1372. The grass is vibrant. The rocks pulsate. All is in flux; turn but a stone and an angel moves. ~George MacLeod

The garden of God in which we have been created has not be destroyed. Nor has it been abandoned. We may live in a state of exile from it, but God forever dwells in that place and seeks our company. ~Excerpt from THE BOOK OF CREATION by John Philip Newell

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The sun, moon and stars, in their harmonies of movement and light, are further theophanies or showing of God. Shining out of the darkness of space they express something of the inexpressible. “There is no speech, nor are there words,” says the Psalmist, “yet their voice goes out through all the earth.” The sun by day and the moon by night declare the mystery of God. What is it that they are saying? ~Excerpt from THE BOOK OF CREATION by John Philip Newell

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Nature best teaches how to pray, and how to reverence all the gifts the Almighty has given us. She is like a vast outspread handkerchief, embroidered with God’s eternal name, on which we may dry alike our tears of sorrow and of joy; she turns weeping into ecstasy, and fills our hearts with speechless, quiet reverence and resignation. ~Robert Schumann

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Humankind has not woven the web of life.
We are but one thread within it.
Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
All things are bound together.
All things connect.
~Chief Seattle, 1855

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. ~Genesis 1:1 ✝

**All flowery photos taken by Natalie in her yard.

1223. Color is joy. One does not think joy. One is carried by it. ~Ernst Hass

Joy is the sweet voice, Joy the luminous cloud–
We in ourselves rejoice!
And thence flows all that charms our ear or sight,
All melodies, the echoes of that voice
All colors a suffusion from that light.
~Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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From my hate-the-heat perspective the garden being adorned with crown jewels like these in the collage is one of the few saving graces of a Texas summer. If these flowers had voices instead of brilliant colors, I think that even as buds whose colors had not yet been revealed they would start the day off with soft, murmuring melodies. Then as the day’s flames licked up higher and higher and they burst into bloom, their songs would play on but in loud and bold arias so that the bees, the butterflies, and other pollinators would harken to their lusty, changeling voices. And all the while as the harmonies played on, the insect benefactors would suckle on the tasty fare despite the sizzling sultriness. And I, I would remain the envious onlooker because it is only they and not I who are small enough to crawl down into the gloriously-filled caverns of sweet nectars. Then at day’s end in weariness from performing their noisy choruses and from enduring the onslaught of mugginess their songs would give way to those of the white and silver flowery voices that mingle in with the enlarging and marvelous music of the night. As for me, though saddened by their silence and passing, I would have agree with Barbara Kingsolver who said that “in the places that call me out, I know I’ll recover my wordless childhood trust in the largeness of life and its willingness to take me in” again, another day. Another writer once said that in the isolation and silence of winter one can savor belonging to him or herself. And who knows, perhaps summer allows one to do the same but in a different way, especially when that individual is falling short of being thankful for God’s gifts by fussing about the way they are wrapped.

You(God) turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy… ~Psalm 30:11  ✝

**All images taken by me in my yard; not all were taken on the same days

1042. Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. ~Berthold Auerbach

And the night shall be filled with music,
And the cares that infest the day
Shall fold their tents
And as silently steal away.
~Edited lines by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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In January, as winter begins to deepen, the rhythms that “wash away from the soul the dust of everyday life” grow faint, as if whispered. However, when nature’s earthly notes are muffled by icy gales, heavy frosts, or falling snow, the “echo of the spheres” overheard remains audible. And on the less chilly days, the ones between cold fronts, bits and pieces of tender, albeit potent, harmonies often continue to rise. Today, for example, I spotted the tiny tips of hyacinth bulbs breaking the cold, hard ground, and as if escaping through the tiny fissures the bulbs had created, Eden’s heartbeat jumped up another fraction of a decibel. Even on the really, really forbiddingly cold days, within the sounds of silence, there are pauses, ripe and pregnant, that are as eloquent as notes and lyrics. For it is in those rests and pauses that can be heard dulcet sounds, soothing honeyed ones which are recognized not by the ears, but by the soul. And although it has been said that trees and flowers grow in utter silence while the sun, the moon, and the stars above our heads do the same, I’m not sure that’s true. I contend that on any  given day of the year if one listens with a hunger in the heart and a thirst in the soul, the footfalls of God can yet be ascertained upon the sacred soil of Creation and His voice which spoke everything into being can still be heard echoing amid the orbs of the firmament. That’s why if one stills him or herself and earnestly seeks Yahweh’s face, it can be made out even winter’s inhospitable bleakness. And after it’s glimpsed, one’s ears can also discern the sweet, sweet sounds of the Father’s loving utterances as He calls out to His beloved children.

