1080. Come, gentle Spring!  Ethereal Mildness!  Come. ~James Thomson 

O the green things growing, the green things growing,
The faint sweet smell of the green things growing!
I should like to live, whether I smile or grieve,
Just to watch the happy life of my green things growing.
~Dinah Maria Mulock Craik

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But, but, but, it’s just way to early for spring’s “ethereal madness” and the green things growing. The day after my knee surgery at the end of February last year, it snowed and then three days later when I came home from the hospital it snowed again. Our last average freeze date isn’t until March 15th, and there have been times when a hard, late freeze or an ice/snow event have occurred even as late as April 1st. So what’s up with this crazy weather? I love springtime and I’m always thrilled when it arrives, but this is just too soon for it to come. Thank goodness I got started earlier than usual on cleaning up and weeding the beds because we virtually had no winter to speak of. Also I’d already gotten the roses pruned and ready to go. But then since roses are supposed to be fed when they are leafed out and most of mine are almost leafed out already, what do I do now? If I go ahead and feed them, they’ll really get going, and a late freeze could kill all the new growth and set them way back. I’m also concerned about the ducks that winter at our neighborhood pond since I noticed last week that they’ve left already. It’s too early for that too. They could end up getting their little derriere’s frozen off by returning too soon to their northern homes because Old Man Winter and Jack Frost may have high-tailed it out of Texas, but that doesn’t mean they’ve closed up shop elsewhere.

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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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Spring’s cup is indeed being filled regardless of the date and time, and it’s fire has begun to fling off winter’s garments. As well the bird is on the wing. I know this because I’ve been watching them for at least a week or two refurbishing birdhouses or feathering nests. So it looks like I’m going to need to pray for their sake and for sake of all the green things growing that winter doesn’t come back for a last hurrah!

See! The winter is past… ~Excerpt from Song of Songs 2:11  ✝

563. Mournful singer of dawn and dusk I hear well your song. ~Author Unknown

And now November rains erode the nests
That mourning doves assembled in the gardens
From where their mild and wind-warm coos caressed
My ear, to quiet earth that cools and hardens
~Edward Alan Bartholomew

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As I worked in the yard today, a mourning dove somewhere above my head sang her sad, sad tune in the dwindling hours of the late November day. Although I could hear her long before I could see her, eventually I spied her and her soft, pinkish underbelly on the high wire where she sat in an intermittent reverie between her sorrowful cries. Perplexed by her pleas I sat pondering the meaning of the doleful melodies. Why does she cry I wondered? Does she lament the closing of the day and the dark, moonless night that lies ahead? Have her children come and gone too soon? Where is her lover that he might console her? Is she hungry? Is she frightened? Surely she doesn’t lament the regrettable affairs of men. Then I noticed that the stone rabbit with the upright ears seemed to be pondering her despair as well. Again I mulled over what the cause of her woe might be. The weather and the garden, though not perfect this time of year, should be no cause for such sorrowful sounds. Other birds had for sure been chattering gleefully which made her cries and lamentations even more pitiful. Cooah, coo, coo, coo she’d called over and over again as the day wound down, and then suddenly just before all light was gone her melancholy voice vanished. And then it occurred to me that perhaps her haunting, soulful sounds were simply songs of praise for another day of living and it was time to rest her weary wings.

I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.” ~Psalm 55:6   ✝

** Image via Pinterest

441. Bees do have smell, you know, and if they don’t they should, for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers. ~Ray Bradbury

The first week of August
hangs at the top of summer,
the top of the live-long year,
like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel
when it pauses turning.
The weeks that come before
are only a climb from balmy spring,
and those that follow 
a drop to the chill of autumn,
but August is motionless and hot.
~Natalie Babbit

