1447. The air is like a butterfly with frail blue wings. The happy earth looks at the sky and sings. ~Joyce Kilmer

It is a glorious privilege to live,
to know, to act, to listen, to behold, to love.
To look up at the blue summer sky;
to see the sun sink slowly
beyond the line of the horizon;
to watch the worlds come twinkling
into view, first one by one,
and the myriads that no man can count,
and lo! the universe is white with them;
and you and I are here.
~Marco Morrow

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Morrow mentions only the summer sky, but it’s a privilege to look up and behold the wonders of the sky at any time, isn’t it?! This time of year an especially breathtaking view of the sky can be seen by looking through flowering trees. But why is it that we like to gaze up at the heavens with or without trees? What are we looking for? And when our look up at the embracing canopy over us, why do words of wonder and awe enter our thoughts and subsequently fall from our lips? What is it about what we see that fills us with utter amazement? Is it because of the firmament’s majestic beauty and/or our puzzlement about the mysteries therein? Or is it because in our looking we become aware of a knowing that transcends ordinary knowing? Could it be that we recognize the handiwork of the One to whom we’re inextricably and lovingly connected? As we look and listen, can’t we hear the Holy One’s voice in the deepest part of ourselves, that quiet voice telling us that the sky and earth and life are not the result of a random happenstance but are acts of His divine and loving grace poured out for our benefit? Maybe in the sky and all else that delights our senses we see the quicksilver flicker of a tiny flame which illuminates our Maker’s face, a face our eyes have forgotten but our hearts still remember? Indeed, what a “glorious privilege it is to live, to know, to act, to listen, to behold, to love” under the tutelage of our grand and caring Father! And how wondrous it is that the knowing can come from just looking and listening and giving ourselves to Him!

It is God’s privilege to conceal things and the king’s (and mankind’s, says Natalie) privilege to discover them. ~Proverbs 25:2 ✝

**All photos taken by Natalie; collage by Natalie

1445. It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the earth and in the contemplation of her beauties to know of “wonder and humility.” ~Rachel Carson

Those who dwell, as scientists or laymen,
among the beauties and mysteries of the earth,
are never alone or weary of life.
~Rachel Carson

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What is that I hear? What is it I see? What’s that smell floating along on the breeze? Are they things returning once again to remind me that just like that with a sound, a sight, and a scent winter falls slowly but surely into spring, glorious, glorious spring? Could it be that time of year has come when the greens are greener, the colors are fresher, the fragrances sweeter? Have we at last traversed winter’s domain of quietness, of drabness, of blandness to find once more that hope is tangible, love is in the air, and the “beauties and mysteries” of the earth yet have a way of filling old and young alike with wonder and humility? If so, which of these photographic delights might be the “proof in the pudding?”

Is it the forsythia I saw above?

Or is it this that was right behind it?

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Or is it these side by side hellebores?

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Or perhaps it is the glowing whiteness of this Magnolia Stellata?

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Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven. ~Psalm 85:11 ✝

**All photos taken by Natalie

1359. Human beings need pleasure, as in to be thrilled, the way they need vitamins. ~Edited line by Lionel Tiger

thrilled

1. a. A sudden feeling of pleasure or excitement
    b. A source or cause of pleasure or excitement
2. a. A quivering caused by sudden excitement or emotion
    b. A trembling caused by pleasurable excitement or emotion

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O, money can’t buy the delights of the garden,
Nor Poetry sing all its charms:
There’s a solace and calm ne’er described by the pen
When we’re folded within Nature’s arms!
~Edited and adapted poem
by James Rigg

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Surely you’ve been thrilled by something that truly speaks to you, and when it does, your heart bursts with an adrenaline rush? I hope so! For me, is has happened time and time again in my garden during every season. And there is something about all of them that thrills and excites me through and through. But in spring the excitement ratchets up even more so especially when finding those first little green shoots pushing up through the soil or better yet that first bloom that makes me tremble with delight all the way down to my very core. As it sends pure elation racing through my veins, that spicy taste of something thrilling ushers along a sweet taste of hope. For in witnessing another round of earth’s sweet beginning in God’s Eden, I experience the richness of nature’s holy, ancient, and forever faithful design. In knowing that I am so filled with gladness that tears well up in gratitude for the privilege of being alive as well as for being granted time to lead a quiet life and work the soil with my hands in my tiny piece of Eden. Above and below are the first fruits of my labor this year; I planted these tulips last December, and their exquisiteness is taking by breath away day by day by day!

