330. The birds pour forth their souls in notes, of rapture from a thousand throats. ~William Wordsworth

Happier of happy though I be, like them
I cannot take possession of the sky,
Mount with a thoughtless impulse and wheel there
One of a mighty multitude, whose way
And motion is a harmony and dance
Magnificent…
~William Wordsworth

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A few weeks ago much of the ground in my garden was bare and seemingly bereft of life; now growing things are exploding from every plot, nook, and cranny. Even things I didn’t sow or plant are coming forth thanks to the winter winds and birds who sowed seeds for me. The bird population, as it does every spring, has swelled as well; the air is filled with the fluttering of wings, the building of nests, and joyful birdsongs. And what sweet melodies the birds sing for mankind! It does indeed seem that they “pour forth their souls in notes, of rapture from a thousand throats.” And as I listen, I find myself wondering how many birds have sung these same songs since the beginning of time. The number would probably stagger my imagination, but whatever it is would be more than enough to remind me that each of us is here with as much of a Divine purpose as they. Why, might one ask does their singing bring that thought to mind? It’s something that occurred to me long ago when I read, “A bird doesn’t sing because it has a reason. It sings because it has a song.” So now that thought always reminds me that every one of us has a voice, a “song” of some kind that’s capable, like the birds, of bringing a joyful noise into the world both for the Lord and for those mortals in need of hearing one.

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. ~Psalm 98:4 ✝

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!

**Image via Pinterest

323. Nature inanimate employs sweet sounds, but animated nature sweeter still, to soothe and satisfy the human ear. ~William Cowper

There’s music in the sighing of a reed;
There’s music in the gushing of a rill;
There’s music in all things, if men had ears;
Their earth is but an echo of the spheres.
~Lord Byron

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The wings of spring have taken flight in the feisty winds of March. In so doing they have lifted Columbine’s curving, knob-tipped spurs on fanciful flights. Spilling down from deep in the throats of the yellow, flowering “bells” are stunning filaments and anthers which are like tiny, musical tongues issuing forth sweet, golden proclamations. Winter, as inanimate as it seems, has a lyrical sound, but the sounds of spring as the earth reanimates itself are far richer and more honeyed. They along with the other silvery sounds of spring are soft-hearted and serene in the beginning; however, as spring grows long in the tooth and summer approaches, the arias reach almost deafening crescendos. Then after the solstice passes, summer moves along to a steady, hot latino beat until autumn comes again and tones down earth’s rhythms with ripe, mellower tones. We, mortals, may never understand the what and where of earth’s magic and music, but that certainly can’t stop us from enjoying it nor from adoring the mysteries of the music’s Maker.  Lest one believe that it is only poets, writers, and musicians who hear the music of the natural world, let me say that it was Giuseppe Mazzini, an influential Italian political thinker, who said, “Music is the harmonious voice of Creation, and echo of the invisible world.”  I believe the love of music comes from the Lord because He gave birds their songs, and also those who love and compose music are created in God’s image.

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Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent. ~Victor Hugo

Praise the Lord with the harp; make music to Him on the ten-stringed lyre. Psalm 33:2 ✝

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you save, you heal, you restore, and you reveal Your Father’s heart to us!

318. Water is the driver of nature. ~Leonardo da Vinci

Be praised, My Lord,
through Sister Water;
she is very useful,
and humble,
and precious,
and pure.
~St. Francis of Assisi

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The sight of water, be it in a pond, a river, the sea, a fountain, or even a drop from a spigot touches something deep in “the temple of my inner being.” I love to sit quietly and watch water fall or splash or ripple or break like the waves on a seashore. And if I peer down long enough into the mysterious depths of a body of water, my mind conjures up images of earth’s origins, and subsequently the Garden of Eden comes alive in my soul’s eye. Even gauzy reflections which quiver and quake in a puddle or body of water seem to possess a captivating life, a compelling story, a gripping sanctity of their own.

Although I know not where it rests in the human psyche, I believe somewhere therein mortals recognize familiar things not necessarily of this world, things they appear to know without human tutelage or logic’s reason. In the same way a child instinctively recognizes its biological mother even after the umbilical cord is severed, I believe we, who are temporarily separated from the Holy Source of our being, retain a sense of the Father’s parenting presence because we belong to the Lord and are inextricably a part of Him. It could be that’s why earth and its waters not only call to me but also comfort me.

…by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. ~2 Peter 3:5  ✝

Thank you, Jesus, that you save, you heal, you restore, and you reveal Your Father’s heart to us!

