1403. Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall. ~F Scott Fitzgerald

Autumn, the year’s last,
loveliest smile.
~William Cullen Bryant

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Autumn has indeed come; but summer lingers
On here unwilling to let go its lusty hold upon us.

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Though the lawn and garden remain green
and dotted with a smidgen of blossoming flowers,

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The landscape and I are growing more and more weary
as well as frazzled and bedraggled in these rainless days.

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Sadly we must yet wait, like it or not, for
vignettes such as these in the photos and John Keats
“season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” to arrive,

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As well as keep yearning for our souls to be wedded to the
Autumn deliciousness of which George Eliot spoke.

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Too we must continue waiting for Thomas Hood’s
“Shadowless misty morns” that stand in silence,

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Silence in which we wait yet again watching for the
For magical autumn’s slant of golden light, as we…

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Try to envisage Albert Camus’ “second spring” in
Which, as he said, every leaf becomes a flower.

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Then at long last we can ponder Robert Brownings’
“mute appeal to sympathy” for autumn’s inevitable decay.

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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 photos via Pinterest

1180. Light-enchanted sunflower, thou who gazest ever true and tender on the sun’s revolving splendour. ~Pedro Calderon de la Barca

Ah, sunflower, weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the sun,
Seeking after that sweet golden clime…
~William Blake

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An errant seed was she left to lie
not by I but unknown circumstance
throughout winter, dark and deep,
and there it was she marked the time
until days lengthened and they warmed.
But who knows the when or how soon of
an ordained and sacred thing which must
come together at an exacting moment in time
to spark a miracle in and of earth’s soil
wherein roots shoot down and a stem
with a pair of leaves rises unto the light.
However that it did as spring rains came.
Up and up advanced the thickening,
woody stem with more and more of the
sunflower’s green, heart-shaped leaves
until one day a bud appeared on top
with frilly green whorls of bracts that
cradled the flower’s golden splendor inside.
Soon the time was right for the bud to
turn and face the sun so that petal by petal
its heart of emerald green could exposed.
And then surrounded by a yellowy halo
the gaudy sunflower reigned on high for days
and days above the garden fair but alas time
that in the end swallows up all things has
bowed her noble head in fading glory.

From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised. ~Psalm 113:3  ✝

**This is the same sunflower that I’ve be showing as she went from bud to flower and now to fading glory.

1013. I saw old autumn in the misty morn stand shadowless like silence, listening 
to silence. ~Thomas Hood

After the leaves have fallen, we return
To a plain sense of things.  It is as if
We had come to an end of the imagination,
Inanimate in an inert savoir(way of knowing).
~Wallace Stevens

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O splendid, lusty autumn, you who come with a subtle change in the light, with skies a deeper blue, with cooler days and lengthening chilly nights, it is, I’m sad to say, time for you to go. This year’s first frosts have come and gone, migratory birds have vanished over distant horizons, and crops have been harvested from garden and field alike. And all the while your while beauty and bounty “shined unconfined” as your days spread a “common feast for all that live.” Grateful are we to God and thee, o “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” that rains fell in good measure and gusty winds laid abundant, leafy blankets over the ground in protective readiness against winter’s icy blasts.

silence
seeks the center
of every tree and rock,
that thing we hold closest
-
the end of mere songs
~Michael McClintock

O Lord, I have truly enjoyed listening to nature’s solemn, autumnal hymns once again. And I’ve watched in wonder as leaf upon leaf floated down disrobing the earth. Now I find delight in the millions of shining stars I can see through the bare tree branches, and I know, according to Your promises, that when autumn’s allotted sands of time run out of this year’s hourglass that it’s not an ending. So I’ll go to bed tonight assured that with the arrival of the winter solstice near midnight this evening that the slamming shut of fall’s back door is in reality just a new beginning, a fresh start that will usher in another season, a season of restful silences. Thus at the morrow’s first light, I will rise and begin in earnest to prepare my heart to welcome Your son, Emmanuel, and to rest–to rest, to observe, to listen, and to continue worshiping You.

