1446. Beauty is a nectar which intoxicates the soul. ~T.C. Henley

Beauty unites all things,
links together flower and star,
with chains more certain than
those of reason.
~Henry James Slack

Screen Shot 2018-03-11 at 6.34.18 PM.png

One spring years ago when the flowering trees were in bloom, we came across one of the most beautiful specimens I’d ever seen. I hadn’t a clue as to what kind of tree it was, but I knew I had to have one of my own one day. Thus began the search, a search as it turned out that was not so easy. First I had to find out what the name of the tree was, and once I found that out I discovered that none of the local nurseries had even heard of it before much less had one for sale. So I went online and found a few mail order places that had them. They were fairly expensive but I knew I’d never be happy until one grew here.

Screen Shot 2018-03-11 at 4.52.40 PM

One spring years ago when the flowering trees were in bloom, we came across one of the most beautiful specimens I’d ever seen. I hadn’t a clue as to what kind of tree it was, but I knew I had to have one of my own one day. Thus began the search, a search as it turned out that was not so easy. First I had to find out what the name of it was, and once I found that out I discovered that none of the local nurseries had even heard of it before much less had one for sale. So I went online and found a few mail order places that had them. They were fairly expensive but I knew I’d never be happy until I had one of my own.

Screen Shot 2018-03-11 at 4.49.29 PM

Then another year or two went by and I finally found one at a nursery in a small town close to where we live. It was autumn and the leaves were falling off but you could tell it was alive so we bought it and all winter my hopes ran high that come spring I would at last have my ornamental Peppermint Peach Tree. As the temps began to rise, I’d go out every day looking for signs of life only to find none and eventual heartbreak once again.

Screen Shot 2018-03-11 at 4.49.51 PM

So I told myself it just wasn’t meant to be and moved on until last spring when I saw another one in full bloom again. As soon as I got home I got online to try one more time to find one, and I did. It came on a late and cold wintry day which was not a good time to get out and plant it. It was packed in ice to keep it alive until we didn’t have to plant it immediately, so it lived like that for nearly a week until at last we could finally get out and get it in the ground. And then the waiting game began again. Every day I would make my little trek out to the back fence where we had planted it to see if anything was happening and sure enough green leaf swellings began to appear and what looked like a few blossoms too. Some of the little flowers are white, some are white with red stripes, and some are just red, and it’s all one one tree, thus the name, Flowering Peppermint Peach Tree.

Screen Shot 2018-03-11 at 4.47.08 PM

A week later, we had a late freeze and I feared the worst, but although the little blossom swellings fell off the green leaves did not and so all summer the little baby tree was filled with the sweet music of many leaves and I made sure it was watered well. Then autumn followed by winter came and the leaves vanished. Nevertheless, I waited with great faith that this, the third try, would prove fruitful and praise the Lord and hallelujah it did! I know, I know, it’s just a tree right?! And many would think me silly and that such really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, but you see it truly does. It reminds me that God is still in His heaven and all’s right with the world!!! Mankind may be doing it’s best to destroy all that Yahweh made, but He, the Maker of heaven and earth, is still on the Throne of Grace and in control!

Screen Shot 2018-03-11 at 5.06.37 PM

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments. ~Deuteronomy 7:9 ✝

**All photos taken by Natalie; the first one is the tree when I first saw it years ago in another’s yard, and the remaining ones are what’s happening now in my yard on my own little tree

1410. Color is a power which directly influences the soul. ~Wassily Kandinsky

Of all God’s gifts to the sighted man,
color is the holiest,
the most divine, the most solemn.
-John Ruskin

Screen Shot 2017-10-07 at 3.49.27 PM.png

To the sighted man color is undeniably holy, but the sanctity of it goes deeper than the eye. Deep within the human soul I believe color is recognized as tidings from the Father of our world. There is also a holy melody meant for the ears. Pablo Picasso once asked, “Why do two colors, one put next to the other, sing?” He couldn’t explain it nor can I, but there are color combinations that compose the sweetest of tunes. Pink and blue is one of those duos, and together they sing a divine harmony reminiscent of sapphire skies filled with pink ribbons of light. And Richter, a soviet pianist, said, “Music is the poetry of the air,” and I couldn’t agree more because these colorful rhyming couplets fill the breath of my garden with prayer-like chants as well as with the holiness of their hues.

Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his splendor is above the earth and the heavens. ~Psalm 148:13  ✝

**Photos taken by Natalie; collage by Natalie

1408. The groves were God’s first temples. ~William Cullen Bryant

There is always Music amongst
the trees in the Garden, but our hearts
must be very quiet to hear it.
~Minnie Aumonier

Screen Shot 2017-10-03 at 9.25.48 PM.png

Who could have ever imagined that dying things would perish in such  beauty, that what once was vibrant and green and full of life and promise, would pass into a second state of glory filled with purpose. For this not the end of these dying beauties but the beginning of what will guarantee the return of the green tree and the flowers and the birds and the bees and on and on it goes. For like the food the green fruit tree puts upon our table, so does the dying leaf and bits of bark feed the soil beneath the trees’ canopies as well as the life that shelters beneath the warmth of autumn’s fallen debris. Autumn is simply the next step in the dance of life’s circling seasons.

“When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. Let God speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent.

A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one’s suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home. Every path leads homeward, every step is birth, every step is death…

So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is….That is happiness.” ~Author Unknown

Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy. ~Psalm 96:12 ✝

**Photos taken by Natalie; collage created by Natalie

1404. Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance. ~Carl Sandburg

The world is full of poetry.
The air is living with spirit; 
and
the waves dance to the music of its melodies,
and sparkle in its brightness
.
~James Gates Percival

Screen Shot 2017-09-28 at 5.53.13 PM.png

Sometime between the 8th and 9th grade in school, I decided that I didn’t like poetry at all and that I would never be a teacher, especially NOT an English teacher. All three pronouncements eventually became lies however as I spenr 31 years as a public school educator, half of which were spent teaching English. And I also came to truly love poetry. So I’ve questioned over the years the wisdom of teaching to young teenages works like the epic poem Beowulf, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, the longest poem ever written by Coleridge, and Poe’s The Raven which has been called an allegory or a work that falls into didacticism. It does seem to be a bit over the top for 13, 14, and 15 year olds even very intelligent ones, don’t you think? And how many others, like me, who, as a result of similar early encounters with such challenging pieces of literature, really began detesting poetry and subsequently never came into an appreciation of it? Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for challenging learners at any age, but there is just something about poetry, at least the kinds that I mentioned, that teenagers are not quite able to truly understand and/or appreciate. Of course there are a few who could or would maybe, but I’ve often thought that perhaps most, when faced with such daunting literary works, never learned to love poetry or find inspiration in it. Then there was the fact that back in the dark ages when I was in school, not only did we have to read those “thorny” poems, but we also had to memorize passages from them and eventually stand up in front of class and recite the lines for a grade. I don’t know about the rest of you, but that strikes terror in the hearts of many a student at that age including myself on occasion. However, now some 50+ decades later, I enjoy being able to yet quote some of those lines. In addition I love the genre of poetry, a large and growing number of poems, and the poets who crafted them, even if they are or were individuals who lived less than stellar or troubled lives. For example, I recently read The Raven for the first time in forever, and although Poe led a fairly sordid life filled with ordeals, I couldn’t help but be awestruck by the beauty and musicality of the poem as well as by the bits of great wisdom I found either in some of the lines themselves or between them. After all life has always been made up of “the good, the bad, and the ugly,” hasn’t it? So I’ve decided today to share a poem I like once a week in hopes that it will speak to you as many have spoken to me. After all we bloggers are writers of sorts and some are even poets so I think most of us appreciate the beauty of poetic words, rhyming or not. Thus I hope you enjoy poetic Wordy Wednesday postings in addition to pictographic Wordless Wednesday posts.

The Wishing Fish
BY THOMAS VORCE

What if you could be a trout
And splash and flip And flop about.
Amidst the river’s ripples you
Would catch sun shimmers
And renew the summer wind.
You’d stop to chat With trouty friends
And make amends.
Or discourse on the willow’s bend.
The gala of the water’s course,
Like laughter of a child,
Would run along your gullet
With the mystery of the wild.
And every wish you ever heard
Would be in chorus with the birds.
As palettes made of rainbows play,
You’d flap your fins
To greet the day.
Along the banks you’d rest at night
And fire flies like lamps would light
The glowing of the August Moon,
Where fish make wishes of their own
And all the best remains unknown.

