1318. No wonder the hills and groves were God’s first temples… ~John Muir

The oaks and pines and their brethren of the wood,
have seen so many suns rise and set,
so many seasons come and go,
and so many generations pass into silence,
that they may well wonder what
“the story of the trees” would be to us
if they had tongues to tell it,
or if we had ears fine enough to understand.
-Author Unknown

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When one thinks about earth’s courts in such a way, he/she realizes that trees, like us, stand on hallowed ground, and so it’s not surprising that throughout the ages trees have been given deep and sacred meanings. By observing the growth and death of trees, the flexible nature of their branches, the annual reoccurrence of their foliage, humanity has seen trees as powerful symbols of growth, decay, and resurrection. Trees and their way of providing shade and shelter are adored by both wildlife and humanity alike, and the views afforded from their lofty heights are to be envied. Trees are more than simply the largest elements of the landscape or garden; over time they become like venerated companions that unfailingly stand by us throughout the seasons and storms of life. Given their size and the fact that they prevent soil erosion, provide weather-sheltered ecosystems in and under their leaves, play a vital role in the production of oxygen and the reduction of carbon dioxide, moderate ground temperatures, and produce orchard fruits, trees speak to us of the largesse and power of God.

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Soon and in a blaze of glory the trees bearing the leaves in my photos will be stripped of their foliage, but though barren and seemingly no more than a silent sentry where they stands, somewhere in their core their music will play on. Muir’s idea that the fibers of the tree’s being thrills “like harp strings” at all times is true and answers Walt Whitman’s inquiry, “Why are there trees I never walk under but large and melodious thoughts descend upon me?” The music of life plays on in all of Creation, and like God’s presence it is never absent from us. We may not always hear the music but the melodies are there. We may be absent from the Lord, but He is never absent from us. He can be found in the lights of the sky, the colors of earth, the warmth of the sun, in waters that flow, in the wind that can be felt but not seen, and in the boughs of mighty trees. In his Celtic Psalter J. Philip Newell uses the image of trees as a revelation of God’s presence, “Like light dappling through the leaves of a tree and wind stirring its branches, like birdsong sounding from the heights of an orchard and the scent of blossom after rainfall, so you dapple and sound in the human soul, so you stir into motion all that lives.” When our ears and eyes weren’t “fine enough to understand,” God sent us His son. As we follow the star to the manger in celebration of Christ’s birth in a few weeks, may the music in all that God has made be heard, acknowledged, and honored.

For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. -Luke 11:10  ✝

O come, O come Emmanuel!

890. The music of summer yet flutters in the middle of the day around Autumn seeking its former nest. ~Edited and adapted excerpt by Rabindranath Tagore

Early mornings are cool now though autumn is still young.
Dew on the lotus scatters pure perfume;
Wind on the bamboos gives off a gentle tinkling.
~Edited and adapted excerpt
by Po Chu (772-864)

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The harvest moon hung round and high
It dodged clouds high in the sky,
The stars winked down their love and mirth
The Autumn season was giving birth.
Oh, it must be October…
~Pearl N. Sorrels

I will dance
The dance of day’s dawning
And scattering fragrances

I will dance
The dance of day’s closing
And twinkling stars

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  ✝

**Lotus image via Pinterest

687. Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly, leave the rest to God. ~Ronald Reagan

Help us to be ever faithful
gardeners of the spirit,
who know that without darkness
nothing comes to birth,
and without light nothing flowers.
~May Sarton

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In dwelling, live close to the ground.
In thinking, keep to the simple.
In conflict, be fair and generous.
In governing, don’t try to control.
In work, do what you enjoy.
In family life, be completely present.
Be content with what you have;
Rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking,
the whole world belongs to you.
~Excerpted lines by Lao Tzu

You, Lord, are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light. ~2 Samuel 22:29   ✝

**Image found on Pinterest

578. Wisdom sails with wind and time. ~John Florio

There’s a whisper in the wind,
there’s a star agleam to guide us,
and a voice is calling, calling…
let us go.
~Edited and adapted excerpt
from a poem by Robert William Service

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The Sabbath dawned in gray attire and blowing gusty winds that sent scores of fallen leaves scampering across the lawn or swirling in checkered little eddies. Then down, down, down the grayness lowered until at last it began to shed its rainy tears, tears not wept in sadness but in joy. The birds who’d been darting back and forth to and from the feeders and the sheltering bamboo were gone, and now except for the rain, the yard was still and silent. However, empty it was not for in the midst of it all moved the ruach, a mere breath, the holy breath of Yahweh, the Ancient of Days. This wind, this holy breath was whispering that it was He who had used the phrase Ruach Yahweh in His promise that the redeeming Messiah would be empowered by the Holy Spirit; so come let us prepare to behold and adore this Messiah, this Savior, this Christ, this Immanuel, the Lord of all Creation.

