1353. Timeless thoughts of a winter’s stare; eyes gazing over a landscape bare. ~Michael A. Barron

Gray, endless shades of
Gray, winter’s somber suit of
Gray, the season’s shroud

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Beige, broad blankets of
Beige, chilling frosts turn green to
Beige, on what we trod

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Color, drear shades of
Color, muted, faint hues of
Color, in stark realm

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Winter, the woe of
Winter, shall soon be gone for
Winter, bows to spring

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As the rain and the 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 55:10-11  ✝

**All 4 haikus written by Natalie; most images from Pinterest; collages by Natalie; a few of the images in the last collage are ones I’ve taken in past winters

1315. The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart. ~Helen Keller

Everything has its wonders,
even darkness and silence,
and I learn, whatever state I may
be in, therein to be content.
~Helen Keller

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Oh, what a glory doth the world put on
These peerless, perfect autumn days
There is a beautiful spirit of gladness everywhere,
The wooded waysides are luminous
With brightly painted leaves;
The forest-trees with royal grace have donned
Their gorgeous autumn tapestries;
And even the rocks and fences are broidered
With ferns, sumachs and brilliantly tinted ivies.
But so exquisitely blended are the lights and shades,
The golds, scarlets and purples, that no sense is wearied;
For God himself hath painted the landscape.

The hillsides gleam with golden corn;
Apple and peach-trees bend beneath
Their burdens of golden fruit.
The golden-rods, too, are here, whole armies of them,
With waving plumes, resplendent with gold;
And about the wild grapes, purple and
Fair and full of sunshine,
The little birds southward going
Linger, like travelers at an Inn,
And sip the perfumed wine.
And far away the mountains against the blue sky stand
Calm and mysterious, like prophets of God,
Wrapped in purple mist.
~Helen Keller

I was fortunate enough while working as an educator to be able to teach THE MIRACLE WORKER which is a play written about Helen Keller. Helen had become deaf and blind in infancy and Anne Sullivan was hired by her family to come to their home in Alabama to be her teacher. The inspiring story is one that I believe everyone should read. I have the utmost respect and admiration for these two remarkable women and find it so amazing that a blind woman could write such a beautiful and accurate description of Autumn! The poem was written in 1898.

In that day the deaf will hear the words of the scroll, and out of gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see. ~Isaiah 28:19  ✝

**Image of autumn leaves which look almost like fallen jewels upon the ground was via Pinterest

1309. O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn’s being. ~Percy Bysshe Shelley

So I like best of all autumn,
because its tone is mellower,
its colors are richer,
and it is tinged with a little sorrow.
~Lin Yutang

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If I had to pick a recent, appropriate emblem for deep November, it would be the mellow richness of this rose. Though a wild west wind has blown today, the day I found it, dawn had broken under a heavy fog, and when the mist lifted, this rose and everything else in the garden was left completely soaked. It was as if the heavens had rained down a multitude of tears and tinged the landscape with more than the little autumn sorrow of which Yutang speaks. I for one have to wonder if, with daybreak coming later and later and darkness falling earlier and earlier, a garden knows that the year has almost completed another turn around the sun. If so and because the longing to be, to exist as an expression of the Divine Presence, can be seen in all Creation, that longing is not easily given up.

As this year draws to its end
we give thanks for the gifts it has brought
and how they came inlaid within,
where neither time nor tide
could touch them, and we also thanks
for the days when the veil lifted
and the soul could see delight;
when a quiver caressed the heart
in the sheer exuberance of being here.
-Excerpted and edited lines
by John O’Donohoe

When we take time to look beyond the trials of life, we see God’s blessings and realize that daily we continue to be given endowments of grace from the Host of the universe. From unmistakable “quivers that caress the heart” we know that we are not alone. We know that we belong to God and recognize a longing within us to touch Him. We know that He sits at the heart of life, and from there works at bringing to fruition that which He inlaid in us from the beginning. We know too that He is beside us in every moment and that our sadness is His sadness, our joy His joy, our loss His loss, our victory His victory.

