1246. If we were but conscious of our own utter littleness, we would not dare look with contempt on the smallest atom in the world. ~Charles Lanman

Clouds of insects danced and buzzed in the sunlight,
and the air was full of the piping of the song-birds.
Long glinting dragon-flies shot across the path, or hung
tremulous with gauzy wings and gleaming bodies.
~Edited excerpt from Arthur Conan Doyle

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 5.17.05 PM.png

Did you know that there’s always a party going on in a backyard. Yes, indeed there is, and the guests frolic on their flooring, the ground, and under the “coffered ceiling” of the sky. Some even “boogie down” underground; thus a lawn, not just the grass, is alive. And the world out there is filled with beasties that buzz, tweet, squawk, flutter, scurry, build, dance, burrow, hoot, chase, pounce, and soar among other things. Not only that but the party goes on 24/7. If you don’t believe me, just step outside sometime, take a look around, and listen.

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 3.39.48 PM.png

Depending upon the season and time of day or night, you might hear a chorus of amphibians, insects a buzzin’, and birds a callin’ or a singin’ or a drummin’. And those noisy birds, for example, just might be a gatherin’ nesting materials, or a feedin’ on berries or insects, or a splashin’ around in a birdbath. Whilst the birds are doing their things, the butterflies and bees might be a fluttterin’ about and a sippin’ on the nectars in flowers. If not that, then you might find a “hophopper” a chowin’ down on a tasty leaf or a dragonfly a skimmin’ across a surface of water. Or you might even find something exotic like my friend in the photos above a lookin’ back at you and gettin’ perturbed because you’re too close to its perch, so close in fact that it raises an arm of warning to scold you. When I find a praying mantis like this one, they are often on a rose bush which is where I found this one. Well actually it was on the trellis where the rose was, but I think he’d made his way from the rose over to it in hopes he could scare off dusk’s unwanted interloper.

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 3.39.07 PM.png

For who scorns the day of small things. ~Excerpt from Zechariah 4:10 ✝

*The collage of praying mantis images at the top created by Natalie from photos via Pinterest

704. …What lies beyond the borders of this peaceful place… ~Excerpted lyric by Pyramaze

Outside the window
sits a pot of gerberas
opening the day

DSC_0094

Beyond them bloom some
roses in the kitchen bed
near the patio

DSC_0067

Onward is the rose
covered arch over a small
porch and rocking chair

DSC_0046

Bye, bye for now but
if you come back we will take
other looks beyond
~All haikus by written by
Natalie Scarberry

My first waking move every morning is from my bed to my reclining chair in front of my big glass doors that open onto the patio. From there I have a commanding view of about half of my backyard. And since the back of my house faces due east, I’m privileged to watch daybreak through the towering trees every morning. Even when it’s cloudy, the light slowly and captivatingly increases as the day dawns. This time of year, sunny or cloudy, what’s beyond those windows is the greatest show on earth. Its beauty represents years of clearing and digging and planting most of which was done, I might add, while I was still teaching. Now that I am retired, I am at last able to reap fully the rewards of the Lord’s blessings therein and my years of longing and labor. And I can honestly say that it was worth every bit of the hard work, the set backs, the failures, the tears, the back issues, and the worn-out knee which I just had replaced. For this–this piece of ground with its flowering beds is a holy place, a sacred sanctuary, a little piece of Eden in which my soul is fed by Him whose Presence yet haunts His Creation. It is where I’m reminded every day that I am His and He is mine, and I thank you Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, for this place and that gift.

You will see it with your own eyes and say, ‘Great is the Lord–even beyond the borders of Israel!‘ ~Malachi 1:5   ✝

595. Who loves a garden loves a greenhouse too. ~William Cowper

I managed to keep a few square yards on a shelf for staging in a greenhouse, and those few square yards were crowded with bright things from December to Easter. Their brilliance contrasted with winter’s leaden skies; it was like coming into an aviary full of tropical birds and butterflies… ~Excerpt by Vita Sackville-West, edited and adapted

DSC_0059

I have a little greenhouse
Here in my backyard,
Where hyacinths and tulips grow
And pansies bloom unmarred.

No matter how the winter’s storms
May rage with ghoulish glee
And beat against my casement there,
It never frightens me.

I watch my flowers from day to day,
I water them with care
And they give back their sweet perfume–
Their fragrance fills the air.

I wonder if in years to come
The greenhouse yet will stand,
When I who tend it now so well
Shall sleep beneath this land?

I wonder if–but who can tell
What passing years may bring?
But still–there’s always flowers to bloom
And beyond this door birds to sing.
~Poem by Iva H. Drew,
edited and adapted

…We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience… ~Colossians 1:9-11   ✝

**I took this photograph today of tulips abloom in my greenhouse.

593. It is in the nature of cats to do a certain amount of unescorted roaming. ~Adlai Stevenson

Prowling his own quiet backyard
or asleep by the fire,
he (a cat) is only a whisker
away from the wilds.
~Jean Burden

