1179. I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order. ~John Burroughs

Nothing can be found in the intellect
if previously it has not been found in the senses.
~Michael Servetus
We evolved to move and to learn
with all our five senses!
~Martha Beck

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I’ve been thinking since I got up this morning about yesterday’s post in which I discussed creature comforts and the power of smell(#1178). I’m still particularly intrigued by Ackerman’s quote as well as Keller’s quote and the implications of the passage from Scripture I chose for that post and am repeating for this one. And then today one of my fellow bloggers wrote a poem today about a spark of life she had experienced. It was then that it occurred to me that the tripwire triggered by smell which Ackerman talks about coming through the “weedy mass of years” and setting off a spark that detonates memories could be true of all the senses. Since all 5 are capable of setting off such “soft” explosions of memory in us, could it be that the purpose of bringing us good memories through sensory methods of perception is intended to bring us ultimately back to Yahweh, the Father of all life and the Giver of our senses. Seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, and smelling are parts of the pleasures that come from out observance of and interactions with Creation. And so where better to find God than in nature and/or in His gifts inherent in the things that comfort us. Maybe God intentionally incorporated a fail-safe in His children who could and would wander, and in so doing built into the fabric of our being little beacons that once lighted anew by sensory input would restore memories of home and creaturely comforts which in turn would brings us back to Him, the comforting source indwelling in our hearts and souls. Okay, so why the need for 5 senses? Why not just one? One of my quotes was from Helen Keller a woman who was both blind and deaf, and yet she still had the ability to smell which brought her to the conclusion that “smell is a potent wizard” capable of transporting someone “across thousands and thousands of miles and all the years” that individual had lives. Perhaps, this is why I’m so enamored with my garden.When one truly loves a garden which inhabits a piece of ground on Earth, some of the elements of its reality root in the soil of his/her soul, thus blessing him/her with hosts of sparks that rise like fireflies in the night.

Live with all of your senses.
~Sue Townsend

The hollyhock above is truly a spark of life. I threw the seed down for it in the fall and have no idea at what moment the spark that ignited it came, but come it did and now today this beauty is the progeny of that tiny seed. And its beauty and presence is a balm unto my soul and “puts my senses in order.”

If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? ~1 Corinthians 12:17  ✝

943. If you wish to know the Creator, come to know His creatures. ~Columbanus, Medieval Irish Monk

Out of the waters of God’s life
come the creatures of earth, sea, and sky.
With the birth of the creatures on the fifth day
there is the emergence of seeing, hearing,
smelling, tasting, and touching.
~J. Philip Newell

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One of the keys to listening needs to be simply an appreciative attentiveness to God’s creatures. The Book of Job says, “Ask the animals, and they will teach you; the birds of the air, and they will tell you.” And to look to the animal world is not to look away from God; instead, it’s a way to look at a showing forth of the mystery of God. For it reveals something of the way of God’s seeing and sensing, and one can see as well that in Creation’s mysteries is part of the Christ mystery.

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I’ve seen animals, such as the bird in the photo above, who seem to be bowing before the Creator in gratitude for life, for the day, for His continuing Presence here. There is also the unbroken song of the creatures. And in Revelation John envisaged an unending song of praise being sung by all that swims and flies and has motion. He said every creature on earth here below and in the ocean beneath and in the air above was giving glory to God, singing Holy, Holy, Holy. ~Both paragraphs contain directly quoted, paraphrased, and/or adapted random excerpts from THE BOOK OF CREATION by J. Philip Newell

Consider first the Canada Goose,
brown body, whitish breast
black head, long black neck…
Then there’s the Barnacle Goose…
flight note
a rapidly repeated gnuk
gnuk gnuk gnuk gnuk gnuk gnuk gnuk
(like an ecstatic Eskimo)…
The snow goose
has a pure white plumage
with black-tipped wings…
In Europe you might take her for a swan
or maybe a gannet
till she lets you know abruptly
she’s all goose
so
there they go
through the wind, the rain, the snow
wild spirits knowing
what they know
~Kenneth White

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.” ~Job 12:7-10  ✝

**Mike Bizeau posted the great photo of a bull elk on his blog, and I found the image of the bird with its head bowed on Pinterest

774. The only noise now was the rain, pattering softly with the magnificent indifference of nature for the tangled passions of humans. ~Sherwood Smith

  I like it when it rains hard.
It sounds like white noise everywhere,
which is like silence but not empty.
~Mark Haddon

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After an extended period of hot weather,
comes the first rain shower creating
an exquisite and eloquent fragrance in the air –
an earthy sweet smell that permeates and floats all around us,
refreshing our minds and rejuvenating our lives.
~Edited and adapted excerpt
from Deodatta V. Shenai-Khatkhate

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Last night
the rain
spoke to me
slowly, saying,
what joy
to come falling
out of the brisk cloud,
to be happy again
in a new way
on the earth!
That’s what it said
as it dropped,
smelling of iron,
and vanished
like a dream of the ocean
into the branches
and the grass below.
~Excerpt fro a poem
by Mary Oliver

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If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? ~1 Corinthians 12:17  ✝