The person without the Spirit does not accept things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. ~1 Corinthians 2:14 ✝

**Image found on Pinterest

 

1318. No wonder the hills and groves were God’s first temples… ~John Muir

The oaks and pines and their brethren of the wood,
have seen so many suns rise and set,
so many seasons come and go,
and so many generations pass into silence,
that they may well wonder what
“the story of the trees” would be to us
if they had tongues to tell it,
or if we had ears fine enough to understand.
-Author Unknown

Screen Shot 2016-12-10 at 6.45.24 PM.png

When one thinks about earth’s courts in such a way, he/she realizes that trees, like us, stand on hallowed ground, and so it’s not surprising that throughout the ages trees have been given deep and sacred meanings. By observing the growth and death of trees, the flexible nature of their branches, the annual reoccurrence of their foliage, humanity has seen trees as powerful symbols of growth, decay, and resurrection. Trees and their way of providing shade and shelter are adored by both wildlife and humanity alike, and the views afforded from their lofty heights are to be envied. Trees are more than simply the largest elements of the landscape or garden; over time they become like venerated companions that unfailingly stand by us throughout the seasons and storms of life. Given their size and the fact that they prevent soil erosion, provide weather-sheltered ecosystems in and under their leaves, play a vital role in the production of oxygen and the reduction of carbon dioxide, moderate ground temperatures, and produce orchard fruits, trees speak to us of the largesse and power of God.

Screen Shot 2016-12-10 at 6.36.48 PM.png

Soon and in a blaze of glory the trees bearing the leaves in my photos will be stripped of their foliage, but though barren and seemingly no more than a silent sentry where they stands, somewhere in their core their music will play on. Muir’s idea that the fibers of the tree’s being thrills “like harp strings” at all times is true and answers Walt Whitman’s inquiry, “Why are there trees I never walk under but large and melodious thoughts descend upon me?” The music of life plays on in all of Creation, and like God’s presence it is never absent from us. We may not always hear the music but the melodies are there. We may be absent from the Lord, but He is never absent from us. He can be found in the lights of the sky, the colors of earth, the warmth of the sun, in waters that flow, in the wind that can be felt but not seen, and in the boughs of mighty trees. In his Celtic Psalter J. Philip Newell uses the image of trees as a revelation of God’s presence, “Like light dappling through the leaves of a tree and wind stirring its branches, like birdsong sounding from the heights of an orchard and the scent of blossom after rainfall, so you dapple and sound in the human soul, so you stir into motion all that lives.” When our ears and eyes weren’t “fine enough to understand,” God sent us His son. As we follow the star to the manger in celebration of Christ’s birth in a few weeks, may the music in all that God has made be heard, acknowledged, and honored.

For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. -Luke 11:10  ✝

O come, O come Emmanuel!

1308. So she poured out the liquid music of her voice to quench the thirst of her spirit. ~Edited quote by Nathaniel Hawthorne

God respects me when I work;
but God loves me when I sing.
~Rabindranath Tagore

Screen Shot 2016-11-27 at 6.54.17 PM.png

Anything worth thinking about
is worth singing about.

Which is why we have songs of
praise, songs of love, songs of sorrow.

Songs the shepherds sing, on the lonely mountains,
while the sheep are honoring the grass, by eating it.

The dance-songs of the bees, to tell where the flowers,
suddenly, in the morning light, have opened.

A chorus of many, shouting to
heaven, or at it, or pleading.

Or that greatest of love affairs,
a violin and a human body.

And a composer,
maybe hundreds of years dead.

I think of Schubert, scribbling on
a café napkin. Thank you, thank you.

~Excerpted verses from a poem
by Mary Oliver

I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise You(God). ~Psalm 63:5 ✝

**Image via the Internet; special effects  done by me on iPiccy

1295. A writer lives, at best, in a state of astonishment. Beneah any feeling he has of the good or evil of the world lies a deeper one of wonder at it all. ~William Sansom

How can I stand on the ground
every day and not feel its power?
How can I live my life stepping on
this stuff and not wonder at it?
~William Bryant Logan

Screen Shot 2016-11-11 at 6.57.58 PM.png

The many gardens of the world,
of literature and poetry,
of painting and music,
of religion and architecture,
all make the point as clear as possible:
The soul cannot thrive in the absence of a garden.
~Thomas Moore

\Screen Shot 2016-11-11 at 6.08.31 PM.png

A garden is like the self.
It has so many layers
and winding paths,
real or imagined, that it
can never be known, completely,
even by the most intimate of friends.
~Anne Raver

Screen Shot 2016-11-11 at 6.20.35 PM.png

The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy. ~Psalm 65:8  ✝