181. How could such sweet and wholesome hours be reckoned but with herbs and flowers. ~Andrew Marvel

Natural object themselves
even when they make no claim to beauty,
excite the feelings, and occupy the imagination.
Nature pleases, attracts, delights,
merely because it’s nature.
~Karl Wilhelm Humboldt

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The most common attractions of the rose are the prettily colored flowers and the sweet to spicy fragrances.  On some roses there are also brightly colored hips that not only decorate bare canes in winter but also provide feasts for overwintering birds.  These hips are the pomaceous fruits of the rose, and they vary in size and shape and color.  Some of the first rosary beads were fashioned out of dried rose hips, and they have been used as well to make jellies, jam, marmalade, teas, soup, and medicinal compounds.  They also played an important role during World War II because they are very rich in Vitamin C.  It seems the people of Great Britain were encouraged to gather wild-grown rose hips to make a syrup for their children since German submarines were sinking commercial ships making it very difficult to import citrus fruits from the tropics.

Looking with expectancy for things that excite, I venture out into my gardens almost daily, weather permitting.  To that end I am seldom disappointed even on drippy days like this one.  Today’s find were some gold-orange-reddiish rose hips, and though they make no claim to great beauty, I was thrilled to see them once again.  After photographing them and beginning this post I began pondering what a difference for the better it might make if I greeted every new day’s living with the same attitude.  What an impact might it have on those around me if I met them filled with joy and expected the best from the encounter.  Once again I see how God’s Eden is not only a great sustainer but also an excellent teacher.

The seed will grow well, the vine will yield its fruit, the ground will produce crops, and the heavens will drop their dew.  ~Zechariah 8:12  ✝

23. Nature, like man, sometimes weeps for gladness. ~Anonymous

Rain! whose soft architectural hands
have power to cut stones, and
chisel to shapes of grandeur the very mountains.
~Henry Ward Beecher

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Each drop of rain is a powerful miracle, a miracle that falls between heaven and earth as it travels vast distances around earth’s surface.  It speaks so loudly of holiness that whenever it appears here, it never fails to draw me to itself.   Perhaps because somewhere in my memory’s oldest and deepest recesses there’s a vague in-utero recollection of the soothing nature of a watery beginning, a remembrance of a sacred mothering source.  When the first drops of rain hit the ground, especially after a long absence, they fall on my ears not unlike the chords of a beloved’s voice.  And after the rain, when the smell of wet soil and damp grass greet my nose, I “weep for gladness.”  The deliciousness of its return prompts the same urges I experienced in childhood.  What fun it would have been to have played in the rain and danced with wanton delight in the sloshy puddles beneath my feet had mom not forbid it.

All the water earth will ever have was granted us at the beginning of time.  In whatever form it falls to earth, be it rain, fog, frost, snow, or sleet, water is part of a divinely designed cycle to insure Creation’s continuance.  The holy water-bearers bring the stuff without which there is no life for it is the substance in which life is formed and the substance of which life is sustained.  As a part of the grand and holy design, falling waters move in never-ending circles to kiss the earth and return to the clouds.  Given that I can’t help but wonder how far each drop of moisture has traveled throughout the eons of time.  One thing of which I’m always certain though is that rain’s “soft architectural hands” were made by the soft Hands of He who made the earth and us.

I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees their fruit.  Leviticus 26: 4   ✝

11. The moment one gives close attention to anything,
even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome,
indescribably magnificent world in itself. ~Henry Miller

Each blade of grass has its spot on earth whence it draws its life,
its strength; and so man is rooted to the land
from which he draws his faith together with his life.
~Joseph Conrad

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Against the backdrop of autumn’s falling leaves ornamental grasses shift and sigh adding an ethereal element to the landscape.  With airy flower panicles, fluffy seed plumes, and striking seed heads ornamental grasses provide charming “fringe accents” in yards and gardens. Even after the onslaughts of freezing temperatures, grasses continue to grace the landscape with beauty.  They add subtle colors, assorted textures, and the dimensions of motion and sound.  Throughout winter’s “vale of grief,” they capture and play with whatever light is available and in so doing speak of life and give us something “that glimmers in the sleep of things.” The “music” of their swishing and swaying reminds us that what’s happening isn’t an ending but merely a transition for the next beginning.

In a poetic conversation with the Lord, Edna St. Vincent Millay said, “God, I can push the grass apart and lay my finger on Thy heart.”  A Quaker and itinerant preacher named Elias Hicks wrote that “the fullness of the godhead dwelt in every blade of grass.”  And Thomas Carlyle, a Scottish writer, asked, “To us also, through every star, through every blade of grass, is not God made visible if we will open our minds and our eyes.”  These writers, like me, realize that man was meant to be “rooted to the land and therefore to God.”  But, the “umbilical cord” that connects all humanity to Creation and God seems, for many, to have been severed.

The Lord, however, refuses to remain separated or removed from that which He has made.  In an effort to reconnect people to the land and to provide healthier food, many neighborhoods are finding places to build community gardens.  More and more people are getting involved in caring for the land in these communal plots.  Also many schools across the nation are incorporating habitat gardens into the learning experiences of their students, and we are seeing a rise in “hobby farms” where retired professionals have started a second career as a hobby farmer or others who are still working are spending their spare time on their own small farm.

You care for the land and water it; You enrich it abundantly.  The streams of God are filled with water to provide the people with grain, for so You have ordained it.   You drench its furrows and level its ridges; You soften it with showers and bless its crops. You crown the year with Your bounty, and Your carts overflow with abundance.  The grasslands of the wilderness overflow; the hills are clothed with gladness.  The meadows are covered with flocks and the valleys are mantled with grain; they shout for joy and sing.  ~Psalm 65:9-13   ✝

6. There is pleasure in the pathless woods. There is rapture in the lonely shore. There is society where none intrudes. ~Lord Byron

She sat down in a weed patch, her elbows on her knees,
and kept her eyes on the small mysterious world of the ground.
In the shade and sun of grass blade forests,
small living things had their metropolis.
~Nancy Price

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In and around blossoming things there is another mysterious metropolis.  This one is above the soil, and therein airborne things move around yearning to “possess the sweet of every flower that blooms.”  In that realm two simple equations are in place:  a) if there are no flowers there are no pollinators;  b)  if there are no pollinators there are no flowers, no fruits, no crops.  The hum or buzz of a pollinating agent and a flower’s blooming go hand in hand; together they commit reproductive acts of love as they dance the sacred dance of life orchestrated by the Lord.  In so doing they “remind us that there are other voices, other rhythms, other strivings, and other fulfillments. . .” in God’s grand plan.

Recently in a National Geographic snippet on the internet, the narrator remarked that present-day humanity is the recipient of a 400,000,000 year old legacy bequeathed by earth. Imagine that!  For all those years the sun has not failed to rise and set at its appointed time, fruits and crops have not failed to burst forth and ripen, and the earth has not failed to make its trip around the sun.  One season has followed another repeating the Genesis story over and over again as per the Lord’s plan.  Like the fruits and flowers and pollinators, our time here is very brief, and we who are fashioned by the same holy Hands as the sun and earth are no less adored and significant in our loving Father’s eyes.

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