1356. The February sunshine steeps your boughs and tints the buds and swells the leaves within. ~William C. Bryant

yellow jasmine and
daffodils too have I seen
springtime harbingers

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poppy progeny
grows where seeds fell from dried pods
as summer drew nigh

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tulip foliage
as well as anemones
break ground ‘neath the oak

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new leaves appear on
roses that survived the first
hard, too early freeze

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This is what the Lord says to me: “I will remain quiet and will look on from my dwelling place, like shimmering heat in the sunshine, like a cloud of dew in the heat…” ~Excerpted passage from Isaiah 18:4  ✝

**All but two images taken by Natalie; collages created by Natalie; haikus written by Natalie

1278. In the fall each seed is like a child being loosed upon the earth to wait for the blessing of sun and rain to fulfill its destiny. ~Natalie

For a seed to achieve its greatest expression,
it must come completely undone.
The shell cracks, its insides come out,
and everything changes.
To someone who doesn’t understand growth,
it would look like complete destruction.
~Cynthia Occelli

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“Of all the wonderful things in the wonderful universe of God, nothing seems to me more surprising that the planting of a seed in the blank earth and the result thereof.  Take that Poppy seed, for instance: it lies in your palm, the merest atom of matter, hardly visible, a speck, a pin’s point in bulk, but within it is imprisoned a spirit of beauty ineffable, which will break its bonds and emerge from the dark ground and blossom in a splendor so dazzling as to baffle all powers of description.” ~Celia Thaxter

Where I live winters are mild and so poppies must be sown in the fall. After weeks of making preparations, today was the day to sow not only my poppy seeds, but also the hollyhock, larkspur, and bachelor button seeds. Now in a week or so they will germinate, and I shall squeal with delight once more to find little green babies popping up everywhere. Among the other truly amazing things about the sowing process, is the fact that these small new seedlings will survive some pretty cold days and maybe even some ice and snow. But the leaves of trees, many of which have yet to fall, will eventually blanket the ground and keep my babies warm and safe until the spring’s sun urges them upward and onward. And as for me going out to check on them throughout winter’s often gloomy and forbidding days will keep me thrilled and hopeful!

They sowed fields and planted vineyards that yielded a fruitful harvest… ~Psalm 107:37 ✝

**Images of poppy seed pods and seeds found on Pinterest; border and special effects via iPiccy

1122. That we find a poppy beautiful means that we are less alone and that we are deeply inserted into existence than the course of a single life would lead us believe. ~Edited quote by John Berger

Flowers could be described as burst of colour,
pattern and infinite grace all governed by sacred geometry.
And so too are they perfectly woven into the fabric
of existence to brighten up our world.
~Cherie Roe Dirksen

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Today I witnessed the actual birth of a poppy. I saw the poppy push itself out of the shell, and then I watched the shell fall to the ground. The stem was trembling as it unfolded, and seeing that, I was reminded of times when I too trembled while attempting to do something courageous. I would be very afraid inside, but like the poppy, I would go ahead and do it anyway. It takes courage sometimes to come out of one’s shell and even more courage to actually bloom. Next I saw the flower begin to open, and watching it gradually unwinding itself was an amazing sight to behold. As I looked on, I thought to myself, “I wonder what it feels like to bloom?” Then a few moments later the poppy had completely opened, and there before my eyes was the most vivid, red-orange-colored flower I had ever seen. Because the poppy was so very beautiful and so radiantly alive, the sight of it brought great joy to my heart which I believe was its purpose. ~Edited excerpt from a passage by Veronica Hay

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Take that Poppy seed, for instance: it lies in your palm, the merest atom of matter, hardly visible, a speck, a pin’s point in bulk, but within it is imprisoned a spirit of beauty ineffable, which will break its bonds and emerge from the dark ground and blossom in a splendor so dazzling as to baffle all powers of description. ~Celia Thaxter

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How great is God–beyond our understanding! …stop and consider God’s wonders. The heavens are telling of the glory of God…~excerpts from Job 36:26, Job 37:14, and Psalm 19:1  ✝

1067. And far and wide, in a scarlet tide, the poppy’s bonfire spread. ~Bayard Taylor

Flowers could be described as bursts
of color, pattern, and infinite grace
all governed by sacred geometry.
They are perfectly woven into the fabric of
existence to brighten up our world.
~Cherie Rae Dirksen

