190. Listen! the wind is rising, and the air is wild with leaves… ~Humbert Wolfe

Yet one smile more, departing, distant sun!
One mellow smile through the soft vapory air. . .
Yet a few sunny days, in which the bee
Shall murmur by the hedge that skirts the way,
The cricket chirp upon the russet lea,
And man delight to linger in thy ray.
Yet one rich smile, and we will try to bear
The piercing winter frost, and winds, and darkened air.
~William Cullen Bryant

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What a season of contrasts autumn is!  Many of its striking contradistinctions and “mellow smiles” can be seen on a single day, and yesterday was a fascinating example of Fall’s many faces.  Early in the morning the sky was a clear, brilliant blue, and as I wandered the yard I found a butterfly prettily perched on the leaves of a climbing rose.  Then the winds picked up and threatening clouds blew in.  About 30 minutes later, a narrow band of rain clouds passed over us leaving not a single drop, however, in their wake.  Afterwards the sun sat smiling again in the sapphire sky, but it was streaked with a few bands of Cirrus clouds.  Not too long after that the stormy/clear scenario repeated itself.  Finally late in the afternoon a blustery wind blew down like rain more of the yellow leaves off the willow tree as it chased the sun away for good.  What had been an almost balmy day in the mid-70‘s had rapidly changed, and the bite of the chilling north wind stung my unsuitably-clad body when I went out to unplug the fountain and close up the greenhouse.

He(God) wraps us the waters in his clouds, yet the clouds do not burst under their weight.  ~Job 26:8  ✝

188. We have not wings; we cannot soar; but, we have feet to scale and climb, by slow degrees, by more and more, the cloudy summits of our time. ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up…to more than I can be.
~Josh Groban, American singer and songwriter

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There is a peacefulness in a gray, cloudy day.  The air, normally charged with energy from the sun, loses its intensity and floats lightly on the gentle wings of tranquil contentment.  Noises are quieter and more mellow under lowering, billowy clouds not angry with the fury of storms.  My steps are slower, less urgent, as I move on the footpaths of the routine daily tasks before me.  Pushing up from deep within a still, small voice, often neglected, is more audible in the day’s silences.  It speaks of matters of the heart and the spirit, never of worldly affairs, nor greed, nor lust, nor gain in this world of men and madness.  Instead the voice nudges me to be in active pursuit of His plans for my life, not in the grand designs of my own folly.  It tries to keep me from complacency hiding under the guise of ignorance and brings light into dark places where I’m to face bigger issues that I often would rather ignore because it’s so much easier to do so.  The voice is not, however, a judgmental one; it is instead an encouraging, affirming agent that lifts me up on high, sacred ground.

“And after the earthquake, a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.”  1 Kings 19:12  ✝