1328. It is an old story, this irresistible and ceaseless onflow of life and time… ~Hamilton Wright Mabie

Lo! now the direful monster, whose skin clings
To his strong bones, strides o’er the groaning rocks:
He withers all in silence, and his hand
Unclothes the earth, and freezes up frail life.
~William Blake

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Dead and brown is all that once was verdant and full of life. And again today a north wind blew to scatter more of autumn’s splendrous, leafy remains. Willy nilly the leaves whirled about and over the ground as if they were happy children chasing one another. Though a smattering of leaves yet dons a tree or two, for the most part the yard is a graveyard of clattering skeletons, desiccated leaves and withered flowers, bare soil and beige sod. Too, the beating heart of Creation’s life has grown ever so faint, but nonetheless it is discernible to the listening, longing ear. All the while beneath the surface, there’s an entirely different story evolving. For it is there that miraculous, even magical, proceedings are taking place and moving to the rhythm of winter’s muted heartbeat. And as they advance, they gather strength from their sacred sources, mother nature and Father God. So carry on tiny embryos of earth’s womb; I shall wait patiently and not lose heart nor faith while surrounded by this death and decay for I trust and know you will rise in the Spring and once more thrill me beyond the ability to speak so that only squeals of joy will fill the space herein between heaven and earth.

How can those who do not garden,
who have no lot in the great fraternity
of those who watch the changing year
as it affects the earth and its growth,
how can they keep warm their hearts in winter?
~Francis King

“As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” ~Genesis 8:22  ✝

**Photos taken by Natalie; collage by Natalie

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

1005. Over everything connected with autumn there lingers some golden spell—some unseen influence that penetrates the soul with its mysterious power. ~Northern Advocate

In the garden, Autumn is, indeed the crowning glory of the year,
bringing us the fruition of months of thought and care and toil.
~Rose G. Kingsley

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Leaf by leaf and petal by petal, the garden unravels more and more each day. And with every wind that blows, be it from the north, the south, the east, or the west, little eddies of leaf litter now blow about dancing like bits of confetti. Too can be seen the first skeletons of trees and shrubs laid bare by the blustery winds and recent downpours. Yet the temperatures have remained mildish and so amid the decay are, even as the sands in late autumn’s hourglass run out, “honey’d leavings” and faint renditions of fall’s “lusty song.” However, soon and like all things, the last season of the year will come to its Sabbath and therefore have to rest until its next appointed hours.

What prodigious phenomenons are the seasons of the year! How carefully planned! What attention to detail they are given! Even in places where there are no robust seasonal changes, one is able to discern the Divine’s purpose. No matter when or where one is, there is a discernible rhythm to the seasonal harmonies in the cosmic book of days. And in the rhythms are a sacred and perceptible heartbeat, a heartbeat that if sought and listened to is as recognizable as that of a mother’s to her infant. For it is the beating heart of God, and His comforting eternal echo of the spheres can be heard in every corner of the universe. Like gravity the sound of it holds hearers in its grasp, and in the hearing comes the longing to see the face of the Holy One whose heart holds us, His children, with a love bigger than the universe itself.

Even the stork in the sky knows her appointed seasons and the dove, the swift and the thrush observe the time of their migration. ~Except from Jeremiah 8:7  ✝

**I love this capture I got of the red oak leaf that became wedged in the latch on my greenhouse door during yesterday’s high winds.

550. I saw old Autumn in the misty morn stand shadowless like silence, listening to silence. ~Thomas Hood

The ground is hard,
As hard as stone.
The year is old,
And yet the world,
In its distress,
Displays a certain
Loveliness.
~Excerpts from a poem by
John Updike

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In hushed stillness a gloomy, gray shroud has hung over the garden today, and out of the chilling grayness November has weeped drippy tears. Drip, drip, drip started the mist in the night, and ever since the ground has been soaking up the felicitous wealth. On and on it has drizzled as it often does in autumn knowing that, though the garden wanes, earth’s womb has begun mothering spring’s progeny. Roots, strong and deep, need the moisture to grow and gather the vigor they’ll need months from now to push life forth from naked branch and barren soil. And in the muted stillness of the day, I’ve felt is a familiar Presence, a holy Presence, the Overseer of all things great and small. Though it be the Sabbath, God walks His Eden still in the cool of the day for therein lies the heartbeat of Creation, child of His love and light.