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To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter…to be elated by the stars at night; to be thrilled by a bird’s nest or a flower in spring – these are some of the rewards of the simple life. ~Edited and adapted quote by John Burroughs

In trying to please God, we are asked in Scripture to: Make it our goal to live a quiet life, minding our own business and working with our hands… ~1 Thessalonians 4:11  ✝

1236. The garden invites us to awaken our senses and refresh our souls as the sun warms its colors and fragrances. ~Author Unknown

So come with me on a tour of my garden
and see what August delights I find:

Belinda’s nodding
her head and dreaming sweet dreams
until dawn wakes her

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Stars shine bright on the
autumn clematis deep in
the heart of Texas

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The sun rises in
the east but a sunflower
bears stars in her heart

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Magenta shares her
glory with a time worn piece
of white picket fence

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Green candles rise near
the back fence heralding the
coming of angels

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Last night’s white angel
trumpets yet in day’s early
hours of dim light

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Tickled pink I find
a purple morning glory
and passionflower

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And last but not least
a pink rain lily sports her
bold yellow stamen

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 4.37.35 PM.pngSatisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. ~Psalm 90:14  ✝

**All images taken by me in my yard

1168. To me, every hour of the day and night is an unspeakably perfect miracle. ~Walt Whitman

I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day,
a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic
waiting somewhere behind the morning.
~J. B. Priestley

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I have a recliner opposite my patio doors, and the doors are wide enough to afford a great view of a sizable portion of our yard and its flower beds. When I first get up in the morning, I enjoy sitting for a while in my chair watching the sun come up and the birds begin their daily activities. In the top photo above you can see a portion of a patio chair, part of the flower bed near the patio, part of another flower bed by Natalieworld, and about a third of the island bed that’s between me and the back fence. It was started decades ago before the removal of a large stand of bamboo that was behind it and the subsequent development of a new flower bed that now runs along the fence. Thus that back bed has become a sort of secret garden since you can’t see much of it until you walk around the island bed along the path near my neighbor’s fence on the north or the path that runs along the north side of the greenhouse. So it’s always fun to see what I’ll find when I finally get up and out to go look for what’s new back there on any given day. That back bed, anchored by a purple red bud tree that I’ve watched come up from a volunteer seedling, is where I threw out lots and lots of different kinds of seeds last fall. As spring advanced first came the poppies, the larkspur, the cornflowers, and the ragged ladies, and now the coneflowers, monarda, hollyhock, allium, daylilies, and a few sunflowers are blooming there currently. Also I have several kinds of vines beginning to climb on the chain link fence back there, and so soon I’ll have a host of morning glories, moonflowers, and coral vine flowers. So it is that a garden is more of a moveable feast than a static thing and when people ask what I have growing, it really depends on the week or the month. And I think that’s what I love most about it. But then there are the transitional times when not too much of anything at all is blooming.

If you really want to draw close to your garden,
you must remember first of all that you are
dealing with a being that lives and dies;
like the human body, with its poor flesh.
One cannot always see it dressed up
for a ball, manicured and immaculate.
~Fernand Lequenne

How priceless is your unfailing love, O God. People take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights.~Psalm 36:7-8  ✝

870. A hug makes you feel good all day. ~Kathleen Keating

A hug delights and warms and charms;
that must be why God gave us arms.
~Author Unknown

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A hug is the perfect gift:
one size fits all, and
nobody minds if you exchange it.
~Irvin Ball

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Love is a circular emotion
that surrounds you, like a hug,
~Jarod Kintz

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One word can end a fight;
One hug can start a friendship;
One smile can being unity;
One person can change your entire life!
~Israelmore Ayivor

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Cherish her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you. ~Proverbs 4:8  ✝

**images via Pinterest; collages by Natalie

680. It is only when you start a garden – probably after age fifty – that you realize something important happens every day. ~Geoffrey B. Charlesworth

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.
We recognize in it an Infinite Power.
~Karl Wilhelm Humboldt

