198. Autumn is the dim shadow that clusters about the sweet precious things that God created in the realm of nature. ~Northern Advocate

That soft autumnal time…
The year’s last, loveliest smile,
Thou comest to fill with hope the human heart,
And strengthen it to bear the storms a while,
Till winter days depart…

Far in a shelter’d nook
I’ve met, in these calm days, a smiling flower,
A lonely aster, trembling by a brook…
~John Howard Bryant


In autumn the Maker’s pigments turn from the soft pastels of springtime to emboldened, jewel tones.  Glad witnesses are we to the green leaves on shining sumac, flowering dogwoods, Bradford pears, sweet gums, Shumard oaks, and crape myrtles changing to mixtures of burgundy, crimson, orange, and gold.  Other treats are setting buds for next year’s blossoms among the fiery red, ripening fruits of the dogwoods, and the deeper shades of blues and pinks that adorn the thickened petals of hydrangeas.  And if that is not enough to make the year smile, there are the willow leaves, among the other falling foliage, that rain down golden glory in one wave after the other like confetti from a ticker-tape parade.  In the gusting winds they litter the streets, and as cars pass by the multicolored leafage gives a festive look to curbs and lawns.  But again, that’s not all.  Roses bloom in deeper hues than before, the red fruits on the Prairifire crabapples shine forth, and sweet purple asters with their bright yellow eyes provide a closing feast for hordes of humming bees.  So smile on, lovely Autumn, and fill my heart with the hope I need to be strengthened against winter’s gathering storms.

Faithfulness spring’s forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven.  The Lord will indeed give what is good, and our land will yield its harvest.   ~Psalm 85:11-12  ✝

40. Spring shows what God can do with a drab and dirty world. ~Virgil Kraft

Awake, thou wintry earth –
fling off thy sadness!
Fair vernal flowers, laugh forth –
your ancient gladness!
~Thomas Blackburn


Leaf by leaf, bud by bud, and blossom by blossom the spring of the year advances.   On warmish days, earth casts off its wintry gloom, and breezes broadcast sweetly-scented aromas.  The first butterflies then dare to soar and the hungry bees hum amid the glad laughter issuing forth from flowering bulbs and trees.  As a result the year’s initial poetry of rebirth is penned by the pollinating, aerial whirring of dainty wings.  In the meantime as I hurry about trying to taking photos of the blossoming narratives and their paramours, I often find myself asking the same question Walt Whitman once did.  “Why are there trees I never walk under but large and melodious thoughts descend upon me?”  The answer I’ve decided is that the arms of trees reach towards the heavens to gather sacred messages meant to draw mankind near to “the living Word of God in nature” as well as what is read in Scripture.

In our area the first verses of  “tree” poetry come from Saucer Magnolias.  Their big, goblet-shaped flowers pen exquisite couplets in pink and white.  Soon to follow are the brilliant white blossoms of Star Magnolias.  Though not quite enough lines to form a fourteen-lined sonnet, their twelve exquisite, “petal-poesy” lines form rhyming schemes as lovely as any Shakespearean sonnet.  Next and in perfect rhyming sequences come the double samaras.  Samaras, the scarlet, dual winged fruits of the Red Maple, look like long, slender fairy wings as they dance choric rhymes writ by the winds.  Then come the Eastern Redbuds and Bradford Pears that compose stunning free-verse stanzas in purple and white, each resplendent branch, a psalm written in praise of its Maker.  For a pollinator now there’s no quandary about where sweet nectaries are to be found for stanza after stanza they and I are lead in springtime to earth’s most festive and delicious banquets.

He has taken me to the banquet hall, and His banner over me is love.  ~Song of Songs 2:4