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Months have passed since the jasmine climbed, the wisteria dangled, the snapdragons snapped, the poppies popped, and the birds obeyed spring’s pressing summons to build nests and procreate. Then after the summer solstice came and summer’s fires were stoked, the feverfew grew feverish, the pink loose-strife broke loose, the inland sea oats set sail on an ocean of green along the fence, and Columbine’s dove-like clusters turned brown, split open and spilled their bits of black seed bounty upon the ground. And whilst all this blooming was going on, the divine music of life that reached glorious crescendos in April grew more mellow in May, perkily sassy in June, and feverishly sultry in July. Two days hence from now, it would normally fall into a low, oppressed hum as August opens the doors to the boiler room, but strangely enough we are and will be for the next week experiencing some cooler than usual days. Though curious about the reason for such a blessing, I’ve learned never “to look a gift horse in the mouth.” The bees busily gathering nectar may grumble somewhat at this interloping gardener who sometimes stays too long in their domain or who moves to close in proximity to their pollen-rich environments such as the Texas Star Hibiscus in the photo, but grumble I shall not because normally this time of year we’re looking at the possibility of a record setting number of triple-digit-high days, days way, way too hot to enjoy even briefly being outside.

I cared for you in the wilderness, in the land of burning heat. ~Hosea 13:5   ✝

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! Like Saint Hildegard Lord, may I too be a feather on your holy breath and spread, like seeds, the gospel abroad.

353. God’s gifts put man’s best dreams to shame. ~Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Everything is determined,
the beginning as well as the end,
by forces over which we have no control.
It is determined for insects
as well as for the stars.
Human beings, vegetables or cosmic dust,
we all dance to a mysterious tune,
intoned in the distance by an invisible piper.
~Albert Einstein

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As the invisible and creating Piper of all that is stages His springtime drama, He plays His primordial tunes. These harmonies are invitations to the mysterious dance of life He ignited. Between the lines of His holy, ancient melodies are heard His summons for all to partner with Him and dance in His arms o’er fields of grace and glory. In response to these calls bees and butterflies are already bowing and accepting the Lord’s summons to step onto the dance floor. Making ready for the ball as well have been the birds who’ve been courting and preparing nests. Soon their fledglings will take wing and join in the chorus of the spheres and the stars, and together the whole of Creation’s voices will spew forth worship, praise, and glorious odes to joy. The period for rest has passed and the days for celebration and rejoicing have come. It is time to look at what is laid upon earth’s “table” and as invited guests to express gratitude for the banquet. It is not happenstance that we are here, and like the flowers in a garden, perhaps our anointed time to bloom is upon us.

Sing to the LORD, for He has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world. -Isaiah 12:5  ✝

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!

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

298. All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today. ~Author Unknown

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The Seed-Shop

Here in a quiet and dusty room they lie,
Faded as crumbled stone or shifting sand,
Forlorn as ashes, shriveled, scentless, dry-
Meadows and gardens running through my hand.

In this brown husk a dale of hawthorn dreams;
A cedar in this narrow cell is thrust
That will drink deeply of a century’s streams;
These lilies shall make summer on my dust.

Here in their safe and simple house of death,
Sealed in their shells, a million roses leap;
Here I can blow a garden with my breath,
And in my hand a forest lies asleep.

~Muriel Stuart, English poet

He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”  ~Matthew 13:31-32   ✝

257. The tree is a slow, enduring force straining the win the sky. ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Have you ever noticed a tree
standing naked against the sky, how beautiful it is?
All its branches outlined and in its nakedness,
there is a poem, there is a song…
When the spring comes, it again fills the tree
with the music of many leaves.
And this is the way of life.
~J. Krishnamurti

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Trees don’t just provide shade or rhyme and lyric for mortals; they are frequented by and home to an assortment of wildlife.  For example birds not only perch and sing in their lofty heights; they build nests in them as do squirrels who also use the branches as connecting highways to get them from one branch or tree to another.  When it’s winter as it is now and the trees are leafless, I can see the little fluffy-tailed acrobats make leaps, sometimes very daring ones, from one branch or tree to another as they work back and forth or up and down gathering acorns and building nests.  This week while I was observing their antics, I started looking at the differing filigreed patterns of our naked trees.  It was then I noticed the combined density of several trees in the northeast corner of our lot.  They obscure the heavens now almost as much as they would when in full leaf.  In this aerial thicket of woodiness the horizontal branches of my willow tree cross in front of the vertical branches of neighboring trees, and so their poetry or music is more of a series of mingled couplets or vocal duets as they make their “endless efforts to speak to the listening heavens.”

The trees of the field shall know that I am the Lord…  ~Ezekiel 17:23a  ✝