1329. Life is a series of little deaths out of which life always returns. ~Charles Feidelson, Jr.

Every gardener knows that under the cloak of winter
lies a miracle … a seed waiting to sprout, a bulb
opening to the light, a bud straining to unfurl.  ~
Barbara Winkler

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Skies were gray early today, and it was cold, decidedly cold. Bare tree branches filigreed the heavens in brown lacy patterns, and up high in one of them, a neighbor’s pecan tree, I spotted a leafy squirrel’s nest. And as on other occasions I pondered how warm it could truly up there be as well as how the fragile looking nest manages to hold together in gusty north winds. However despite my lack of understanding about that, it simply adds yet another piece to my awareness of ordained purposes for fallen autumnal leaves. Not only are they used appaarently as nest building materials but they also protect and enrich the soil, provide nurseries for butterfly larvae/pupae, overwintering habitats for queen bumblebees and other beneficial insects and microbes as well as affording animals like frogs and salamanders places to hunt and hide, offering food for ground-feeding birds, and doing beneficially good things for the soil. That’s why nature’s tutelage never fails to reveal great insights into God’s heart and His grand plan in Creation. For who but a loving Father would not only create life but also build in ways to keep it nurtured and healthy. ‘Tis this that speaks emphatically of Divine design and what keeps me from seeing any validity whatsoever in a “bang bang” theory or the idea that “good or vibes” of fortune just randomly float in and around our lives from somewhere up above in the cosmos. Even if one were to believe that an ancient concentration of energy and matter expanded and exploded at some point in time to create the building blocks of the universe and life and matter as we know it, that still doesn’t explain where, how, and by what hand/means the concentration of such was in existence and/or from where and how “good or bad vibes” emanate. Everything in nature speaks of rhyme and reason, and that can’t be as easily explained away as it being irrelevant or it being written off to obscurity and anonymity. The past and the natural world yet and eternally whisper of a holy Creator!

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. ~Genesis 1:1  ✝

**Photo by Natalie

1281. Faith is an oasis in the heart which will never be reached by the caravan of thinking. ~Khalil Gibran

Everyone is overridden with thoughts; that’s why
they have so much heartache and sorrow.
~Rumi

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The Gardener
Have I lived enough?
Have I loved enough?
Have I considered Right Action enough.
Have I come to any conclusion?
Have I experienced happiness with sufficient gratitude?
Have I endured loneliness with grace?

I say this, or perhaps I’m just thinking it.
Actually I probably think too much.

Then I step out into the garden,
where the gardener, who is said to be a simple man,
is tending his children, the roses.
~Mary Oliver

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. ~Romans 1:21  ✝

**Images via Pinterest; collage created by Natalie

1280. October inherits summer’s hand-me-downs… ~Rachel Peden

I know the year is slowly dying…
Ah, ‘tis then I love to wander,
Wander idly and alone,
Listening to the solemn music
Of sweet nature’s undertone…
~Excerpted lines from a poem by
Mortimer Crane Brown

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Though October grows long in the tooth
a measure of summer’s steamy heat lingers on
and so the dance of sweet glories of the morn waltzes on

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The full, harvest moon has come and gone
but the sultry high humidity of August yet remains
thus dance on still the satiny, white glories of the evening

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Morning’s are cooler, some even quite crisp
but afternoons revive September’s persistent misery
keeping at bay the last dance of all the glories in the garden fair

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The grass is showing patches not quite as green
though it’s not dead enough to slow the hum of mowers
near arbors and trellises where scramble high the twining vines

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The promise of autumn rain has not been fulfilled so far
which keeps the gardener’s feet scuffling along the dusty paths
but it has yet to halt the dance of the morning glories and moonflowers

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The sun’s trek from east to west across the yard continues
and days grow shorter and more golden as November draws nigh
but still the flowering vines dance perkily along the chain-link fence lines

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Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. ~James 5:7  ✝

**All the photos taken by me in my yard today

1244. August breathes its final, burning breath today and so tomorrow we welcome long-awaited September’s arrival. ~Natalie Scarberry

Men’s stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning.
Ladies bathed before noon after their three o’clock naps.
And by nightfall were like soft teacakes
with frosting from sweating and sweet talcum.
The day was twenty-four hours long,
but it seemed longer.
~Excerpted lines from
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
by Harper Lee

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I used to teach TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, and it was and is one of my favorite pieces of American literature. I especially loved this passage above as it described the older women of my childhood. Now that spring flowers have gone I’m like those ladies Harper Lee describes in her novel because by day’s end I am frosted with sweat and talc.

