1329. Life is a series of little deaths out of which life always returns. ~Charles Feidelson, Jr.

Every gardener knows that under the cloak of winter
lies a miracle … a seed waiting to sprout, a bulb
opening to the light, a bud straining to unfurl.  ~
Barbara Winkler

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Skies were gray early today, and it was cold, decidedly cold. Bare tree branches filigreed the heavens in brown lacy patterns, and up high in one of them, a neighbor’s pecan tree, I spotted a leafy squirrel’s nest. And as on other occasions I pondered how warm it could truly up there be as well as how the fragile looking nest manages to hold together in gusty north winds. However despite my lack of understanding about that, it simply adds yet another piece to my awareness of ordained purposes for fallen autumnal leaves. Not only are they used appaarently as nest building materials but they also protect and enrich the soil, provide nurseries for butterfly larvae/pupae, overwintering habitats for queen bumblebees and other beneficial insects and microbes as well as affording animals like frogs and salamanders places to hunt and hide, offering food for ground-feeding birds, and doing beneficially good things for the soil. That’s why nature’s tutelage never fails to reveal great insights into God’s heart and His grand plan in Creation. For who but a loving Father would not only create life but also build in ways to keep it nurtured and healthy. ‘Tis this that speaks emphatically of Divine design and what keeps me from seeing any validity whatsoever in a “bang bang” theory or the idea that “good or vibes” of fortune just randomly float in and around our lives from somewhere up above in the cosmos. Even if one were to believe that an ancient concentration of energy and matter expanded and exploded at some point in time to create the building blocks of the universe and life and matter as we know it, that still doesn’t explain where, how, and by what hand/means the concentration of such was in existence and/or from where and how “good or bad vibes” emanate. Everything in nature speaks of rhyme and reason, and that can’t be as easily explained away as it being irrelevant or it being written off to obscurity and anonymity. The past and the natural world yet and eternally whisper of a holy Creator!

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. ~Genesis 1:1  ✝

**Photo by Natalie

1255. I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders. ~Henry David Thoreau

The anthropologists are busy, indeed,
and ready to transport us back into the
savage forest where all human things…
have their beginnings; but the seed
never explains the flower.
~Edith Hamilton

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Okay, here I go to try to convince old Mr. Thoreau that I have a seed there so he can be prepared to expect wonders. In the collage on the left one can see two kinds of rain lilies. Once these lilies finished blooming each flower was replaced by a green, 3 faceted seed pod like the one next to the upper group of lilies. Then below that he or she can see that the pod eventually began to show touches of brown. Moving on, if one looks at the upper right photo he/she can see that the seed casing continued to turn more and more brown until eventually, as in the next photo, the brown facets, one by one, split open to expose the “black gold” hiding inside. Finally in the very last photo the seed pod can be seen split wide open, ready to spill its wonders onto the soil below. And what do I have to do in all this process so that I have more rain lilies to show for it. Nothing, nada, zip, zilch! With absolutely no help from me those seeds will sprout up right where they fall! In fact if I don’t want anymore rain lilies in that area, it behooves me to capture them before they fall so I can take them to work their “black” magic elsewhere. Pretty darned cool, huh?! Downright miraculous, if you ask me!

Two years ago, I was saying as I planted seeds
in the garden, “I must believe in these seeds,
that they’ll fall onto the earth and grow into
flowers and radishes and beans.” It is a miracle
to me because I do not understand it. And
the fact that they use glib technical phrases to
explain it does doesn’t make it any less a miracle.
Then why shouldn’t we accept God’s miracles?
~Edited quote by Dorothy Day

He(God) performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted. ~Job 5:9 ✝

**All photos taken by me in my yard; collage created by me

1217. There is nothing better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve. ~Malcolm X

At last, you will not be remembered for
roaming the earth as a non-entity,
but by every word, and every miracle,
and every love, and every seed that ever came
from the innermost part of your heart.
~Michael Bassey Johnson