Give praise to the Lord, proclaim His name; make known among the nations what He has done. ~1 Chronicles 16:8  ✝

1248. I am forced to conclude that God made Texas on his day off, for pure entertainment, just to prove that all that diversity could be crammed into one section of earth… ~Author Mary Lasswell

The stars at night – are big and bright
Deep in the heart of Texas.
The prairie sky – is wide and high
Deep in the heart of Texas.
The sage in bloom – is like perfume
Deep in the heart of Texas…
~Excerpted lyrics from a song
by June Hershey

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Texas is a state of mind. Texas is an obsession.
Above all, Texas is a nation in every sense of the word.
Like most passionate nations, Texas has 
its own
history based on, but not limited by, facts.
~John Steinbeck

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I have said that Texas is a state of mind, but I think it is more than that. It is a mystique closely approximating a religion. And this is true to the extent that people either passionately love Texas or passionately hate it and, as in other religions, few people dare to inspect it for fear of losing their bearings in mystery or paradox. But I think there will be little quarrel with my feeling that Texas is one thing. For all its enormous range of space, climate, and physical appearance, and for all the internal squabbles, contentions, and strivings, Texas has a tight cohesiveness perhaps stronger than any other section of America. Rich, poor, Panhandle, Gulf, city, country, Texas is the obsession, the proper study and the passionate possession of all Texans. ~John Steinbeck, 1962

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And, “Texans for the most part have never learned to be dull,” accurately quipped Randolph Campbell.

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As I’ve said repeatedly the intense heat of the Texas summer has always been difficult for me to tolerate. It forces me to stay indoors much more than I like, and being separated from the earth and God’s voice in the natural world starves my spirit. However, I have come to love much of the unique Texas experience, and I am thankful that the Lord created the man or woman who invented air-conditioning. I’m grateful too that our house has lots of windows so I can at least see my yard during times when it’s just too miserably hot to be out in it.. Also after I bought a digital camera, I’m able to save the garden’s glory in photographs that help me make it through the times when the summer heat temporarily robs the landscape of much of its beauty. How blessed are we that the work of His hands is as apparent as ever in His world.

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 4:19 ✝

**Images found on the Internet, Pinterest, and Pixabay; collages by Natalie

 

975. Rain, I can hear you making small holes in the silence. The many notes of falling rain are all in tune. ~Unknown

Grey clouds flowing overhead
Dead silence across the rolling hills
Misting haze hovering over the grass
Water dripping from leaf to leaf
Speckling pavement like splattered ink
Soft knocking at your door
Feel it, taste it on your lips
Rain…
~Sarah Mariah

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The only thing I love more
than a day of rain
is a night of rain,
a warm, colourless rain
that paints itself upon me
in long melodic lines.
~Edited excerpt from a poem by
Stephanie Rachel Seely

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Walked for half an hour in the garden. A fine rain was falling, and the landscape was that of autumn. The sky was hung with various shades of gray, and mists hovered in the distance – a melancholy nature.  The leaves were falling on all sides like the last illusions of youth under the tears of irremediable grief. A brood of chattering birds were chasing each other through the shrubberies, and playing games among the branches, like a knot of hiding schoolboys. Every landscape is, as it were, a state of the soul, and whoever penetrates into both is astonished to find how much likeness there is in each detail. ~Edited excerpt from Henri Frédéric Amiel

May he(Solomon) be like rain falling on a mown field, like showers watering the earth. Praise be to His(God) glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen and amen. ~Psalm 72:6, 19  ✝

**All images via Pinterest

821. I am following Nature without being able to grasp her. ~Claude Monet

I perhaps owe having
become a painter to flowers. ~Claude Monet

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For me, a landscape does not exist in its own right,
since its appearance changes at every moment;
but the surrounding atmosphere brings it to life –
the light and the air which vary continually.
For me, it is only the surrounding atmosphere
which gives subjects their true value.
~Claude Monet

My favorite artist has always been Claude Monet who was the founder of French Impressionist painting. And so while we were in Paris, we took a bus tour to Giverny where in 1890 the artist  bought a house and land. Later he added a greenhouse and a second studio. The artist remained the architect of his massive gardens at Giverny even after he hired seven gardeners to whom he wrote daily instructions, precise designs and layouts for the plantings, and invoices for his floral purchases. Then in 1893, he purchased additional land with a water meadow and began a vast landscaping project which included lily ponds and a Japanese bridge, subjects of his best known works. Although, I expected his gardens to be gorgeous, that doesn’t even begin to describe what could well have been a model of the original Garden of Eden or what Heaven might look like. So over the next few days, I want to share with you some of the things I saw that day. Enjoy!

Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. ~Genesis 2:8  ✝

811. A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song. ~Chinese Proverb

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In order to see birds,
it is necessary to become
part of the silence.
~Robert Lynd

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Birds are a miracle
because they prove to us
there is a finer,
simpler state of being
which we may attain.
~Doug Coupland

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You have to believe in happiness,
or happiness never comes…
Ah, that’s the reason a bird can sing –
On its darkest day he believes in Spring.
~Douglas Malloch

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There is nothing in which the birds
differ more from man than the
way in which they can build and yet
leave a landscape as it was before.
~Robert Lynd

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He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. ~Psalm 91:4   ✝

**Images via Pinterest