528. Behold congenial autumn comes, the Sabbath of the year. ~John Logan

There’s music in the sighing of a reed;
There’s music in the gushing of a rill;
There’s music in all things, if men had ears:
Their earth is but an echo of the spheres.
~Lord Byron

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Year after year I fall in love again with autumn, and this one is no different than all the others. Even though few leaves have changed colors, there are tangible signs of Keats “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.” Samples of such manifest themselves daily in the form of ripening seeds, nuts, hips, berries, fruits, and acorns. As well several crisp mornings have filled autumn’s cup with its quintessential sanctity, and some shrouded in foggy mists have revealed squirrels scurrying about with greater urgency while birds, soon to pull out on migratory treks, feast on seeds and berries like the ones in the photo. These are American beautyberries, and they first appeared months ago in shades of pretty, pale greens, but as autumn drew near they deepened into their stunning shade of magenta and began issuing forth tunes in this, the next series of earth’s delightful melodies.

Passages in Scripture indicate that music originated with God and accompanied Creation, and there are those who yet hear the continuing echoes of Yahweh’s “Divine symphony” as made evident in the lines I quoted from Lord Byron. The American evangelist, Beth Moore, says that a song is “the fluent language of the soul,” and I couldn’t agree more because it is my soul that “hears” the myriads of earth’s melodic voices. I think perhaps the hymns of nature are more discernible in spring and autumn after they’ve been weighed down by winter’s oppression or nearly snuffed out by the intensity of summer’s fires, but earth’s music never fails to play on. And whenever the “echo of the spheres” and “the music in all things” of which Baron Byron spoke is heard, it is a privilege to “listen” to the “songs of the morning stars and the angels shout for joy” (Job 38:7). And how blessed are we, the peoples of the earth, that God “takes delight” in us, that “He quiets” us “with His love,” and that “He rejoices” over us “with singing.”

“The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”   ~Zephaniah 3:17   ✝

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

Forests, lakes, and rivers,
clouds and winds, 
stars and flowers,
stupendous glaciers, 
and crystal snowflakes –
every form of animate 
or inanimate existence,
leaves its impress on the soul of man.
~Orison Swett Marden

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Eenie, meenie, miney, moe–it’s hard to decide what to sing the praises of in a garden this time of year. “Animate or inanimate” it’s all good. In mine Yahweh “leaves His impress” in my mind, heart, and soul for hour after hour, day after day He ushers in gifts that take my breath away. So it is that I’ve been able to witness for myself that His wells of mercy, grace, goodness, and forgiveness never run dry nor do His faithful provisions. My cup, like the beauty in these chalice-like blossoms, is continually filled to overflowing. And why not? Herein I’m awakened daily with birdsong, sunlight filling sapphire skies, days breaking in exhilaration, and zephyrs spreading sweetly scented aromas in places where holiness falls like misting rain. This place is where I felt the Lord’s presence again after a long lapse in my faith journey, and when I renewed my relationship with Him amidst its treasures, my roots sank deep in its soil and His being. Thus I remain deeply connected to my yard and Him through something not unlike the life-giving umbilical cord that nurtures a child in a mother’s womb. This place on earth’s sacred ground is my sanctuary, and its “walls” echo voices that not only mentor me but hopefully others with whom I share its ageless tales and “shy presences.”

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I will proclaim the name of the Lord. Oh, praise the greatness of our God. ~Deuteronomy 32:3 ✝

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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!

338. Memory is the diary we all carry about with us. ~Oscar Wilde

Memory is a way of holding onto
the things you love,
the things you are,
the things you never want to lose.
~From the television show The Wonder Years

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More than half a century ago my father died on this date, and yet I listen still for his voice, a voice held dear and silenced forever when his mortal heart ceased to beat. In memory his deeds and words echo on in my heart, and neither the tears of sadness I’ve cried nor the moments of bitter resentment about his early death I’ve endured have muted the sounds of that beloved voice. Regrettably this was a door, and it has not been a singular one, that closed long long before it should have, and none of the ranting or raving or railing against any of it has altered the impact of the losses. The simple truth is that time marches unstoppably on as season after season passes over the fields of our lives; people continually move in and out, and there is a never ending series of opening and closing doors along the way. In the aftermath of unavoidable, grievous experiences our faith is tested, tried, and sometimes even forsaken, but the Holy One who walks with us is never absent nor is the offer of His gift of grace ever retracted.

