1417. My heart leaps up when I behold a rainbow in the sky… ~William Wordsworth


The flower offered of itself
And eloquently spoke of God
In languages of rainbows
Perfumes, and secret silence…
-Phillip Pulfrey

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Almost comically what brought roses to Texas began with a “slow boat to China,” as it were. The Chinese had been cultivating roses for over 5,000 years. Then during the early 19th century, ships of the East India Company brought the repeat-blooming China roses back from the Orient to Europe. Once there the Europeans bred the China roses with their once-blooming roses. Eventually progeny of the old China roses, the once-blooming European roses, and their hybrids were brought to the Americas by the early settlers. However as time passed, the public grew to have a greater desire for the more modern roses, and nurseries stopped offering old roses. Thankfully in the last couple of decades there has been resurgence of interest in the old garden roses, and they are readily available to the public again. In my garden most of the roses are the old ones. They are much hardier, and I love wondering what roads they must have traveled to get here, but the best part is that in every season my roses of antiquity speak eloquently to me in their “languages of rainbows” more and more distinctly of God, His love, and His faithfulness.

May the rose and all else that God made
offer freely of themselves
and speak eloquently of God.
May their secret silences be broken
so that they call out His name for the masses to hear.
May their perfume permeate every corner of the planet
with the heady aroma of Grace.
~Natalie Scarberry

I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. -Genesis 9:13 ✝

1369. Beauty. –A sun which dwells in the souls of all… ~“A Chapter of Definitions,” Daily Crescent, 1848, June 23rd

Beauty unites all things, 
links together flower and star,
with chains more certain 
than those of reason.
The poet, the artist, thus finds
 the clue which
guides them in their 
pilgrimage throughout the world.
~Henry James Slack,
The Ministry of the Beautiful, 1850

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As many of you know, I have suffered with chronic pain since I was around 25 years old, and since I will be 75 in 6 months, that’s 50 years of coping not only to survive the pain but to thrive in life as well. In a recent conversation regarding that statistic a fellow blogger thought it interesting that I surround myself with beauty and lovely words. And it occurred to me that I, in fact, had been doing that more and more as the years rolled on. Maybe I some how knew they could and would help me survive the “dark nights of the soul” and “guide me through my difficult pilgrimage in this world.” And perhaps again ‘tis why finding this clematis abloom in the yard this week thrilled me almost beyond what words can adequately convey. But as I think it’s important for all of us to find something profoundly uplifting for ourselves, I shall try. Last spring I went in a local nursery to buy some seeds, and as I made my way to the back of the store where they were kept, I passed this pure white clematis you see in the photo. But since I had already spent my bi-monthly yard allowance,  I forced myself to walk on by. I hadn’t gone very far however, when I decided to go back and see how much the beauty was. Of course it was a tad pricey as I expected, but it was so very beautiful and already full of buds. About that time I heard someone call my name and turned round to find my next door neighbor standing nearby. She asked what I was looking at and I told her to come and see. We both agreed it was exceptionally beautiful, and she asked if I was going to buy it. Woefully I told her, “No, I’d better not,” and headed off to get my seeds, and she headed up to the front to make her purchases. When I found my seeds, I did the same and even went down a different aisle so as not to be tempted to go over budget. And I actually got almost to the cash register before I said to myself, “Natalie, you know you will regret it a hundred times over if you don’t buy something you love that much.” So I went back, picked it up, and brought it home. For weeks, its blooms delighted me and then as the summer’s torrid heat befell us, it quit blooming which is what happens here with a lot of things. But to my utter surprise, it began blooming again in the fall when the temps began to drop below the “fry” level. So I patted myself on the back for having bought it because not only was it beautiful, it was also going to be a repetitive source of joy and delight. Then as winter approached, I hired someone to come clear the yard of all the spent and dead perennials. Unfortunately the industrious little soul took it upon himself to venture into the area where this treasure was, and by the time I discovered him there, he had already cut it completely down to the ground. So after he left, I lamented with tears that it might not come back in the spring, and that even if it did, it might not bloom for another year or two. So you can imagine how excited I was when a few weeks ago, I saw new growth coming up from where it had been. Then as it climbed up and up and I discovered buds, I squealed like a happy child. Finally to find a few days ago that one of the buds had opened was all that it took for the “sun to bloom in my soul” despite some recent very difficult pain-filled days. Everyone faces trials and suffering in this world, not the same as mine perhaps, but suffering nonetheless. So I pray that all of you find some way or some things that let the sun shine in your soul as well as guide you on your path and pilgrimage through life. God’s Holy Spirit will indwell in you, if you but believe in Him and ask, and it is the Holy Spirit who will point the way to the “sun,” the light that will illuminate and hearten your passage here.