The music is not in the notes,
but in the silence in between.
~Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as He was walking in the garden in the cool of the day… ~Excerpt from Genesis 3:8 ✝

**Images via Pinterest; collage created by Natalie

353. God’s gifts put man’s best dreams to shame. ~Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Everything is determined,
the beginning as well as the end,
by forces over which we have no control.
It is determined for insects
as well as for the stars.
Human beings, vegetables or cosmic dust,
we all dance to a mysterious tune,
intoned in the distance by an invisible piper.
~Albert Einstein

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As the invisible and creating Piper of all that is stages His springtime drama, He plays His primordial tunes. These harmonies are invitations to the mysterious dance of life He ignited. Between the lines of His holy, ancient melodies are heard His summons for all to partner with Him and dance in His arms o’er fields of grace and glory. In response to these calls bees and butterflies are already bowing and accepting the Lord’s summons to step onto the dance floor. Making ready for the ball as well have been the birds who’ve been courting and preparing nests. Soon their fledglings will take wing and join in the chorus of the spheres and the stars, and together the whole of Creation’s voices will spew forth worship, praise, and glorious odes to joy. The period for rest has passed and the days for celebration and rejoicing have come. It is time to look at what is laid upon earth’s “table” and as invited guests to express gratitude for the banquet. It is not happenstance that we are here, and like the flowers in a garden, perhaps our anointed time to bloom is upon us.

Sing to the LORD, for He has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world. -Isaiah 12:5  ✝

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you save, you heal, you restore, and you reveal Your Father’s heart to us! You have captured me with grace and I’m caught in Your infinite embrace!

308. All was silent as before – all silent save the dripping rain. ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

One by one great drops are falling
Doubtful and slow,
Down the pane they are crookedly crawling,
And the wind breathes low…
~Excerpt from a poem by James Russell Lowell

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Rain!  Deliciously glorious rain finally came for the first time in many months from the grayness of a late winter’s day, and the drought-ridden soil soaked it up like a sponge.  Thankfully this rain was not the child of violent clashes of hot and cold air which can, this time of year, spawn rushing winds or tornados charged with electricity and loud claps of thunder.  Instead it tapped softly on rooftops and windows beating out long-awaited, haunting harmonies accompanied only by occasional rolls of muffled thunder and flashes of distant lightning.  After the parched ground had drunk in enough, puddles began to form, and from them rain’s captivating smell rose to bless my nose.  Scientists may say the scent in rain is petrichor, which is an oil produced by plants, absorbed by rocks and soil, and then later released into the air during rainfall, but I personally think it’s the alluring scent of the Holy One, Yahweh Himself.

Oh, how I’ve missed the rain!  I adore it; I always have!  And now that I live in a place where rain can be absent for long periods of time, my spirit experiences an aching hunger when it’s gone.  So I envy those who live in areas where it rains regularly.  There’s just something very comforting and inviting about the sound of rain, the sight of it, the feel of it, and the unmistakable fragrance of it.  It  has a way of reassuring me that “God’s in His heaven and all’s right with the world,” and if rainy days bless my soul in such a way, I can’t help but believe the earth feels the same sweet joy.

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In time of silver rain
The earth puts forth new life again,
Green grasses grow
And flowers lift their heads,
And over all the plain
The wonder spreads

Of Life,
Of Life,
Of Life!

In time of silver rain
The butterflies lift silken wings
To catch a rainbow cry,
And trees put forth new leaves to sing
In joy beneath the sky
As down the roadway
Passing boys and girls
Go singing, too,

In time of silver rain
When spring
And life
Are new.
~Poem by Langston Hughes

As the rain and snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth:  It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I(God) desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.  ~Isaiah 55:9-11   ✝

186. Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent. ~Victor Hugo

There is in souls a sympathy with sounds:
And as the mind is pitch’d the ear is pleased
With melting airs, or martial, brisk or grave;
Some chord in unison with what we hear
Is touch’d within us, and the heart replies.
~William Cowper

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The November morn was cool and crisp, and the solitary man playing the bag pipes was standing against the backdrop of changing leaves and flowing water.  The mystical sounds of the “pipes” were drifting along on gentle breezes over the whole of a very large park.  It was Veterans Day, and the man may have been playing in remembrance of friends or relatives, but it could have been a salutation to the day’s magnificence as well because his harmonies embodied not only touches of the melancholy but also traces of the celebratory.  As I watched transfixed and mesmerized by the sounds, he played on at first unaware of my presence behind him.  But soon I realized that between the melodies he was slowly turning in a circle and would soon face me and the ones gathering behind me.  It was as if he was wanting to address his elegy and/or hymn of praise to all the earth.  At each of his turns we who were witnessing the spectacle seemingly became aware that something sacrosanct was moving through us, moving through the “piper”, moving through the pipes, moving through the trees, moving through the water.  More than that, one could not help but feel that the sanctity was moving throughout the whole of Creation that was within the sound of his pipes and our vision.  I can’t speak for the other observers, but when the “piper” finished “some chord in unison” with what I’d heard and seen had touched me so deeply that my heart replied with tears of sadness for fallen and wounded patriots everywhere and for the joy I’d felt in the beauty of the “piper’s” music.

**I didn’t attempt to take the bag piper’s photo that day because it somehow seemed like an invasion of his privacy.  I decided the one above would be equally appropriate for this post since my sister took it on a beach at Normandy where so many fell in WW II while in pursuit of freedom’s calling.

My heart, O God, is steadfast, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music.  ~Psalm 57:7  ✝