593. It is in the nature of cats to do a certain amount of unescorted roaming. ~Adlai Stevenson

Prowling his own quiet backyard
or asleep by the fire,
he (a cat) is only a whisker
away from the wilds.
~Jean Burden

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Twas three days after Christmas, and all through the yards
Nothing was stirring, not even wind-blown papery discards;
The feeders were hung by the greenhouse with care,
In hopes the red cardinals soon would be there;
And seedlings were nestled snug in leafy beds,
While thoughts of springtime danced in my head;
The squirrels in their nests and I in my chair,
Lay resting ourselves from yesterday’s fare,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my chair to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash
And raised the bamboo curtain and tied up its sash.
The lowering gray clouds of a cold winter’s day
Had earlier shrouded the land in garments of gray.
Now in the sun what to my wondering eyes did appear
But a feral feline running a path both straight and clear.
With a blue jay held loosely in her clenched jaw awry
The proud huntress lost her grip and away it did fly
Leaving her to wonder
Why her incursion was put asunder.
~A parody of Clement’s
Twas the Night Before Christmas 

…a time to weep and a time to laugh… ~Ecclesiastes 3:4a   ✝

I was laughing so hard after what I’d seen, I couldn’t resist the urge for some playfulness and thus wrote the parody above.  The cat, however, was not amused at all by what had happened.

**Image via Pinterest

538. The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of wind in a primeval wood, and the sound of outer ocean on a beach. ~Henry Beston

Let the rain kiss you.
Let the rain beat upon your head
with silver liquid drops.
Let the rain sing you a lullaby.
~Langston Hughes

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At dawn today the yard was steeped in a still grayness awaiting the fulfilled promise of rain. Hours later the grayness darkened as if it were twilight and the outside lights came on again. With the darkness fierce winds rushed in against the backdrop of rumbling thunder in the distance, and huge tree limbs like those found in a primeval wood bowed to forces bigger and stronger than they. It was a day when early November was slipping deeper into autumn with ominous overtones. Sensing stormy peril the yard cats sought shelter early on instead of enjoying their usual playful antics, and as the rain drew nigh they were already slipping into the “arms of Morpheus” in which to sleep, perchance to dream of better times. Then drop by drop by drop, drip, drip, drip the rain began to fall, and as it kissed the ground, I too began to doze off in my chair but not before I smelled its fragrance and heard the sound of sanctity in it, the holy sound of Him who faithfully makes the rain fall.

…rejoice in the Lord your God, for He has given you the autumn rains because He is faithful… ~Joel 2:23   ✝

** Image via Pinterest

472. Outside the open window the morning air is all awash with angels. ~Richard Purdy Wilbur

Angels descending, 
bring from above,
echoes of mercy, 
whispers of love.
~Fanny J. Crosby

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My cats start meowing for food around daybreak, and when I hear them, I heed the call, put out their food, and then settle back in my recliner to snooze a little longer. In between my snippets of sleep, I open my eyes to enjoy the spectacle of day’s coming as it moves in and across my backyard. Yesterday because I had seen a hummingbird at my feeder, I’d decided to leave my camera near my chair. So the photo above was shot early this morning from inside through a sliding glass door and its screen. Sadly the little guy was not up as close as I’d have liked nor is he completely in focus. But I loved the image because as he hovered with wings still rapidly in motion, the camera captured him just at the right moment so that it looks like he has the tiny wings of an angel. And who knows? Perhaps he was and had been sent to remind me that…

It’s not just another day.
It’s the one day that is given to me today.
It’s a gift.
It’s the only gift I have right now,
and the only appropriate response
is gratefulness.
~Verse taken from “A Good Day” 
by David Steindl-Rast

“The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be my God, the Rock, my Savior!” 2 Samuel 22:47   ✝

Lord, Your beauty draws all things to Yourself. Please let me stay and rest in your holiness.

434. If you want to live and thrive let the spider run alive. ~American Quaker saying

Little Miss Natalie sat on a tuffet
Pulling her weeds today
Along came a spider
Who sat down beside her
And frightened Miss Natalie away.

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Much like a subtle spider which doth sit
In middle of her web, which spreadeth wide;
If aught do touch the utmost thread of it,
She feels it instantly on every side.
~Sir John Davies

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Actually the spider didn’t frighten me away because I saw the thing before I ventured into its sticky lair and was keeping an eye on it. There was a time though that had I seen the likes of this guy, I would have let out a yelp, jumped up, and scampered far, far away. But the aging gardener that I am now is way too fascinated by the wondrous and interactive nature of Creation to do that these days. I did, however, not sit on my “tuffet” much longer because I wanted to get a picture of the spider and its web. As spiders go, it was a rather handsome fellow, and I’d never seen a web that had a vertical zig-zag strip down the middle like this one had. But shortly after I got up, grabbed my camera, and got back out there, I had only snapped a couple of shots when one of my yard cats moseyed up at my feet and touched the bottom of the web with his tail.  And as Sir Davies suggests the spider felt it because it then scurried quickly up to the top of its web to hide under an overhanging leaf. I waited a bit but it was hot and the spider, it seems, was just not going to leave the safety of its sheltering leaf. So finally I took a deep breath and reached out gingerly to tap the top of the leaf and sure enough when I did down the creature came back to the center of its web. As luck would have it, this time it went down the other side of the web which allowed me to get a shot of its underbelly. So if you look carefully at the photos, you can see its back in the first one and in the second one you see its underside through the web.

