1328. It is an old story, this irresistible and ceaseless onflow of life and time… ~Hamilton Wright Mabie

Lo! now the direful monster, whose skin clings
To his strong bones, strides o’er the groaning rocks:
He withers all in silence, and his hand
Unclothes the earth, and freezes up frail life.
~William Blake

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Dead and brown is all that once was verdant and full of life. And again today a north wind blew to scatter more of autumn’s splendrous, leafy remains. Willy nilly the leaves whirled about and over the ground as if they were happy children chasing one another. Though a smattering of leaves yet dons a tree or two, for the most part the yard is a graveyard of clattering skeletons, desiccated leaves and withered flowers, bare soil and beige sod. Too, the beating heart of Creation’s life has grown ever so faint, but nonetheless it is discernible to the listening, longing ear. All the while beneath the surface, there’s an entirely different story evolving. For it is there that miraculous, even magical, proceedings are taking place and moving to the rhythm of winter’s muted heartbeat. And as they advance, they gather strength from their sacred sources, mother nature and Father God. So carry on tiny embryos of earth’s womb; I shall wait patiently and not lose heart nor faith while surrounded by this death and decay for I trust and know you will rise in the Spring and once more thrill me beyond the ability to speak so that only squeals of joy will fill the space herein between heaven and earth.

How can those who do not garden,
who have no lot in the great fraternity
of those who watch the changing year
as it affects the earth and its growth,
how can they keep warm their hearts in winter?
~Francis King

“As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” ~Genesis 8:22  ✝

**Photos taken by Natalie; collage by Natalie

1032….that blast of January would blow you through and through. ~William Shakespeare

The night is darkening around me,
The wild winds coldly blow…
~Excerpt from a poem
by Emily Brontë

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The world is resting without sound or motion,
And behind the oak tree the sun goes down
Painting with fire the spires and the windows
In my tree-shaded neighborhood.

Beyond calm streets pastures lie
Silvered with haze as fruits still fresh with bloom,
And the birds weave in flight across the zenith
On a sudden aerial loom.

Into the garden peace comes back with twilight,
Peace that since noon had left the remains of purple phlox,
Heavy-headed asters, the late roses
And the swaying spent hollyhocks.

For at high-noon I heard from this same garden
The far-off murmur as when gales are coming;
Up from the south and down from the north beating
Their stormy music like a drum;

And then hysterical sirens shattered
The brittle winter air,
To say that fierce storms are marching
Across towns and fields and open prairie.

But before the skies rage, they morph
Into violet, for the veils of dusk grow deep —
As earth takes her children’s many sorrows
And stills herself to sleep.
~Edited and adapted poem
by Sara Teasdale

…at twilight, as the day was fading, as the dark of night set in. ~Proverbs 7:9  ✝

**Images via Pinterest, collage by Natalie

1008. Wise men are not always silent, but they know when to be. ~Unknown

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The kings they came from out the south,
All dressed in ermine fine;
They bore Him gold and chrysoprase,
And gifts of precious wine.

The shepherds came from out the north,
Their coats were brown and old;
They brought Him little new-born lambs–
They had not any gold.

The wise men came from out the east,
And they were wrapped in white;
The star that led them all the way
Did glorify the night.

The angels came from heaven high,
And they were clad with wings;
And lo, they brought a joyful song
The host of heaven sings.

The kings they knocked upon the door,
The wise men entered in,
The shepherds followed after them
To hear the song begin.

The angels sang through all the night
Until the rising sun,
But little Jesus fell asleep
Before the song was done.
~Sara Teasdale

For we have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him. ~Matthew 2:2  ✝

**Image via Pinterest

961. The wind shows us how close to the edge we are. ~Joan Didion   

 I hear the wind among the trees
Playing the celestial symphonies;
I see the branches downward bent,
Like keys of some great instrument.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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And this time of year the edge is often closer than we hope or realize. But oh so visible did that brink become when we awoke this morning to find a cold, blustery north wind bearing down upon us. I’m never ready to say goodbye to the still blooming remnants in the garden. Nonetheless, I sensed earlier in the week that their demise was imminent and started putting the potted ferns and clock vine in the greenhouse. What’s more I decided to buy a large container in which to plant pansies, snapdragons, stock, alyssum, Sweet William, and cyclamen for like Monet, I always, always have to have flowers. So now I’m guaranteed to have flowery beauty along with luscious scents and colors even as late autumn’s unraveling continues to roll us over into winter’s drab and ofttimes forbidding realm. The potted beauty is on a much smaller scale than what grows and blooms in the yard, and the display is not as visible from my recliner in the house. However, the descent into winter’s “vale of grief” and the season’s allotted time thereafter never seems as stark when I go out to the greenhouse to check on the warmth inside, to look after the plants, and to give them all a drink of water.

