1424. The West is color. Its colors are animal rather than vegetable, the colors of earth and sunlight and ripeness. ~Jessamyn Westl

The prairie skies can always make you
see more than what you believe.
~Jackson Burnett

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It was still that day, evocatively still and sacredly quiet. The plain’s grasses shone golden in the sunlight and spread out before us like butter on warm toast in and around the craggy terrain. Mountains, hills, buttes, mesas, and plateaus framed these prairies and stood like paternal sentinels over the hallowed ground they had erupted upon eons ago. And although there was barely a breeze blowing on that chilly autumn day when we travelled through northern New Mexico, one could faintly hear, or maybe just imagine, the earth playing her vast array of harmonies, harmonies wrought of whispering grasses, pounding hooves, lapping waters, laughing children on the run, and the call of wild birds in flight. That particular day, however, there was only a lone hawk soaring above in the cloudless expanse of the day’s sapphire blue sky. Nevertheless it it was enough to inspire images in my mind of sun-bronzed bodies riding bareback on painted ponies, wispy curls of smoke rising from tee pees, herds of grazing buffalo, joyful children at play, beautiful black-haired women going about their daily tasks, and perhaps the faint sound of drums and flutes playing a shamanic kind of melody. Despite wanting to get to our home hundreds of miles away from there, with every advancing mile I lamented that we were drawing closer to the end of this peaceful and prepossessing land, and as we neared its end I began to feel a deep sense of sorrow. There was in me a longing and a sense of envy for those who and that which had known the earth in her beautiful infancy, loved the earth for its providence and splendor, worked the land and revered it as well as its Maker..

Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. ~Psalm 37:3 ✝

**Image via Pinterest

1420. The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself. ~Henry Miller

Each blade of grass has its spot on earth
whence it draws its life, its strength;
and so man is rooted to the land from which
he draws his faith together with his life.
~Joseph Conrad

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In what I assume was a poetic conversation with the Lord, Edna St. Vincent Millay, an American lyrical poet, said “God, I can push the grass apart and lay my finger on Thy heart.” In another instance, a Quaker and itinerant preacher named Elias Hicks wrote that “the fullness of the godhead dwelt in every blade of grass.” And Thomas Carlyle, a Scottish satirical writer and teacher rhetorically asked, “To us also, through every star, through every blade of grass, is not God made visible if we will open our minds and our eyes.” Like me, these writers realize that man was meant to be “rooted to the land and therefore to God.” Sadly, however, in today’s world because many no longer live close to the land, the “umbilical cord,” as it were, that used to connect all humanity to the land and God has been severed. In fact there are some who have never even been close enough to the land to reach down into earth’s hallowed ground, and one simply cannot grow roots to connect to concrete and steel or find anything sacred or nurturing in them. Thankfully though, in an effort to reconnect people with the land and to provide healthier food for the residential inner city dwellers of this country there are those who are finding places to build community gardens so that people get involved in caring for the land and reaping harvests from it once again. Equally good is the fact that a fair share of schools across the nation are incorporating habitat gardens into the learning experiences of their students. As a whole we may no longer live in a primarily agrarian society, but as always God helps His children find ways to remain connected to His good earth and to Him. For there is something so very holy in picking the “fruit” of one’s labors in the soil and putting it in the mouth; it is the biblical “manna” that not only feeds the belly but also feeds the soul.

Every blade of grass
 has its angel
that bends over it and
whispers, 
“Grow, grow!”
~The Talmud

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You care for the land and water it; you enrich it abundantly. The streams of God are filled with water to provide the people with grain, for so you have ordained it. You drench its furrows and level its ridges; you soften it with showers and bless its crops. You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance.The grasslands of the wilderness overflow; the hills are clothed with gladness.The meadows are covered with flocks and the valleys are mantled with grain; they shout for joy and sing. ~Psalm 65:9-13 ✝

**Images via Pinterest and Pixabay

1392. He prayeth best, who loveth best all things great and small; for the dear God who loveth us, He made and loveth all. ~Samuel Taylor Coleridge

There are 100,000 or so species of insects 
native to the United States. More than 1/3 
of these have been found in Texas. 
Texas has more different kinds of 
insects than any other state. 
~From a Texas Gov’t. publication
found on the Internet

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There is simply never a shortage of “beasties” on Texas soil especially when the temperatures soar. “Things great and small,” lovable and loathsome, have been on the move in the water, in the air, and on the land. Some float, some flutter, some fly, some are fleet of foot, some feed on the earth’s grasses and some crawl, slither, or graze in them. Scripture tells us that the good Lord saw that all He made was good, but being a less than perfect mortal, I struggle with loving and seeing the good in “all things great and small.” The fact that spiders, snakes, and “skeeters” bite and can kill has always had a great deal to do with my disdain for earth’s not so charming and/or endearing creatures. However, when I became an avid gardener, I began realizing more and more the intentionality of all that God made. Working the soil helped me see the genius of the “string of life” that connects everything on earth together in a beneficial series of interdependencies. Creation, on a grander scale of course, is much like the human body–everything in it is connected and it all works together for the good of the whole. In light of that complete awareness, slowly but surely, I’m learning to be more tolerant of the earth’s less endearing creatures. Toiling under the sun in all the seasons has shown me that built into Creation’s tapestry are purpose and provisions for all that God made. That awareness, despite my difficulty in embracing all of the “beasties” who dwell here in Texas has engendered and enlarged my trust, love, and faith in the Lord’s plans and His purposes as well as an acceptance of all that He has made.

