1393. Just like the lotus we too have the ability to rise from the mud, bloom out of the darkness, and radiate light into the world. ~Author Unknown

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Do you remember the last time you squealed with joy about something? Or do you at least remember seeing a young child squeal with delight? How about an almost 75 year old? Well it’s true; I did, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. In fact I’m elated that just months away from my 75th birthday, there are things in this world that still can make me squeal with joy and amazement. I’ve long admired photographs of lotus flowers and knew a little of their history, but it never dawned on me that I would actually ever find one here in Texas. And yet just last week as my husband and I made our periodic run through our local Botanic Gardens that to my amazement I spotted from the car what I thought were the pods of a Lotus plant. And so camera in hand, I screeched for him to stop and jumped out of the car to go take a closer look. Not only were there the remaining pods of previous lotus blooms, but I actually spotted a bud. That’s when I squealed because it was almost like standing in the Garden of Eden at the beginning of time, so much so that I half expected to see Adam and Eve eventually stroll by. So for days I went back to photograph the bud as it slowly opened. At long last it appeared that it would fully open last Wednesday, the day my sister and I had chosen for our weekly quilting get-to-together. But rather than cancel at the last minute I went on to her house since we both look forward to our quilting days and time spent together. Sadly it did fully bloom that day and by the following day when I went back most of the petals had already begun to fall away. But I had seen enough to remain fully thrilled and enthralled by the experience. And I know that where there once was one there will soon enough be more. The opening photo is a collage of lotus photos I found on Pinterest, but below as I reveal some of the fascinating information about the Lotus Flower here are the photos I took last week. They are not the best photos, but it was very hot so I was shooting fast, and I couldn’t get very close to them.

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The Lotus Flower is one of the earliest and most spiritually meaningful symbols in our world ever. It spans various thousand-year-old Eastern cultures and to this day holds enormous symbolic weight.

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So what is it about this mysterious blossom that people find so enrapturing? Its colorful bloom is an obvious suspect, but the lotus also has a life cycle unlike any other.

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Late in the evening the petals close and withdraw beneath the surface, then at daybreak, the flower again lifts up to the sky and unfolds its majestic crown. With its roots based in mud, it submerges every night into murky river water, and—undeterred by its dirty environment—it miraculously re-blooms the next morning without residue on its petals.

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Although cultures have their own interpretations of this daily process, there is a general consensus among ancient texts that the lotus symbolizes spiritual enlightenment and rebirth.

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The lotus stunned people with its ability to dip into the grime and revive itself unscathed—an incredible daily cycle of life, death, and a sudden immaculate rebirth that can only be described as spiritual. But the flower also has a fascinating will to live. A lotus seed can withstand thousands of years without water, able to germinate over two centuries later.

“O Lord, by these things men live, And in all these is the life of my spirit; O restore me to health and let me live! ~Isaiah 38:16  ✝

1371. On being asked to write a poem against the destruction of the natural world… ~Dale Biron

Poems we love are just songs
we must sing again and again.
~Dale Biron

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Well, yes I have written such poems on occasion and several times in fact, not because I was asked, but just because my heart or soul or maybe some other nameless part of me couldn’t help but do so. I’ve quoted Rachel Carson, Walt Whitman, and Wallace Stegner just to add intellectual heft to my haranguing. And based on what I can tell, so far none of my writing or talking has made a single bit of difference, except that I now stare dumbstruck at the magnificence of a single ocean wave, and cannot take my eyes off clouds and full moons or Giant Egrets, taking one tiny sacred step at a time. After all, isn’t every poem ever just a search and rescue party for our heart and soul– nothing protected, nothing saved, nothing sustained, except maybe, just maybe, me, and you, and every other blessed thing. ~Dale Biron

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And ya know what, I personally think one can write poetry with a camera or a paint brush or with a musical instrument or a sculpting knife and on and on it goes, so that those perhaps bereft of the ability to rhyme may be gifted poets too. The Lord remains the master poet Himself as the stroke of His mighty “pen” plays on in His Creation.

The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy. ~Psalm 65:8  ✝

**Images found at: http://petitcabinetdecuriosites.tumblr.com/tagged/flowers

1334. Prayer is the key of the morning and the bolt of the evening. ~Mahatma Gandhi

Willis Peterson said, “A click of the shutter, a crank of the film, and you’ve caught forever a significant bit of life,” and I could not agree more. But to each of us the “significant bit of life” we choose to capture photographically may be vastly different. For me it is the natural world in general, and my garden of flowers in particular. So when winter begins to weigh heavily on me, I turn to my archives to find “significant bits” from previous years to lift off the weight of lackluster winter. While I share Ehrmann’s prayer with you, I decided I’d share some of my treasured “bits.”

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Let me do my work each day;
and if the darkened hours
of despair overcome me, may
I not forget the strength
that comforted me in the
desolation of other times.

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May I still remember the bright
hours that found me walking
over the silent hills of my
childhood, or dreaming on
the margin of a quiet river,
when a light glowed within me,
and I promised my early God
to have courage amid the
tempests of the changing years.

