1308. So she poured out the liquid music of her voice to quench the thirst of her spirit. ~Edited quote by Nathaniel Hawthorne

God respects me when I work;
but God loves me when I sing.
~Rabindranath Tagore

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Anything worth thinking about
is worth singing about.

Which is why we have songs of
praise, songs of love, songs of sorrow.

Songs the shepherds sing, on the lonely mountains,
while the sheep are honoring the grass, by eating it.

The dance-songs of the bees, to tell where the flowers,
suddenly, in the morning light, have opened.

A chorus of many, shouting to
heaven, or at it, or pleading.

Or that greatest of love affairs,
a violin and a human body.

And a composer,
maybe hundreds of years dead.

I think of Schubert, scribbling on
a café napkin. Thank you, thank you.

~Excerpted verses from a poem
by Mary Oliver

I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise You(God). ~Psalm 63:5 ✝

**Image via the Internet; special effects  done by me on iPiccy

1305. [L]et us linger awhile in the wonderful old Lilac walk. It is a glory of tender green and shaded amethyst and grateful hum of bees. ~Alice Morse Earle

There are a thousand ways
to kneel and kiss the earth.
~Rumi

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Today I’m flying low and I’m
not saying a word.
I’m letting all the voodoos of ambition sleep.

The world goes on as it must,
the bees in the garden rumbling a little,
the fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten.
And so forth.

But I’m taking the day off.
Quiet as a feather.
I hardly move though really I’m traveling
a terrific distance.

Stillness.  One of the doors
into the temple.
~Mary Oliver

Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker… ~Psalm 95:6  ✝

**Image via Pinterest

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

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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.

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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.

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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

1223. Color is joy. One does not think joy. One is carried by it. ~Ernst Hass

Joy is the sweet voice, Joy the luminous cloud–
We in ourselves rejoice!
And thence flows all that charms our ear or sight,
All melodies, the echoes of that voice
All colors a suffusion from that light.
~Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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From my hate-the-heat perspective the garden being adorned with crown jewels like these in the collage is one of the few saving graces of a Texas summer. If these flowers had voices instead of brilliant colors, I think that even as buds whose colors had not yet been revealed they would start the day off with soft, murmuring melodies. Then as the day’s flames licked up higher and higher and they burst into bloom, their songs would play on but in loud and bold arias so that the bees, the butterflies, and other pollinators would harken to their lusty, changeling voices. And all the while as the harmonies played on, the insect benefactors would suckle on the tasty fare despite the sizzling sultriness. And I, I would remain the envious onlooker because it is only they and not I who are small enough to crawl down into the gloriously-filled caverns of sweet nectars. Then at day’s end in weariness from performing their noisy choruses and from enduring the onslaught of mugginess their songs would give way to those of the white and silver flowery voices that mingle in with the enlarging and marvelous music of the night. As for me, though saddened by their silence and passing, I would have agree with Barbara Kingsolver who said that “in the places that call me out, I know I’ll recover my wordless childhood trust in the largeness of life and its willingness to take me in” again, another day. Another writer once said that in the isolation and silence of winter one can savor belonging to him or herself. And who knows, perhaps summer allows one to do the same but in a different way, especially when that individual is falling short of being thankful for God’s gifts by fussing about the way they are wrapped.

You(God) turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy… ~Psalm 30:11  ✝

**All images taken by me in my yard; not all were taken on the same days

1215. We are all farmers tending a little part of the Lord’s vineyard. ~Sheri L. Dew

One of life’s gifts is that each of us,
no matter how tired and downtrodden,
finds reasons for thankfulness:
for the crops carried in from the fields
and the grapes from the vineyard.
~J. Robert Moskin

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So James and I are driving along headed for lunch one day last week, and I just happened to glance down a cross street in time to see a house with a large side yard that has established its own tiny vineyard. Fascinated by the prospect, I asked James to turn around and go back so I could get a better look and take some photos. There on 4 rows with 7 vines on each of the rows, whoever owns the house has created what appears to be, at least for the moment, a healthy and prospering vineyard. Sadly however there are no roses at the end of the rows. Why roses? “In wine regions around the world, roses are frequently planted at the perimeter of vineyards. Roses typically require the same type of soil and sun requirements as grapevines and traditionally, rose hedges were planted as an early warning system to protect the health of the grapevines. Early detection of disease or stress on the roses alerted winemakers to take the necessary precautions to protect vines from damage. Roses also add beauty to the vineyard landscape, provide food for bees and offer habitat for beneficial insects preying on undesirable insects that can damage the grape crop.” Unfortunately this is not being done much any more as toxic pesticides are being used instead to control what would harm the vines, and I fear that this is what may be the plan here. But we shall see for I plan to make regular visits to this little suburban vineyard and will be praying that the owners are earth-friendly gardeners.

Has anyone planted a vineyard and not begun to enjoy it? ~Excerpted line from Deuteronomy 20:6  ✝

**I already knew about roses and why they were planted at the end of vineyard rows, but I opted instead to use this snippet from an article I found on the internet to explain it. Also as you can see, the leaves on the grape vines, as are leaves on most things in Texas, are a bit wilted at midday this time of year due to the intense heat .

1213. May you touch dragonflies and stars, dance with the fairies and talk to the moon. ~Morgan Bergeron

THERE are fairies at the bottom of our garden!
It’s not so very, very far away;
You pass the gardner’s shed and you just keep straight ahead —
I do so hope they’ve really come to stay.
There’s a little wood, with moss in it and beetles,
And a little stream that quietly runs through;
You wouldn’t think they’d dare to come merrymaking there–
Well, they do.

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There are fairies at the bottom of our garden!
They often have a dance on summer nights;
The butterflies and bees make a lovely little breeze,
And the rabbits stand about and hold the lights.
Did you know that they could sit upon the moonbeams
And pick a little star to make a fan,
And dance away up there in the middle of the air?
Well, they can.
~Excerpted lines from a poem
by Rose Fyleman

And if ever there were a place on a summer night such as this to look for the fairies at the bottom of the garden, I’d start by peering up into this enchanting, blue clematis bloom.

Praise Him(God), sun and moon; praise Him, all you shining stars. ~Psalm 148:3  ✝

**Image of blue clematis taken in my garden by me

1201. The bee’s life is like a magic well: the more you draw from it, the more it fills with water. ~Karl Von Frisch

Collaboration is the essence of life.
The wind, bees and flowers work together,
to spread the pollen. Mindfulness gives us 
the
opportunity to work with the cosmic collaboration.
~Amit Ray

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Bee Prayer
Winged spirit of sweetness
I call on you.
Teach me the ways of
Transformation and fertilization,
The path from pollen to sweetest honey.
Teach me to taste the essence
Of each place I alight,
Carrying that essence with me
To continue Creation’s cycle.
Teach me the ways of hope,
Reminding me that what seems impossible
May yet be achieved.
Flitting tears of the heavens,
Draw me ever closer to the wisdom
Hidden within beauty.
Give me flight and sunlight,
Passion and productivity,
Cooperation with those around me
And sharpened strength to defend my home.
May I spiral out from my heart
Searching for what I need
And return there once again
To turn those lessons into nourishment.
~Author Unknown

Know also that wisdom is like honey for you: If you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off. ~Proverbs 24:14  ✝

**Bee images via Pinterest; collage created by Natalie