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Every day I read blog post after blog post filled with litanies of “somebody done me wrong” songs, and I know that pain and loss are real and deep, unwarranted and regrettable, heartbreaking and devastating. And although I can’t walk that proverbial mile in the shoes of these bloggers, they need to know that we’ve all been there and done that. But ya know, there comes a time when one must let the past go and move on. My guess is if I handed any of them a burning hot potato that I’d just taken out of the oven, they would put the darn thing down before it did any serious damage to their hand. And so why is it that any of them or us hold on to toxic, past suffering, letting it “burn” us over and over again, day in and day out! Why do we give hateful, hurtful people that kind of power over our lives? Isn’t it like dragging dead bodies around with us wherever we go-weighty, stinking, rotting corpses with no life left in them? Why do we do that? Is it because we think nothing good or anyone loving will ever come along again? Oh my gosh, if nature were like that, life on planet earth would have ended eons ago. Like everything else God created we are full of seeds and possibilities, but the seeds must first be sown and then nurtured before the possibilities become evident, not unlike those minuscule green shoots that push up from the darkness of the soil to the light. And that sowing process can’t be done by whining and wallowing around in the stench of those carcasses we’re hanging on to. It can only be done when disappointments and heartbreaks are finally thrown onto a compost heap to become fodder for new growth and the seeds are thrown out to germinate! And no, it’s not that I’ve lived a sheltered, privileged life devoid of heartache that I can say these things for I’ve known bitter loss; I live with chronic pain; I’ve dealt with defeat; and I’ve experienced utter despair; but I’ve also known enough of joy and happiness and miracles not to let that which has tried to break me define who and what I am and/or steal another millisecond of what life is left in these old bones. Walking away is a choice; letting go is a choice; setting ourselves free from harmful people and things is a choice, and only we can make those choices. So grieve a while, sing your sad songs, write your sad stories and poems, and then pick yourself up, dust your fanny off from the fall, stand bravely tall, and declare to life and the world that you cannot, will not be subdued or diminished by others or the past. Then walk away with songs of hope in your words, and never, ever look back.

He(the Lord) heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. ~Psalm 147:3  ✝

**Images via Pinterest; text box added to altered and edited images I created; collage by Natalie too

1203. She savors each bite: the meringue is perfect crispy brown on top, melts in the mouth; the lemon tart, custardy; the crust breaks away. ~A.M. Homes

A Lemon
Out of lemon flowers
loosed on the moonlight,
love’s lashed and insatiable
essences, sodden with fragrance,
the lemon tree’s yellow emerges,
the lemons move down
from the tree’s planetarium

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Delicate merchandise!
The harbors are big with it-
bazaars for the light
and the barbarous gold.
We open the halves
of a miracle, and
a clotting of acids
brims into the starry
divisions: Creation’s
original juices, irreducible,
changeless, alive:
so the freshness lives
on in a lemon, in the sweet-smelling
house of the rind, the proportions,
arcane and acerb.

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Cutting the lemon the knife
leaves a little cathedral:
alcoves unguessed by the eye
that open acidulous glass
to the light; topazes
riding the droplets, altars,
aromatic facades.

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So, while the hand
holds the cut of the lemon,
half a world on a trencher,
the gold of the universe
wells to your touch:
a cup yellow with miracles,
a breast and a nipple
perfuming the earth;
a flashing made fruitage,
the diminutive fire of a planet.
~Pablo Neruda

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What is it about lemons that go so well with summer? The taste, yet tart, if mixed with sugar or honey is incredibly refreshing on a hot summer’s day, is it not?! It’s almost as if it has a way of taking the bite out of the heat as we eat or drink its “golden, barbarous” juices in pies or cakes or cookies or lemonade or whatever concoction one chooses. My encounter with a lemony delight came at lunch today as the restaurant’s dessert for the day was lemon meringue pie. It hadn’t been out of the oven long and was still warm when the waitress brought it to the table. And oh my gosh, was it to die for, as they say! Even now 3 hours later, the luscious taste and aroma of the yellow “miracle” that is a lemon has faded not.

