1216. Heat cannot be separated from fire, or beauty from The Eternal. ~Dante Alighieri

The first thing about Texas
that you can’t get away from is the heat.
You’ve got no idea how hot it is in that place.
It’s over 100 degrees Fahrenheit daily,
and with that and the high humidity,
it’s just absolutely ridiculous.
~Edited and adapted quote by Chris Vance

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Hot, hot-hot, hot, hot-hot-hot! Yum, yum-yum, yum, yum-yum-yum! Yeppers, chocolate it turning out to be, at least temporarily, a good balm for the heat weary! What you see in the photo above is no joke. It is our weather forecast for the next seven days, and it is not even fully accurate. For example today it was supposed to hit only 101, but on my thermometer it has already gone up to 103 so far today. And unfortunately, forecasters say there is no end in sight for such misery as this. Why oh why did I even go check it out first thing this morning? Maybe it was because I’d read a few of your blog posts about rainfall in your area and thought on the off chance that soon we might get some too. But that was purely delusional! I know better! I’ve lived here long enough to know August only too well and that rain seldom is ever in the forecast during this wretched month! So I started the day grumbling about the heat. But then we went to lunch and guess what the dessert of the day was? Oh yes, yes, yes, it was chocolaty–beautiful, luscious, homemade, freshly baked, and still warm Chocolate Meringue Pie! Thus once more something rich and chocolaty was served up just in the nick time to abort an emotional, elderly “melt down!”

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

**The upper image was created from the NOAA forecast for our area; the lower pie images are via Pinterest

308. All was silent as before – all silent save the dripping rain. ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

One by one great drops are falling
Doubtful and slow,
Down the pane they are crookedly crawling,
And the wind breathes low…
~Excerpt from a poem by James Russell Lowell


Rain!  Deliciously glorious rain finally came for the first time in many months from the grayness of a late winter’s day, and the drought-ridden soil soaked it up like a sponge.  Thankfully this rain was not the child of violent clashes of hot and cold air which can, this time of year, spawn rushing winds or tornados charged with electricity and loud claps of thunder.  Instead it tapped softly on rooftops and windows beating out long-awaited, haunting harmonies accompanied only by occasional rolls of muffled thunder and flashes of distant lightning.  After the parched ground had drunk in enough, puddles began to form, and from them rain’s captivating smell rose to bless my nose.  Scientists may say the scent in rain is petrichor, which is an oil produced by plants, absorbed by rocks and soil, and then later released into the air during rainfall, but I personally think it’s the alluring scent of the Holy One, Yahweh Himself.

Oh, how I’ve missed the rain!  I adore it; I always have!  And now that I live in a place where rain can be absent for long periods of time, my spirit experiences an aching hunger when it’s gone.  So I envy those who live in areas where it rains regularly.  There’s just something very comforting and inviting about the sound of rain, the sight of it, the feel of it, and the unmistakable fragrance of it.  It  has a way of reassuring me that “God’s in His heaven and all’s right with the world,” and if rainy days bless my soul in such a way, I can’t help but believe the earth feels the same sweet joy.


In time of silver rain
The earth puts forth new life again,
Green grasses grow
And flowers lift their heads,
And over all the plain
The wonder spreads

Of Life,
Of Life,
Of Life!

In time of silver rain
The butterflies lift silken wings
To catch a rainbow cry,
And trees put forth new leaves to sing
In joy beneath the sky
As down the roadway
Passing boys and girls
Go singing, too,

In time of silver rain
When spring
And life
Are new.
~Poem by Langston Hughes

As the rain and 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 55:9-11   ✝

260. The shortest day has passed, and whatever nastiness of weather we may look forward to in January and February, at least we notice that the days are getting longer. ~Vita Sackville-West

January is the quietest month in the garden.
. . .But just because is looks quiet
doesn’t mean that nothing is happening.
The soil, open to the sky, absorbs the pure rainfall
while microorganisms convert tilled-under fodder
into usable nutrients for the next crop of plants.
The feasting earthworms tunnel along,
aerating the soil and preparing it to welcome
the seeds and bare roots to come.
~Rosalie Muller Wright


I’ve heard it said that “the color of springtime is in the flowers” whereas “the color of winter is in the imagination.”  Thankfully I’ve got a good imagination, and when that fails, I have a large collection of photos to look back on because by the end of January my spirit is in dire need of a boost.  A place I like to frequent also helps to keep my imagination alive and well.  It’s a nursery, and this particular Dallas nursery not only has a great selection of flowers during the growing seasons, but year round it has all sorts of indoor plants too.  In addition  to the plants it has an oak cabinet with drawers full of fascinating seeds, racks of seed packets, shelves filled with gardening books, and an array of tools.  So between the plant and seed catalogs that start arriving in the mail after Christmas and my visits to Nicholson-Hardie’s nursery, the “dream” is kept alive even when the under-the-surface busy but ravaged-atop January garden appears to be completely shut down.  And it is this “stuff” of which gardener’s dreams are made that keeps my imagination churning and my head full of schemes, schemes that are the spice of a gardener’s life.  What a blessing is our memory, our imagination, and our ability to dream; God is so good.