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Give us hearts to understand;
never to take from creation’s beauty more than we give;
never to destroy wantonly for the furtherance of greed;
never to deny to give our hands for the building of earth’s beauty;
never to take from her what we cannot use.
Give us hearts to understand
That to destroy earth’s music is to create confusion;
that to wreck her appearance is to blind us to beauty;
That to callously pollute her fragrance
is to make a house of stench…
~Excerpted lines from a Native American Prayer

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. ~Romans 1:20   ✝

**Images via Pinterest; collage by Natalie

673. Spring makes its own statement, so loud and clear that the gardener seems to be only one of the instruments, not the composer. ~Geoffrey B. Charlesworth

There be delights that will fetch the day about
from sun to sun and rock the tedious year
as in a delightful dream …for a garden is Arcady
(a region of rural simplicity and contentment)
brought home.  It is man’s bit of gaudy
make-believe – his well-disguised fiction
of an unvexed Paradise – a world where
gayety knows no eclipse…
~Edited lines by John D. Sedding

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Shhhhhhh! Do you hear it? Okay, okay, try again. Listen carefully! Did you hear something this time? Did you? If not, did you see anything different? Surely with the vernal equinox only 4 days away, you’ve heard and seen the come-hither voice of springtime and the early signs of it that daily grow more visible and audible. In my yard and elsewhere birds are aflutter and atwitter as they bring nesting materials to birdhouses; colorful crocuses, upright and abloom, chant lovely, little ditties; green perennials whisper quiet anthems as they rise from wombs beneath the soil in search of light and warmth; iris spears that were cut back in the fall now stand tall again offering up gladsome refrains; busy, buzzing bees scurry about in search of nectar and pollen; swelling buds on cherry trees whisper pretty, pink ballads; and on and on go the sights and sounds that make the human heart leap as the faithful promise of Spring materializes once more.

For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations. ~Psalm 6:11   ✝

211. I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order. ~John Burroughs

Experience has taught me this,
that we undo ourselves by impatience.
Misfortunes have their life and their limits,
their sickness and their health.
~Michel de Montaigne, an influential writer of the French Renaissance

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Since I began gardening each season of the year has sent my senses reeling.  Seasonal beginnings bewitch me beyond measure with their new colors, their new shapes, and their new textures.  And in the maelstrom of those first sensory delights before any sort of rhythmic repetitiveness sets in, there is something soothing and therapeutic for  the healing of spiritual or physical wounds.  It’s as if there’s an ointment or a medicinal elixir in the uptake of each particular season’s magic and mystery that boosts endorphins and spurs on the healing process.  Or maybe the analgesic lies simply in the process of moving from one season to the next, each one proclaiming that everything is limited, even the worst of things, and that eventually everything passes into something new and fresh.

He changes times and seasons; He deposes kings and raises up others.  He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.  ~Daniel 2:21  ✝

190. Listen! the wind is rising, and the air is wild with leaves… ~Humbert Wolfe

Yet one smile more, departing, distant sun!
One mellow smile through the soft vapory air. . .
Yet a few sunny days, in which the bee
Shall murmur by the hedge that skirts the way,
The cricket chirp upon the russet lea,
And man delight to linger in thy ray.
Yet one rich smile, and we will try to bear
The piercing winter frost, and winds, and darkened air.
~William Cullen Bryant

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What a season of contrasts autumn is!  Many of its striking contradistinctions and “mellow smiles” can be seen on a single day, and yesterday was a fascinating example of Fall’s many faces.  Early in the morning the sky was a clear, brilliant blue, and as I wandered the yard I found a butterfly prettily perched on the leaves of a climbing rose.  Then the winds picked up and threatening clouds blew in.  About 30 minutes later, a narrow band of rain clouds passed over us leaving not a single drop, however, in their wake.  Afterwards the sun sat smiling again in the sapphire sky, but it was streaked with a few bands of Cirrus clouds.  Not too long after that the stormy/clear scenario repeated itself.  Finally late in the afternoon a blustery wind blew down like rain more of the yellow leaves off the willow tree as it chased the sun away for good.  What had been an almost balmy day in the mid-70‘s had rapidly changed, and the bite of the chilling north wind stung my unsuitably-clad body when I went out to unplug the fountain and close up the greenhouse.

He(God) wraps us the waters in his clouds, yet the clouds do not burst under their weight.  ~Job 26:8  ✝