897. A garden must combine the poetic and the mysterious with a feeling of serenity and joy. ~Luis Barragan

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause and stand wrapped in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed. ~Albert Einstein

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By Einstein’s definition above, I’m not dead yet, for my eyes still open and I frequently stand wrapped in awe when I find amazing things like what you see in these photos. What caught my eye at first was the marker identifying the vine as a Dutchman’s Pipe whose flowers, it said, have an interesting and specialized pollination mechanism. Intrigued by that I read on to find that because they are quite aromatic, their strong scent attracts insects, and that the inner part of their perianth tube (or pipe stem) is covered with hairs that act as a fly trap. Once caught these hairs wither to release the fly who has been covered with pollen. That in and of itself was more than enough to wow me. But now after also having seen the strangely beautiful and mysterious flower and its seed pods, I can, with complete confidence, attest to the fact that my emotions are not yet strangers either. Once again the Lord’s amazing creativity and imagination have stopped me in my tracks and taken my breath away. Chronic pain may have long been my lot in life to bear, but I can do nothing less than continually praise the Lord and express my gratitude for unlike me there are so many people in the world who have little to nothing but misery, grief, suffering, and grievous iniquities dumped over and over again upon their plates. Such is why tears so often flood these eyes that yet allow me to see and emotions erupt that yet allow me to feel.

Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty? ~Job 11:7  ✝

**Sadly with the recent debacle on computer that I shared with my readers, I’ve discovered that some of my photos are missing or in a black hole somewhere. So I had to use these that I found on Pinterest.

680. It is only when you start a garden – probably after age fifty – that you realize something important happens every day. ~Geoffrey B. Charlesworth

Natural object themselves
even when they make no claim to beauty,
excite the feelings, and occupy the imagination.
Nature pleases, attracts, delights,
merely because it’s nature.
We recognize in it an Infinite Power.
~Karl Wilhelm Humboldt

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Give us hearts to understand;
never to take from creation’s beauty more than we give;
never to destroy wantonly for the furtherance of greed;
never to deny to give our hands for the building of earth’s beauty;
never to take from her what we cannot use.
Give us hearts to understand
That to destroy earth’s music is to create confusion;
that to wreck her appearance is to blind us to beauty;
That to callously pollute her fragrance
is to make a house of stench…
~Excerpted lines from a Native American Prayer

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. ~Romans 1:20   ✝

**Images via Pinterest; collage by Natalie

552. So now, whenever I despair, I no longer expect my end, but some bit of luck, some commonplace little miracle which, like a glittering link, will mend again the necklace of my days. ~Colette, French novelist and performer

Wild Geese 
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.

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Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
~Mary Oliver

Several of my readers have recently voiced, either by word or in the sounds of their silence between the lines, a measure of sorrow and despair. Know that you are loved and held in the arms of Divine Grace as well as in my heart and prayers. May you soon encounter the “angel of hope” bearing the “commonplace little miracle” which will “mend again the necklace of your days.”

You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in your providence watched over my spirit. ~Job 10:12  ✝

** Image via Pinterest

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   ✝

476. Half the interest of a garden is the constant exercise of the imagination. ~Mrs. C.W. Earle

Take thy spade,
It is thy pencil;
Take thy seeds, thy plants,
They are your colours.
~William Mason

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The level of sand in summer’s hour glass may be low, but there is still a fair measure of glory remaining in the year. Since earth’s palette has not yet been wiped clean, the “greatest show on earth” is definitely not over  nor will it be until months from now when Jack Frost’s frigid sting puts an end to it. Even now some flowers are abloom, but the coming cooler days and weeks will bring even more blossoming beauties. In addition the squirrels still have nuts to gather, the birds have songs yet unsung, the butterflies and bees have more pollinating rounds to make, and the roses have their second big flush of blooms to proffer. Not to mention that in the not too distant future the year’s pumpkins will make their colorful appearance amid the stunning array of autumn leaves. So the show ain’t over, folks!

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I will wait until after the equinox on the 22nd of September to take up my spade and plant as well as sow seeds, but in the meantime I’ve already started my imaginings about additions and changes in the garden. And what a great place a garden is to let one’s imagination run wild! It can loosed over and over again in plotting the shapes of flower beds and paths, in deciding the kinds of plants to be introduced or removed, in installing new flower supports and garden structures, and so on. One of the best parts is that all this imagining feeds my starving, heat beleaguered inner child and my thirsting would-love-to-have-been an artist selfie.

