296. March is a month of considerable frustration – it is so near spring and yet…the weather still so violent and changeable… ~Thalassa Cruso

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Let there never be forgot,
that once there was a spot,
for one brief, shining moment
that was known as Camelot.
~Lerner and Lowe, 1960

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The line above from the Broadway musical makes a statement that in fact there was a Camelot, and many people, including President John F. Kennedy, seemed to believe that it was a real time and place in history.  Real or not so real, it was the legendary, marvelously magical time and place of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. For me it’s magical moments in time when things ever so extraordinary and good are happening in the awakening landscape.  Then sadly when they get nipped in the bud by a bitter, cold snap, it’s a betrayal of sorts not unlike what brought an end to the glory of Camelot.  Such is what happened night before last to the pretty babies in the photographs.  But I shall not curse late February for telling the traitorous lies that led to their demise; instead I rejoice that they came at all.  Even if only for a few days their “brief, shining moment” in the garden’s “kingdom of Camelot” was stunningly beautiful.

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By the breath of God ice is given, and the broad waters are frozen fast.  ~Job 37:10  ✝

261. Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see. ~C. S. Lewis

Every gardener knows
that under the cloak of winter
lies a miracle–a seed waiting to sprout,
a bulb opening to the light,
a bud straining to unfurl.
And the anticipation nurtures our dream.
~Barbara Winkler

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Miracles!  Where would any of us be without the existence of miracles?  Bad things happen on planet earth, but miraculous things occur on a daily basis too.  And many times out of the dust and devastation of catastrophic disasters arise changes for the betterment of life and living conditions as well as the inevitable uplifting examples of an amazing goodness that exist in the human soul.  I garden not just because of a love for flowers but more importantly because I find day to day evidence of the mystery and miracles of God and His goodness in the garden’s confines.  Spending even the smallest amount of time in my garden brings repeated awarenesses of the Lord’s abiding presence, and that keeps me focused on Him and not on my own smallness or limitations.  In spite of Creation’s brokenness and my own heart’s sufferings, I am guided to wellsprings of life and hope amid earth’s unmistakable hallowed workings.  Both contentment and enlightenment can be found in the orbs of the heavens, in the green of the earth, in the flowing of its waters, in the warmth of the sun, and in the wind, that like Yahweh, can be felt but not seen.  That in turn teaches me how to respond to life and its sometimes terrifying circumstances with a spirit of peace and love instead of anger, confusion, and frustration.  Understanding is not promised unto us, but peace that transcends understanding is granted to those who seek the Prince of Peace and search for the true heart of life.

The Mighty One, God, the LORD, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to the place where it sets.  ~Psalm 50:1   ✝

40. Spring shows what God can do with a drab and dirty world. ~Virgil Kraft

Awake, thou wintry earth –
fling off thy sadness!
Fair vernal flowers, laugh forth –
your ancient gladness!
~Thomas Blackburn

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Leaf by leaf, bud by bud, and blossom by blossom the spring of the year advances.   On warmish days, earth casts off its wintry gloom, and breezes broadcast sweetly-scented aromas.  The first butterflies then dare to soar and the hungry bees hum amid the glad laughter issuing forth from flowering bulbs and trees.  As a result the year’s initial poetry of rebirth is penned by the pollinating, aerial whirring of dainty wings.  In the meantime as I hurry about trying to taking photos of the blossoming narratives and their paramours, I often find myself asking the same question Walt Whitman once did.  “Why are there trees I never walk under but large and melodious thoughts descend upon me?”  The answer I’ve decided is that the arms of trees reach towards the heavens to gather sacred messages meant to draw mankind near to “the living Word of God in nature” as well as what is read in Scripture.

In our area the first verses of  “tree” poetry come from Saucer Magnolias.  Their big, goblet-shaped flowers pen exquisite couplets in pink and white.  Soon to follow are the brilliant white blossoms of Star Magnolias.  Though not quite enough lines to form a fourteen-lined sonnet, their twelve exquisite, “petal-poesy” lines form rhyming schemes as lovely as any Shakespearean sonnet.  Next and in perfect rhyming sequences come the double samaras.  Samaras, the scarlet, dual winged fruits of the Red Maple, look like long, slender fairy wings as they dance choric rhymes writ by the winds.  Then come the Eastern Redbuds and Bradford Pears that compose stunning free-verse stanzas in purple and white, each resplendent branch, a psalm written in praise of its Maker.  For a pollinator now there’s no quandary about where sweet nectaries are to be found for stanza after stanza they and I are lead in springtime to earth’s most festive and delicious banquets.

He has taken me to the banquet hall, and His banner over me is love.  ~Song of Songs 2:4

24. Within the seed’s case a secret is held. Its fertile whisper shapes a song. ~Joan Halifax

When I see that first, miniscule, curled, pale
green wisp of a sprout poking up between a couple of
grains of vermiculite, I hear God speaking.
~June Santon

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Seed plants date back about 365 million years ago to the Paleozoic era.  These wondrous pieces of antiquity vary greatly in size: the smallest being the dust-like seed of orchids and the largest, weighing as much at times as 50 pounds, being the fruit of the coco de mer, the double coconut palm.  A typical seed is composed of 3 basic parts: 1. an embryo, 2. a supply of nutrients for the embryo, and 3. a seed coat that protects the embryo from injury or from drying out.  Seeds have two points of growth, one which forms the stem of the plant and the other where the roots of the plant form.  Some seeds have wings or hairs and are dispersed by the wind.  Others are buoyant and float in rivers to the oceans and wash up on beaches; then there are those that are dispersed in various ways by animals.   Given the fascinating science of seeds, how they work and how tiny some of them are, how could one not hear fertile whispers from God in them.

Each seed, regardless of its size, is a sacred promise.  The dictionary defines a promise as: 1. a declaration that something will or will not be done or given, or as   2. an express assurance on which expectation is to be based, and seeds definitely declare what the Lord has done and given and what we as His children can expect.  Special mention of seeds and their promise is made on the 3rd day of the Genesis story where we can see that plants and trees are profuse manifestations of “this seed force.”  Plants and trees have been coming forth for millions of years and come forth yet.  During the unseen holy hours of nurturing, the “seed force” reaches down into the darkness of the earth’s “concealed depths” therein to be sustained by water.  In the Celtic tradition the moisture in earth’s soil is a “symbol of the waters of God that enfold and infuse all things.”  God’s goodness, deeper than any evil, then can be seen at the inception and very heart of life.  J. Philip Newell says that “everything that is born in the great matrix of life is sustained by roots that reach into the deep mystery of God’s life.”  The image which Newell’s words paint of all life reaching deep into God’s life is what, for many of us, shapes songs of joy and praise, for there is no more comforting, good, or safe place in the world than the heart of God!

As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without  watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.  ~Isaiah 55:10-11   ✝