I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify Him with thanksgiving.  ~Psalm 69:30  ✝

216. Like light dappling through the leaves of a tree and wind stirring its branches, like birdsong sounding from the heights of an orchard and the scent of blossom after rainfall, so You (Lord) dapple and sound in the human soul, so You (Lord) stir into motion all that lives. ~J. Philip Newell

The oaks and pines and their brethren of the wood,
have seen so many suns rise and set,
so many seasons come and go,
and so many generations pass into silence,
that they may well wonder what
“the story of the trees” would be to us
if they had tongues to tell it,
or if we had ears fine enough to understand.
~Author Unknown


Though left barren by a blue norther and seemingly now no more than silent sentries watching over the landscape, somewhere in the core of these trees their music plays on.  John Muir’s idea that the fibers of a tree’s being thrills “like harp strings” not only sets well with me, but it also answers the question Walt Whitman once asked, “Why are there trees I never walk under but large and melodious thoughts descend upon me?”  The music of life of which he and so many others have verbalized through the ages plays on in all of Creation.  We may not always hear or pay attention to the music but the melodies are there; we may be absent from the Lord, but He is never absent from us.  I know because I hear nature’s songs and I see reminders of the Lord’s continual and constant presence in the great and small pulsing lights in the heavens, in the caroling colors of earth and sky, in the sizzling efficacy of the sun’s warmth, in the rush of roaring waters and tides, in the sighing and howling of the wind, wind which like the Holy One is a presence that can be felt but not seen.

Let the trees of the forest sing, let them sing for joy before the Lord…  ~1 Chronicles 16:33  ✝

185. For the wisdom that fashioned the universe and can be read in earth’s dark depths and in heaven’s infinity of lights, thanks be to you, O God. ~John Philip Newell

How silently they tumble down
And come to rest upon the ground
To lay a carpet, rich and rare,
Beneath the trees without a care,
Content to sleep, their work well done,
Colors gleaming in the sun.
-Elsie N. Brady, poet


As Brady points out, when leaves “come to rest upon the ground,” it is a completion, but the work of fallen autumn leaves is far from done at that point.  As they “rest upon the ground,” besides being a warm blanket for what lies beneath them and a life-saving provision for the trees, they become food for a host of soil organisms that are vital to the overall health of ecosystems.  As time moves on and the leaves decompose, they restock the soil with nutrients and they make up a part of the spongy humus that absorbs and holds rainfall.  At last “with the arrival of warmth and spring, insects, bacteria, and fungi gear up!  Leaves are chewed and rotted, releasing nutrients for plant growth.”  So it is that with another round of plant growth, Creation and its inhabitants are guaranteed what they need to survive until the recycling process begins again the next fall.  How comforting it is to know that the Hand of the Almighty is always near!  For, you see, it was after a stroke threatened my life and wholeness a year ago yesterday that the Lord’s mighty hands performed the necessary miracles to grant me another year of health and life.

 He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.  ~Psalm 40:3a  ✝

10. For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver. ~Martin Luther

For man, autumn is a time of harvest, of gathering together.
For nature, it is a time of sowing,of scattering abroad.
~Edwin Way Teale


Like Teale I knew that autumn’s winds were scatterers and sowers, but until I did some research, I didn’t realize how much the autumnal shedding of leaves accomplishes.  For the sake of the sod, the fallen leaves cover the ground like a protective blanket.  It’s also easier for leafless trees to conserve much needed moisture in their branches and trunks, and since cold, dry winter winds strip moisture from trees through their leaves, losing their leaves is self-protective mechanism.  It would also be very costly energy wise for trees to keep their little leafy food factories up and running with less light and heat.   Because the transport of water from the ground into the trunk and leaves would be a damaging drain on a trees’ limited resources, the loss of leaves puts trees into a state of dormancy thereby reducing the amount of energy they need to live.  When leaves “come to rest upon the ground,” their work is far from over.  As they lie there, they become food for soil organisms which are vital to the overall health of ecosystems.  In addition the decomposing leaves restock the soil with nutrients and make up a part of the spongy humus that absorbs and holds rainfall.  And finally with the arrival of spring and warmer temps, bacteria, fungi, and insects come into play because the fallen leaves are chewed and rotted which in turn releases nutrients for plant growth.

“For the wisdom that fashioned the universe and can be read in earth’s dark depths and in heaven’s infinity of lights thanks be to you, O God.”  ~John Philip Newell