1172. The word “miracle” aptly describes a seed. ~Jack Kramer

From one seed a whole handful:
that was what it meant to say
the bounty of the earth.”
~J. M. Coetzee

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What do you see in this photo? Obviously it’s a plant of some kind, but that’s not what I see when I look at it nor is it the true import of the image. Okay, so what more, you might ask, is there to see? Well, first I see a miracle, then I see God’s grace, next I see beauteous splendor, and finally I see a divine promise. Really, all that, in a nondescript, green cup-like object? Indeed I do! This large sunflower obviously has yet to open; nevertheless and even though the flower is not visible, I see great beauty in the fringed “cup” that’s holding what I know to be a stunning yellow sunflower. I also see great promise in it for I know that when the sunflower does emerge and mature, it will proffer an enormous amount of seeds which will not only guarantee ever-lasting continuance but also provide food to sustain living beings. The miracle in it is three-fold: 1.) it came forth from a small black particle buried beneath dirt, pain old, ordinary dirt, 2.) it’s growing in my garden although I did not sow it there, and 3.) it has not only survived neglect and lack but it has also thrived and grown to a height of six feet. As for grace, God’s amazing grace was promised us countless eons ago and this plant is just one more wondrous proof of life that He was and is still the faithful Steward of all that He has made.

Not all things are blest, but
the seeds of all things are blest.
The blessing is in the seed.
~Muriel Rukeyser

Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. ~Genesis 9:11  ✝

1013. I saw old autumn in the misty morn stand shadowless like silence, listening 
to silence. ~Thomas Hood

After the leaves have fallen, we return
To a plain sense of things.  It is as if
We had come to an end of the imagination,
Inanimate in an inert savoir(way of knowing).
~Wallace Stevens

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O splendid, lusty autumn, you who come with a subtle change in the light, with skies a deeper blue, with cooler days and lengthening chilly nights, it is, I’m sad to say, time for you to go. This year’s first frosts have come and gone, migratory birds have vanished over distant horizons, and crops have been harvested from garden and field alike. And all the while your while beauty and bounty “shined unconfined” as your days spread a “common feast for all that live.” Grateful are we to God and thee, o “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” that rains fell in good measure and gusty winds laid abundant, leafy blankets over the ground in protective readiness against winter’s icy blasts.

seeks the center
of every tree and rock,
that thing we hold closest
the end of mere songs
~Michael McClintock

O Lord, I have truly enjoyed listening to nature’s solemn, autumnal hymns once again. And I’ve watched in wonder as leaf upon leaf floated down disrobing the earth. Now I find delight in the millions of shining stars I can see through the bare tree branches, and I know, according to Your promises, that when autumn’s allotted sands of time run out of this year’s hourglass that it’s not an ending. So I’ll go to bed tonight assured that with the arrival of the winter solstice near midnight this evening that the slamming shut of fall’s back door is in reality just a new beginning, a fresh start that will usher in another season, a season of restful silences. Thus at the morrow’s first light, I will rise and begin in earnest to prepare my heart to welcome Your son, Emmanuel, and to rest–to rest, to observe, to listen, and to continue worshiping You.

As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease. ~Genesis 8:22  ✝

**Image via Pinterest

483. …dark furrow lines grid the ground, punctuated by orange abacus beads of pumpkins – now the crows own the fields… ~John Geddes

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At the end of the garden,
Across the litter of weeds and grass cuttings,
The pumpkin spreads its coarse,
Bristled, hollow-stemmed lines,
Erupting in great leaves
Above flowers
The nobbly and prominent
Stigmas of which
Are like fuses
Waiting to be set by bees.