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How many are your works, O LORD! In wisdom You made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. When You send your Spirit, they are created, and You renew the face of the earth. -Psalm 104:24, 30  ✝

1361. The spring is coming by many a sign… ~Excerpted line from a poem by John Clare

I have said that there was
great pleasure in watching
the ways in which different plants
come through the ground,
and February and March are
the months in which that
can best be seen.
~Henry N. Ellacombe

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March! March! March!
They are coming In troops to the tune of the wind.
Redheaded woodpeckers drumming,
Gold – crested thrushes behind;
Sparrows in brown jackets, hopping
Past every gateway and door;
Finches, with crimson caps, stopping
Just where they stopped before.

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March! March! March! They are slipping
Into their places at last. . .
Literature white lily buds, dripping
Under the showers that fall fast;
Buttercups, violets, roses;
Tulip and bluebell and pink;
Daffodils and saucer magnolias
Throng upon throng of sweet posies
Bending the dewdrops to drink.

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March! March! March! They will hurry
Forth at the wild bugle sound,
Blossoms and birds in a flurry,
Fluttering all over the ground.
Shake out your flags, birch and willow!
Shake out your red tassels, larch!
Grass blades, up from your earth – pillow.
Hear who is calling you. . . March.
~Edited and adapted poem
by Lucy Larcom

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Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. ~Song of Songs 2:12 ✝

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**All photos taken by Natalie except the one of the House Finch.

1205. Do not say, ‘It is morning,’ and dismiss it with a name of yesterday. See it for the first time as a newborn child that has no name. ~Rabindranath Tagore

This time of the year is so terribly hot that I find myself grumbling morning, noon, and evening about the relentless, scorching rays of the sun, the same sun that in winter is quite a welcome presence! So here’s to the beautiful sun, bearer of light and life, and the sunflower that mimics its golden glory.

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Beautiful Sun! with thy golden rays,
To God, the wise Creator, be all praise;
For thou nourisheth all the creation,
Wherever there is found to be animation.

Without thy heat we could not live,
Then praise to God we ought to give;
For thou makest the fruits and provisions to grow,
To nourish all creatures on earth below.

Thou makest the birds to sing on the tree,
Also by meadow, mountain, and lea;
And the lark high poised up in air,
Caroling its little song with its heart free from care.

While the bee from flower to flower does roam
To gather honey, and carry it home;
While it hums its little song in the beautiful sunshine,
And seemingly to thank the Creator divine —

For the honey it hath gathered during the day,
In the merry growing months of the year
When the flowers are in full bloom,
Also the sweet honeysuckle and the broom.

How beautiful thy appearance while setting in the west,
Whilst encircled with red and azure, ’tis then thou look’st best!
Then let us all thank God for thy golden light
In our prayers every morning and night!
~Edited poem by Max Plowman

…“May the Lord bless his land with the precious dew from heaven above and with the deep waters that lie below; with the best the sun brings forth and the finest the moon can yield…” ~Excerpted lines from Deuteronomy 33:13-14  ✝

**Photo taken by me in my yard

1021. Life is a series of little deaths out of which life always returns. ~Charles Feidelson, Jr. 

There is something frank
and joyous and young
in the open face 
of the country.
It gives itself ungrudgingly
to the moods of the season,
holding nothing back.
~Willa Cather

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Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. It’s only two days until the end of the year. The train carrying all of this year’s comings and goings has all but run out of track, and it has been almost 10 days since we entered the season of somber gardens, short, but lengthening days, decidedly lower temperatures, and more-gray-than-blue skies. The reckless abandon of the growing seasons has yielded to winter’s, seemingly unadventurous restraint, and the countryside has been at least somewhat ravaged. The bare bones of the landscape now stand like silent sentinels over treasures buried beneath the soil where masses of autumn’s fallen have come to rest. Although the countryside appears to be wasted and barren, the soil in reality is teeming with life, life which the decaying matter warms and protects. And so it is time for us to rest and reflect on life, love, and home, whatever, whoever, and wherever that might be for you.

~The land enjoyed its sabbath rests… ~Excerpt from 2 Chronicles 36:21  ✝

**Image via Pinterest