“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). ~Matthew 1:23   ✝

** Edited image via Pinterest with added Scriptural text by Natalie

553. As autumn passes one remembers one’s reverence. ~Yoko Ono Lennon

Jack Frost
~By C.E. Pike



Look out! Look out!
Jack Frost is about!
He’s after our fingers and toes;
And all through the night,
The gay little sprite
Is working where nobody knows.

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He’ll climb each tree,
So nimble is he,
His silvery powder he’ll shake.
To windows he’ll creep
And while we’re asleep
Such wonderful pictures he’ll make.

Across the grass
He’ll merrily pass,
And change all its greenness to white.
Then home he will go
And laugh ho, ho ho!
What fun I have had in the night.

Frost performed “its secret ministry” as sleep held us close in the night, and when I awoke it lay twinkling like stardust atop things in the garden and on the lawn. Then as dawn’s early light kissed our few colorful autumn leaves, it turned them into glowing golden nuggets or the color of crystalized, reddish ripe persimmons or the usual, splendid oranges of advancing autumn. And as some of the leaves tumbled to the ground, winds blew them into little swirling eddies that played like happy children upon the lawn and in the street. O Autumn, your magic does indeed bring a sense of spectacular glory even as Spring and Summer’s progeny perish.

There is a playful side of nature, and there is a playful side in us which tells me that the Lord too knows something of playfulness since we are made in His image. Anyone who has seen or heard how breezes play in rustling leaves, how raindrops splatter and play on rooftops, how squirrels chase each other round and round a tree trunk has witnessed God’s sense of playfulness.

“Does the rain have a father? Who fathers the drops of dew? From whose womb comes the ice? Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens when the waters become hard as stone, when the surface of the deep is frozen?” ~Job 38:28-30   ✝

** Image via Pinterest

527. If you want to be reminded of the love of the Lord, just watch the sunrise! Jeannette Walls

How sweet the morning air is!
See how that one little cloud floats
like a pink feather
from some gigantic flamingo.
~Arthur Conan Doyle

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Somewhere, out at the edges, the night
Is turning and the waves of darkness
Begin to brighten the shore of dawn

The heavy dark falls back to earth
And the freed air goes wild with light,
The heart fills with fresh, bright breath
And thoughts stir to give birth to color.
~John O’Donohue

In Him(Jesus) was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. ~John 1:4-5   ✝

**Image via Pinterest

471. We know that in September, we will wander through the warm winds of summer’s wreckage. ~Henry Rollins

As in the bread and the wine, so it is with me.
Within all forms is locked a record of the past
and a promise of the future.
~Author Unknown

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During the course of a year, as humanity steps from one reality to another, there are visible ledgers of receipt and discernible promissory notes. So it is that in late August with less than a month to go before summer’s end and fall’s onset, my camera has captured an overlapping of this year’s waning third season and the waxing of its final season. The photos above prove that mortals are never left with an ending minus the birth of a new beginning. There is nothing finite that doesn’t contain signs of the infinite, and when such is seen the “little bird of hope” sings the loudest. So as summer draws to a close, may you realize that the seeds for tomorrow have and are being set, both in Creation and your lives. I know this because in the photo on the left is a fat seed pod I found in my garden this week, and it’s just waiting to spill its jewels of renewal upon the earth. As you dance with the, Lord and Lover of your soul, I pray that you realize you, too, are part of the splendor of the moment and that any discord endured in “dark nights of the soul” can be assuaged by shining new dawns. I pray also that you find a myriad of reasons to sing for joy, today and always.

“Glory be you, O God, for the rising of the sun, for colour filling the skies, and for the whiteness of the daylight. Glory be to you for creatures stirring forth from the night, for plant forms stretching and unfolding, for the stable earth and its solid rocks. . .that in the elements of earth, sea and sky I may see your beauty, that in the wild winds, birdsong and silence I may hear your beauty, that in the body of another and the interminglings of relationships I may touch your beauty, that in the moisture of the earth and its flowering and fruiting I may smell your beauty, that in the flowing waters of springs and streams I may taste your beauty, these things I look for this day, O God, these things I look for.” ~Excerpts from prayers by J. Philip Newell

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it; let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy. . . ~Psalm 96:11-12 ✝