1317. When I am among the trees, they give off such hints of gladness. ~Excerpted and combined lines from a poem by Mary Oliver

Autumn is the American season.The leaves
take fire on the trees and hang there flaming.
~Excerpted and combined lines
by Archibald MacLeish

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MacLeish is right; the leaves hang in varying shades of flaming red and orange and yellow. And I’m happy to report that it seems the weather guys were a tad overly zealous about the forecast last night. Although it did freeze, the temperature did not fall far enough below freezing to vanquish autumn’s glory after all. Now tonight may be a different story. But we’ll see. My grandfather used to say that anyone who tried to predict the weather in Texas was either a fool or a jackass because ya just never know for sure what the weather’s gonna do in the Lone Star State. However since NOAA is predicting temps in the low 20’s tonight and just in case they’re right this time, I went out today and took one last photographic look at autumn’s splendor, not only that which aflame hangs but also that which ultimately falls to the ground.

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Four hundred year old trees,
who draw aliveness from the earth
like smoke from the heart of God,
we come, not knowing you
will hush our little want to be big;

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we come, not knowing
that all the work is so much
busyness of mind; all
the worry, so much
busyness of heart.

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As the sun warms anything near,
being warms everything still
and the great still things
that outlast us

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make us crack l
ike leaves of laurel
releasing a fragrance
that has always been.
~Mark Nepo, In Muir Woods

Let the trees of the forest sing, let them sing for joy before the Lord… ~Excerpt from 1 Chronicles 16:33  ✝

**In the photos are leaves from an assortment of local trees including my Japanese Maple as well as fallen leaves both conglomerates of such and individual ones on my front sidewalk. My favorite was the carpet of yellow Gingko Biloba in the yard of a house my daughter used to own.

662. The snow itself is lonely or, if you prefer self-sufficient. There is no other time when the whole world seems composed of one thing and one thing only. ~Joseph Wood Krutch

Out of the bosom of the air
Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken,
Over the woodlands brown and bare,
Over the harvest-fields forsaken,
Silent, and soft, and slow
Descends the snow.
This is the poem of the air.
~Excerpted lines from a poem
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
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Snow again? Unfreakingbelievable! I’d been waiting and watching the skies all winter for signs of snow and when did it finally come? Three weeks, more or less, before the arrival of the vernal equinox and at the time of my knee surgery. Not only that but before the snow fell last week you’d have thought spring was springing up and out all over my neck of the woods.  Why so?  The neighboring Bradford pear trees were budding out, my redbud tree was budding out, the willow at the back was leafing out, the roses were also leafing out, some even had buds, hyacinth were blooming, daffodils were flowering, and an assortment of green things were sprouting up and out of the ground. But then and in the twinkling of an eye– wham, bam, boom, the temps plummeted, the rains came, and as February’s doors closed the “poetry” of snow fell. Go figure! But then since our last average freeze date is March 15th, silly old me thought perhaps the sun would be back this week and we’d start warming up. But oh no! Sunday, on the way home from the hospital I heard forecasters predict more below freezing temps for the week as well as additional rain, sleet, or snow. And wouldn’t you know, the weather gurus who are often wrong when it comes to Texas weather were 100% right this time because once more as this week progressed the temps plummeted, the rains came, and then last night out of the “bosom of the air” fell the “poetry of snow” for the second time in less than a week! My oh my oh my, but Mother Nature can be quite the fickle and cruel old gal at times, can’t she?!
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Throughout the evening I watched the snow fairies
As they were falling, falling from the sky, and
Whirling willy-nilly about in the misty air while
Contending fiercely for space supremacy.
Then as the night deepened they flew down mightily,
As though in heaven there had been a revolt or a riot
Which drove the frail things into a panicked flight
Down to the calm earth in search of peace and quiet.
Finally I went on to bed but rose early at dawn
And saw myriads of them huddled together in heaps,
Each merged into the other upon any and all surfaces,
Fast asleep, worn out by their sharp struggle.
~Edited and adapted lines by Claude McKay
In peace I will lie down and sleep, for You alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. ~Psalm 4:8   ✝

564. I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

Autumn is the eternal corrective.
It is ripeness and color and a time of maturity;
but it is also breadth, and depth, and distance.
What man can stand with autumn on a hilltop
and fail to see the span of his world
and the meaning of the rolling hills
t
hat reach to the far horizon?
~Hal Borland