…come, south wind! Blow on my garden, that its fragrance may spread everywhere. Let my beloved come into his garden and taste its choice fruits. ~Excerpt from Song of Songs 4:16  ✝

**All images via Pinterest; collages by Natalie

1180. Light-enchanted sunflower, thou who gazest ever true and tender on the sun’s revolving splendour. ~Pedro Calderon de la Barca

Ah, sunflower, weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the sun,
Seeking after that sweet golden clime…
~William Blake

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An errant seed was she left to lie
not by I but unknown circumstance
throughout winter, dark and deep,
and there it was she marked the time
until days lengthened and they warmed.
But who knows the when or how soon of
an ordained and sacred thing which must
come together at an exacting moment in time
to spark a miracle in and of earth’s soil
wherein roots shoot down and a stem
with a pair of leaves rises unto the light.
However that it did as spring rains came.
Up and up advanced the thickening,
woody stem with more and more of the
sunflower’s green, heart-shaped leaves
until one day a bud appeared on top
with frilly green whorls of bracts that
cradled the flower’s golden splendor inside.
Soon the time was right for the bud to
turn and face the sun so that petal by petal
its heart of emerald green could exposed.
And then surrounded by a yellowy halo
the gaudy sunflower reigned on high for days
and days above the garden fair but alas time
that in the end swallows up all things has
bowed her noble head in fading glory.

From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised. ~Psalm 113:3  ✝

**This is the same sunflower that I’ve be showing as she went from bud to flower and now to fading glory.

1172. The word “miracle” aptly describes a seed. ~Jack Kramer

From one seed a whole handful:
that was what it meant to say
the bounty of the earth.”
~J. M. Coetzee

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What do you see in this photo? Obviously it’s a plant of some kind, but that’s not what I see when I look at it nor is it the true import of the image. Okay, so what more, you might ask, is there to see? Well, first I see a miracle, then I see God’s grace, next I see beauteous splendor, and finally I see a divine promise. Really, all that, in a nondescript, green cup-like object? Indeed I do! This large sunflower obviously has yet to open; nevertheless and even though the flower is not visible, I see great beauty in the fringed “cup” that’s holding what I know to be a stunning yellow sunflower. I also see great promise in it for I know that when the sunflower does emerge and mature, it will proffer an enormous amount of seeds which will not only guarantee ever-lasting continuance but also provide food to sustain living beings. The miracle in it is three-fold: 1.) it came forth from a small black particle buried beneath dirt, pain old, ordinary dirt, 2.) it’s growing in my garden although I did not sow it there, and 3.) it has not only survived neglect and lack but it has also thrived and grown to a height of six feet. As for grace, God’s amazing grace was promised us countless eons ago and this plant is just one more wondrous proof of life that He was and is still the faithful Steward of all that He has made.

Not all things are blest, but
the seeds of all things are blest.
The blessing is in the seed.
~Muriel Rukeyser

Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. ~Genesis 9:11  ✝

1168. To me, every hour of the day and night is an unspeakably perfect miracle. ~Walt Whitman

I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day,
a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic
waiting somewhere behind the morning.
~J. B. Priestley

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I have a recliner opposite my patio doors, and the doors are wide enough to afford a great view of a sizable portion of our yard and its flower beds. When I first get up in the morning, I enjoy sitting for a while in my chair watching the sun come up and the birds begin their daily activities. In the top photo above you can see a portion of a patio chair, part of the flower bed near the patio, part of another flower bed by Natalieworld, and about a third of the island bed that’s between me and the back fence. It was started decades ago before the removal of a large stand of bamboo that was behind it and the subsequent development of a new flower bed that now runs along the fence. Thus that back bed has become a sort of secret garden since you can’t see much of it until you walk around the island bed along the path near my neighbor’s fence on the north or the path that runs along the north side of the greenhouse. So it’s always fun to see what I’ll find when I finally get up and out to go look for what’s new back there on any given day. That back bed, anchored by a purple red bud tree that I’ve watched come up from a volunteer seedling, is where I threw out lots and lots of different kinds of seeds last fall. As spring advanced first came the poppies, the larkspur, the cornflowers, and the ragged ladies, and now the coneflowers, monarda, hollyhock, allium, daylilies, and a few sunflowers are blooming there currently. Also I have several kinds of vines beginning to climb on the chain link fence back there, and so soon I’ll have a host of morning glories, moonflowers, and coral vine flowers. So it is that a garden is more of a moveable feast than a static thing and when people ask what I have growing, it really depends on the week or the month. And I think that’s what I love most about it. But then there are the transitional times when not too much of anything at all is blooming.

If you really want to draw close to your garden,
you must remember first of all that you are
dealing with a being that lives and dies;
like the human body, with its poor flesh.
One cannot always see it dressed up
for a ball, manicured and immaculate.
~Fernand Lequenne

How priceless is your unfailing love, O God. People take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights.~Psalm 36:7-8  ✝