961. The wind shows us how close to the edge we are. ~Joan Didion   

 I hear the wind among the trees
Playing the celestial symphonies;
I see the branches downward bent,
Like keys of some great instrument.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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And this time of year the edge is often closer than we hope or realize. But oh so visible did that brink become when we awoke this morning to find a cold, blustery north wind bearing down upon us. I’m never ready to say goodbye to the still blooming remnants in the garden. Nonetheless, I sensed earlier in the week that their demise was imminent and started putting the potted ferns and clock vine in the greenhouse. What’s more I decided to buy a large container in which to plant pansies, snapdragons, stock, alyssum, Sweet William, and cyclamen for like Monet, I always, always have to have flowers. So now I’m guaranteed to have flowery beauty along with luscious scents and colors even as late autumn’s unraveling continues to roll us over into winter’s drab and ofttimes forbidding realm. The potted beauty is on a much smaller scale than what grows and blooms in the yard, and the display is not as visible from my recliner in the house. However, the descent into winter’s “vale of grief” and the season’s allotted time thereafter never seems as stark when I go out to the greenhouse to check on the warmth inside, to look after the plants, and to give them all a drink of water.

National Weather Service Forecast:
This Afternoon
Sunny, with a high near 50. Windy, with a north wind 20 to 25 mph, with gusts as high as 35 mph.
Tonight
Patchy frost after 3am. Otherwise, mostly clear, with a low around 30. North wind 5 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.
Sunday
Patchy frost before 10am. Otherwise, sunny, with a high near 53. North wind around 5 mph becoming calm in the morning.
Sunday Night
Clear, with a low around 33. South wind around 5 mph.

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

**Images in my collage are from photos I took in my garden last week.

617. Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy. ~Anne Frank

Life is full of beauty.
Notice it.
Notice the bumble bee, the small child,
and the smiling faces.
Smell the rain, and feel the wind.
~Ashley Smith

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Oh, the green, green, green of fresh growing things; the scent, scent, scent of fragrant flowery things; and the buzz, buzz, buzzing of little, busy bees. But wait, wait, wait! Back that “wagon” up and hold on just a minute! It’s still January and therefore wintertime. So what’s up with the green, the flowers, the aromas, and the buzzes? Ah the joyous blessing of a greenhouse filled with thriving, flowering, sweet smelling things! The only downside to such is that the bees seem to think the greenhouse is solely their domain and so object to a human interloper’s pottering visits. But then again, I seem to be developing a history outside the garden of adverse encounters with the wee buzzing folk. In my recent tale about a trip to Paris two years ago, I neglected to mention that on the very first day of our long-longed for visit to that magical city, we got off the metro, walked to the Pont Alexandre, and as we turned to walk on the gorgeously adorned bridge where I would get my first view of some of the city including the Eiffel Tower, I was stung on my face by a bee. But let me assure you that the subsequent outpouring of tears had absolutely nothing to do with the bee’s assault and everything to do with the legendary marvels that now lay before my very own eyes. And ya know, it didn’t stop me from the joy and the journey then and there nor will it keep me from the same in my greenhouse for both were and are filled with unforgettable beauty, fabulous fragrances, breathtaking spectacles, and beguiling allures.

“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.” ~Numbers 6:24-26   ✝

**I took this photo in my greenhouse.  The bee was nectaring on a gorgeous anemone.

595. Who loves a garden loves a greenhouse too. ~William Cowper

I managed to keep a few square yards on a shelf for staging in a greenhouse, and those few square yards were crowded with bright things from December to Easter. Their brilliance contrasted with winter’s leaden skies; it was like coming into an aviary full of tropical birds and butterflies… ~Excerpt by Vita Sackville-West, edited and adapted

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I have a little greenhouse
Here in my backyard,
Where hyacinths and tulips grow
And pansies bloom unmarred.

No matter how the winter’s storms
May rage with ghoulish glee
And beat against my casement there,
It never frightens me.

I watch my flowers from day to day,
I water them with care
And they give back their sweet perfume–
Their fragrance fills the air.

I wonder if in years to come
The greenhouse yet will stand,
When I who tend it now so well
Shall sleep beneath this land?

I wonder if–but who can tell
What passing years may bring?
But still–there’s always flowers to bloom
And beyond this door birds to sing.
~Poem by Iva H. Drew,
edited and adapted

…We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience… ~Colossians 1:9-11   ✝

**I took this photograph today of tulips abloom in my greenhouse.

593. It is in the nature of cats to do a certain amount of unescorted roaming. ~Adlai Stevenson

Prowling his own quiet backyard
or asleep by the fire,
he (a cat) is only a whisker
away from the wilds.
~Jean Burden

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Twas three days after Christmas, and all through the yards
Nothing was stirring, not even wind-blown papery discards;
The feeders were hung by the greenhouse with care,
In hopes the red cardinals soon would be there;
And seedlings were nestled snug in leafy beds,
While thoughts of springtime danced in my head;
The squirrels in their nests and I in my chair,
Lay resting ourselves from yesterday’s fare,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my chair to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash
And raised the bamboo curtain and tied up its sash.
The lowering gray clouds of a cold winter’s day
Had earlier shrouded the land in garments of gray.
Now in the sun what to my wondering eyes did appear
But a feral feline running a path both straight and clear.
With a blue jay held loosely in her clenched jaw awry
The proud huntress lost her grip and away it did fly
Leaving her to wonder
Why her incursion was put asunder.
~A parody of Clement’s
Twas the Night Before Christmas 

…a time to weep and a time to laugh… ~Ecclesiastes 3:4a   ✝

I was laughing so hard after what I’d seen, I couldn’t resist the urge for some playfulness and thus wrote the parody above.  The cat, however, was not amused at all by what had happened.