Such is the destiny of all who forget God; so perishes the hope of the godless.  What they trust in is fragile; what they rely on is a spider’s web. They lean on the web, but it gives way; they cling to it, but it does not hold. ~Job 8:13-15   ✝

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! Like Saint Hildegard Lord, may I too be a feather on your holy breath and spread, like seeds, the gospel abroad.

428. Summer looks out from her brazen tower, through the flashing bars of July. ~Francis Thompson

Great is the sun, and wide he goes
Through empty heaven with repose;
And in the blue and glowing days
More thick than rain he showers his rays.
~Robert Louis Stevenson

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The round, golden face of the great sun began flooding our prairie with its wide showers during June’s infancy. The siege steadily intensified until it broke like a fever a few days ago and our temps fell below the century mark. Then with only a fortnight left in July, clouds moved in, thunder rolled, lightning flashed, and blessed rain fell. The showers didn’t last long, but the landscape soaked up what there was of the precious liquid and things seemed discernibly greener within minutes. The next day the thunder grumbled shortly after daybreak, and following close on its heels rain began to fall off and on. For the first time in months the fierce summer sun has been shrouded all day in the soft grayness of this drippy day. There were no high winds nor hard-driving downpours, just moments here and there of a light rain to drizzle.

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Peace was prevalent inside the house and out all day long, and rest became the order of the day. Though there were household chores that needed to be done, I found myself guiltlessly sitting and staring at the grass and flower beds out my big patio window. Even the yard cats remained listlessly curled up in a corner of the porch and only meowed twice for food. They were apparently as content as I to do next to nothing. Few birds moved around the yard while it was raining, and the ones that did venture out were much less lively than usual.

DSC_0036Thankfully, after it was all said and done, the temperature climbed only into the high 70’s. That level of coolness won’t last, but as long as it does the “blue and glowing days” of summer will be significantly more tolerable hereabouts. So I praise God “for the wisdom that fashioned the universe” and that our misery has again been tempered by His mercy.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort. . . ~2 Corinthians 1:3   ✝

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! Like Saint Hildegard Lord, may I too be a feather on your holy breath and spread, like seeds, the gospel abroad.

311. What greater gift that the love of a cat? ~Charles Dickens

There are two means of refuge
from the misery of life –
music and cats.
~Albert Schweitzer

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This post is in loving memory of Tuxie, our 10 month old kitten, who lost his battle for life today.  We have never known a sweeter boy, and it is the greatest of sadness knowing that he’ll never again hug our necks in the night or brighten our days with joy.  Goodbye our sweet, sweet boy.  We pray you are being held in the loving arms of an angel.

Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my body and soul with grief.  Psalm 31:9   ✝

270. Nature looks dead in winter because her life is gathered into her heart. ~Hugh Macmillan

She (nature) withers the plant down to the root
that she may grow it up again fairer and stronger.
She calls her family together
within her inmost home to prepare them for being
scattered abroad upon the face of the earth.
~Hugh Macmillan

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Early morning light steals across straw-colored grass and slowly warms the biting chill of a February dawn.  Splinters of sunlight glisten and sparkle as they move over the garden’s frost-laden, bare bones.  From my vantage point inside I can make out a lone, reddish leaf, not quite ready to be a memory, clinging tenaciously to a branch in the ornamental cherry tree.  It reminds me that a wellspring of life lies dormant below in nature’s “inmost home” where “her life is gathered into her heart.”  My attention is diverted next to the dogs I hear barking up and down the alleyway.  The feral cats must be on the move in search of food.  Then birds begin to show up at the feeders and high above their flutterings I see the first squirrels running the high wires.  Soon birdsong breaks morn’s silence, and lights start coming on in the once darkened houses around us.  The neighborhood is coming alive and gearing up for the day, but no, not I.   Since retirement I’ve been able to linger as long as I like most mornings and from my well-situated chair watch the days and the changing seasons pass over my yard.  Nature’s recurrent patterns and rhythms have always comforted me, and it’s delightful to be able to partake of her daily feasts.  Though evidence of God’s grace is readily apparent in the spectacular moments of life, perhaps sweeter are the ones ferreted out of day to day, ordinary living.  These are blessings that are not unlike the contrast of a mass of diamonds scattered out on a dark piece of velvet in which all are lovely but none seems particularly more special than the other and that of a singular diamond’s loveliness on the same piece of fabric which in its aloneness is brilliantly stunning.

For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does.  ~Psalm 33:4  ✝