629. One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it provides.
~W. E. Johns 

The greatest achievement was at first
and for a time a dream.
The oak sleeps in the acorn,
the bird waits in the egg,
and in the highest vision of the soul
a waking angel stirs.
Dreams are the seedlings of realities.
~James Allen

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Part of the genius of God’s grand design is that we awaken every day to a fresh flowing of His energy and vitality that has been stored in the seeds of our being, seeds that possess the same strength as that of the rising sun, earth’s swelling seas, and its fertile plains. An excellent time to look for the shining of His everlasting light in the “sanctuary of the soul” is in the first waking moments of each new day. That inward realm is where doors open to the germination of new life because inside each one of us the Lord has planted His “seeds of greatness.” There’s never a moment in life when either in and of ourselves or in the people around us that there are not yet unopened gifts of promise. Simply put, “heaven’s creativity on earth” is born in our bodies, and therein the Master’s “sacred hopes” are hidden.

From heaven the LORD looks down and sees all mankind; from His dwelling place He watches all who live on earth-He who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do. ~Psalm 33:13-15   ✝

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493. 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

If facts are seeds that later produce 
knowledge and wisdom,
then the emotions and 
the impressions of the senses
are the fertile soil 
in which the seeds must grow.
~Rachel Carson

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God made the forests, the tiny stars, and the wild winds–
and I think that He has made them partly
as a balance for that kind of civilization that
would choke the spirit of joy out of our hearts.
He made the great open places for people who want to be…
away from the crowds that kill all reverence.
And I think He is glad at times to have us forget
our cares and responsibilities so that we may be nearer Him–
as Jesus was when he crept away into the wilderness to pray.
~Margaret Elizabeth Sangster

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. ~Mark 1:35   ✝

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237. Within the seed’s case a secret is held. Its fertile whisper shapes a song. ~Joan Halifax

I have great faith in a seed.
Convince me that you have a seed there,
and I am prepared to expect wonders.
~Henry David Thoreau

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Shhh!  Can you hear it?  Look at the photos.  This is the hope; this is winter’s promise; this is the fertile whisper!   But wait, everything in the photographs is dried up and brown.  And dead!

Oh do not be deceived by appearances, my friends, for these seed cases are ripe and what they hold is ever so viable!  Their wealth may now be kept inside in secrecy but trust me these cases are vigilant and waiting–waiting for that wondrous moment in time when enough warmth and light and moisture will enliven their songs of fertility.  And then they will split wide open, spill their sacred secrets upon the soil, and spark new life.

David Walters said, “God’s promises are like the stars, the darker the night, the brighter they shine.”  For me seed cases are like God’s promises as well because the deeper and darker winter becomes, the more the expectation of what they hold brightens winter’s cold and forbidding days.  As their sweet melodies take shape, they keep the hopeful dream of spring alive when what I see conveys a story of death and decay.

God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food.”  ~Genesis 1:29  ✝

208. It is the life of the crystal, the architect of the flake, the fire of the frost… ~John Burroughs

We feel cold, but we don’t mind it
because we will not come to harm.
And if we wrapped ourselves against the cold,
we wouldn’t feel other things,
like the bright tingle of the stars,
music of the Aurora,
or best of all the silky feeling of moonlight on our skin.
~Philip Pullman

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After last night’s winter storm, we woke to find the ground, the streets, and the rooftops covered in a solid blanket of sleet mixed with snow.  Icicles were hanging from eaves and other solid objects; branches, stems, leaves and the few remaining roses had been encapsulated in ice.  The forbidding frozen world outside was steeped in silence but for the occasional gusts of wind that sent falling leaves round and round in capricious little whirlwinds tapping softly against the icy ground.

In the coming days the garden will shrink dramatically.  It’s beauty will be harder to see, but for those who continually walk its paths with searching eyes and vivid memories, emerging treasures can be spotted and glory envisioned in places where it was and shall rise again from seeming nothingness.  During the warmer spells in the next few months, I’ll clean up the growing season’s spreading, untidy tangle and reshape her fetching figure while below in her fertile womb mysteries, ancient and sacred, are coming together to birth yet another springtime.

Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm.  He said From whose womb comes the ice?  Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens when the water become hard as stone, when the surface of the deep is frozen?  ~Job 38:1 and 29-30  ✝

24. Within the seed’s case a secret is held. Its fertile whisper shapes a song. ~Joan Halifax

When I see that first, miniscule, curled, pale
green wisp of a sprout poking up between a couple of
grains of vermiculite, I hear God speaking.
~June Santon

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Seed plants date back about 365 million years ago to the Paleozoic era.  These wondrous pieces of antiquity vary greatly in size: the smallest being the dust-like seed of orchids and the largest, weighing as much at times as 50 pounds, being the fruit of the coco de mer, the double coconut palm.  A typical seed is composed of 3 basic parts: 1. an embryo, 2. a supply of nutrients for the embryo, and 3. a seed coat that protects the embryo from injury or from drying out.  Seeds have two points of growth, one which forms the stem of the plant and the other where the roots of the plant form.  Some seeds have wings or hairs and are dispersed by the wind.  Others are buoyant and float in rivers to the oceans and wash up on beaches; then there are those that are dispersed in various ways by animals.   Given the fascinating science of seeds, how they work and how tiny some of them are, how could one not hear fertile whispers from God in them.

Each seed, regardless of its size, is a sacred promise.  The dictionary defines a promise as: 1. a declaration that something will or will not be done or given, or as   2. an express assurance on which expectation is to be based, and seeds definitely declare what the Lord has done and given and what we as His children can expect.  Special mention of seeds and their promise is made on the 3rd day of the Genesis story where we can see that plants and trees are profuse manifestations of “this seed force.”  Plants and trees have been coming forth for millions of years and come forth yet.  During the unseen holy hours of nurturing, the “seed force” reaches down into the darkness of the earth’s “concealed depths” therein to be sustained by water.  In the Celtic tradition the moisture in earth’s soil is a “symbol of the waters of God that enfold and infuse all things.”  God’s goodness, deeper than any evil, then can be seen at the inception and very heart of life.  J. Philip Newell says that “everything that is born in the great matrix of life is sustained by roots that reach into the deep mystery of God’s life.”  The image which Newell’s words paint of all life reaching deep into God’s life is what, for many of us, shapes songs of joy and praise, for there is no more comforting, good, or safe place in the world than the heart of God!

As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without  watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.  ~Isaiah 55:10-11   ✝