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. ~John 14:26  ✝

1255. 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

The anthropologists are busy, indeed,
and ready to transport us back into the
savage forest where all human things…
have their beginnings; but the seed
never explains the flower.
~Edith Hamilton

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Okay, here I go to try to convince old Mr. Thoreau that I have a seed there so he can be prepared to expect wonders. In the collage on the left one can see two kinds of rain lilies. Once these lilies finished blooming each flower was replaced by a green, 3 faceted seed pod like the one next to the upper group of lilies. Then below that he or she can see that the pod eventually began to show touches of brown. Moving on, if one looks at the upper right photo he/she can see that the seed casing continued to turn more and more brown until eventually, as in the next photo, the brown facets, one by one, split open to expose the “black gold” hiding inside. Finally in the very last photo the seed pod can be seen split wide open, ready to spill its wonders onto the soil below. And what do I have to do in all this process so that I have more rain lilies to show for it. Nothing, nada, zip, zilch! With absolutely no help from me those seeds will sprout up right where they fall! In fact if I don’t want anymore rain lilies in that area, it behooves me to capture them before they fall so I can take them to work their “black” magic elsewhere. Pretty darned cool, huh?! Downright miraculous, if you ask me!

Two years ago, I was saying as I planted seeds
in the garden, “I must believe in these seeds,
that they’ll fall onto the earth and grow into
flowers and radishes and beans.” It is a miracle
to me because I do not understand it. And
the fact that they use glib technical phrases to
explain it does doesn’t make it any less a miracle.
Then why shouldn’t we accept God’s miracles?
~Edited quote by Dorothy Day

He(God) performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted. ~Job 5:9 ✝

**All photos taken by me in my yard; collage created by me

1251. We strain to renew our capacity to wonder, to shock ourselves into astonishment once again. ~Shana Alexander

What
if you were
a beetle,
and a soft wind

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and a certain allowance of time
had summoned you
out of your wrappings,
and there you were,

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so many legs
hardening,
maybe even
more than one pair of eyes

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and the whole world
in front of you?
And what if you had wings
and flew

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into the garden,
then fell
into the up-tipped
face

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of a white flower,
and what if you had
a sort of mouth,
a lip

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to place close
to the skim
of honey
that kept offering itself –

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what would you think then
of the world
as, night and day,
you were kept there –

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oh happy prisoner –
sighing, humming,
roaming
that deep cup?
~How Everything Adores Being Alive,
by Mary Oliver

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. ~Isaiah 40:29  ✝

**Photos 1, 4, 6, 7, 8 by Mandy Disher; images 2, 3, 5 via Pinterest

1229. The glory in the garden lies in more than meets the eye. ~Rudyard Kipling

Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind;
In the primal sympathy
Which having been must ever be…
~William Wordsworth

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“Glory days, they’ll pass you by in the wink of a young girl’s eye” goes a line in a song by Bruce Springsteen. And so it is with the morning glory. She comes and spends her brief hour upon life’s stage but that wink of her daily glory lasts a lifetime, at least for me. I adore each and every one that blooms until the vines die with the first freeze. And if there is a blessing in our hot summers here in Texas, it is in that we enjoy a long growing season and our first average freeze date is not until November 15th.

