402. Beautiful and graceful, varied and enchanting, small but approachable, butterflies lead you to the sunny side of life. ~Jeffrey Glassberg

Given wings, where might you fly?
In what sweet heaven might you find your love?
Unwilling to be bound, where might you move,
Lost between the wonder and the why?
~Nicholas Gordon

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A caterpillar eats voraciously until it’s time to make a button of silk in order to fasten its body to a leaf or a twig. Later, when it emerges from its chrysalis, its wings are wet and wrinkled. To expand and dry them it uses its body as a pump and forces fluid through a series of tube-like veins. As the veins fill with fluid, the wrinkled surface of its wings is stretched out. And what beautifully striking wings are those of swallowtail butterflies!

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A butterfly’s life is all about flight and flying, and that takes a lot of energy so it drinks nectar from flowers to get the energy it needs. To find nectar it uses taste organs at the end of each of its six legs. When any or all of its legs touch a good food source, a reflex causes the proboscis to uncoil, and voilà, a delicious meal is had and the dance is on. As these two magnificent creatures danced this week, they wrote charming little couplets in my garden. As you can see by the blurry edges on the black one (I deliberately chose one of the blurrier shots because I love the image it made), it seldom stopped fluttering its wings; so its poetic ditties were penned with a bit of a stutter. The yellow one on the other hand stopped moving now and again maybe because it wanted to insert a pregnant pause between the lines of its clever rhymes.

I call on You, my God, for you will answer me: turn Your ear to me and hear my prayer. Keep me as the apple of Your eye; hide me in the shadow of Your wings… ~Psalm 17:6 and 8 ✝

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.

257. The tree is a slow, enduring force straining the win the sky. ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Have you ever noticed a tree
standing naked against the sky, how beautiful it is?
All its branches outlined and in its nakedness,
there is a poem, there is a song…
When the spring comes, it again fills the tree
with the music of many leaves.
And this is the way of life.
~J. Krishnamurti

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Trees don’t just provide shade or rhyme and lyric for mortals; they are frequented by and home to an assortment of wildlife.  For example birds not only perch and sing in their lofty heights; they build nests in them as do squirrels who also use the branches as connecting highways to get them from one branch or tree to another.  When it’s winter as it is now and the trees are leafless, I can see the little fluffy-tailed acrobats make leaps, sometimes very daring ones, from one branch or tree to another as they work back and forth or up and down gathering acorns and building nests.  This week while I was observing their antics, I started looking at the differing filigreed patterns of our naked trees.  It was then I noticed the combined density of several trees in the northeast corner of our lot.  They obscure the heavens now almost as much as they would when in full leaf.  In this aerial thicket of woodiness the horizontal branches of my willow tree cross in front of the vertical branches of neighboring trees, and so their poetry or music is more of a series of mingled couplets or vocal duets as they make their “endless efforts to speak to the listening heavens.”

The trees of the field shall know that I am the Lord…  ~Ezekiel 17:23a  ✝

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