1285. Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn. ~Elizabeth Lawrence

Bittersweet October.
The mellow, messy, leaf-kicking,
perfect pause between the opposing
miseries of summer and winter.
~Carol Bishop Hipps

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Do you see any leaves turning autumn colors in the photo above? Do you get any sense at all that it’s cool and crisp outside the window, the window that’s right here where I sit to work at my computer, the window from which I shot that not-so-great photo through the venetian blinds? Sadly neither do I! It’s almost November and that “opposing misery of summer” of which Hipps speaks has NOT gone! I’m certain because when I went out in the yard just a few minutes ago to take some photos, I came in just as dripping wet as I had all summer. It might be about ten degrees cooler our there than it was in August, but with the high humidity we are STILL having, it continues to feel like I’m walking into a sauna when I open the door to go out! So where or where is Autumn??? Did it get lost somewhere along its way to Texas??? Perhaps so because according to the National Weather Service the ending of the year and throughout the winter for much of the US will be warmer and drier as the result of another “La Niña” that has set up in the Pacific. (See the photo below where it shows the predicted varying degrees of heat and lack of rainfall as the year ends in the US.) And that makes for an oh so unlucky me because I’m here in north central Texas. Yippee, huh?! That’s why when I read your blogs about cool, crisp days that include photos of lovely autumn leaves, I either begin to salivate like a rabid dog or my eyes start tearing up because Autumn is one of my favorite times of the year and I’m so ready for it to come! Oh, I know, who wants to listen to a whiny old lady rant? So off I go to find a way, despite the “misery,” to self-soothe and seek the presence of things for which to be grateful. Breathe, Natalie, just breathe…

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“But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’” ~Jonah 2:9  ✝

**I added the border around the photo I took out my window so you would get the feel of looking out a window.

1280. October inherits summer’s hand-me-downs… ~Rachel Peden

I know the year is slowly dying…
Ah, ‘tis then I love to wander,
Wander idly and alone,
Listening to the solemn music
Of sweet nature’s undertone…
~Excerpted lines from a poem by
Mortimer Crane Brown

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Though October grows long in the tooth
a measure of summer’s steamy heat lingers on
and so the dance of sweet glories of the morn waltzes on

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The full, harvest moon has come and gone
but the sultry high humidity of August yet remains
thus dance on still the satiny, white glories of the evening

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Morning’s are cooler, some even quite crisp
but afternoons revive September’s persistent misery
keeping at bay the last dance of all the glories in the garden fair

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The grass is showing patches not quite as green
though it’s not dead enough to slow the hum of mowers
near arbors and trellises where scramble high the twining vines

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The promise of autumn rain has not been fulfilled so far
which keeps the gardener’s feet scuffling along the dusty paths
but it has yet to halt the dance of the morning glories and moonflowers

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The sun’s trek from east to west across the yard continues
and days grow shorter and more golden as November draws nigh
but still the flowering vines dance perkily along the chain-link fence lines

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Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. ~James 5:7  ✝

**All the photos taken by me in my yard today

474. 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

September days have the warmth of summer
in their briefer hours, but in their lengthening evenings
a prophetic breath of autumn.
The cricket chirps in the noontide,
making the most of what remains of his brief life.
The bumblebee is busy among the clover blossoms
of the aftermath, and their shrill and dreamy hum
hold 
the outdoor world above the voices
of the song birds, now silent or departed.
~Rowland E. Robinson

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Whew! Am I glad August is over!!! It’s still extremely hot, but at least September, bearer of the autumnal equinox, holds the possibility that later in the month we’ll be blessed with our first cool, crisp morn. Although autumn’s voice nor breath are yet discernible, its harbingers have alerted my eyes and therefore my camera. So with forbearance I shall press on through the remainder of the “heat beast’s” reign, knowing and delighting in the fact that its days are numbering fewer and fewer. Perhaps one day I shall be able to embrace the idea that “the discipline of blessings is to taste each moment, the bitter, the sour, the sweet and the salty, (even the insanely hot) and be glad for what does not hurt.” Indeed, God has lots of work left to do in me.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens… ~Ecclesiastes 3:1   ✝

272. I love snow, snow, and all the forms of radiant frost.  ~Percy Bysshe Shelley

Look up at the miracle of the falling snow,–
the air a dizzy maze of whirling, eddying flakes,
noiselessly transforming the world,
the exquisite crystals dropping in ditch and gutter,
and disguising in the same suit of spotless livery
all objects upon which they fall.
~John Burroughs

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Yesterday was a double, good whammy kind of day, and the whamminess began and ended in the heavens.  Right after first light little, bitty snow flakes began to fall, and by noon the frigid, gray day had been punctuated with a lovely smattering of snow.  The north wind was a contributor in the snowscapade because at times it seemed to be blowing down even more of the “exquisite crystals” from the white clouds of heaven’s expanse.  The second whammy played out when sparkling stars and a slender slice of the ancient moon punctuated heaven’s then blackened dome and prettified to a greater extent the frosting of snow on the ground.

Most nights I go for a short walk before bedtime.  Walking alone at 9 or 10 o’clock at night is a delicious experience.  The streets are empty of traffic and most folks are inside watching TV or getting ready for bed.  Especially in wintertime for some reason, it feels like I’m the only one left in the universe except for God.  And His presence is so large and close I feel like I could just extend my hand and feel it slip into His.  When I see my exhaling breath as one can when it’s terribly cold, I feel as if He’s just breathed those first breaths of life into me once again.  The air is so cold and crisp and invigorating, and the solitude is filled with His holy peacefulness.

–then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.  ~Genesis 2:7  ✝

186. Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent. ~Victor Hugo

There is in souls a sympathy with sounds:
And as the mind is pitch’d the ear is pleased
With melting airs, or martial, brisk or grave;
Some chord in unison with what we hear
Is touch’d within us, and the heart replies.
~William Cowper

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The November morn was cool and crisp, and the solitary man playing the bag pipes was standing against the backdrop of changing leaves and flowing water.  The mystical sounds of the “pipes” were drifting along on gentle breezes over the whole of a very large park.  It was Veterans Day, and the man may have been playing in remembrance of friends or relatives, but it could have been a salutation to the day’s magnificence as well because his harmonies embodied not only touches of the melancholy but also traces of the celebratory.  As I watched transfixed and mesmerized by the sounds, he played on at first unaware of my presence behind him.  But soon I realized that between the melodies he was slowly turning in a circle and would soon face me and the ones gathering behind me.  It was as if he was wanting to address his elegy and/or hymn of praise to all the earth.  At each of his turns we who were witnessing the spectacle seemingly became aware that something sacrosanct was moving through us, moving through the “piper”, moving through the pipes, moving through the trees, moving through the water.  More than that, one could not help but feel that the sanctity was moving throughout the whole of Creation that was within the sound of his pipes and our vision.  I can’t speak for the other observers, but when the “piper” finished “some chord in unison” with what I’d heard and seen had touched me so deeply that my heart replied with tears of sadness for fallen and wounded patriots everywhere and for the joy I’d felt in the beauty of the “piper’s” music.

**I didn’t attempt to take the bag piper’s photo that day because it somehow seemed like an invasion of his privacy.  I decided the one above would be equally appropriate for this post since my sister took it on a beach at Normandy where so many fell in WW II while in pursuit of freedom’s calling.

My heart, O God, is steadfast, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music.  ~Psalm 57:7  ✝