National Weather Service Forecast:
This Afternoon
Sunny, with a high near 50. Windy, with a north wind 20 to 25 mph, with gusts as high as 35 mph.
Tonight
Patchy frost after 3am. Otherwise, mostly clear, with a low around 30. North wind 5 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.
Sunday
Patchy frost before 10am. Otherwise, sunny, with a high near 53. North wind around 5 mph becoming calm in the morning.
Sunday Night
Clear, with a low around 33. South wind around 5 mph.

The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course. ~Ecclesiastes 1:6  ✝

**Images in my collage are from photos I took in my garden last week.

663. Lord, you have set the powers of the four quarters of the earth to cross each other. You have made me cross the good road and road of difficulties, and where they cross, the place is holy. Day in, day out, forevermore, you are the life of things. ~Edited excerpt from Black Elk, Oglala Sioux

To the four winds, that bring us the seasons of Life…

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 To the East
Where the Sun rises bringing to us a new day
A new meaning of life, a light in which to see
The path before us.

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 To the South
Where the warm air comes to us
Bringing heat and warmth, and
The seasons of spring and summer.

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To the West
Where the Sun goes to bring to us darkness,
So as we may see the universe
And search for the answers
Of our life.

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 To the North
Where the cold winds come from
Bringing to us the seasons
Of fall and winter.
~Edited lines of Native American wisdom 
by Larry Kibby

Lord, you are my God; I will exalt You and praise Your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago. ~Isaiah 25: 1   ✝

**All images via Pinterest

654. The North wind did blow and now we have some sleet and snow, so what then will poor robin do, poor thing? ~Edited and adapted line from an old Nursery Rhyme

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Mistress Mary quite contrary,
Why doesn’t your garden grow?
Is it because the sleet and snow
Have left the pretty maids unduly cold?
~Adapted verse from 
an old Nursery Rhyme

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Yesterday an itsy bitsy spider climbed up the garden spout, but it wasn’t long before the rain came down and washed the spunky little spider out.

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Then this morning with a hickory dickory dock, the clock struck early on, and the mouse ran out to find that the temps had, as they predicted, dropped below freezing and would stay that way all the livelong day.  So with a hey diddle, diddle, the cat and the fiddle began to shed a host of woebegone tears and the dog refused to laugh when the spoon slid silently away on its ice-laden dish.

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Undaunted by such things, however, Humpty Dumpty set out to sit upon the garden wall, but a slip here and a slide there whilst on the way convinced him not to take a chance for he could plainly see that all the king’s horses and all the king’s men wouldn’t be able to put him or the frost covered flowers he might land upon back together again. Now as the day draws to an end, Polly has put the kettle on so that all can have a spot of tea and while safe and warm inside dream of better days.

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He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. ~Job 8:21   ✝

**Iimages via Pinterest

653. He (winter) withers all in silence, and his hand unclothes the earth, and freezes up frail life. ~William Blake

Drops fell…and rang like
little disks of metal.
Ping! Ping! and there was not
a pinpoint of silence 
between them.
~Amy Lowell

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Mama, mama mía! Here we go again! Down, down, down plummet the temps! And this time newly birthed lives will be lost in the chicanery of this winter skirmish.

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Why? Because here in north central Texas late January and early February often conjure up enough unseasonably warm days to convince the land that spring has sprung. And the dastardly scoundrels have done it again!

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These two deceiving culprits have successfully hoodwinked gardens and parks alike into believing it is time for blooming things to emerge from branch and soil. Now, after their two-faced, heartless lies, a harsh north wind doth blow.

