1353. Timeless thoughts of a winter’s stare; eyes gazing over a landscape bare. ~Michael A. Barron

Gray, endless shades of
Gray, winter’s somber suit of
Gray, the season’s shroud

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Beige, broad blankets of
Beige, chilling frosts turn green to
Beige, on what we trod

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Color, drear shades of
Color, muted, faint hues of
Color, in stark realm

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Winter, the woe of
Winter, shall soon be gone for
Winter, bows to spring

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As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I(God) desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. ~Isaiah 55:10-11  ✝

**All 4 haikus written by Natalie; most images from Pinterest; collages by Natalie; a few of the images in the last collage are ones I’ve taken in past winters

1297. There are no sounds that can stir the sublime emotions of men’s souls like the sighs and whispers of nature. ~James Lendall Basford

Magic is really only the utilization
of the entire spectrum of the senses.
Humans have cut themselves off
from their senses. Now they see only
a tiny portion of the visible spectrum,
hear only the loudest of sounds;
their sense of smell is shockingly poor,
and they can only distinguish
the sweetest and sourest of tastes.
~Michael Scott

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I know the thrill of the grasses
when the rain pours over them.
I know the trembling of the leaves
when the winds sweep through them.
I know what the white clover
felt as it held a drop of dew
pressed close in its beauteousness.
I know the quivering of the fragrant petals
at the touch of the pollen-legged bees.
I know what the stream said
to the dipping willows, and what
the moon said to the sweet lavender.
I know what the stars said when
they came stealthily down and crept
fondly into the tops of the trees.
~Muriel Strode

…there will be heard once more the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom, and the voices of those who bring thank offerings to the house of the Lord… ~Excerpt fro Jeremiah 33:10 and 11  ✝

1289. There is a purifying power in laughter. It is truth in palatable form. ~Eugene P. Bertin

At the height of laughter, the universe is flung
into a kaleidoscope of new possibilities.
~Jean Houston

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Heavy
That time
I thought I could not
go any closer to grief
without dying
I went closer,
and I did not die.
Surely God
had his hand in this,
as well as friends.
Still, I was bent,
and my laughter,
as the poet said,
was nowhere to be found.
Then said my friend Daniel,
(brave even among lions),
“It’s not the weight you carry
but how you carry it –
books, bricks, grief –
it’s all in the way
you embrace it, balance it, carry it
when you cannot, and would not,
put it down.”
So I went practicing.
Have you noticed?
Have you heard
the laughter
that comes, now and again,
out of my startled mouth?
How I linger
to admire, admire, admire
the things of this world
that are kind, and maybe
also troubled –
roses in the rain,
the sea geese on the steep waves,
a love
to which there is no reply?
~Adapted poem by Mary Oliver

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

**Photo by Natalie

1280. October inherits summer’s hand-me-downs… ~Rachel Peden

I know the year is slowly dying…
Ah, ‘tis then I love to wander,
Wander idly and alone,
Listening to the solemn music
Of sweet nature’s undertone…
~Excerpted lines from a poem by
Mortimer Crane Brown

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Though October grows long in the tooth
a measure of summer’s steamy heat lingers on
and so the dance of sweet glories of the morn waltzes on

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The full, harvest moon has come and gone
but the sultry high humidity of August yet remains
thus dance on still the satiny, white glories of the evening

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Morning’s are cooler, some even quite crisp
but afternoons revive September’s persistent misery
keeping at bay the last dance of all the glories in the garden fair

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The grass is showing patches not quite as green
though it’s not dead enough to slow the hum of mowers
near arbors and trellises where scramble high the twining vines

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The promise of autumn rain has not been fulfilled so far
which keeps the gardener’s feet scuffling along the dusty paths
but it has yet to halt the dance of the morning glories and moonflowers

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The sun’s trek from east to west across the yard continues
and days grow shorter and more golden as November draws nigh
but still the flowering vines dance perkily along the chain-link fence lines

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Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. ~James 5:7  ✝

**All the photos taken by me in my yard today

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

1243. Pay attention. Be astonished. And tell about it. ~Mary Oliver

Leaves and Blossoms Along the Way
by Mary Oliver

If you’re John Muir you want trees
to live among. If you’re Emily
(or Natalie), a garden will do.
Try to find the right place for yourself.
If you can’t find it, at least dream of it.

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When one is alone and lonely, the body
gladly lingers in the wind or the rain,
or splashes into the cold river, or
pushes through the ice-crusted snow.

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Anything that touches.

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God, or the gods, are invisible, quite
understandable. But holiness is visible,
entirely.

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Some words will never leave God’s mouth,
no matter how hard you listen.

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In all the works of Beethoven, you will
not find a single lie.

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All important ideas must include the trees,
the mountains, and the rivers.

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To understand many things you must reach
out of your own condition.

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For how many years did I wander slowly
through the forest. What wonder and
glory I would have missed had I ever been
in a hurry!

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Beauty can both shout and whisper, and still
it explains nothing.

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The point is, you’re you, and that’s for keeps.

Stop and be astonished… ~Excerpt from Isaiah 29: 9 ✝

**All images taken by Natalie; the 3 collages by Natalie

1219. The search for meaningful origins for familiar or strange words is far older than the modern understanding of linguistic evolution and the relationships of languages. ~Wikipedia

Where words come from is a fascinating subject, full of folklore and historical lessons. Often, popular tales of a word’s origin arise. Sometimes these are true; more often they are not. While it can be disappointing when a neat little tale turns out to be untrue, almost invariably the true origin is just as interesting. ~Wordorigins.org

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As my level of tolerance for this heat and lack of rain approached critical mass today, I attempted to take my mind off the misery by going to see what was on Pinterest. I came across an image of some words that have come into usage, and although I rather liked them I questioned their validity. So as the mercury rose higher on the thermometer and my grip on sanity loosened another notch or two, I researched them and then created some words of my own. Ex-English teachers can do that, can’t they?! At least, my blood is not boiling now, and I’ve chuckled enough to bring myself back in off the ledge, as it were. So here goes with some etymology, urban and homegrown. And yes, I will concede that the last one of my own making is quite lame!

nyctophile-a person loves or has a preference for night, darkness; pluviophile-a person who loves rain and/or finds comfort or joy or peace of mind during rainy days; selenophile-a person who loves the moon; ceraunophile-a person who loves lightning and thunder; thermophile-an organism that thrives at high temperatures

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antithermophile-an organism(person) that withers in high temperatures; floraphile-a person who loves flowers; aesthetistophile-a person who loves beauty; faunaphile-a person who loves animals; personaphile-a person who loves people; sunnycoolaphile-a person who likes bright days with a nip in the air

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The unfolding of your(God’s) words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple. ~Psalm 119:130  ✝

**All images via Pinterest