654. The North wind did blow and now we have some sleet and snow, so what then will poor robin do, poor thing? ~Edited and adapted line from an old Nursery Rhyme

Picture 99

Mistress Mary quite contrary,
Why doesn’t your garden grow?
Is it because the sleet and snow
Have left the pretty maids unduly cold?
~Adapted verse from 
an old Nursery Rhyme

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Yesterday an itsy bitsy spider climbed up the garden spout, but it wasn’t long before the rain came down and washed the spunky little spider out.

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Then this morning with a hickory dickory dock, the clock struck early on, and the mouse ran out to find that the temps had, as they predicted, dropped below freezing and would stay that way all the livelong day.  So with a hey diddle, diddle, the cat and the fiddle began to shed a host of woebegone tears and the dog refused to laugh when the spoon slid silently away on its ice-laden dish.

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Undaunted by such things, however, Humpty Dumpty set out to sit upon the garden wall, but a slip here and a slide there whilst on the way convinced him not to take a chance for he could plainly see that all the king’s horses and all the king’s men wouldn’t be able to put him or the frost covered flowers he might land upon back together again. Now as the day draws to an end, Polly has put the kettle on so that all can have a spot of tea and while safe and warm inside dream of better days.

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He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. ~Job 8:21   ✝

**Iimages via Pinterest

497. I wanted to know the name of every stone and flower and insect and bird and beast. I wanted to know where it got its color, where it got its life… ~George Washington Carver

i thank You God for this most amazing day:
for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;
and for everything which is natural
which is infinite
which is yes
~e.e. cummings

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Of What Surrounds Me

Whatever it is I am saying, I always
Need a leaf or a flower, if not an
Entire field. As for sky, I am wildly
In love with each day’s inventions, cool blue
Or cat gray or full
Of the ships of clouds,I simply can’t
Say whatever it is I am saying without
At least one skyful. That leaves water, a
Creek or a well, river or ocean, it has to be
There. For the heart to be there. For the pen
To be poised. For the idea to come.

~Mary Oliver

The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing. ~Ecclesiastes 1:8b   ✝

** Image of Dahlia via Pinterest

477. With finger in her solemn lip, night hushed the shadowy earth. ~Margaret Deland

Night is a dead monotonous period under a roof;
but in the open world it passes lightly,
with its stars and dews and perfumes, and the hours
are marked by changes in the face of Nature.
~Robert Louis Stevenson

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A black and white cat has leisurely strolled across our patio for several nights in a row now, and it, like all the other felines who wander by, doesn’t seem to be the least bit interested in or fearful of us as long as we’re on the other side of our patio doors. Actually some nights it’s like a holiday parade out there, only it’s peopled by cats, possums, and raccoons, all of whom are the suspected culprits of destructive mischief such as the broken rose stem I discovered this morning. Then some nights, in addition to all that activity, there are the gecko lizards who like to run up and down our patio doors chasing bugs. So it is that though the enchanting yard and gardens have disappeared into the darkness, even in our absence life and the living prevail in the hush of night.

I call our glass patio doors, our big screen TV because the indoor cats and I have wiled away many an hour just watching what goes on outside. In so doing I’ve witnessed a wide spectrum of good and bad, feast and famine, and life and death over the years. And I’ve always found a comforting harmony and balance in those opposing forces. For example it’s easy to lose a sense of how beautiful a garden or the earth in general is without a picture of the kind of devastation that a storm or a drought or some such can do to it. That’s why I think the beauty of spring is so breathtaking; it comes after the landscape has been ravaged by winter’s often harsh and cruel assaults. In the same way, who among us could ever begin to bear the brutality in the world without having also witnessed life’s abundant goodness.

I love the house where you live, O LORD, the place where your glory dwells.  ~Psalm 26:8   ✝

 **Image via Pinterest

448. A blue jay’s feathered back holds spots of white clouds and soft, glistening blue. ~From a poem by Gayle Sween

We saw–through milky light, above the doghouse–
A blue jay lecturing the neighbor’s cat
So fiercely that, at first, it seemed to wonder
When birds fought the diplomacy of light
And met, instead, each charge with a wild swoop,
Metallic cry and angry thrust of beak.
Later we found the reason,
Near the fence
Among the flowerless stalks of daffodils,
A weak piping of feathers.
Too late now to go back
To nest again among the sheltering leaves…
~Excerpted lines from a poem by Paul Lake

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Photo posted on Flickr by Brian E. Cushner

Noisy blue jays screech in the alley calling for help because a baby has been snatched from the nest by a prowling cat. Alarmed I look up at one of my cavity nests where I recently heard the tiny peeps of newly birthed baby sparrows. I’m relieved to see Mom and Pop sparrow sitting close by in attentive, watchful vigilance for they’ve spotted the cat wandering back inside the yard. But they too have been seen and in a flash the cat charges ready to pounce. The sparrows quickly take to wing, however, and make a clean getaway fearing not for the safety of their children for they know that having just been fed the hatchlings will lay quietly inside the nest till their return. And so now whilst the feline huntress sleeps under her favorite lawn chair she can only dream of better days when she’ll once again have her way.