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Moreover, freezing rain is falling and soon will switch to sleet and/or snow. In the frigid, darkness of night, the samaras of a Red Maple, the yellows of a smattering of daffodils and forsythia as well as the pinks and whites of some saucer magnolias will be washed out leaving only the browns of death and decay. Oh what a wicked, wicked, fickle web Mother Nature ofttimes weaves.

So that your trust may be in the Lord, I teach you today, even you. ~Proverbs 22:19   ✝

580. Once more on our morning walk we tread upon carpets of gold and crimson, of brown and bronze, woven by the winds… ~John Burroughs

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
~Alfred Lord Tennyson

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With every north wind that blows the landscape decomposes more and more, and the air grows a little wilder with falling leaves. After each assault layer upon layer of the leafy insulation blankets the lawn and beds in more warmth to protect them from coming winter’s icy blasts. Above, the branches, if not already bare, are now dotted with only a smattering of leaves. They, the ones too tenacious to let go so far, cannot hold on much longer though because the winter solstice will be upon us in less than a week. These brisk northerly winds have also taken a toll on the once verdant and supple, ornamental grasses. Many of them have begun drying out and taking on a shabby, tattered look, but among the shades of brown, remain a few tinged with glorious color. Autumn may be beset with more gray than sunny days and quelling blows night after night, but some continue to hold a measure of winsome smiles and “honey’d leavings.” And as the lusty song of life plays on, earth yet murmurs, “come play again with me,” a call, way, way too alluring for me to ignore.

The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever. ~Isaiah 40:8   ✝

520. Some places speak distinctly. ~Robert Louis Stevenson

Have you ever looked at a map of the world?
Look at Texas with me just for a second.
That picture, with the Panhandle and the Gulf Coast,
and the Red River and the Rio Grande. . .
As soon as anyone anywhere in the world
looks at it, they know what it is.
It’s Texas.
~Author Unknown

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But knowing that I’m living in God’s world everywhere in Creation is equally as obvious because of the undeniable iconic images of His reality. For example when I encounter people, be they Texans or anyone else, I recognize God’s face because we are all made in His image. In the vitality that shines forth in human faces, I see God’s strength. In the laughter of those I love here or elsewhere I become aware of His grace. In my deepest yearnings, I feel His presence and sense His divine design. In my brokenness and suffering His mercy shines through. In the great lights of the sky, I glimpse the shining of His everlasting faithfulness. In the quiet of the night, the stars and the moon that He flung into space speak His name and tell of His power all around the globe. In the insights of wise ones far and near, I hear His voice and grasp His truths. In my soul searching, His nearness is felt, and in fears that come in the darkness of the night, I encounter His angels. In colors that fill the sky and flowery faces, I see His beauty. In relationships with others, His love is made known. When my flesh is wounded and my body bleeds, the face of His Son who, in a land far, far away, shed His blood for my redemption is revealed. In unforeseen moments of wonder, awe, and passion I feel stirrings of His mighty spirit. And the touch of His hands can be felt in the warmth of the sun, and in the changing seasons of the north, south, east, and west His rhythm of life becomes clear. And today on my birthday, I know that I have been blessed wherever I’ve been and gone all the days of my life.

“O Sovereign LORD, you have begun to show to your servant your greatness and your strong hand. For what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do the deeds and mighty works you do? . . .” ~Deuteronomy 3:24   ✝

514. Over everything connected with autumn there lingers some golden spell–some unseen influence that penetrates the soul with its mysterious power. ~Northern Advocate

Is not this a true autumn day?
Just the still melancholy that I love–
that makes life and nature harmonize.
~George Eliot

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Autumn Rose

Beaming bright across the galaxies,
Your petals extend through heaven’s gate.
You waited until now to reveal yourself;
For the world it was worth the wait.

Autumn is your awakening,
While the world prepares for winter’s sleep.
Summer has quickly slipped away,
While your colors of coral and pink run deep.



Some think age is upon you,
But truth is you are now fulfilled.
You blossomed into life in maturity,
Before the north wind’s chill.



Soon golden fields will be covered,
In a virgin blanket of snow.
The streams will freeze then re-awaken,
For another, beautiful autumn rose.

~Edited poem by Mark Anderson

Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name. ~Psalm 103:1   ✝