1269. The object of our lives is to look at, listen to, touch, taste things.  Without them,-these sticks, stones, feathers, shells,-there is no Deity. ~R. H. Blyth

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In the afternoons,
in the almost  empty fields,
I hum the hymns
I used to sing

in church.
They could not tame me,
so they would not keep me,
alas,

and how that feels,
the weight of it,
I will not tell
any of you,

not ever.
Still, as they promised,
God, once he is in your heart,
is everywhere –

so even here
among the weeds
and the brisk trees.
How long does it take

to hum a hymn?  Strolling
one or two acres
of the sweetness
of the world,

not counting
a lapse, now and again,
of sheer emptiness.
Once a deer

stood quietly at my side.
And sometimes the wind
has touched my cheek
like a spirit.

Am I lonely?
The beautiful, striped sparrow,
serenely, on the tallest weed in his kingdom,
also sings without words.
-Mary Oliver 

Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young— a place near your altar, Lord Almighty, my King and my God. ~Psalm 84:3  ✝

**Images via Pinterest and the Internet; collage by Natalie

1131. The rose is without an explanation; she blooms because she blooms. ~Angelus Silesius

Roses of the field whisper divine poetry,
but you must listen carefully to hear it
because noise from the wheels of progress
drowns out everything that sings.
~Edited poem by Judith Cody

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You love the roses – so do I. I wish
The sky would rain down roses!
Why will it not?
Then all the valley would be pink and red
And soft to tread on. They would fall as light
As feathers, smelling sweet; and it would be
Like sleeping and like waking, all at once!
~Edited poem by George Elliot

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He(the Lord) will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. ~Psalm 91:4  ✝

**Image of my Night Owl roses

1091. Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness. ~Desmond Tutu

We must accept finite disappointment,
but never lose infinite hope.
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.
~Emily Dickinson

It has been my privilege to meet some incredible people through my blog. They are people I never knew to ask God for, but He has given them to me anyway. When I asked Him why He blessed me with their presence in my life, He let me know that it’s because they can fill my life in ways that no one else can. And it’s true. From places all over the globe they are the candles in my darknesses and the birds of hope that perch atop my soul when my days grow dark and I find myself in the “chillest” of lands and on the “strangest” of seas.

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. ~Psalm 62:5  ✝

**Image found on Pinterest

811. A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song. ~Chinese Proverb

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In order to see birds,
it is necessary to become
part of the silence.
~Robert Lynd

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Birds are a miracle
because they prove to us
there is a finer,
simpler state of being
which we may attain.
~Doug Coupland

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You have to believe in happiness,
or happiness never comes…
Ah, that’s the reason a bird can sing –
On its darkest day he believes in Spring.
~Douglas Malloch

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There is nothing in which the birds
differ more from man than the
way in which they can build and yet
leave a landscape as it was before.
~Robert Lynd

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He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. ~Psalm 91:4   ✝

**Images via Pinterest

576. Time-honored, beautiful, solemn and wise – noble, sacred and ancient – trees reach the highest heavens and penetrate the deepest secrets of the earth. ~Author Unknown

And this, our life, exempt from public haunt,
finds tongues in trees, books in running brooks,
sermons in stones, and good in everything.
~William Shakespeare

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Owl in the Black Oaks

If a lynx, that plush fellow,
climbed down a
tree and left behind
his face, his thick neck,

and, most of all, the lamps of his eyes,
there you would have it—
the owl,
the very owl

who haunts these trees,
choosing from the swash of branches
the slight perches and ledges
of his acrobatics.

Almost every day
I spy him out
among the knots and the burls,
looking down

at his huge feet,
at the path curving through the trees,
at whatever is coming up the hill
toward him,

and, though I’m never ready—
though something unspeakably cold
always drops through my heart—
it is a moment

as lavish as is fearful—
there is such pomp
in the gown of feathers
and the lit silk of the eyes—

surely he is one of the mighty kings
of this world.
Sometimes, as I keep coming,
he simply flies away—

and sometimes the whole body
tilts forward, and the beak opens,
clean and wonderful,
like a cup of gold.

~by Mary Oliver

The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. ~Psalm 19:7   ✝

** Image via Pinterest

569. Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood. ~Helen Keller

Life is either
a daring adventure
or nothing at all.
~Helen Keller
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Chunky and noisy,
but with stars in their black feathers,
they spring from the telephone wire
and instantly
they are acrobats
in the freezing wind.
And now, in the theater of air,
they swing over buildings,
dipping and rising;
they float like one stippled star
that opens, becomes for a moment fragmented,
then closes again;
and you watch
and you try
but you simply can’t imagine
how they do it
with no articulated instruction, no pause,
only the silent confirmation
that they are this notable thing,
this wheel of many parts,
that can rise and spin over and over again,
full of gorgeous life.
Ah, world, what lessons you prepare for us…
~Excerpt from a poem by Mary Oliver
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As starlings gather in the evenings to roost, often they will participate in what is called a murmuration — a huge flock that shape-shifts in the sky as if it were one swirling liquid mass. Often the behavior is sparked by the presence of a predator like a hawk or peregrine falcon, and the flock’s movement is based on evasive maneuvers. There is safety in numbers, so the individual starlings do not scatter, but rather are able to move as an intelligent cloud, feinting away from a diving raptor, thousands of birds changing direction almost simultaneously.
*I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw. ~Proverbs 24:32   ✝
** Images via Pinterest

448. A blue jay’s feathered back holds spots of white clouds and soft, glistening blue. ~From a poem by Gayle Sween

We saw–through milky light, above the doghouse–
A blue jay lecturing the neighbor’s cat
So fiercely that, at first, it seemed to wonder
When birds fought the diplomacy of light
And met, instead, each charge with a wild swoop,
Metallic cry and angry thrust of beak.
Later we found the reason,
Near the fence
Among the flowerless stalks of daffodils,
A weak piping of feathers.
Too late now to go back
To nest again among the sheltering leaves…
~Excerpted lines from a poem by Paul Lake

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Photo posted on Flickr by Brian E. Cushner

Noisy blue jays screech in the alley calling for help because a baby has been snatched from the nest by a prowling cat. Alarmed I look up at one of my cavity nests where I recently heard the tiny peeps of newly birthed baby sparrows. I’m relieved to see Mom and Pop sparrow sitting close by in attentive, watchful vigilance for they’ve spotted the cat wandering back inside the yard. But they too have been seen and in a flash the cat charges ready to pounce. The sparrows quickly take to wing, however, and make a clean getaway fearing not for the safety of their children for they know that having just been fed the hatchlings will lay quietly inside the nest till their return. And so now whilst the feline huntress sleeps under her favorite lawn chair she can only dream of better days when she’ll once again have her way.

Hardly a day goes by when one cannot find something engaging or new being birthed in a garden. Even in late autumn and winter there’s a hopeful progression of captivating events. Our lives are like that too, I think. Since it’s a bit harder sometimes to realize much variation or progression in our day to day living, I love to go out and walk or sit in my garden so I can feel the thrill of moving constancy, intrigue, and rebirth.

The end of a thing is better than its beginning; the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. ~Ecclesiastes 7:8   ✝

Sweet Jesus, fill us with the mercy you bled and draw us back unto Yourself!  Let us be aware of You in all that we see and hear in Creation!