Hardly a day goes by when one cannot find something engaging or new being birthed in a garden. Even in late autumn and winter there’s a hopeful progression of captivating events. Our lives are like that too, I think. Since it’s a bit harder sometimes to realize much variation or progression in our day to day living, I love to go out and walk or sit in my garden so I can feel the thrill of moving constancy, intrigue, and rebirth.

The end of a thing is better than its beginning; the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. ~Ecclesiastes 7:8   ✝

Sweet Jesus, fill us with the mercy you bled and draw us back unto Yourself!  Let us be aware of You in all that we see and hear in Creation!

364. Until one has loved an animal a part of one’s soul remains unawakened. ~Anatole France

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If the pull
of the outside world
is strong,
there is also a pull
towards the world of the human.
A cat may disappear on its own errands,
but sooner or later,
it returns once again for a little while,
to greet us with
its own type of love.
~Lloyd Alexander

The earth is filled with your love, Lord… ~Psalm 119:64 ✝

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!

**Image via Pinterest

258. If your heart is straight with God, then every creature will be to you a mirror of life and a book of holy doctrine. ~Thomas à Kempis

If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures
from the shelter of compassion and pity,
you will have men who deal likewise with their fellow man.
~St. Francis of Assisi

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Between the houses on our street and the ones on the street behind us run power lines which also function as a sort of “interyard” highway for our sizable squirrel population.  During the course of a day’s time the squirrels run back and forth and back and forth along the elevated “freeway” that exits on various nearby “farm to market” tree branch roads.  From there they scamper down to the ground below or up to their hand built “high rise condos” or take “fence-line” lanes into adjoining yards.  When not engaged in foraging for food or water they playfully chase each other round and round.  Their spunky antics whilst doing so are often engagingly comical, and the agility with which they perform daring acrobatics with no fail-safe never ceases to amaze me.

The fluffy-tailed creatures seem to have little fear of me, but they become alarmed if and when a feral cat begins to stalk them.  To date, though they’ve barely escaped being pounced upon a time or two, they’ve perceived the threat in time and avoided being captured by scampering up, up, and away into places too lofty for most cats to follow.  Afterwards the escapee sometimes stays on high making chicken-like noises, until I, the games keeper, chase the predator away, or the cat grows weary of the clucking and leaves of its own accord, or the squirrel’s attention is diverted to or by something else.

The earth, its resources, and its creatures are a part of a holy, good deposit.  And because I’ve always felt a closeness to and reverence for Creation, I try to be a good steward of my deposit–my home, my family, and my little patch of Eden.  To that end through the National Wildlife Federation, my yard has been established as a wildlife habitat– a sacred sanctuary for me and all who dwell in or come here to visit.

Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you–guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.  2 Timothy 1:14  ✝

165. Some praise the Lord for Light, the living spark; I thank God for the Night, the healing dark. ~Robert William Service, “Weary”

Night, the beloved.
Night, when words fade and things come alive.
When the destructive analysis of day is done,
and all that is truly important becomes whole and sound again.
When man reassembles his fragmentary self
and grows with the calm of a tree.
~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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The air was crisp and cool; day’s light had just slipped away.  Wet blades of grass sparkled in a kind of diamond-dusted majesty under the glow of a rising harvest moon.  As if to punctuate my scattered thoughts, tiny aircraft lights glided from time to time through the darkening indigo sky.  When I began glancing around the yard, the images that confronted me seemed to be popping up like photos in a slowly advancing slide show.  The first one I saw was of the red turk’s caps underneath the rose arch, then the white moonflowers on the neighbor’s fence, fattening seed pods under the oak, a Celtic cross, a flying moth, an intermittently  shrouded moon.  The spell was broken only for a short while when the fragrance from my potted herbs temporarily seduced my nose.  Then the slide show started up again with a flash of yellow and white lights, followed by a rustling noise, leafy branches hanging low, a sculpted monk, stone rabbits, and a fleeting little lizard.  Music in the distance floated down the alley, and when I turned to follow the sound, I was startled by ghostly shadows dancing on the shed in the deepening darkness.  However the fear was fleeting and not enough to alleviate my growing sleepiness.  It wasn’t until water tapped noisily in the nearly drained fountain and a pair of feral cats came meowing at my feet that I was jolted out of my reverie.  And it had been such a lovely respite for a weary soul, always is when under the holy hosts of heaven that light the night.

And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and year…   ~Genesis 1:14  ✝