Spring flowers are long since gone.
Summer’s bloom hangs limp on every terrace.
The gardener’s feet drag a bit on the dusty
path and the hinge in his back is full of creaks.
~Louise Seymour Jones

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Much of summer’s bloom hangs not just limp but some of it is fried to a crisp. As for my feet, they are dragging more than a bit on my dusty paths and “the hinge in his back is” definitely “full of creaks” so much so that it’s begging me daily to stop the torturous activity.

The summer days are fading, as they must
From endless hours to short and fleeting light
The bird’s once bright, immortal tune,
now cries A melancholy aura to the dusk.
~Shannon Georgia Schaubroeck

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As night falls, the birds’ tunes are as melancholy as I feel, but my melancholy has nothing to do with lamenting the fading of summer. It has more to do with being weary from the long trek through the burning cathedral with a high pressure dome for a ceiling that is the reality of July and August in Texas. But I can’t say I wouldn’t do it all over again, for the garden feeds my soul and in it I find so many reasons to praise the Lord over and over again.

Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if only you would hear His voice… ~Psalm 95:6-7  ✝

**All images via Pinterest; collage at top created by Natalie

1199.The act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought, this in turn makes us think more deeply about life, which helps us regain our equilibrium. ~Norbert Platt

The ablest writer is only a gardener first,
and then a cook: his tasks are, carefully to select
and cultivate his strongest and most nutritive thoughts;
and when they are ripe, to dress them, wholesomely,
and yet so that they may have a relish.
~Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare

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I would like to write a poem about the world that has in it
nothing fancy.
But it seems impossible.
Whatever the subject, the morning sun
glimmers it.
The tulip feels the heat and flaps its petals open and becomes a star.
The ants bore into the peony bud and there is a dark
pinprick well of sweetness.
As for the stones on the beach, forget it.
Each one could be set in gold.
So I tried with my eyes shut, but of course the birds
were singing.
And the aspen trees were shaking the sweetest music
out of their leaves.
And that was followed by, guess what, a momentous and
beautiful silence as comes to all of us, in little earfuls, if we’re not too
hurried to hear it.
As for spiders, how the dew hangs in their webs
even if they say nothing, or seem to say nothing.
So fancy is the world, who knows, maybe they sing.
So fancy is the world, who knows, maybe the stars sing too,
and the ants, and the peonies, and the warm stones,
so happy to be where they are, on the beach, instead of being
locked up in gold.
~Mary Oliver

My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer. ~Psalm 45:1  ✝

**All images via Pinterest; collage created by Natalie

1160. Every spring is the only spring, a perpetual astonishment. ~Ellis Peters

If you’ve never been thrilled
to the very edges of your soul
by a flower in spring bloom, maybe
your soul has never been in bloom.
~Audra Foveo

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Come as they do in May are
the sweet morning-glory morns
that herald brilliant daylily days
with rosy high noons and
the busiest of busy bee hours
on the hosts of purple coneflowers.
And all the while the butterflies
waltz by the big, yellow sunflowers that
wilt not on the hot, sultry afternoons
when often I find grasshoppers perched
atop the strangest of flowery places.
But come dusk when the day is almost done
all these must relinquish the stage to the
pearly iridescent glow of white moonflowers
unfurling ‘neath heaven’s twinkling stars.
‘Tis all this that a gardener’s hope-filled
dreams and schemes are made of.
~Natalie Scarberry

Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits. ~Psalm 103:2  ✝

**Flower images taken by me; collage created by me too.

1128. One of the healthiest ways to gamble is with a spade and a package of garden seeds. ~Dan Bennett

Gardeners are artists,
 their brushes a tiny seed,
an ever changing picture emerges from their deed.
~Author Unknown

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Watching hands transplanting,
Turning and tamping,
Lifting the young plants with two fingers,
Sifting in a palm-full of fresh loam,–
One swift movement,–
Then plumping in the bunched roots,
A single twist of the thumbs, a tamping and turning,
All in one, quick on the wooden bench,
A shaking down, while the stem stays straight,
Once, twice, and a faint third thump,–
Into the flat-box it goes,
Ready for the long days under the sloped glass:
The sun warming the fine loam,
The young horns winding and unwinding,
Creaking their thin spines,
The underleaves, the smallest buds
Breaking into nakedness,
The blossoms extending
Out into the sweet air,
The whole flower extending outward,
Stretching and reaching.
~Theodore Roethke

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. ~Colossians 2  ✝