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Spare me from bitterness
and from the sharp passions of
unguarded moments. May
I not forget that poverty and
riches are of the spirit.
Though the world knows me not,
may my thoughts and actions
be such as shall keep me
friendly with myself.

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Lift up my eyes
from the earth, and let me not
forget the uses of the stars.
Forbid that I should judge others
lest I condemn myself.
Let me not follow the clamor of
the world, but walk calmly
in my path.

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Give me a few friends
who will love me for what
I am; and keep ever burning
before my vagrant steps
the kindly light of hope.

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And though age and infirmity
overtake me, and I come not within
sight of the castle of my dreams,
teach me still to be thankful
for life, and for time’s olden
memories that are good and
sweet; and may the evening’s
twilight find me gentle still.
~Max Ehrmann

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Let us not depreciate Earth. The sun was like a great visiting presence that stimulated and took its due from all animal energy. When it flung wide its cloak and stepped down over the edge of the fields at evening, it left behind it a spent and exhausted world. ~Willa Cather

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By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life. ~Psalm 42:8  ✝

1238. The man who says his evening prayer is a captain posting his sentinels so he can sleep. ~Edited except from Charles Baudelaire

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In the quiet curve of evening,
in the sinking of the days,
in the silky void of darkness,
You are there.
In the lapses of my breathing,
in the space between my ways,
in the crater carved by sadness,
You are there.
You are there, You are there, You are there.

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In the rests between the phrases,
in the cracks between the stars,
in the gaps between the meaning,
You are there.
In the melting down of endings,
in the cooling of the sun,
in the solstice of the winter,
You are there.
You are there, You are there, You are there.

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In the mystery of my hungers,
in the silence of my rooms,
in the cloud of my unknowing,
You are there.
In the empty cave of grieving,
in the desert of my dreams,
in the tunnel of my sorrow,
You are there.
You are there. You are there. You are there.
~Julie Howard

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May my prayer be set before you(God) like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice. ~Psalm 141: 2  ✝

**Images via Pinterest

1135. May every sunrise hold more promise and every sunset hold more peace. ~Irish Blessing

At Dawn
I slipped into the garden
Almost before ’twas light,
As the lazy sun arose
I glimpsed a charming sight…
Red Poppy flung her cap aside,
Shook out her silken skirt;
The way she danced with a young breeze
Told me she was a flirt!
~Mary C. Shaw

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A Noon Song
There are songs for the morning and songs for the night,
For sunrise and sunset, the stars and the moon;
But who will give praise to the fullness of light,
And sing us a song of the glory of noon?
Oh, the high noon, the clear noon,
The noon with golden crest;
When the blue sky burns, and the great sun turns
With his face to the way of the west!
~Excerpted verse from a poem
by Henry Van Dyke

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Evening Hours

The dusk has little gateways
That lead to pleasant homes
Enveloped in the soft light
Before the darkness comes.
Each home is in a garden
Alight with vivid blooms,
And there are fragrant posies
In all the restful rooms.
They are so cool and quiet,
After the hectic day,
After the crowded hours
That rush us on our way.
They are the little havens
Where we may turn to sit
And rest us in a leisure
The day could not permit.
~Ella C. Forbes

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Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. ~Psalm 90:12  ✝

**All flowery photographs taken by me in my yard

955. My sun sets to rise again. ~Elizabeth Barrett Browning

The sun does not shine for a few trees and
flowers, but for the wide world’s joy.
~Henry Ward Beecher

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Have you ever seen anything
in your life more wonderful
than the way the sun,
every evening, relaxed and easy,
floats toward the horizon
and into the clouds or the hills,
or the rumpled sea, and is gone–
and how it slides again
out of the blackness, every morning,
on the other side of the world,
like a red flower streaming upward
on its heavenly oils,
say, on a morning in early light,
at its perfect imperial distance–
and have you ever felt
for anything such wild love–
do you think there is anywhere,
in any language,
a word billowing enough
for the pleasure that fills you,
as the sun reaches out,
as it warms you as you stand there,
empty-handed–or have you too
turned from this world–
or have you too gone crazy
for power, for things?
~Mary Oliver

And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars—all the heavenly array—do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the Lord your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven. ~Deuteronomy 4:19  ✝

**Images via Pinterest; collage by Natalie

890. The music of summer yet flutters in the middle of the day around Autumn seeking its former nest. ~Edited and adapted excerpt by Rabindranath Tagore

Early mornings are cool now though autumn is still young.
Dew on the lotus scatters pure perfume;
Wind on the bamboos gives off a gentle tinkling.
~Edited and adapted excerpt
by Po Chu (772-864)

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The harvest moon hung round and high
It dodged clouds high in the sky,
The stars winked down their love and mirth
The Autumn season was giving birth.
Oh, it must be October…
~Pearl N. Sorrels

I will dance
The dance of day’s dawning
And scattering fragrances

I will dance
The dance of day’s closing
And twinkling stars

The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy. ~Psalm 65:8  ✝

**Lotus image via Pinterest