For summer there, bear in mind, is a
loitering gossip, that only begins to talk
of leaving when September rises to go.
~George Washington Cable
Ah summer, barbarous in the sun’s rays,
the sands in your hourglass remain but few
and yet your closing hours have not cooled.
Days now shorter still bring too large a measure
of treacherous heat amid high levels of humidity.
What once were colorful, flowery arrays fade
more and more into backgrounds blurred by eyes
weary of squinting from the blinding rays of sunlight.
There is only a mere tidbit of vignettes of what
once was the garden’s grandeur on an unequaled scale.
So, Rilke, I pray your prayer, and may the Lord
hear my pleas for summer’s heat to come to an end.
Lord, it is time.
The summer was very big.
Lay thy shadow on the sundials, and
on the meadows let the winds go loose.
Command the last fruits that they shall be full;
give them another two more southerly days,
press them on to fulfillment and drive
the last sweetness into the heavenly wine.
~Rainer Maria Rilke
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. ~Isaiah 40:29 ✝
**All photos taken by me in yard; collages by me; and I deliberately blurred the edges of them.
Life is indeed colorful. We can feel in the pink one day,
with our bank balances comfortably in the black, and
the grass seemingly no greener on the other side of the fence.
And then out of the blue, something invites envy.
~Edited and adapted excerpt
by Alex Morritt
In the spring when we were actually getting rain, we also had several bouts of hail along with the showers. As a result this summer there have been little armies of roofers tap, tap, tapping their way all around town. Our roof too was recently replaced, and then two weeks later my new neighbor got her new roof put on. Shortly thereafter, Natalie, yes interestingly we share the same name, was out in her front yard when we pulled onto our driveway. When she saw us, she came running over to tell us about something funny that had happened while the workers were up on her roof. It seems that one of them was so taken with my yard and flowers that he was leaning over on his ladder to get a better view. But because his view was blocked by a large tree, he had to lean way over on his ladder to get a good look at it. And then boom, he finally had leaned a tad too far over and tumbling down came he and his ladder. Fortunately, other than his pride, the guy wasn’t hurt so we felt no remorse about having a really good laugh about the incident. Then Natalie went on to tell us another funny story about her mom who is so envious of my yard that she’s been trying to get glimpses of it through the slats in her privacy fence. And it also seems that she’s seen enough to jokingly ask Natalie if she thought I’d notice if she sneaked over and dug up a few things. Of course I was very flattered and pleased that others enjoy my little piece of Eden as much as I do, but I don’t want them falling off ladders or having to peek through fences to see it. So I told Natalie, as I tell everyone, that people are always welcome to open the gate and come on in to look around, and that I’d be happy to share with her and her mom all the seeds that they might want. I also told her that I have chairs spread out around the yard for those who want to linger a while longer. Lastly and with tongue in cheek, I said that she and her mom were more than welcome to come in and dig up all the weeds they wanted.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast; it is not. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. ~1 Corinthians 13:4-5 ✝
**The collage is of some of what’s on my garden’s altars today.
There are two seasonal diversions
that can ease the bite of any winter.
One is the January thaw.
The other is the seed catalogues.
And oh how I love seed catalogs. They not only awaken dreams of spring, but their covers have always been colorful works of art. And why shouldn’t they be, especially since they promote the sale of tiny miracles by the millions?
Now seeds are just dimes to the man in the store
And the dimes are the things that he needs,
And I’ve been to buy them in seasons before
But have thought of them merely as seeds;
But it flashed through my mind as I took them this time,
You purchased a miracle here for a dime.
~Edgar A. Guest
**Even though seeds today cost more than a dime, they are still relatively inexpensive. So what do you think? How much would you be willing to pay for a miracle with God’s autograph written all over it?
Two years ago, I was saying as I planted seeds in the garden, “I must believe in these seeds that fall into the earth and grow into flowers and radishes and beans. It is a miracle to me because I do not understand it. The very fact that some use glib technical phrases to explain it does not make it any less a miracle, and a miracle we all accept. Then why not accept God’s miracles?” ~Dorothy Day
You are God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples. ~Psalm 77:14 ✝
**Images of vintage seed catalogs via Pinterest; collages of them created by Natalie
La plus grande des joies
C’est de croire en Toi
Et de se réfugier en Toi
Père des Mondes,
Et de l’Enfant en moi.
~Poème written by Frédéric at: http://poemsandpoemes.wordpress.com/about/
The greatest joy
It is to believe in You
And take refuge in You
Father of the Worlds
And of the Child in me.
Recently I was up early enough to witness dawn’s first golden glimmer of light pierce holes in the dense, leafy green darkness at the back fence. Then as the morning light lifted night’s dark shades higher and higher, the fragrance of Autumn Clematis floated along on the bright morn’s happy wings. Soon butterflies, creatures of the wind, danced and rejoiced while happy voices on the TV echoed in celebration within the walls of a sanctuary. Therein the sunlight fell in brilliant fragments through the stained glass windows, and all that those colorful bits of light touched seemed to be filled with the same kind of holiness that I had felt streak through our trees.