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When, like a string
Of yellow mines
Across the garden,
The pumpkins will smolder
And swell,
Drawing the combustion from the sun
To make their own.
At night I lie
Waiting for detonations,
Half expecting
To find the garden
Cratered like a moon.
~John Cotton,
clergyman in England
and the American colonies

You care for the land and water it; you enrich it abundantly. You drench its furrows and level its ridges; you soften it with showers and bless its crops. You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance. ~Psalm 65:9a, 10-11 ✝

**Images via Pinterest

197. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos. ~Edward O. Wilson, American Biologist

A single swallow, it is said,
devours ten millions of insects every year.
The supplying of these insects
I take to be a signal instance of the Creator’s bounty
in providing for the lives of His creatures.
~Ambrose Bierce



Seldom silent is a garden, not in deep darkness nor when the savage sun sits high atop the world.  In it are creatures that buzz, some that croak, others that chirp, those that squawk, and many a bird that has a pretty melody to sing.  These creatures fly, they hop, they walk, they slither, they crawl, they jump; one of them even prays as does the kind of “beastie” I found hiding in one of my roses last week.   Late in the day I’d gone out to cut away rose growth withered by summer’s siege.  As I reached in the second one to cut what I thought was a dead, brown piece of stem lying flat against a thick cane, it moved and raised its upper body.  Quite alive instead was a mantis hanging comically upside down and peering out at me.  When I realized what it was, I dashed back in the house to grab my camera.  Once back at the scene I took a few shots where it was; then I tried to get it to turn into an upright position.  Despite my repeated attempts, it only conceded a sideways turn which allowed me at least to see that one of its eyes was missing and covered with scar tissue.  Stubbornly determined however to get more compliance, I persisted in my nudging effort one more time. But boy oh boy, this guy had had enough, and it instantly raised its front legs as if preparing to attack the overzealous, annoying, and maddening pest.  So I wisely relented in my efforts, took what shots I could get, and departed.  The mantis was still holding steadfastly to that same cane when I went in at dusk, but by the next morning he had moved on to either a safer haven or one where the prey he was trying to lure with his “dead leaf” appearance was a great deal smaller and less bothersome than I.

Yet I am not silenced by the darkness, by the thick darkness that covers my face.  ~Job 23:17  ✝

11. The moment one gives close attention to anything,
even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome,
indescribably magnificent world in itself. ~Henry Miller

Each blade of grass has its spot on earth whence it draws its life,
its strength; and so man is rooted to the land
from which he draws his faith together with his life.
~Joseph Conrad


Against the backdrop of autumn’s falling leaves ornamental grasses shift and sigh adding an ethereal element to the landscape.  With airy flower panicles, fluffy seed plumes, and striking seed heads ornamental grasses provide charming “fringe accents” in yards and gardens. Even after the onslaughts of freezing temperatures, grasses continue to grace the landscape with beauty.  They add subtle colors, assorted textures, and the dimensions of motion and sound.  Throughout winter’s “vale of grief,” they capture and play with whatever light is available and in so doing speak of life and give us something “that glimmers in the sleep of things.” The “music” of their swishing and swaying reminds us that what’s happening isn’t an ending but merely a transition for the next beginning.

In a poetic conversation with the Lord, Edna St. Vincent Millay said, “God, I can push the grass apart and lay my finger on Thy heart.”  A Quaker and itinerant preacher named Elias Hicks wrote that “the fullness of the godhead dwelt in every blade of grass.”  And Thomas Carlyle, a Scottish writer, asked, “To us also, through every star, through every blade of grass, is not God made visible if we will open our minds and our eyes.”  These writers, like me, realize that man was meant to be “rooted to the land and therefore to God.”  But, the “umbilical cord” that connects all humanity to Creation and God seems, for many, to have been severed.

The Lord, however, refuses to remain separated or removed from that which He has made.  In an effort to reconnect people to the land and to provide healthier food, many neighborhoods are finding places to build community gardens.  More and more people are getting involved in caring for the land in these communal plots.  Also many schools across the nation are incorporating habitat gardens into the learning experiences of their students, and we are seeing a rise in “hobby farms” where retired professionals have started a second career as a hobby farmer or others who are still working are spending their spare time on their own small farm.

You care for the land and water it; You enrich it abundantly.  The streams of God are filled with water to provide the people with grain, for so You have ordained it.   You drench its furrows and level its ridges; You soften it with showers and bless its crops. You crown the year with Your bounty, and Your carts overflow with abundance.  The grasslands of the wilderness overflow; the hills are clothed with gladness.  The meadows are covered with flocks and the valleys are mantled with grain; they shout for joy and sing.  ~Psalm 65:9-13   ✝