1138. What potent blood hath modest May. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

The fact that the colors in the flower have evolved in order to attract insects to pollinate it is interesting; that means insects can see the colors. That adds a question: does this aesthetic sense we have also exist in lower forms of life? ~Richard P. Feynman

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Lively fiestas are going on outside my windows, and creatures, great and small, winged or afoot, are partaking of the flowering banquets. In fact the “beasties” have been so busy moving around and supping on May’s “potent blood” that lately I’ve been able to capture only a few images of them with my camera. But that’s okay because I wouldn’t slow them down a bit for a photo op, even if I could, for what they’re doing is sacred and greatly needed. For not only are they satisfying their divinely designed hunger but they are also guaranteeing that this time next year there will be more glory and bounty in earth’s growing spaces. Only God could devise such an amazing design whereby Creation’s continuance and sustenance belongs not in the hands of the biggest, the strongest, or the smartest but whereby mankind owes its provision of food and therefore existence to pollinators, small creatures whose lives span the briefest capsules of time. Given that, it’s regrettable that much of mankind nowadays lives in godless, sterile technological hubs where the sight of the miraculous in the workings of Creation is lost and the enormous power and goodness of the Lord and what He has granted goes unseen or unnoticed or unaccepted. They are totally unaware or disbelieve that their welfare could possibly be carried out, not by human hands, but instead by tiny wings and feet which they, of course, hold not in high regard or for that matter even acknowledge the possibility of  their vital importance.

I know every bird in the mountains, and the insects in the fields are mine. ~Psalm 50:11  ✝

**Images via Pixabay; collage created by Natalie

632. A garden is a bird’s dinner table bursting with bugs and worms and succulent berries. ~Anne Raver

That little bird has chosen his shelter.
Above it are the stars and the deep heaven of worlds.
Yet he is rocking himself to sleep
without caring for tomorrow’s lodging,
calmly clinging to his little twig,
and leaving God to think for him.
~Martin Luther

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Red–bright, bright, glorious red! How easy it is to find in the winter landscape! Yahweh not only provided birds with sheltering places, but He also formed plants that produce colorful, and therefore easy to spot, feasts of red berries. In Scripture, we are told that we needn’t worry about what we require either because the Lord promises to provide for our needs too. However, since youth is an opiate that leads many a “fledgling” like I once was to a) believe that he/she is infallible and b) to believe he/she is the only one on the planet with a clue about anything, I foolishly thought for a time that my life was only what I was making of it. Then as time passed I began to realize there were doors that did not have to open, but they did; there were opportunities that didn’t have to present themselves, but they did; and there were misfortunes that could have occurred, but they didn’t, and so on. It’s our God-given free will which allows us to make choices that determine the outcome of our lives, and even poor choices can and do sometimes lead to a path that eventually merges back into the one the Lord wants us to travel. Looking back at such things I realize now that it’s only because of the intervention of God’s divine and saving grace that advantageous things happen. And who knows perhaps even the detours are gifts of His divine providence meant to protect the unwise sojourner from harm. Though prudence and patience are lessons I’m still trying to master, at least I’ve become more aware of the importance and necessity of listening to the Lord, consulting Him before making choices, yielding to His will and plan for my life, and living more like the birds who worry not. So on I go these days putting one foot in front of the other. In the meantime God keeps His eye on me and the sparrow, the birds feast upon the garden’s berries, and I rely more and more on the Lord, letting my little piece of Eden continue to feed my soul and remind me of His faithful provision and promises.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin…” ~Matthew 6: 25-28   ✝

**Images via Pinterest; overlay created by Natalie

270. Nature looks dead in winter because her life is gathered into her heart. ~Hugh Macmillan

She (nature) withers the plant down to the root
that she may grow it up again fairer and stronger.
She calls her family together
within her inmost home to prepare them for being
scattered abroad upon the face of the earth.
~Hugh Macmillan