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Nature reveals intimations of its Maker in so many ways. It can even mask disturbing realities in this fallen world so that in the remaining clarity one can gain a better perspective of the bigger picture. The exact beginning and end of nature’s seasons, like the seasons of our lives, come and go shrouded to some extent in veils of mystery. And we can never really be sure of the exact moment in time that the spark of change ignites. Nor do we know when the remaining ember of that initial spark will die, but the time and space between beginnings and endings, like autumn, ripen life with more than enough breadth and depth and distance and color. For example it was over 80 degrees here today and although I did not “waste anything as precious as autumn’s sunshine,” I know November’s door will close at midnight and the winter solstice is only 3 weeks away. But I also know there’s no guarantee that the solstice will mark the exact end of lovely autumnesque realities. The weather forecast may say that an arctic norther will start blowing in here in the wee hours of the morning and plummet our temperatures to below freezing by tomorrow night. But the same forecast also shows that a day later we’ll be on the climb right back up to the warmer ripeness and color that is quintessentially autumn. So who knows? Is this cold snap the beginning of the end or will it be the next one or the one after that? There may be many things we cannot know in this life, and although it has been said that “life is a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury signifying nothing,” others perceive life as a different kind of tale. I, for one, find that standing outside in autumn, or any season for that matter, gives me glimpses of Yahweh, the Holy One, wrote the tale, who knows everything, who’s in control, and who has a plan, purpose, and time for all things under heaven.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. ~Ecclesiastes 3:11  ✝

**Image via Pinterest

315. Spring makes its own statement, so loud and clear that the gardener seems to be only one of the instruments, not the composer. ~Geoffrey B. Charlesworth

A garden spot may be a noisy place
Where droning bees
Seek honey, spiders weave their silver lace
Upon the trees,
And little birds sing songs the livelong day.

Or it may be so silent that it seems
The flowers sleep,
And shy, mysterious virgin dreams
Their vigil keep,
And God communes with earth the livelong day.
~Pringle Barret

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Spring, ever so splendid springtime!  God’s glory colors the arms of barren trees, the unfolding petals of flowers, and the fanciful wings of every creature in flight.  Rebirth and renewal explode from soil seemingly laid waste by icy months of freezing temperatures, and the sunshine charges the air with invigorating currents.  The hum of the bees and the song of the birds fill ears with melodies, sweet and grand, while spiders do indeed weave sticky lairs of “silver lace.”  Then there are those splendiferous moments at dawn and twilight when a tranquil hush pervades the space between heaven and earth, and in the silence sacred whispers cross the thresholds of listening ears.

Listen! My beloved! Look! Here he comes, leaping across the mountains, bounding over the hills.  ~Song of Songs  2:8   ✝

May your salvation, Jesus, be with us always!

195. Dull November brings the blast, then the leaves are whirling fast. ~Sara Coleridge

Every landscape is, as it were,
a state of the soul,
and whoever penetrates into both
is astonished to find how much likeness
there is in each detail.
~Henri Frederic Amiel

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It blew and it blew and it blew all day long yesterday.  Then in the night the lightning lit up our north Texas skies and the thunder growled its mighty roars while rain pelted the house and brought down masses of Autumn’s colored leaves.  The serious rain had ended by midnight, but the clouds never left and today their gentle, mists have made blurry our November sky off and on all day.  The temperature dropped to almost freezing over night, and the winds, though not as strong as yesterday’s, have continued as well so that it has been very cold, very wet and very blustery.  It seems the ancient, arctic curmudgeon wanted to give us a taste of wintry stuff before his appointed reign on winter’s throne begins.  But seasons are like that, aren’t they?  There’s always a beginning, a middle, and an end, and everything but the middles is really a overlapping of the before and after so to speak.  One season doesn’t just slam the door on the other or keep the next one locked out according to some appointed date on the calendar.  The new one just sort of oozes in a little at a time and then after a while slowly, but surely lets the next one start taking hold making of the seasons an ongoing continuum rather than a series of separate entities.  And nature’s patterns have played themselves out like that for over 4 billion years!  Amazing!  Nature is simply amazing!  As is her Creator!  Something else to consider is that the seasons of our lives come and go in much the same way, do they not?

The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course.  ~Ecclesiastes 1:6  ✝

184. The day I see a leaf is a marvel of a day. ~Kenneth Patton

For man, autumn is a time of harvest,
of gathering together.
For nature, it is a time of sowing,
of scattering abroad.
~Edwin Way Teale

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Most of us know that autumn’s winds are scatterers and sowers designed to achieve part of nature’s plans, but until I read Teale’s lines and did some research I wasn’t aware of the full and vital extent of what the winds scatter far and wide.  It’s fairly obvious that the presence of autumn leaves on the ground protects things from damage that comes as a result of fewer hours of light and bitterly cold temperatures.  What I didn’t know until now is that because cold, dry winter winds strip moisture from trees through their leaves, trees lose their leaves as a means of protecting themselves.  In that way leafless trees can conserve the much needed moisture in their branches and trunks so they don’t dry out and die.  Another consideration is that energetically it would be very costly for trees to keep their little leafy food factories up and running in winter because the fewer hours of sunlight and freezing temperatures are less efficient and make the transport of water from the ground into the trunk and leaves a damaging drain on the trees’ resources.  The loss of leaves then is designed to put trees into a state of dormancy thereby reducing the amount of energy they need to stay alive; essentially the process sends leafless trees into a life-preserving hibernation during the winter months.  What a grand plan!  How can a day not be a marvel when confronted with such grand plans?  The older I get the more constant a state of marvel I live in, and the more I adore Creation’s Maker.

I will proclaim the name of the Lord.  Oh, praise the greatness of our God.  ~Deuteronomy 32:3  ✝