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

**Image via Pinterest

750. The rivers rise and the rains keep coming. ~Philip Levine

Rain now falls from the roof
The staccato of the heavy
Drops on the hard ground below
The world is muffled.
~Excerpted lines from a poem
by Raymond Foss

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Listening to the timpani
the rhythm of the rain
the rap, the tap,
the ratta-tat-tat,
the staccato of the drumming
on the roof of the house

The storm raging ‘round us
in the stillness of the night
trying to drum the beat
on the window panes and
keeping time with the
randomness of noisy traffic
blocks away on the interstate

Too few drummers for the task
capturing the sound of rain
~Edited and adapted poem
by Raymond Foss

The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. ~Matthew 7:25   ✝

**Image via Pinterest

667. There will come soft rain and the smell of the ground… ~Sara Teasdale

Plink, plink, plinkity-plunk,
Plink, plink, plinkity-plink,
Ting, ting, ting,
Drip, drip, drip,
Ping, ping, ping,
I’ve put myself completely
in the keeping of another rainy day.
Plop, plop, ploppity-plop.
~Natalie Scarberry

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Rain Music

On a drenched earth-drum
Beats anew the falling rain;
First a whispered thrum,
Then a louder strain.
Slender, silvery drumsticks,
On an ancient drum.
Beat the mellow melodies
Bidding life to come.
Chords of earth awakening,
Notes of coming spring
Rise and fall triumphant
Over each and everything.
For God, the Great Musician
Taps out all such transitions.
~Edited and adapted lines
from a poem
by Joseph Seamon Cotter

Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge Him. As surely as the sun rises, He will appear; He will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth. ~Hosea 6:3

**Image via Pinterest

662. The snow itself is lonely or, if you prefer self-sufficient. There is no other time when the whole world seems composed of one thing and one thing only. ~Joseph Wood Krutch

Out of the bosom of the air
Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken,
Over the woodlands brown and bare,
Over the harvest-fields forsaken,
Silent, and soft, and slow
Descends the snow.
This is the poem of the air.
~Excerpted lines from a poem
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
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Snow again? Unfreakingbelievable! I’d been waiting and watching the skies all winter for signs of snow and when did it finally come? Three weeks, more or less, before the arrival of the vernal equinox and at the time of my knee surgery. Not only that but before the snow fell last week you’d have thought spring was springing up and out all over my neck of the woods.  Why so?  The neighboring Bradford pear trees were budding out, my redbud tree was budding out, the willow at the back was leafing out, the roses were also leafing out, some even had buds, hyacinth were blooming, daffodils were flowering, and an assortment of green things were sprouting up and out of the ground. But then and in the twinkling of an eye– wham, bam, boom, the temps plummeted, the rains came, and as February’s doors closed the “poetry” of snow fell. Go figure! But then since our last average freeze date is March 15th, silly old me thought perhaps the sun would be back this week and we’d start warming up. But oh no! Sunday, on the way home from the hospital I heard forecasters predict more below freezing temps for the week as well as additional rain, sleet, or snow. And wouldn’t you know, the weather gurus who are often wrong when it comes to Texas weather were 100% right this time because once more as this week progressed the temps plummeted, the rains came, and then last night out of the “bosom of the air” fell the “poetry of snow” for the second time in less than a week! My oh my oh my, but Mother Nature can be quite the fickle and cruel old gal at times, can’t she?!
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Throughout the evening I watched the snow fairies
As they were falling, falling from the sky, and
Whirling willy-nilly about in the misty air while
Contending fiercely for space supremacy.
Then as the night deepened they flew down mightily,
As though in heaven there had been a revolt or a riot
Which drove the frail things into a panicked flight
Down to the calm earth in search of peace and quiet.
Finally I went on to bed but rose early at dawn
And saw myriads of them huddled together in heaps,
Each merged into the other upon any and all surfaces,
Fast asleep, worn out by their sharp struggle.
~Edited and adapted lines by Claude McKay
In peace I will lie down and sleep, for You alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. ~Psalm 4:8   ✝

659. March is a month of considerable frustration – it is so near spring and yet across a great deal of the country the weather is still so violent and changeable that outdoor activity in our yards seems light years away. ~Thalassa Cruso

Winds of March, we welcome you,
There is work for you to do.
Work and play and blow all day,
Blow the Winter wind away.
~Author Unknown

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March bustles in on windy feet
And sweeps my doorstep and my street.
She washes and cleans with pounding rains,
Scrubbing the earth of winter stains.
She shakes the grime from carpet green
Till naught but fresh new blades are seen.
Then, house in order, all neat as a pin,
She ushers gentle springtime in.
~Susan Reiner

Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven. ~Psalm 85:11   ✝

563. Mournful singer of dawn and dusk I hear well your song. ~Author Unknown

And now November rains erode the nests
That mourning doves assembled in the gardens
From where their mild and wind-warm coos caressed
My ear, to quiet earth that cools and hardens
~Edward Alan Bartholomew

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As I worked in the yard today, a mourning dove somewhere above my head sang her sad, sad tune in the dwindling hours of the late November day. Although I could hear her long before I could see her, eventually I spied her and her soft, pinkish underbelly on the high wire where she sat in an intermittent reverie between her sorrowful cries. Perplexed by her pleas I sat pondering the meaning of the doleful melodies. Why does she cry I wondered? Does she lament the closing of the day and the dark, moonless night that lies ahead? Have her children come and gone too soon? Where is her lover that he might console her? Is she hungry? Is she frightened? Surely she doesn’t lament the regrettable affairs of men. Then I noticed that the stone rabbit with the upright ears seemed to be pondering her despair as well. Again I mulled over what the cause of her woe might be. The weather and the garden, though not perfect this time of year, should be no cause for such sorrowful sounds. Other birds had for sure been chattering gleefully which made her cries and lamentations even more pitiful. Cooah, coo, coo, coo she’d called over and over again as the day wound down, and then suddenly just before all light was gone her melancholy voice vanished. And then it occurred to me that perhaps her haunting, soulful sounds were simply songs of praise for another day of living and it was time to rest her weary wings.

I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.” ~Psalm 55:6   ✝

** Image via Pinterest

524. Gardening: the fine art of soul to soil. ~Jan Bills

But each spring. . .a gardening instinct,
sure as the sap rising in the trees,
stirs within us.
We look about and decide to tame
another little bit of ground.
~Lewis Gantt

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Life! Life has materialized again! On a cool, misty morn of late October, little green slivers of life have emerged into visible existence, life anew made manifest from tiny black seeds scratched into barren soil and sprinkled with water, the very elixir of life itself! And it has come where two losses occurred unexpectedly in my yard last June. When it happened, “the gardening instinct” Gantt mentions kicked in immediately even though it was long after the last rising of sap and well before the next. Sadly, at that time however, the fires of summer were already growing intense, and it was too hot to start “taming” bits of ground. But when temperatures at last lowered in late September, my son-in-law tilled and tamed the new bits of ground for me. It may seem odd to sow this late in the year, but given the mild winters and early to warm up springtimes of north central Texas, the seeds of poppies, larkspur, bluebonnets, bee balm, and sweet peas must be sown in the fall so that the roots of the seedlings have enough time to grow strong and hardy. Such indeed is “the stuff of which dreams are made” for those of us who need flowers for the soul to thrive, who seek revelation of God in a garden, who live close to and find intrigue in the soil from which we came, and who dig the ground seeking His presence in earth’s depths.

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

**Images via Pinterest

484. Flowers are those little colorful beacons of the sun from which we get sunshine when dark, somber skies blanket our thoughts. ~Dodinsky

The earth has received the embrace of the sun
and we shall see the result of that love.
~Hunkesni (Sitting Bull)

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The flowers in these photos are the result of another year’s embrace of the sun. It will be the remembrance of them and the haunting songs of their colors, separately and collectively, that will lift my spirits when in the months to come we traverse winter’s “vale of grief.” If my memory of them should grow dim, I’ll have but to look heavenward and watch for them in the rising and the setting of the sun on days when a window in the gloom has been opened. In those moments when they streak the eastern or western horizon in a blaze of glory I’ll remember that as the earth tilts back toward the sun, the sun’s embrace will bring the flowers, their lovely colors, and their songs back to life. When they return and the air is filled with the music of many rhymes, my prayer is. . .

That the morning sun stir us with gladness from ours bed,
That the winds of March move us happily along the new year’s road,
That the rains of April renew our strength,
That the flowers and colors of May captivate our sight,
That the summer inflame our zeal,
That autumn’s colors stimulate our dreams,
That the silver moon make us wiser yet,
That the Lord keep us young at heart so that
we are full of life, laughter, song, and gratitude
for the holiness and goodness in all that the sun and His love embraces.
~Edited and adapted from a blessing by Fr. Andrew Greeley

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens He has pitched a tent for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. ~Psalm 19:1-5    ✝

** I made the collage of flowers from images found on PInterest.