1218. Flowers do not indulge in sentiment. They indulge in passion… Octave Mirbeau

Surely the flowers of a hundred springs
Are simply the souls of beautiful things!

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The poppies aflame with gold and red
Were the kisses of lovers in days that are fled.

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The purple pansies with dew-drops pearled
Were the rainbow dreams of a youngling world.

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The lily, white as a star apart,
Was the first pure prayer of a virgin heart.

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The daisies that dance and twinkle so
Were the laughter of children in long ago.

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The sweetness of all true friendship yet
Lives in the breath of the mignonette.

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To the white narcissus there must belong
The very delight of a maiden’s song.

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And the rose, all flowers of the earth above,
Was a perfect, rapturous thought of love.

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Oh! surely the blossoms of all the springs
Must be the souls of beautiful things.
~Lucy Maud Montgomery

My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms from the vineyards of En Gedi. ~Song of Songs 1:14  ✝

**All images via Pinterest; collage by Natalie

1129. Butterflies dot springtime with flitting airy kisses. ~Terri Guillemets

The butterfly long loved the beautiful rose,
And flirted around all day;
While round him in turn with her golden caress,
Soft fluttered the sun’s warm ray…
~Excerpt from a poem by
Heinrich Heine

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Butterfly, butterfly, where are you going?
Do you dine today with the regal rose
Or nectar sip with the lilies blowing
In the golden noontide’s sweet repose?
Away, away, on silken pinions,
Gay guest of Flora’s proudest minions.

Or will you pause midst the fragrant clover
And their humbler viands not despise,
While the proud tuberoses wait their lover
And the pansies smile from their velvet eyes?
Away, away, on dainty pinions
Gay guest in Flora’s fair dominions.
~Excerpted verses from a poem by
Martha Lavinia Hoffman

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Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. ~Song of Songs 2:12  ✝

**Top image found on Pinterest; edited bottom image found on the Internet

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.

465. The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things. ~Henry Ward Beecher

Jasmine blossoms round the arbour,
Elder spreads along the air,
Hollyhocks stand proudly tallest
In the fragrant thoroughfare.
~Excerpt from a poem by Dollie Radford

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Hollyhocks

Old-fashioned flowers! I love them all:
The morning-glories on the wall,
The pansies in their patch of shade,
The violets, stolen from a glade,
The bleeding hearts and columbine,
Have long been garden friends of mine;
But memory every summer flocks
About a clump of hollyhocks.

The mother loved them years ago;
Beside the fence they used to grow,
And though the garden changed each year
And certain blooms would disappear
To give their places in the ground
To something new that mother found,
Some pretty bloom or rosebush rare–
The hollyhocks were always there.

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It seems but yesterday to me
She led me down the yard to see
The first tall spires, with bloom aflame,
And taught me to pronounce their name.
And year by year I watched them grow,
The first flowers I had come to know.
And with the mother dear I’d yearn
To see the hollyhocks return.

The garden of my boyhood days
With hollyhocks was kept ablaze;
In all my recollections they
In friendly columns nod and sway;
And when to-day their blooms I see,
Always the mother smiles at me;
The mind’s bright chambers, life unlocks
Each summer with the hollyhocks.
~Edgar A. Guest

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I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. ~Ecclesiastes 3:12   ✝

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you save, you heal, you restore, and you reveal Your Father’s heart to us! May I dwell in Your holy presence and praise Your name for all that you have given and done.

 

386. She is the world’s sharpest flower and when she blooms deeply she slices into my soul. ~Ronald Howard Moman

A bunch of glads,
certainly highly emblematic of creation,
remote from frills of working blossom with hope of fruit:
slow, durable, placid,
generous, sure of kingly dreams.
~Gottfried Benn

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The ancient Romans called the primary sword of their foot soldiers a gladius, and a smaller sword was a gladiolus, which was often used by the gladiators. Pliny the illustrious Roman author dubbed the flower with the long sword-shaped leaves gladiolus and the name stuck.

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Mother’s Gladiolas
by Anne Bach

Mother’s hands dig deep holes in soft brown earth,
watering in the tender seedlings —
teaching me of the promise of flowers.

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She was quiet about her thoughts and beliefs,
but I think she always believed
in the promise of flowers.

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When we moved
to the old house on top of the hill,
next to the gladiola field, she was even more quiet.

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She planted no flowers there.
But the man who picked the gladiolas
brought her a big bunch in all different colors every week.

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I think she still believed in flowers
a year later when we moved
to a rural farm house in New Jersey.