Those who sow with tears will reap songs of joy. ~Psalm 126:5  ✝

536. There is music in the meadows…There is rhythm in the woods, and in the fields…
 ~William Stanley Braithwaite

How silently they tumble down
And come to rest upon the ground
To lay a carpet, rich and rare,
Beneath the trees without a care,
Content to sleep, their work well done,
Colors gleaming in the sun.
~Elsie N. Brady

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I imagine the eyes of Jesus
Were harvest brown,
The light of their gazing suffused
With the seasons:

The shadow of winter,
The mind of spring,
The blues of summer,
And amber of harvest.

A gaze that is perfect sister
To the kindness that dwells
In his beautiful hands.

The eyes of Jesus gaze on us,
Stirring in the heart’s clay
The confidence of seasons
That never lose their way to harvest.

This gaze knows the signature
Of our heartbeat, the first glimmer
From the dawn that dreamed our minds,

The crevices where thoughts grow
Long before the longing in the bone
Sends them towards the mind’s eye,

The artistry of the emptiness
That knows to slow the hunger
Of outside things until they weave
Into the twilight side of the heart,

A gaze full of all that is still future
Looking out for us to glimpse
The jeweled light in winter stone,

Quickening the eyes that look at us
To see through to where words
Are blind to say what we would love,

Forever falling softly on our faces,
His gaze plies the soul with light,
Laying down a luminous layer,

Beneath our brief and brittle days
Until the appointed dawn comes
Assured and harvest deft

To unravel the last black knot
And we are back home in the house
That we have never left.
~John O’Donohue

Jesus called the crowd to Him and said, “Listen and understand.” ~Matthew 15:10   ✝

* Edited image via Pinterest

503. And even the sun in dawn chorus sings, a celestial melody to the earth below. ~Tjaden

Aurora Musis Amica (est)
Dawn is a friend of the muses
~Latin Proverb

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Day has come, but the sun sits not yet high in the sky. The garden is quiet and still. Her winged paramours, the birds and bees and butterflies, have yet to stir from their drowsy realms. And sunlight has yet to kiss the plants and flowers and grass. The breeze stirs not. All that has quickened thus far is prevailing peace and earth’s discernible heartbeat, tha-thump, tha-thump, tha-thump, the beating that cradles me in Yahweh’s heart. And so I wait and I watch and I sink into the already delicious nowness.

The land yields its harvest; God, our God, blesses us. ~Psalm 67:6    ✝

282. Life has its own hidden forces which you can only discover by living. ~Soren Kierkegaard

Crowfoot, chief of the Blackfoot Nation, once asked, “What is life?”  He then answered his own question with haunting and graphic wisdom.  He said, “it is the flash of the firefly in the night.  It is the breath of the buffalo in wintertime.  It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.”

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Life, that spark, that whispering breath of God over the void, grows faint in winter.  Cloistered behind the grays and browns of gloomy veils, its glow, its hum, its buzz, pales and lowers, but as we near the vernal equinox, Eden’s heartbeat becomes a little more perceptible each day.  It has been said that “God pours life into death and death into life without a drop being spilled,” and today I’ve discovered right here in my back yard that through dark, seemingly dead branches life into the lifeless has been poured again without any wasted spillage.  It is on the trailing tendrils of a “Clematis armandii” vine that life has flowed silently and secretly until it could no longer be contained.  As it burst forth into the newness you see in my photos, it is proof that the Holy One tends His Eden still.  His divine, hidden forces of life have become tangibly visible, and a new spark has ignited a tiny flame.  Soon a steady succession of similar sparks will fuel a blaze, a blaze that will spread like a wildfire lighting the world anew with evidence of God’s never-ending glory.

Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this?  In His hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of every human being.  ~Job 12:9-10  ✝