524. Gardening: the fine art of soul to soil. ~Jan Bills

But each spring. . .a gardening instinct,
sure as the sap rising in the trees,
stirs within us.
We look about and decide to tame
another little bit of ground.
~Lewis Gantt

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Life! Life has materialized again! On a cool, misty morn of late October, little green slivers of life have emerged into visible existence, life anew made manifest from tiny black seeds scratched into barren soil and sprinkled with water, the very elixir of life itself! And it has come where two losses occurred unexpectedly in my yard last June. When it happened, “the gardening instinct” Gantt mentions kicked in immediately even though it was long after the last rising of sap and well before the next. Sadly, at that time however, the fires of summer were already growing intense, and it was too hot to start “taming” bits of ground. But when temperatures at last lowered in late September, my son-in-law tilled and tamed the new bits of ground for me. It may seem odd to sow this late in the year, but given the mild winters and early to warm up springtimes of north central Texas, the seeds of poppies, larkspur, bluebonnets, bee balm, and sweet peas must be sown in the fall so that the roots of the seedlings have enough time to grow strong and hardy. Such indeed is “the stuff of which dreams are made” for those of us who need flowers for the soul to thrive, who seek revelation of God in a garden, who live close to and find intrigue in the soil from which we came, and who dig the ground seeking His presence in earth’s depths.

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

**Images via Pinterest

516. I need the seasons to live to the rhythm of rain and sun. ~Sophie Marceau

The rain began again.
It fell heavily, easily, with no
meaning or intention but the
fulfillment of its own nature…
~Helen Garner

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Late yesterday the wind began pushing hard, very hard against the yard and house. Then rain pelted the roof in the night, and the power went out leaving only the sound of the rain falling in the dark, the utter darkness of deepening night. When day dawned and light at last seeped in, the rain had stopped, but heavy clouds hung low filling heaven’s vast expanse. Outside it was nippy, a nip perhaps chilly enough at last to encourage the changing colors of autumn leaves. Throughout the day as mighty gusts of wind continued to blow and dampness reminiscent of the rain hung in the air, the delicious rhythm of last night’s falling rain lingered in my thoughts. “Listen to the pouring rain, listen to it pour, let it rain all night long…”

Lingering in Happiness

After rain after many days without rain,
it stays cool, private and cleansed, under the trees,
and the dampness there, married now to gravity,
falls branch to branch, leaf to leaf, down to the ground
where it will disappear — but not, of course, vanish
except to our eyes. The roots of the oaks will have their share,
and the white threads of the grasses, and the cushion of moss;
a few drops, round as pearls, will enter the mole’s tunnel;
and soon so many small stones, buried for a thousand years,
will feel themselves being touched.

~Mary Oliver

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   ✝

** Image via Pinterest


468. What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance. ~Jane Austen

This is the blessing for rain after drought:
Come down, wash the air so it shimmers,
a perfumed shawl of lavender chiffon.
Let the parched leaves suckle and swell.
Enter my skin, wash me for the little
chrysalis of sleep rocked in your plashing.
In the morning the world is peeled to shining.
~A verse from a poem by Marge Piercy

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Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. ~Hebrews 6:7   ✝

Let it rain! Let it rain! Let it rain! And Word of God speak, and pour down like rain, and let us rest in Your holiness!

**Image via Pinterest


452. She told me about rolling hills covered with cornfields and treeless miles of land without water. ~A. LaFaye

I have no hostility to nature,
but a child’s love to it.
I expand and live in
the warm day like corn and melons.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

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August is upon us now with its usual dry nastiness and so the “parcels of corn” have indeed become “brown and sere.” Though their yield was harvested some time ago and the plants left to die under the blistering summer sun, I think their golden-brown, curled flag-leaves create a kind of unique beauty. And now that the farmers have begun the process of removing the dry, dead remains, even the barren, stub-filled fields have an intriguing eye-appeal. Although both my parents were raised on farms in farming communities, I had my very first experience with growing a crop like corn a few summers ago when our daughter and her husband decided to sow some corn in their inner city garden. Once the seedlings got going, it seemed like almost every day for a while that the stalks grew taller and taller. Then as the tassels appeared, the stalks began to buzz with the constant hum of more honey bees than I’ve ever seen in a suburban garden. Later on when the pale yellow silks started emerging, our excitement heightened again as the bees buzzed on harvesting the huge amounts of yellowish pollen falling from the floppy tassels. At that point I became so fascinated by the goings on that I went to the internet and was truly dumfounded to read that each piece of pollen that lands on a silk produces only one of the two to four hundred kernels that typically appear on a single ear of corn. How amazing is that! When it was all said and done, not only was their small crop of corn the tastiest any of us had ever eaten, but it also aroused in us and our offspring a sense of respect for the generations of farmers within our family lineage as well as for the ancient civilizations whose cultures had had a marked and ongoing influence on the global landscape. But more than anything, we marveled, as we always do, at the wonders of Creation and its Maker.

May the people praise you, O God; may all the people praise you. Then the land will yield its harvest, and God, our God will bless us. ~Psalm 67:5-7   ✝

Thank you, 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.

260. The shortest day has passed, and whatever nastiness of weather we may look forward to in January and February, at least we notice that the days are getting longer. ~Vita Sackville-West

January is the quietest month in the garden.
. . .But just because is looks quiet
doesn’t mean that nothing is happening.
The soil, open to the sky, absorbs the pure rainfall
while microorganisms convert tilled-under fodder
into usable nutrients for the next crop of plants.
The feasting earthworms tunnel along,
aerating the soil and preparing it to welcome
the seeds and bare roots to come.
~Rosalie Muller Wright


I’ve heard it said that “the color of springtime is in the flowers” whereas “the color of winter is in the imagination.”  Thankfully I’ve got a good imagination, and when that fails, I have a large collection of photos to look back on because by the end of January my spirit is in dire need of a boost.  A place I like to frequent also helps to keep my imagination alive and well.  It’s a nursery, and this particular Dallas nursery not only has a great selection of flowers during the growing seasons, but year round it has all sorts of indoor plants too.  In addition  to the plants it has an oak cabinet with drawers full of fascinating seeds, racks of seed packets, shelves filled with gardening books, and an array of tools.  So between the plant and seed catalogs that start arriving in the mail after Christmas and my visits to Nicholson-Hardie’s nursery, the “dream” is kept alive even when the under-the-surface busy but ravaged-atop January garden appears to be completely shut down.  And it is this “stuff” of which gardener’s dreams are made that keeps my imagination churning and my head full of schemes, schemes that are the spice of a gardener’s life.  What a blessing is our memory, our imagination, and our ability to dream; God is so good.

I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify Him with thanksgiving.  ~Psalm 69:30  ✝