. . . and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts-to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship. ~Exodus 31:3-5 ✝

461. When the eye sees a color it is immediately excited… ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“Maybe we should develop a Crayola bomb as our next secret weapon. A happiness weapon. A beauty bomb. And every time a crisis developed, we would launch one. It would explode high in the air — explode softly — and send thousands, millions, of little parachutes into the air. Floating down to earth — boxes of Crayolas. And we wouldn’t go cheap, either — not just little boxes of eight, but the boxes of 64… And people would smile and get a little funny look on their faces and cover the world with imagination.” ~Robert Fulghum

DSC_0053During the growing seasons in my yard, yellow sets up camp on sunflower’s faces, orange spills from the daylily’s cup, red rests on many a rosy petal, blue climbs salvia spikes and perches on morning glory vines while purple dangles from the wisteria vine and crawls along the top of the lavender’s wands. Then there’s the medley of light to dark pink that runs along coneflower petals while gold fills the Rudbeckia petals, the magenta that bubbles on the panicles of the Crape Myrtles, the hot pink that mounts the spires of loosestrife and trumpets forth from the upright tubes of Monarda, and the softer and varied shades of light pinks that adorn other roses as well as the coral vine. What I don’t have nor never will have here in my yard are what you see in the photo, the beautiful wine-red fruits of the prickly pear cactus. I am just not a cactus fan, but I think the ripened fruits of Opuntia are stunning, and in the Texas landscape the prickly pear cactus can be found almost anywhere.

Claude Monet once said that color was his “day-long obsession, joy and torment” and that he perhaps owed “having become a painter to flowers.” Similarly it is my love affair with color and flowers that led have me to become a photographer and blogger. And to think it all began with boxes of crayolas. Why? When I was a child, we lived in southern, coastal California where I fell in love with the flowers I encountered at every turn, and since we traveled every summer either by car or train, Mother wanted to make sure my sisters and I had things to keep us from getting bored and antsy. So each of us got, among other engaging things, a brand new box of crayolas and coloring books for our journeys. I looked forward all year long to those new boxes of crayolas and the pleasurable hours of coloring, but I was not then nor am I now able to draw images very well from scratch. So later in life I replaced my box of crayons for a camera and bought a house with a large yard so I could have lots of growing spaces for flowers. And now it is the pretty flowers and their luscious colors that move me daily to make “offerings” of praise and gratitude to the Lord.

Praise Him (God) for his mighty deeds; praise Him according to his excellent greatness. ~Psalm 150:2   ✝

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you save, you heal, you restore, and you reveal Your Father’s heart to us! May I dwell in Your holy presence and praise Your name for all that you have given and done.

382. It has been said that art is a tryst, for in the joy of it maker and beholder meet. ~Kojiro Tomita.

I have found, through years of practice, that people garden in order
to make something grow; to interact with nature;
to share, to find sanctuary, to heal, to honor the earth, to leave a mark.
Through gardening, we feel whole as we make
our personal work of art upon our land.
~Julie Moir Messervy

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Blessings For Artists At The Start Of The Day by John O’Donohue

May morning be astir with the harvest of night;
Your mind quickening to the eros of a new question,
Your eyes seduced by some unintended glimpse
That cut right through the surface to a source.

May this be a morning of innocent beginning,
When the gift within you slips clear of the sticky web of the personal
With its hurt and its hauntings, and fixed fortress corners, a morning
When you become a pure vessel for what wants to ascend from silence.

May your imagination know the grace of perfect danger,
To reach beyond imitation, and the wheel of repetition,
Deep into the call of all the unfinished and unsolved.
Until the veil of the unknown yields and something original
Begins to stir toward your senses and grow stronger in your heart
In order to come to birth in a clean line of form, that claims from time
A rhythm not yet heard, that calls space to a different shape.

May it be its own force field and dwell uniquely
Between the heart and the light to surprise the hungry eye…

Surely you have granted him unending blessings and made him glad with the joy of Your presence. ~Psalm 21:6   ✝

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!