“To speak truly, few adult persons can see nature. Most persons do not see the sun. At least they have a very superficial seeing. The sun illuminates only the eye of the man, but shines into the eye and heart of the child. The lover of nature is he whose inward and outward senses are still truly adjusted to each other; who has retained the spirit of infancy even into the era of manhood.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Lord I love the Temple where you live, where your glory is. ~Psalm 26:8 ✝
The earth has received the embrace of the sun
and we shall see the result of that love.
~Hunkesni (Sitting Bull)
The flowers in these photos are the result of another year’s embrace of the sun. It will be the remembrance of them and the haunting songs of their colors, separately and collectively, that will lift my spirits when in the months to come we traverse winter’s “vale of grief.” If my memory of them should grow dim, I’ll have but to look heavenward and watch for them in the rising and the setting of the sun on days when a window in the gloom has been opened. In those moments when they streak the eastern or western horizon in a blaze of glory I’ll remember that as the earth tilts back toward the sun, the sun’s embrace will bring the flowers, their lovely colors, and their songs back to life. When they return and the air is filled with the music of many rhymes, my prayer is. . .
That the morning sun stir us with gladness from ours bed,
That the winds of March move us happily along the new year’s road,
That the rains of April renew our strength,
That the flowers and colors of May captivate our sight,
That the summer inflame our zeal,
That autumn’s colors stimulate our dreams,
That the silver moon make us wiser yet,
That the Lord keep us young at heart so that
we are full of life, laughter, song, and gratitude
for the holiness and goodness in all that the sun and His love embraces.
~Edited and adapted from a blessing by Fr. Andrew Greeley
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens He has pitched a tent for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. ~Psalm 19:1-5 ✝
** I made the collage of flowers from images found on PInterest.
When father takes his spade to dig
then Robin comes along;
And sits upon a little twig
And sings a little song.
The introductory line is from Blake’s “Auguries of Innocence,” a somewhat lengthy poem consisting of a series of paradoxes in which Blake juxtaposes innocence with evil and corruption. The word augury in the title means omen or token, and the robin is the poem’s first noted “augury of innocence.” The robin’s song, personality, and countenance are such that it’s obvious why the poet saw the act of putting one in a cage as not only an enraging violation but also as a profound perversion of holiness. The sweet song and colorful markings of a robin make the bird a delightful harbinger of spring’s infancy and innocence. Looking forward to its coming is one of my favorite rites in spring’s passage, and like “all heaven” I’d be incensed if the bird’s freedom were taken away and its song silenced. Below is a legend about the robin that again ties the bird to the blameless and sacred. Although the truthfulness of legends is questionable, I’m fascinated that somehow, somewhere, and in some way the robin was connected to the Messiah.
The Legend of the First Robin
One day, long ago, a little bird in Jerusalem saw a large crowd gathered around a man carrying a heavy wooden cross. On the man’s head was a crown made from a thorn branch. The thorns were long and sharp. The little bird saw that the thorns were hurting the man. It wanted to help Him, so it flew down and took the longest, sharpest thorn in its tiny beak. The bird tugged and pulled until the thorn snapped from the branch. Then a strange thing happened. A drop of blood fell onto the bird’s breast, staining it bright red. The stain never went away. And so today the robin proudly wears a red-breast, because it helped a man named Jesus.
“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. 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 12:7-10 ✝
My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird,
I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.
~George Eliot, English novelist
What’s not to love about a season that takes the focus off summer’s calamities by piling delectable hues back on nature’s palette? It begins after the autumnal equinox when grasses, flowers, fruits, and berries begin weaving fabulous garlands in sacred temples bound by earth and sky. Then as the days grow shorter, the torrid temperatures of summer lower and chilling winds descend from the north. The nip in the air they create induces chemical changes in leaves, leaves that become more and more colorful as autumn’s days unfold. The grand array of their colors conjures up magic shows on woody altars not only in autumnal forests but also in small towns and sprawling cities. Later in the season blustery winds snap the parchment-like foliage off, and as the leaves fall, they swirl about in little eddies playing like jovial children. When autumn’s skies are not shrouded by gauzy, gray clouds, they are swept clear revealing brilliance on the “brows of morn” and daytime hours drenched in deep, dreamy shades of blue. Under such canopies pumpkins appear in fields, soon to be used in fall’s activities and feasts as well as for festive winter banquets. Plumed grasses shift and sigh in renewed authorship of the ancient hymns of sacred earth making autumn a time to be silent as well as watchful. As one Celtic teacher put it, Creation is “the grand volume of God’s utterance,” and what a lovely utterance it is! Whenever and wherever one listens to the Word of God, be it in Creation or Scripture, be it in autumn or the other seasons, it gives the listener carte blanche to fall into a rhythm which calms the mind, soothes the spirit, and sheds light into the fabric of God’s heart.