How very precious every breath and every moment of life is! Declarations of love to family and friends and the Lord should be vocalized over and over again, and we need to hear the same from the ones we cherish. If such things are left unsaid what goes unspoken leaves gaping holes and wounds in the human heart, and the subsequent path to healing is enough of a long and arduous road as it is.

In you, Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness. Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me. Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me. Psalm 31:1-3  ✝

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!

**Images via Pinterest

323. Nature inanimate employs sweet sounds, but animated nature sweeter still, to soothe and satisfy the human ear. ~William Cowper

There’s music in the sighing of a reed;
There’s music in the gushing of a rill;
There’s music in all things, if men had ears;
Their earth is but an echo of the spheres.
~Lord Byron

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The wings of spring have taken flight in the feisty winds of March. In so doing they have lifted Columbine’s curving, knob-tipped spurs on fanciful flights. Spilling down from deep in the throats of the yellow, flowering “bells” are stunning filaments and anthers which are like tiny, musical tongues issuing forth sweet, golden proclamations. Winter, as inanimate as it seems, has a lyrical sound, but the sounds of spring as the earth reanimates itself are far richer and more honeyed. They along with the other silvery sounds of spring are soft-hearted and serene in the beginning; however, as spring grows long in the tooth and summer approaches, the arias reach almost deafening crescendos. Then after the solstice passes, summer moves along to a steady, hot latino beat until autumn comes again and tones down earth’s rhythms with ripe, mellower tones. We, mortals, may never understand the what and where of earth’s magic and music, but that certainly can’t stop us from enjoying it nor from adoring the mysteries of the music’s Maker.  Lest one believe that it is only poets, writers, and musicians who hear the music of the natural world, let me say that it was Giuseppe Mazzini, an influential Italian political thinker, who said, “Music is the harmonious voice of Creation, and echo of the invisible world.”  I believe the love of music comes from the Lord because He gave birds their songs, and also those who love and compose music are created in God’s image.

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Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent. ~Victor Hugo

Praise the Lord with the harp; make music to Him on the ten-stringed lyre. Psalm 33:2 ✝

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you save, you heal, you restore, and you reveal Your Father’s heart to us!

174. The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated. ~Mahatma Ghandi

If all the beasts were gone,
men would die from a great loneliness of spirit,
for whatever happens to the beasts
also happens to the man.
All things are connected.
Whatever befalls the Earth befalls the sons of Earth.
~Chief Seattle of the Suquamish Tribe

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The creatures of earth, sea and sky came forth “out of the waters of God’s life.”   And their arrival was yet another manifestation of the visible from the invisible–another disclosure of the mystery of God.  In addition, “with the birth of the creatures there is the emergence of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching.  The light of the sun and the whiteness of the moon can now be seen.  The wind blowing through the leaves of trees and the crashing of ocean waves can be heard.  The early morning fragrance of the earth can be smelled.  Its fruit can be tasted, and its textures touched,” writes J. Philip Newell.  It has even been said that if one wants to know the Creator, one of the ways to gain insight is to know His creatures, and I think that’s especially true when it comes to examining the sensory aspect of their coming.  For does not the ability to see, that the creatures brought, teach mankind to see with the eyes of the heart?  In the silences of humanity’s reality does not the ability to hear teach men to listen for the “echo of the spheres” and the still, small voice of God?  Do not the abilities to smell, taste, and touch help mortals meet their Savior, Jesus, through the holy sacrament of the Eucharist (Communion)?

And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground–everything that has the breath of life in it–I give every green plant for food.”  And it was so.  ~Genesis 1:30

12. Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky, the flying cloud, the frosty light. . . ~Alfred Lord Tennyson

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’ll try to bear
The piercing winter frost, and winds, and darkened air.
~William Cullen Bryant

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With every north wind that blows the landscape unravels more and more; after each assault the downed foliage leaves in its wake mounting numbers of skeletons bracing themselves for winter’s icy blasts.  In addition the ornamental grasses are drying out and taking on their a wild and tattered look, and yet a few touches of color remain in the leaves and flowers that have yet to be exiled.  Still audible in the “honey’d leavings” of warm afternoons are their faint renditions of the lusty songs of life, but regardless of how sweet the sound of that is, the sands in autumn’s hourglass are running out.  Like all things, it too will come at last to its Sabbath and therein rest until its next appointed hour upon life’s stage.