Beware the ides of March…

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Today, the ides of March, is the average last freeze date in north Texas. There are times, although, when after the 15th of March we’ve experienced one or more late freezes which kill the smatterings of early spring blooms that often start here as early as February. But interestingly there’s a saying hereabouts which purports that if the pecan trees have not yet budded by the 15th, there will definitely be more freezes. So I keep an eye on my neighbor’s pecan tree as it actually has branches reaching over our common fence line, and I can easily see whether it has started budding or not. That’s why today I went out for my usual ides of March sojourn over to my north fence and looked up to find that tiny buds are beginning to appear on some of the tree’s branches. And silly as it may seem, I’ve been watching that circumstance for over a decade now, and it has never failed to be quite accurate in its forecast. So now I can and will bring the ferns out of the green house to enjoy breezy and fresher open air, and I will be able to move forward with more and more plantings. Isn’t it fascinating that seeds which fall to the ground during the growing season in summer and/or autumn know when it’s time to start germinating in the spring and that pecan trees and other already growing things know when it’s safe to start budding and leafing out. Indeed, the Lord’s designs, in all things, are amazingly far better laid out than “the plans of mice and men.”

**Crocus photo taken by Natalie

1312. Trees are the earth’s endless effort to speak to the listening heaven. ~Rabindranath Tagore

And this, our life, exempt from public haunt,
finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
sermons in stones, and good in everything.
~William Shakespeare

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When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”
~Mary Oliver

The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. ~Excerpt from Genesis 2:9  ✝

1299. Writing is a process, a journey into memory and the soul. ~Isabel Allende

The mind I love most must have wild places,
a tangled orchard where dark damsons
drop in the heavy grass, an overgrown little wood,
the chance of a snake or two, a pool that
nobody fathomed the depth of, and paths
threaded with flowers planted by the mind.
~Katherine Mansfield

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I think there are two types of writers, the architects and the gardeners. The architects plan everything ahead of time, like an architect building a house. They know how many rooms are going to be in the house, what kind of roof they’re going to have, where the wires are going to run, what kind of plumbing there’s going to be. They have the whole thing designed and blueprinted out before they even nail the first board up. The gardeners dig a hole, drop in a seed and water it. They kind of know what seed it is, they know if planted a fantasy seed or mystery seed or whatever. But as the plant comes up and they water it, they don’t know how many branches it’s going to have, they find out as it grows. And I’m much more a gardener than an architect. ~George R.R. Martin

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…my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer. ~Excerpt from Psalm 45:1  ✝

**Images found on Pinterest

1111. Is there something we have forgotten? Some precious thing we have lost, wandering in strange lands? ~Arna Bontemps

In the middle of the journey of our life
I came to myself within a dark wood
where the straight way was lost.
~Dante Alighieri

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Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.
~David Wagoner

“…For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” ~Luke 19:10  ✝

**Image via Pinterest

989. Light is good from whatever lamp it shines. ~Author Unknown

Light gives of itself freely,
filling all available space.
It does not seek anything in return;
it asks not whether you are friend or foe.
It gives of itself and is not thereby diminished.
~Michael Strassfeld

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When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”
~Mary Oliver

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. ~James 1:17   ✝

975. Rain, I can hear you making small holes in the silence. The many notes of falling rain are all in tune. ~Unknown

Grey clouds flowing overhead
Dead silence across the rolling hills
Misting haze hovering over the grass
Water dripping from leaf to leaf
Speckling pavement like splattered ink
Soft knocking at your door
Feel it, taste it on your lips
Rain…
~Sarah Mariah

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The only thing I love more
than a day of rain
is a night of rain,
a warm, colourless rain
that paints itself upon me
in long melodic lines.
~Edited excerpt from a poem by
Stephanie Rachel Seely

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Walked for half an hour in the garden. A fine rain was falling, and the landscape was that of autumn. The sky was hung with various shades of gray, and mists hovered in the distance – a melancholy nature.  The leaves were falling on all sides like the last illusions of youth under the tears of irremediable grief. A brood of chattering birds were chasing each other through the shrubberies, and playing games among the branches, like a knot of hiding schoolboys. Every landscape is, as it were, a state of the soul, and whoever penetrates into both is astonished to find how much likeness there is in each detail. ~Edited excerpt from Henri Frédéric Amiel

May he(Solomon) be like rain falling on a mown field, like showers watering the earth. Praise be to His(God) glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen and amen. ~Psalm 72:6, 19  ✝

**All images via Pinterest

961. The wind shows us how close to the edge we are. ~Joan Didion   

 I hear the wind among the trees
Playing the celestial symphonies;
I see the branches downward bent,
Like keys of some great instrument.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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And this time of year the edge is often closer than we hope or realize. But oh so visible did that brink become when we awoke this morning to find a cold, blustery north wind bearing down upon us. I’m never ready to say goodbye to the still blooming remnants in the garden. Nonetheless, I sensed earlier in the week that their demise was imminent and started putting the potted ferns and clock vine in the greenhouse. What’s more I decided to buy a large container in which to plant pansies, snapdragons, stock, alyssum, Sweet William, and cyclamen for like Monet, I always, always have to have flowers. So now I’m guaranteed to have flowery beauty along with luscious scents and colors even as late autumn’s unraveling continues to roll us over into winter’s drab and ofttimes forbidding realm. The potted beauty is on a much smaller scale than what grows and blooms in the yard, and the display is not as visible from my recliner in the house. However, the descent into winter’s “vale of grief” and the season’s allotted time thereafter never seems as stark when I go out to the greenhouse to check on the warmth inside, to look after the plants, and to give them all a drink of water.

National Weather Service Forecast:
This Afternoon
Sunny, with a high near 50. Windy, with a north wind 20 to 25 mph, with gusts as high as 35 mph.
Tonight
Patchy frost after 3am. Otherwise, mostly clear, with a low around 30. North wind 5 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.
Sunday
Patchy frost before 10am. Otherwise, sunny, with a high near 53. North wind around 5 mph becoming calm in the morning.
Sunday Night
Clear, with a low around 33. South wind around 5 mph.

The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course. ~Ecclesiastes 1:6  ✝

**Images in my collage are from photos I took in my garden last week.