination alighting everywhere.
And if your spirit carries within it
the thorn that is heavier than lead —
if it’s all you can do to keep on trudging —
there is still somewhere deep within you a beast
shouting that the earth is exactly what it wanted —
each pond with its blazing lilies is a prayer
heard and answered lavishly, every morning,
whether or not you have ever dared to be happy,
whether or not you have ever dared to pray.
~Mary Oliver

The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy. ~Psalm 65:8  ✝

**Image via Pinterest