Screen shot 2014-12-28 at 4.09.13 PM

Twas three days after Christmas, and all through the yards
Nothing was stirring, not even wind-blown papery discards;
The feeders were hung by the greenhouse with care,
In hopes the red cardinals soon would be there;
And seedlings were nestled snug in leafy beds,
While thoughts of springtime danced in my head;
The squirrels in their nests and I in my chair,
Lay resting ourselves from yesterday’s fare,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my chair to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash
And raised the bamboo curtain and tied up its sash.
The lowering gray clouds of a cold winter’s day
Had earlier shrouded the land in garments of gray.
Now in the sun what to my wondering eyes did appear
But a feral feline running a path both straight and clear.
With a blue jay held loosely in her clenched jaw awry
The proud huntress lost her grip and away it did fly
Leaving her to wonder
Why her incursion was put asunder.
~A parody of Clement’s
Twas the Night Before Christmas 

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

I was laughing so hard after what I’d seen, I couldn’t resist the urge for some playfulness and thus wrote the parody above.  The cat, however, was not amused at all by what had happened.

**Image via Pinterest

488. Happy is he who still loves something he loved in the nursery: He has not been broken in two by time; he is not two men, but one, and he has saved not only his soul but his life. ~G. K. Chesterton

Feel the wild imprint of surprise.
Free the joy inside the self.
Awaken to the wonder of life.
~Edited excerpts from John O’Donohue blessings

Screen shot 2014-07-26 at 5.14.53 PM

When children first feel “the wild imprint of surprise,” they easily let go the joy inside themselves, but by the time they enter adolescence most become guarded about their feelings and their expressions of joyfulness. Then as playgrounds and backyard recreations are left far behind when they enter young adulthood, they are, like I was, less and less exposed to the wonders of Creation. However, I discovered when I first retired “that like a forgotten fire, childhood can flare up again.” The flames were sparked when I could at last spend greater amounts of time in my garden and with my creative outlets that I found my inner child was still alive and well.

Screen shot 2014-07-26 at 5.13.22 PM

Sadly, the middle years of my life took me far from the things I loved in my childhood as well as through some deep valleys of brokenness. Now painful health issues rob me many nights of restful sleep, but I’ve yet to be “broken in two by time.” Though past and present circumstances have and continue trying to steal my “joie de vivre,” the Lord has not left me stranded on detours away from the His plan for my life nor stuck at dead ends. Instead the Shepherd keeps leading His lamb back into His keeping, and that as well as the freeing of my inner child helps to restore my joy. When one of my grandson’s was younger he told me once that he loved the way I often got down on the floor and played right alongside him and his brother. The question is: Was I doing it for them or for myself?

You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. ~Isaiah 55:12 ✝

** Images via Pinterest

472. Outside the open window the morning air is all awash with angels. ~Richard Purdy Wilbur

Angels descending, 
bring from above,
echoes of mercy, 
whispers of love.
~Fanny J. Crosby

DSC_0006

My cats start meowing for food around daybreak, and when I hear them, I heed the call, put out their food, and then settle back in my recliner to snooze a little longer. In between my snippets of sleep, I open my eyes to enjoy the spectacle of day’s coming as it moves in and across my backyard. Yesterday because I had seen a hummingbird at my feeder, I’d decided to leave my camera near my chair. So the photo above was shot early this morning from inside through a sliding glass door and its screen. Sadly the little guy was not up as close as I’d have liked nor is he completely in focus. But I loved the image because as he hovered with wings still rapidly in motion, the camera captured him just at the right moment so that it looks like he has the tiny wings of an angel. And who knows? Perhaps he was and had been sent to remind me that…

It’s not just another day.
It’s the one day that is given to me today.
It’s a gift.
It’s the only gift I have right now,
and the only appropriate response
is gratefulness.
~Verse taken from “A Good Day” 
by David Steindl-Rast

“The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be my God, the Rock, my Savior!” 2 Samuel 22:47   ✝

Lord, Your beauty draws all things to Yourself. Please let me stay and rest in your holiness.

469. The ripest peach is highest on the tree. ~James Whitcomb Riley

This is the blessing for a ripe peach:
This is luck made round. Frost can nip
the blossom, kill the bee. It can drop,
a hard green useless nut. Brown fungus,
the burrowing worm that coils in rot can
blemish it and wind crush it on the ground.
Yet this peach fills my mouth with juicy sun.
~A verse from a poem by Marge Piercy

Screen shot 2014-08-27 at 2.33.53 PM

Abracadrabra! Hinkety, pinkety! Jiggity, jog! Poof! Oh wouldn’t it be lovely if with such a simple incantation we could go back in time to a place where one of our life’s greatest treasures lie! For me it would be a place filled with the sights and sounds of the sea, the fragrances of beautiful flowers, the tastes of luscious fruits, and the magic of innocence. That place would always be my childhood home in southern California where sanctity fell from on high and oozed up from the ground, and the air was charged and ripe with God’s goodness.

It was when I read this verse today that the poet’s words actually took me back for the briefest of moments to that time and place. For you see in our backyard we had a large peach tree, and I remember so well reaching up, grabbing one, though it might not have been the highest, and eating it with joyful abandon, letting the “juicy sun” drip right down from my mouth. And then there were my mama’s peach pies!!! My oh my oh my but they were the best I have ever eaten!

The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. ~Genesis 1:12   ✝

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty. With all Creation I sing: Praise to the King of Kings. You are my everything, and I will adore you!” (From Revelation Song by Phillips, Craig, and Dean)