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Early morning light steals across straw-colored grass and slowly warms the biting chill of a February dawn.  Splinters of sunlight glisten and sparkle as they move over the garden’s frost-laden, bare bones.  From my vantage point inside I can make out a lone, reddish leaf, not quite ready to be a memory, clinging tenaciously to a branch in the ornamental cherry tree.  It reminds me that a wellspring of life lies dormant below in nature’s “inmost home” where “her life is gathered into her heart.”  My attention is diverted next to the dogs I hear barking up and down the alleyway.  The feral cats must be on the move in search of food.  Then birds begin to show up at the feeders and high above their flutterings I see the first squirrels running the high wires.  Soon birdsong breaks morn’s silence, and lights start coming on in the once darkened houses around us.  The neighborhood is coming alive and gearing up for the day, but no, not I.   Since retirement I’ve been able to linger as long as I like most mornings and from my well-situated chair watch the days and the changing seasons pass over my yard.  Nature’s recurrent patterns and rhythms have always comforted me, and it’s delightful to be able to partake of her daily feasts.  Though evidence of God’s grace is readily apparent in the spectacular moments of life, perhaps sweeter are the ones ferreted out of day to day, ordinary living.  These are blessings that are not unlike the contrast of a mass of diamonds scattered out on a dark piece of velvet in which all are lovely but none seems particularly more special than the other and that of a singular diamond’s loveliness on the same piece of fabric which in its aloneness is brilliantly stunning.

For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does.  ~Psalm 33:4  ✝

166. Another fall, another turned page: there was something of jubilee in that annual autumnal beginning…. ~Wallace Stegner

The foliage had been losing its freshness through the month of August,
and here and there a yellow leaf showed itself like a first gray hair…
September dressed herself in showy dahlias and
splendid marigolds and starry zinnias.
October, the extravagant sister, ordered an immense amount of
the most gorgeous forest tapestry to make glorious her grand spectacle.
~Edited and adapted excerpt from Oliver Wendell Holmes

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The first leafy sign of autumn appeared on the Dogwood today, and it triggered a flood of “color” musings in my mind.  Chestnut and chocolate!  What’s not to love about a season that clears off summer’s calamities, piles delectable hues back on nature’s palette, and calls for a pot of hot chocolate?  Lemon and lime!  Grasses, flowers, fruits, berries, and even a beastie or two weave fabulous garlands in the sacred temple bound by earth and sky.  Maroon and mahogany!  Chilling winds induce chemical changes in leaves that conjure up magic shows on woody altars in earth’s forests.  Mauve and mulberry!  The leaves on maples, oaks, dogwoods, pears, persimmons, and other trees give birth to colorful, parchment-like jewels that will one day snap off, swirl in little eddies, and play like children upon the ground.  Orange and ochre!  Pumpkins made to squat on porches or bales of hay tickle the fancy of mortal tongues anxiously awaiting fall feasts and winter banquets.  Red and russet!  Roses, asters, and Maximilian sunflowers invoke a breath of spring not stifled by summer’s heat to keep the year’s last child in colorful array.  Sable and sapphire!  Skies often shrouded by gauzy, gray clouds are swept clear by northerly winds as cold fronts advance.  On such days a spectacular brilliance can be seen on the brows of morn followed by daylight hours drenched in deep, dreamy shades of blue.  Sterling and pewter!  Plumed grasses shift and sigh in authorship of haunting, autumnal hymns.  Ah, how lovely are the many colors of autumn and the Holy One who made them!

As long as earth endures, seedtime and harvest (spring and autumn), cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.  ~Genesis 8:22  ✝

2. Thy bounty shines in autumn unconfined and spreads a common feast for all that live. ~James Thomson

Delicious autumn!
My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird,
I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.
~George Eliot, English novelist

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What’s not to love about a season that takes the focus off summer’s calamities by piling delectable hues back on nature’s palette?  It begins after the autumnal equinox when grasses, flowers, fruits, and berries begin weaving fabulous garlands in sacred temples bound by earth and sky.  Then as the days grow shorter, the torrid temperatures of summer lower and chilling winds descend from the north.  The nip in the air they create induces chemical changes in leaves, leaves that become more and more colorful as autumn’s days unfold.  The grand array of their colors conjures up magic shows on woody altars not only in autumnal forests but also in small towns and sprawling cities.  Later in the season blustery winds snap the parchment-like foliage off, and as the leaves fall, they swirl about in little eddies playing like jovial children.  When autumn’s skies are not shrouded by gauzy, gray clouds, they are swept clear revealing brilliance on the “brows of morn” and daytime hours drenched in deep, dreamy shades of blue.  Under such canopies pumpkins appear in fields, soon to be used in fall’s activities and feasts as well as for festive winter banquets.  Plumed grasses shift and sigh in renewed authorship of the ancient hymns of sacred earth making autumn a time to be silent as well as watchful.  As one Celtic teacher put it, Creation is “the grand volume of God’s utterance,” and what a lovely utterance it is!  Whenever and wherever one listens to the Word of God, be it in Creation or Scripture, be it in autumn or the other seasons, it gives the listener carte blanche to fall into a rhythm which calms the mind, soothes the spirit, and sheds light into the fabric of God’s heart.