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She planted pansies all around the old tree
before the long days
when she took to her bed.

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I must have been born from her love of flowers
for I have planted them wherever I have lived
Looking for dark rich soil and a promise of flowers.

My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises. ~Psalm 119:48 ✝

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!

** Some images via Pinterest

 

337. We could never have loved the earth so well if we had had no childhood in it. ~George Eliot

I’d give all the wealth that years have piled,
The slow result of Life’s decay,
To be once more a little child
For one bright summer day.
~Lewis Carroll

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The sidewalks were long and narrow that ran between the stucco houses, and high was the exterior wall of the two-story duplex two doors down from us on the seaward end of the block. At the base of that duplex’s stucco wall was an elongated flower bed filled with pansies and strawberries, and about halfway down the wall was a door that separated the flower bed into two sections. Behind the door was a storage area, a closet of sorts, filled with all kinds of fascinating objects. Because the closet was under the front stairwell of the two story structure, it was one of those odd-shaped little niches with a downward sloping ceiling on one end. In the closet’s mysterious, deeper recesses were all kinds of tools. When the door to the closet was ajar, it meant Uncle was inside sitting on his stool and working on a yard or household task Auntie had commissioned. The “doghouse” as he called it, was a rich and irresistible den of curiosities for a young child, and in it with Uncle as tutor-in-residence I not only learned but also fell in love with a myriad of things. The closet with its earthy smells and assorted contraptions was a magical place, and the gardening tools were as provocative a sight for young eyes as the images of the storybook gardens they conjured up. Decades later when a friend commented that I live close to nature, I thought of that closet again and realized the lasting impression that it and Uncle had made on my life. Then and there in a place that smelled of soil and sea I came to love and respect the earth for its charming and sometimes “shy presences”–the visible ones, the audible ones, the tangible ones, even the ones that dwelt in dim obscurity. Uncle’s closet and his tales gave birth to “stirrings” that ultimately led me to believe that all Creation is a gift to be cherished and that its Maker is to be adored and praised.

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The LORD is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise Him, my father’s God, and I will exalt Him. ~Exodus 15:2  ✝

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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!

**Images via Pinterest

241. O thou, Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed the winged seeds, where they lie cold and low, each like a corpse within its grave, until thine azure sister of the spring shall blow her clarion o’er the dreaming earth. ~John Davies

I paid a dime for a package of seeds
And the clerk tossed them out with a flip.
“We’ve got ‘em assorted for every man’s needs,”
He said with a smile on his lip.
“Pansies and poppies and asters and peas!
Ten cents a package and pick as you please!”

Now seeds are just dimes to the man in the store
And dimes are the things he needs;
And I’ve been to buy them in seasons before,
But have thought of them merely as seeds.
But it flashed through my mind as I took them this time
“You have purchased a miracle here for a dime!”

“You’ve a dime’s worth of power no man can create,
You’ve a dime’s worth of life in your hand!
You’ve a dime’s worth of mystery, destiny, fate,
Which the wisest cannot understand.
In this bright little package, now isn’t it odd?
You’ve a dime’s worth of something known only to God.
~Edgar A. Guest

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Nowadays a packet of seeds costs more than a dime; yet one can still buy a packet of “miracles” for a reasonable sum.  And the initial investment is small compared to the potential yield not only from the generous number of seeds in each packet but also from the seeds that those plants ultimately produce.  I know because my garden is full of plants started from seeds I never bought.  Not only that but lots of birds eat well on the excess “birdseed” I don’t have to buy.  So it is that in nurturing I am nurtured.  By becoming a part of the “cosmic consciousness,” I  get to participate in the sacred dance of life.

The Book of Genesis tells us that on the third day the Lord created seed-bearing plants and trees.  And from the moment He spoke those words, countless seasons have come and gone and the soil in any given garden has quaked with life from seeds forming in its dark wombs.  As the trembling in “dark wintry beds” increased, an impetus not unlike labor pains pushed roots downward and tiny green shoots upwards toward the light until at last new “miracles” became stable,visible, and tangible.  As more and more darkness melted away in the blaze of lengthening days and intensifying sunlight, the warp and woof of nature began weaving another springtime into existence.  And when the shroud of gloom, winter’s drab garment, was finally sloughed off it was replaced by spring’s brilliant, gauzy garments, garments as colorful as the “silks of Samarkand.”

Isaac sowed seed in that land, and in the same year reaped a hundredfold.  ~Genesis 26:12  ✝