1208. Wisdom is oftentimes nearer when we stoop than when we soar. ~William Wordsworth

We plant seeds that will flower
as results in our lives, so best
to remove the weeds of anger,
avarice, envy and doubt,
that peace and abundance
may manifest for all.
~Dorothy Day

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Weeder’s Thoughts
I have raked the soil and planted the seeds
Now I’ve joined the army that fights the weeds.
For me no flashing saber and sword,
To battle the swiftly marching horde;
With a valiant heart I fight the foe,
My only weapon a trusty hoe.
No martial music to swing me along,
I march to the robin redbreast song.
No stirring anthem of bugle and drum
But the cricket’s chirp and the honey bee’s hum.
No anti-aircraft or siren yell
But there’s Trumpet-creeper and Lily-bell.
With a loving heart and a sturdy hand,
I defend the borders of flower-land;
While high over Larkspur and Leopardsbane,
A butterfly pilots his tiny plane;
But I shall not fear his skillful hand,
My enemy charges only by land.
Would those who lead nations in war and hate
But lay down their guns at some garden gate,
There, bury-their bombs and their bloody deeds,
And join the grand army that’s fighting the weeds.
~Alma B. Eymann

Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding. ~Proverbs 3:13  ✝

**Image found on Pinterest

1184. I used to visit and revisit it(his garden) a dozen times a day, and stand in deep contemplation over my progeny with a love that nobody could share or conceive of who had never taken part in the process of creation. ~Edited excerpt by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Now summer is in flower and nature’s hum
Is never silent round her sultry bloom
Insects as small as dust are never done…
~Excerpt from a poem by John Clare

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Natalie, oh Nstalie, what can you say
About how it is your garden thrives?
Is it a labor of love that drives you
To keep these pretty flowers alive?

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Yes ‘tis so for despite the torrid heat
And in the face of pesky insect mobs
I daily venture out with tools in hand
To wage war against the weedy hordes.

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 But in return as I mosey back to go inside
I feel blessed to be able to work the soil
Alone  in quiet, solitude on flowery paths
Where nothing’s heard but muted toils.

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In the end my back is bent, my brow wet,
And my stamina all but entirely spent,
But ’tis when the grueling work is done,
That I rest in satisfied accomplishment.

The Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. ~Excerpt from Deuteronomy 2:7  ✝

**All photos taken by me in my yard; collages by me

1091. Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness. ~Desmond Tutu

We must accept finite disappointment,
but never lose infinite hope.
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.
~Emily Dickinson

It has been my privilege to meet some incredible people through my blog. They are people I never knew to ask God for, but He has given them to me anyway. When I asked Him why He blessed me with their presence in my life, He let me know that it’s because they can fill my life in ways that no one else can. And it’s true. From places all over the globe they are the candles in my darknesses and the birds of hope that perch atop my soul when my days grow dark and I find myself in the “chillest” of lands and on the “strangest” of seas.

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. ~Psalm 62:5  ✝

**Image found on Pinterest

1064. God is the experience of looking at a tree and saying, “Ah!” ~Joseph Campbell

Sometimes thou may’st walk in groves,
which being full of majestie will
much advance the soul.
~Thomas Vaughn

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To rest, go to the woods
Where what is made is made
Without your thought or work.
Sit down; begin the wait
For small trees to grow big,
Feeding on earth and light.
Their good result is song
The winds must bring, the trees
Must wait to sing, and sing
Longer than you can wait.
Soon you must go. The trees,
Your seniors, standing thus
Acknowledged in your eyes,
Stand as your praise and prayer.
You rest in this praise
Of what you cannot be
And what you cannot do.
~Wendell Berry

Blessed is the one…whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on His law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and whose leaf does not wither–whatever they do prospers. ~Excerpts from Psalm 1:1-3  ✝

**Image found on Pinterest

1058. The poetry of the earth is never dead… ~John Keats

Let us love winter, for
it is the spring of genius.
~Pietro Aretino

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Scripture tells us that God  rested on the 7th day, and so we see that He deems rest as an essential element of well being. Earth’s life cycles would simply not be sustainable without rest, and that’s what winter is designed for. This rhythm of restfulness and  then liveliness is visible in more than just springtime’s revival though; for example, we see it in the yielding of daylight to darkness, wakefulness to sleep, and noisiness to silence. Relaxation leads to revitalization and health, and that’s why Creation’s repetitive patterns of repose and continuation have been described as the holy rituals of sacred restful sacraments. Although loving winter, especially when we are in its most extreme throes, is challenging, the good news is that Yahweh, the lovable Genius behind winter, built into it things that keep us hopeful. One such thing is this lenten rose that I found blooming near my back fence. In the already cleared ground and warmed by autumn’s leafy debris its pink flowers are rising above the foliage and standing there “pretty as a picture” as they say. Perhaps the hellebore bloomed a bit earlier than usual because what little winter we’ve had here has been mild, very mild so far. It’s just early February and yet there were days last week and more coming next week with highs in the mid-to-high 70‘s. Thus my wondrous, little lenten rose is truly a “verse” of poesy penned by the now sleeping earth, and it is manifest proof that “the poetry of the earth” is, as Keats said, never dead.

