653. He (winter) withers all in silence, and his hand unclothes the earth, and freezes up frail life. ~William Blake

Drops fell…and rang like
little disks of metal.
Ping! Ping! and there was not
a pinpoint of silence 
between them.
~Amy Lowell

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Mama, mama mía! Here we go again! Down, down, down plummet the temps! And this time newly birthed lives will be lost in the chicanery of this winter skirmish.

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Why? Because here in north central Texas late January and early February often conjure up enough unseasonably warm days to convince the land that spring has sprung. And the dastardly scoundrels have done it again!

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These two deceiving culprits have successfully hoodwinked gardens and parks alike into believing it is time for blooming things to emerge from branch and soil. Now, after their two-faced, heartless lies, a harsh north wind doth blow.

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Moreover, freezing rain is falling and soon will switch to sleet and/or snow. In the frigid, darkness of night, the samaras of a Red Maple, the yellows of a smattering of daffodils and forsythia as well as the pinks and whites of some saucer magnolias will be washed out leaving only the browns of death and decay. Oh what a wicked, wicked, fickle web Mother Nature ofttimes weaves.

So that your trust may be in the Lord, I teach you today, even you. ~Proverbs 22:19   ✝

645. And if tonight my soul may find her peace in sleep, and sink in good oblivion, and in the morning wake like a new-opened flower then I have been dipped again in God, new created. ~D. H. Lawrence

In slumber we fall into the deep, silent waters of consciousness, and then something, somewhere beneath the surface stirs us back to wakefulness. The same thing is happening now in my slumbering, wintry garden. A divine force or spark is stirring life back into seemingly lifelessness.

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A spark.  A flame.  A fire. A seed.  A plant.  A flower.  An egg.  An embryo.  A life. What is it that stirs matter and spirit?  What is it that stirs us?  What moves us?  What is it that makes life taste bitter or sweet upon the tongue?  What things do we feel that can’t quite be put into words?

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The following poem was written by Wallace Stevens. In it, his is the voice of questioning meant to refute religion/Christianity, and yet his images are the kinds of things that stir me in the opposite direction by rousing and impassioning my faith and belief in Christ. So it seems to me that Stevens, even in his attempt at denial, was himself somehow stirred by things in nature not wholly of this world, And I also have to wonder what exactly he thinks a soul is? Is not the soul that which connects mortal man to the Holy One who made us? Isn’t it the piece of God in us?

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Sunday Morning

What is divinity if it can come
Only in silent shadows and in dreams
Shall she not find in comforts of the sun,
In pungent fruit and bright, green wings, or else
In any balm or beauty of the earth,
Things to be cherished like the thought of heaven?
Divinity must live within herself:
Passions of rain, or moods in falling snow;
Grievings in loneliness, or unsubdued
Elations when the forest blooms; gusty
Emotions on wet roads on autumn nights;
All pleasures and all pains, remembering
The bough of summer and the winter branch,
These are the measures destined for her soul.
~Wallace Stevens

For God may speak in one way, or in another, yet man does not perceive it. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls upon men, while slumbering on their beds, then He opens the ears of men, and seals their instruction. ~Job 33:14-16   ✝

582. Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn’t know you left open. ~John Barrymore

Pleasure is spread through the earth
In stray gifts to be claimed by whoever shall find.
~William Wordsworth

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Lingering in Happiness

After rain after many days without rain,
it stays cool, private and cleansed, under the trees,
and the dampness there, married now to gravity,
falls branch to branch, leaf to leaf, down to the ground

where it will disappear – but not, of course, vanish
except to our eyes. The roots of the oaks will have their share,
and the white threads of the grasses, and the cushion of moss;
a few drops, round as pearls, will enter the mole’s tunnel;

and soon so many small stones, buried for a thousand years,
will feel themselves being touched.

~Mary Oliver

To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness… ~Excerpt from Ecclesiastes 2:26   ✝

**Image via Pinterest

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

The ground is hard,
As hard as stone.
The year is old,
And yet the world,
In its distress,
Displays a certain
Loveliness.
~Excerpts from a poem by
John Updike

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In hushed stillness a gloomy, gray shroud has hung over the garden today, and out of the chilling grayness November has weeped drippy tears. Drip, drip, drip started the mist in the night, and ever since the ground has been soaking up the felicitous wealth. On and on it has drizzled as it often does in autumn knowing that, though the garden wanes, earth’s womb has begun mothering spring’s progeny. Roots, strong and deep, need the moisture to grow and gather the vigor they’ll need months from now to push life forth from naked branch and barren soil. And in the muted stillness of the day, I’ve felt is a familiar Presence, a holy Presence, the Overseer of all things great and small. Though it be the Sabbath, God walks His Eden still in the cool of the day for therein lies the heartbeat of Creation, child of His love and light.