**Photo via Pinterest

299. Last weekend, there came a bitter cold snap, which did great damage to my garden…It is sad that Nature plays such tricks on us poor mortals, inviting us with sunny smiles to confide in her, and then, when we are entirely within her power, striking us to the heart. ~Edited and adapted excerpt from Nathaniel Hawthorne

Who loves a garden
Finds within his soul
Life’s whole,
He hears the anthem of the soil
While ingrates toil;
And sees beyond his little sphere
The waving fronds of heaven, clear.
~Louise Seymour Jones

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I’ve been trying to figure out today what it is about a garden that is so seductive and irresistible for me, but I’m still no closer to an answer than when I’ve pondered it before.  I just know that something in nature calls to me and touches me on a deep level, brings glad music to my heart, and feeds “life’s whole” within my soul.  That’s why the losses due to last weekend’s dirty “trick” have struck a grievous blow to my heart which in turn has sent me sinking down, down, down into what one writer has called winter’s “vale of grief.”  Normally I can shake things off pretty quickly, but in addition to that casualty the arthritis in my left knee and left foot have me hobbling around on a cane, unable to get outside and do things that need to be done in the garden, and that’s creating a bluer than blue, bluish “funk.”  Now after spending way too much time inside, stationary and feeling a bit sorry for myself, I’m STARVED!!!  Like a junkie, I need my “fix.”  I need to hear the “anthem of the soil.”  Moreover, I need to touch the earth and dig in the dirt.  I need to feel Eden’s beating heart, her rhythms.  I need to hear the birds singing over my head.  I need color.  I need to see things growing and to look upon flowery faces, even a wretched dandelion would do.  I need to feel the sun’s warmth on my back.  And as much as anything else I need to feel God’s palpable presence in my tiny corner of His sanctum sanctorum.

Alas, sadly, I’m afraid it will be sometime before all those needs are met.  So I dug around on Pinterest board’s trying to find the kinds of images that typically draw me into a garden’s web of magic and glory.  Since I have no way of knowing when Old Man Winter will return to his arctic cave nor when my body will stop betraying me, they and a a little garden poetry will have to suffice.

From there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find him if you search after him with all your heart and soul.  ~Deuteronomy 4:29   ✝

292. The force of Spring – mysterious, fecund, powerful beyond measure. ~Michael Garofalo

Come, fill the cup, and in the fire of Spring
The Winter garment of repentance fling;
The bird of time has but a little way
To fly — and Lo! the bird is on the wing.
~Omar Khayyám

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In the rising of the morning sun God speaks to us of grace and new beginnings, and the fertility of the earth is a sign of how life wells up from within, from the dark unknown place of God.  ~J. Philip Newell

Come and see what God has done: He is awesome in his deeds among mortals.  ~Psalm 65:5   ✝

273. The man who has planted a garden feels that he has done something for the good of the whole world. ~Vita Sackville-West

The most noteworthy thing about gardeners
is that they are optimistic, always enterprising, and never satisfied.
They always look forward to doing something better
than they have ever done before.
~Vita Sackville-West

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During World War I and World War II, victory gardens were planted at private residences and public parks in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Germany.  Vegetables, fruits, and herbs were grown to reduce the pressure on the public food supply brought on by the war efforts.  Not only did these gardens indirectly aid in the war efforts, but they were also considered civil “morale boosters.”  By planting them, gardeners felt empowered by their contribution of labor and rewarded by the produce they grew.  As a result victory gardens became a part of daily life on the home front.

Amos Bronson Alcott said, “Who loves a garden still his Eden keeps, perennial pleasures plants, and wholesome harvests reaps.”  Can you imagine what it must have been like to stand in Eden? And to listen for the Lord as He walked in the cool of the day?  There are times when I’m in my garden that I get a sense of the incredible thrill that must have been.  The perennial pleasures of my garden plant a rightness in my days and a comfortable feeling of harmony in my spirit.  And the wholesome harvests I reap are not just the fruits, the flowers, and the beauty all around me but also the peace it brings and the times when the deep sanctity of it touches my soul where the Lord is planting and digging for harvests of His own.

There is nothing better for mortals than to eat and drink, and find enjoyment in their toil.  This also, I saw, is from the hand of God; for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment.  ~Ecclesiastes 2:24-25  ✝

264. Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence. ~Erich Fromm

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Sometimes we write love in small letters-
Spreading the butter on his toast or
Wiping down the kitchen counter dabbed with
Peanut butter and jelly…

Love is often dangling on a clothesline
And snatching a peek at a sleeping face;
It is the giving up and giving in
To another’s want with joy…

Blowing, kissing and holding tight is
Love’s voice upon a sore finger, a wrinkled
Cheek, a weary shoulder than saunters at
Days end hopelessly…

Minutes are just as vital in love’s scaling
Upward climb to perfection, the afternoons
Picking strawberries and the morning
Prayer that’s an alloy…

Write love, in capital or small, it doesn’t matter–
Pen it with every touch; add it to tuna casseroles
And let it water down every heartache at
Your midnight soliloquies

But compose it…
Jot it down
and engrave it without restraint!
Dirty your hands in it
and clean a soul with
It…
Like the only work you’ve employed.
~Deborah Jeanne Avila

If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love,  I am a noisy gong or clanging symbol.   And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing…  ~1 Corinthians 13  ✝