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. ~Genesis 2:2-3  ✝

1045. No matter how much we try to run away from this thirst for the answer to life, for the meaning of life, the intensity only gets stronger and stronger. We cannot escape these spiritual hungers. ~Ravi Zacharias

Imagine, for example, birds.
When they look out at the world,
they have a sense that they are alive.
If they are in pain, they can do something about it.
If they have hunger or thirst, they can satisfy that.
It’s this basic feeling that there is
life ticking away inside of you.
~Antonio Damasio,
Professor of Neuroscience at UCLA

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I had such a longing for virtue, for company.
I wanted Christ to be as close as the cross I wear.
I wanted to read and serve, to touch the altar linen.
Instead I went back to the woods where
not a single tree turns its face away.

Instead I prayed, oh Lord, let me be
something useful and unpretentious.
Even the chimney swift sings.
Even the cobblestones have a task to do, and do it well.
Lord, let me be a flower, even a tare; or a sparrow.
Or the smallest bright stone in a ring worn by someone
brave and kind, whose name I will never know.
~Mary Oliver

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. ~Matthew 5:6  ✝

**Images via Pinterest; collage by Natalie

914. The damp of the night drives me deeper into my soul. ~Walt Whitman

The rain is alive with songs
it has penned 
for thousands years,
and my heart is blessed
by the sound of its music.
~Idea for above by Natalie Scarberry inspired
by a song in the SOUND OF MUSIC

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The Voice of the Rain
And who art thou? said I to the soft-falling shower,
Which, strange to tell, gave me an answer, as here translated:

I am the Poem of Earth, said the voice of the rain,
Eternal I rise impalpable out of the land and the bottomless sea,
Upward to heaven, whence, vaguely form’d,
altogether changed, and yet the same,
I descend to lave the drouths, atomies, dust-layers of the globe,
And all that in them without me were seeds only, latent, unborn;
And forever, by day and night, I give back life to my own origin,
and make pure and beautify it;
(For song, issuing from its birth-place, after fulfilment, wandering,
Reck’d or unreck’d, duly with love returns.)
~Walt Whitman

“He draws up the drops of water, which distill as rain to the streams…” ~Job 36:27  ✝

**The poet Walt Whitman writes of a conversation he once had with the rain as it dropped gently from the heavens. “Who are you?” the poet asked. Strangely, the raindrops replied and the poet translates its answer for the readers. “I am the poem of the earth,” said the rain. The rain adds that it is born in the form of invisible and intangible vapors that rise eternally from the earth’s land and deep water bodies. It then reaches heaven (the sky) and changes its appearance complete to form clouds of abstract, changeable shapes. Yet, at its core, it remains the same as it was at birth. It then returns to earth as little droplets which wash away the dust and rejuvenate the drought-ridden, dry land. New plants find life which would have otherwise remained hidden and unborn inside the land as mere seeds. Thus, this perpetual cyclic lifestyle ensures that the rain retunes to its origin, the earth, giving it life, and making it pure and beautiful. The poet realizes that the rain’s life is similar to that of any song. A song’s birth place is the poet’s heart. Once complete, it is passed on (wanders) from one person to another. It may change (reck’d) or remain the same (unreck’d) as it travels, but one day, it returns to the poet with all due love of the listeners. The poem is written from the point of view of someone who asked the rain who it was and was answered, it saying “I am the poem of the Earth”, then proceeding to tell how it comes from the earth, only to return once again to wash it and nourish it…that if it were not for the rain, seeds would remain seeds and not flower into their full potential…giving back life to its origin. Then the poem’s “turn” uses this story as a segway to show how “song, issuing from its birth-place, after fulfillment, wandering, Reck’d or unreck’d, duly with love returns.” Meaning that songs come from the soul and after they’ve been heard, and thought good or bad, return with love. Just as rain rises and falls back again, so do poems, songs and other forms of beauty from the soul. (In the photo on the left side of the collage, the artist penned the words to Whitman’s song as the drops of rain.)