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To see the flower,
to really see it
takes time: knowing
what to praise
and for how long. Suppose
the poppy’s a scarlet
ibis afloat on a bed
of leaves, cardinals
in flight, a tanager calling
its mate. The artist
enlivened this flower
so you could know it.
Yet here you stand
befuddled by a poppy:
recognizable, small
delicate as a robin.
Relax. Try not to stare
so hard. It knows
you’re here admiring
its birdlike petals.
Opalescent, the red
poppy shines from within
dark, oval center
clipped from a swath
of velvet cloth.
You can feel the wings
sway: five of them
on a huge scale
gathering sun.
Not one of us
can ignore their
willful beauty.
~Georgia O’Keeffe

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Who is like the wise? Who knows the explanation of things? A person’s wisdom brightens their face and changes its hard appearance. ~Ecclesiastes 8:1  ✝

**Some images via Pinterest; others from my archives; collage by Natalie

***Georgia O’Keeffe was regarded as one of the most significant and intriguing artists of the twentieth century. She was known internationally for her boldly innovative art, being best known for her paintings of enlarged flowers such as this red poppy.

481. Explanation separates us from astonishment, which is the only gateway to the incomprehensible. ~Eugène Ionesco

Even the poppy knows to bow its head
in praise before rising to the wonderment of day!

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Truly, we live with mysteries too marvelous
to be understood.

How grass can be nourishing in the
mouths of the lambs.
How rivers and stones are forever
in allegiance with gravity,
while we ourselves dream of rising.

How two hands touch and the bonds
will never be broken.
How people come, from delight or the
scars of damage,
to the comfort of a poem.

Let me keep my distance, always, from those
who think they have the answers.

Let me keep company always with those who say
“Look!” and laugh in astonishment,
and bow their heads.
~Mary Oliver

“Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty? They are higher than the heavens above—what can you do? They are deeper than the depths below—what can you know?” ~Job 11:7-8    ✝

276. There is no greater sorrow in the world, than eyes unseeing, color everywhere, or ears unhearing, softly wafted notes from nature’s great cathedral of the air. ~Mabel G. Austin

What is pink? a rose is pink
By a fountain’s brink.
What is red? a poppy’s red
In its barley bed.
What is blue? the sky is blue
Where the clouds float thro’.
~Christina Rossetti

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Well, it’s another gloomy winter’s day hereabouts, but I’m a singin’ away, a singin’ in the rain as a matter of fact.  “I’m laughing at the clouds so dark up above, what a glorious feelin’ I’m happy again…”  Okay, so it isn’t much rain, but it has rained a bit nevertheless.  And what am I a singing?  I’m a singin’ the blues.  No, no, no, not the sad blues–the happy blues because some of my little, blue grape hyacinths are blooming in the greenhouse, and they like “girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes” are “a few of my favorites things.”  I love the color blue and I love some of the expressions using the color blue, expressions like:  true blue, out of the blue, bluer than blue, blue on blue, once in a blue moon, something borrowed, something blue, and on and on it goes.  I also love some of the ways people describe what the color blue means to them.  For example I’ve heard things like: blue is the wonder in my mind; blue is the sound a sunny day makes; blue is the smell of blueberries ripening in the sun; blue is the wind over water; blue is the color of the never-ending sky; blue is the place where song birds fly; blue is a world of sweet mellow joy; blue is the sky that God holds close to His presence; blue was meant for us to see and believe.

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Blue is the color of God’s Glory according to some rabbinic sages, and it is a constant in our lives.  Not only is it the color of the clear sky and the deep sea, but it’s the color of our planet, Mother Earth, our precious blue pearl in the heavens.  God does indeed hold the sky close to His presence, and we were meant to see evidence of Him, our Creator, in its orbs and in “my blue, blue, blue heaven.”

Speak to the Israelites, and tell them to make fringes on the corners of their garments throughout the generations to put a blue cord on the fringe at each corner.  ~Numbers 15:38  ✝

252. Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. ~Albert Einstein

The cycle of nature—the progress from seed to fruition to dying-off and then renewal in the spring—was mirrored in the wild fields and the cultivated garden alike, while the fragility of harvest—the possible interruption of the cycle by drought, wind, or other natural calamities— established the pattern of how humans understood the workings of the cosmos.  The oldest of surviving sacred stories have their roots in the garden and reflect how humanity sought to understand the changeable patterns of their world…  ~Peg Streep

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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. For to the one who pleases him God gives wisdom and knowledge…  ~Ecclesiastes 2:24-26a  ✝

**In the photo is a pink poppy in bloom next to one that has already lost the petals which surrounded its seed pod.