690. The world of Celtic spirituality is completely at home with the rhythm and wisdom of the senses. ~John O’Donohue

When you read Celtic nature poetry,
you see that all the senses are alerted:
You hear the sound of the winds,
you taste the fruits, and above all
you get a wonderful sense of
how nature touches human presence.
~John O’Donohue

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Nature isn’t just around us like the walls of a house or a building; it moves into our space and through our senses to touch us in very discernible ways. We live and breath and move on divine, holy ground and in that realm many of our life experiences come by means of our God-given senses. Even in the reading of Scripture spring’s coming is announced by the mouth in song and the ear in hearing. So this week as we approach Easter, be mindful that one should not only hear about Christ’s resurrection or see images of what happened on the Cross at Calvary, but we should also feel the agony He suffered and in a very real sense “taste” what His sacrifice accomplished.

May your body be blessed.
May your realize that your body is a faithful
and beautiful friend of your soul.
And may you be peaceful and joyful
and recognize that your senses are sacred thresholds.
May you realize that holiness is mindful,
gazing, feeling, hearing, and touching.
May your senses gather you and bring you home.
May your senses always enable you to celebrate
the universe and the mystery and
possibilities in your presence here. . .
~John O’Donohue

The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God. ~Isaiah 35:1-2   ✝

**Images via Pinterest, collage created by Natalie

526. Heat lingers as days are still long; early mornings are cool while autumn is still young. ~Po Chu-i, Chinese poet who lived from 772-864 during the Tang Dynasty

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)


~Excerpt from i thank you God for most this amazing… (65)

by e.e. cummings, a poet whose peculiar syntax
and lack of or strange use of punctuation
conjures up as lasting and as memorable
images as this photo

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I think it curious when I read another’s perfect description of my current reality, especially when it is one like Po Chu-i’s that was written so long ago and so far away from where I am. When it happens, I can’t help but wonder what the writer was like, what he was doing when not writing poetry, and what the landscape looked like that inspired his thoughts and rhymes. Was he young like the autumn of which he spoke, or was he like me, one who has weathered many an autumn. I also  wonder if in China today the heat lingers again in Lady Autumn’s infancy. It’s certainly lingering hear in Texas in the 21st century. However, I’m not complaining because for some time now our early morns have been deliciously cool as have been the evenings that draw the days to an end. So cool in fact was it again this morning that after last night’s watering, droplets yet bejeweled the rose in the photo. That in and of itself is cause for thanksgiving since it wasn’t too long ago that all such surface water would have evaporated before dawn’s first light brushed away night’s obscurity. Actually, despite the lingering heat, this fall has been filled with more than a fair measure of splendor, a smattering of its usual intimations of holy mysteries, and now the first expected touches of nature’s autumnal poetry have been penned. Speaking of poetry, some poets like e.e. cummings write lines that challenge easy interpretation, but often poetry which defies easy understanding endures through the ages because the words and thoughts resonate in the deepest chambers of the human heart. Perhaps that’s why today I’m captivated by cumming’s poetic imagination as well as nature’s magical images and the Lord’s amazing genius.

The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life. Job 33:4   ✝

497. I wanted to know the name of every stone and flower and insect and bird and beast. I wanted to know where it got its color, where it got its life… ~George Washington Carver

i thank You God for this most amazing day:
for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;
and for everything which is natural
which is infinite
which is yes
~e.e. cummings

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Of What Surrounds Me

Whatever it is I am saying, I always
Need a leaf or a flower, if not an
Entire field. As for sky, I am wildly
In love with each day’s inventions, cool blue
Or cat gray or full
Of the ships of clouds,I simply can’t
Say whatever it is I am saying without
At least one skyful. That leaves water, a
Creek or a well, river or ocean, it has to be
There. For the heart to be there. For the pen
To be poised. For the idea to come.

~Mary Oliver

The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing. ~Ecclesiastes 1:8b   ✝

** Image of Dahlia via Pinterest

418. Seeing, hearing and feeling are miracles, and each part and tag of me is a miracle. ~Walt Whitman

The fragrance of white tea is the feeling of existing in the mists that float over waters; the scent of peony is the scent of the absence of negativity: a lack of confusion, doubt, and darkness; to smell a rose is to teach your soul to skip; a nut and a wood together is a walk over fallen Autumn leaves; the touch of jasmine is a night’s dream under the nomad’s moon.  ~C. JoyBell C.

DSC_0159For the Senses


May the touch of your skin
Register the beauty
Of the otherness
That surrounds you.

May your listening be attuned
To the deeper silence
Where sound is honed
To bring distance home.

May the fragrance
Of the breathing meadow
Refresh your heart
And remind you you are
A child of the Earth.

May your inner eye
See through surfaces
And glean the real presence
Of everything that meets you.

May your soul beautify
The desire of your eyes
That you might glimpse
The infinity that hides
In the simple sights
That seem worn
To your usual eyes.

~John O’Donohue

Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Phillip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.  ~Acts 8:13   ✝

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! Like Saint Hildegard Lord, may I too be a feather on your holy breath and spread, like seeds, the gospel abroad.