Those who sow with tears will reap songs of joy. ~Psalm 126:5  ✝

516. I need the seasons to live to the rhythm of rain and sun. ~Sophie Marceau

The rain began again.
It fell heavily, easily, with no
meaning or intention but the
fulfillment of its own nature…
~Helen Garner

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Late yesterday the wind began pushing hard, very hard against the yard and house. Then rain pelted the roof in the night, and the power went out leaving only the sound of the rain falling in the dark, the utter darkness of deepening night. When day dawned and light at last seeped in, the rain had stopped, but heavy clouds hung low filling heaven’s vast expanse. Outside it was nippy, a nip perhaps chilly enough at last to encourage the changing colors of autumn leaves. Throughout the day as mighty gusts of wind continued to blow and dampness reminiscent of the rain hung in the air, the delicious rhythm of last night’s falling rain lingered in my thoughts. “Listen to the pouring rain, listen to it pour, let it rain all night long…”

Lingering in Happiness

After rain after many days without rain,
it stays cool, private and cleansed, under the trees,
and the dampness there, married now to gravity,
falls branch to branch, leaf to leaf, down to the ground
where it will disappear — but not, of course, vanish
except to our eyes. The roots of the oaks will have their share,
and the white threads of the grasses, and the cushion of moss;
a few drops, round as pearls, will enter the mole’s tunnel;
and soon so many small stones, buried for a thousand years,
will feel themselves being touched.

~Mary Oliver

Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. ~James 5:7   ✝

** Image via Pinterest

 

491. Every vine climbing and blossoming tells of love and joy. ~Robert G. Ingersoll

That is faith, cleaving to Christ,
twining around Him
with all the tendrils of our heart,
as the vine does round its support.
~Alexander Maclaren

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Like all else in Creation, vines remind me of the nearness of God perhaps because they reflect the way He wraps His arms around His children and keeps them close to Himself. In that way we go together like a hat and glove as they say for we are to the Lord as the branch is to the vine, as sheep are to the shepherd, as the flower is to the stem, as the bride is to her groom, as the bird is to air, as the fish is to water, as the star is to the sky, as the sun is to the moon, as the plant is to the seed, as the grass is to the dew, and as the babe is to its mother. Simply put, we are inextricably linked to Yahweh, the Maker of heaven and earth, and it is from our loving Source that we gather strength and energy. His supporting and sustaining provisions draw us into His holy web of life and subsequently move us closer and closer to the Light. In the Gospel of John are the “I am” sayings of Jesus which give us wonderful descriptions of the way Christ connects with us:

“I am the bread of life.”
“I am the light of the world.”
“I am the gate for the sheep.”
“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd gives his life for the sheep.”
“I am the resurrection, and the life.”
“I am the way, the truth, and the life.”
“I am the true vine.”

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Return to us, O God Almighty! Look down from heaven and see! Watch over this vine, the root your right hand has planted, the son you have raised up for yourself. ~Psalm 80:14-15   ✝

**Three images above Scripture via Pinterest

349. The sky and the strong wind have moved the spirit inside me till I am carried away trembling with joy. ~Uvavnuk, a female angakkuq (shaman) of the Iglulik Inuit, now considered an oral poet

Oh wind, a blowing all day long,
Oh wind, that sings so loud a song!
~Robert Louis Stevenson

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In a spring garden flowers speak of sacred sacraments; the wind that ruffles through them, like my breath moving in and out, speaks of holy beginnings. And so back go my thoughts to Eden wherein the creative acts of Ruach Elohim took place. Ruach is an ancient Hebrew word for God which literally means “wind.” As such it was not observed as a being but rather as a “vitalizing force.” Bishop J. S. Spong explains that “among the Hebrews the ruach or wind of God was said to bring forth life. Slowly this ruach evolved and became personalized and called Spirit… The ruach or wind of God was not external. It rather emerged from within the world and was understood as its very ground, its live-giving reality…in the very mysterious wind, which the Jews felt on their faces, they believed they found themselves touched by God here and now.” So it is that in the here and now of my life, I find myself touched by Ruach Elohim in my garden hour after hour, day after day, month after month, year after year. The holiness within my garden’s confines comes forth again and again from branch and leaf, thorn and blossom, and creatures great and small. Through it flow waters that sustain and nurture life. Above it orbs, golden and white, shine bringing light into darkness, and the ground upon which I walk is as holy as the hallowed ground on which Yahweh and the Christ trod.

Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind. ~Job 12:9-10 ✝

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you save, you heal, you restore, and you reveal Your Father’s heart to us! You have captured me with grace and I’m caught in Your infinite embrace!