**Image via Pinterest

286. Where flowers bloom so does hope. ~Lady Bird Johnson

Live each season as it passes
breathe the air, drink the drink,
taste the fruit, and resign yourself
to the influences of each.
~Henry David Thoreau

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Smitten (v.) – affected suddenly and strongly with a specified feeling; affected mentally or morally with a sudden pang; impressed favorably; charmed; enamored.  I love the word smitten, I love being smitten, I look forward to being smitten, and on days like today I’m in desperate need of being smitten.  And what might the source of my “smittenness” be today?  It’s tulips and daffodils and hyacinths and crocus.  After years of planting bulbs in the ground to little or no avail, I’d resigned myself to being able to admire them until now only in books, magazines, and yards where others somehow have success with them.

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Nothing speaks of springtime louder or more clearly than flowering bulbs.  They are the epitome of spring’s opening opus, and now that my greenhouse is abloom with many of them, it feels like spring is close enough to reach out and touch.  Ah, spring, the season of increased sunlight, warmer temperatures, and the rebirth of fauna and flora, the season when the tilt of the earth relative to the sun is zero, the season which begins one month from today.

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For me drinking the drink, tasting the fruit, and resigning myself to the influence of each season as it passes is a way of life that inevitably brings me face to face with Yahweh and Son, the Holy One with whom I am beyond smitten.  Like Tennyson, I’m convinced that if one can understand what a flower is “root and all, and all in all, one should know what God and man is.”

O taste and see that the Lord is good; happy are those who take refuge in Him.  ~Psalm 34:8   ✝

280. Spring, you put a spell on me and you make me feel like dancing… ~Edited and adapted excerpt of lyrics by Vincent, Poncia Jr./Leo Sayer

Happy days are here again!
The skies above are clear again!
So let’s sing a song of cheer again!
Happy days are here again!
~Excerpted lyrics by Milton Ager/Jack Yellen

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Okay, so it’s not really spring yet, at least not according the the calendar, but springy things sprang up in my greenhouse yesterday.  As a result melodies, not just from the birds, filled the air, and indeed it was an occasion for dancing.  I didn’t care what the neighbors might think about an old lady jumpin’ around like a madwoman, it was definitely time for some singin’ and a little jig.  Why?  Well after weeks of waiting tulips were blooming, a daffodil had opened up, and the first bee of the season had found its way inside to sup on the nectar in my little grape hyacinths.  I don’t know about you, but that’s a formula for springtime in my book.  And every time beauty and miracles like that emerge from seemingly nothingness, I fall in love all over again with the Creator of the Universe.  What amazing things He has made and given to us, we creatures who are often so undeserving of His gifts and His grace!  Now that’s love, is it not?!

He said, “O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you, in heaven or on earth, keeping covenant in steadfast love with your servants who walk before you with all their heart.  ~2 Chronicles 6:14  ✝

276. There is no greater sorrow in the world, than eyes unseeing, color everywhere, or ears unhearing, softly wafted notes from nature’s great cathedral of the air. ~Mabel G. Austin

What is pink? a rose is pink
By a fountain’s brink.
What is red? a poppy’s red
In its barley bed.
What is blue? the sky is blue
Where the clouds float thro’.
~Christina Rossetti

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Well, it’s another gloomy winter’s day hereabouts, but I’m a singin’ away, a singin’ in the rain as a matter of fact.  “I’m laughing at the clouds so dark up above, what a glorious feelin’ I’m happy again…”  Okay, so it isn’t much rain, but it has rained a bit nevertheless.  And what am I a singing?  I’m a singin’ the blues.  No, no, no, not the sad blues–the happy blues because some of my little, blue grape hyacinths are blooming in the greenhouse, and they like “girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes” are “a few of my favorites things.”  I love the color blue and I love some of the expressions using the color blue, expressions like:  true blue, out of the blue, bluer than blue, blue on blue, once in a blue moon, something borrowed, something blue, and on and on it goes.  I also love some of the ways people describe what the color blue means to them.  For example I’ve heard things like: blue is the wonder in my mind; blue is the sound a sunny day makes; blue is the smell of blueberries ripening in the sun; blue is the wind over water; blue is the color of the never-ending sky; blue is the place where song birds fly; blue is a world of sweet mellow joy; blue is the sky that God holds close to His presence; blue was meant for us to see and believe.

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Blue is the color of God’s Glory according to some rabbinic sages, and it is a constant in our lives.  Not only is it the color of the clear sky and the deep sea, but it’s the color of our planet, Mother Earth, our precious blue pearl in the heavens.  God does indeed hold the sky close to His presence, and we were meant to see evidence of Him, our Creator, in its orbs and in “my blue, blue, blue heaven.”

Speak to the Israelites, and tell them to make fringes on the corners of their garments throughout the generations to put a blue cord on the fringe at each corner.  ~Numbers 15:38  ✝