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About this time each year my morning glory vines hit their stride and from here on out until our first freeze, glory will indeed abound in my yard. Each one though it lives but that one day looks like a chalice which holds morning’s light and therefore God’s continuing glory on earth. As such she feeds body and soul with her beauty and she honors her Maker with her glory. So yes, Mr. Wordsworth we shall grieve not the “splendor in the grass or the glory in the flower,” but ever find strength in the “primal sympathy which having been must ever be…”

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morning glory sings in
the highest pitch
that fills
all the
empty spaces
unto the eyes of
the Lord
~Gregory Golden

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But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. ~Psalm 3:3  ✝

**All morning glory images taken in my yard but not all today

1205. Do not say, ‘It is morning,’ and dismiss it with a name of yesterday. See it for the first time as a newborn child that has no name. ~Rabindranath Tagore

This time of the year is so terribly hot that I find myself grumbling morning, noon, and evening about the relentless, scorching rays of the sun, the same sun that in winter is quite a welcome presence! So here’s to the beautiful sun, bearer of light and life, and the sunflower that mimics its golden glory.

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Beautiful Sun! with thy golden rays,
To God, the wise Creator, be all praise;
For thou nourisheth all the creation,
Wherever there is found to be animation.

Without thy heat we could not live,
Then praise to God we ought to give;
For thou makest the fruits and provisions to grow,
To nourish all creatures on earth below.

Thou makest the birds to sing on the tree,
Also by meadow, mountain, and lea;
And the lark high poised up in air,
Caroling its little song with its heart free from care.

While the bee from flower to flower does roam
To gather honey, and carry it home;
While it hums its little song in the beautiful sunshine,
And seemingly to thank the Creator divine —

For the honey it hath gathered during the day,
In the merry growing months of the year
When the flowers are in full bloom,
Also the sweet honeysuckle and the broom.

How beautiful thy appearance while setting in the west,
Whilst encircled with red and azure, ’tis then thou look’st best!
Then let us all thank God for thy golden light
In our prayers every morning and night!
~Edited poem by Max Plowman

…“May the Lord bless his land with the precious dew from heaven above and with the deep waters that lie below; with the best the sun brings forth and the finest the moon can yield…” ~Excerpted lines from Deuteronomy 33:13-14  ✝

**Photo taken by me in my yard

1194. We could never have loved the earth so well if we had had no childhood in it. ~George Eliot

There is a garden in every childhood,
an enchanted place where colors are
brighter, the air is softer, and the morning
more fragrant than ever again.
~Elizabeth Lawrence

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If you love a flower, don’t pick it.
Because if you pick it, it dies and
ceases to be what you love.
So just let it be…
Love is not about possession.
Love is about appreciation.
~Osho

As a child and an adult, I’m overcome with wonder when I smell a flower, like this lily. They are so very beautiful and fragrant, and I’m also fascinated by their stamen and anthers. Just look at the amazing red anthers on this one. Is it any wonder pollinators are attracted to them? My youngest grandson is one of those beautifully innocent children who is filled with curiosity. And as we worked in the garden one day last summer, he was quite taken with these anthers and I explained that they were food for pollinators. Afterwards I turned to get a tool out of my bucket, and when I swiveled back around, he had red all over his little mouth. Stunned, I asked if he’d eaten some of the pollen, and he said yes. As I reeled from the possibility that I might have killed my grandson or at least let him become very sick, I asked him why in the world he would have eaten the pollen. He said, “Well Mompy, I figured if it doesn’t kill the bees and such, it won’t kill me.” Before I took him in to wipe off his mouth, I decided to phone my daughter who just laughed and said, “That’s my Joe.” As it turns out he was okay and did not get a bellyache, but we had a long talk about not putting things in our mouths without first being very sure that the substances are not toxic to humans.

The one who gets wisdom loves life; the one who cherishes understanding will soon prosper. ~Proverbs 19:8  ✝

**Image found on Pixabay