736. I was in love with the whole world and all that lived in its rainy arms. ~Louise Erdrich

My poetry was born
between the hill and the river.
It took its voice
 from the rain,
and like the timber,
it steeped itself in the forests.
~Pablo Neruda, Chilean poet and
winner of the Nobel Prize in literature

Screen shot 2015-05-13 at 4.16.55 PM

I expect there are many writers, like Neruda, as well as artists and musicians who have found a voice in the rain as it evokes strong emotions in the human heart. In some unfathomable way I even believe rain is wedded to the human soul. So it is that I am drawn into its web and mystery whenever it blesses this arid and often drought-ridden land where I live. I’m not only intoxicated by the sounds and sights of it but also the whole other level of interest it creates in the garden and other earthly places.

Like billowing clouds,
Like the incessant gurgle of the brook
The longing of the spirit can never be stilled.
~ St. Hildegard von Bingen

Screen shot 2015-05-16 at 2.30.03 PM

The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands… ~Deuteronomy 28:12   ✝

**Upper collage created by Natalie from her photo archives; lower collage created from images via Pinterest

673. Spring makes its own statement, so loud and clear that the gardener seems to be only one of the instruments, not the composer. ~Geoffrey B. Charlesworth

There be delights that will fetch the day about
from sun to sun and rock the tedious year
as in a delightful dream …for a garden is Arcady
(a region of rural simplicity and contentment)
brought home.  It is man’s bit of gaudy
make-believe – his well-disguised fiction
of an unvexed Paradise – a world where
gayety knows no eclipse…
~Edited lines by John D. Sedding

Screen shot 2015-03-16 at 4.27.41 PM

Shhhhhhh! Do you hear it? Okay, okay, try again. Listen carefully! Did you hear something this time? Did you? If not, did you see anything different? Surely with the vernal equinox only 4 days away, you’ve heard and seen the come-hither voice of springtime and the early signs of it that daily grow more visible and audible. In my yard and elsewhere birds are aflutter and atwitter as they bring nesting materials to birdhouses; colorful crocuses, upright and abloom, chant lovely, little ditties; green perennials whisper quiet anthems as they rise from wombs beneath the soil in search of light and warmth; iris spears that were cut back in the fall now stand tall again offering up gladsome refrains; busy, buzzing bees scurry about in search of nectar and pollen; swelling buds on cherry trees whisper pretty, pink ballads; and on and on go the sights and sounds that make the human heart leap as the faithful promise of Spring materializes once more.

For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations. ~Psalm 6:11   ✝

475. To one who has been long in city pent, ‘tis sweet to look into the fair and open face of heaven-to breathe a prayer full in the smile of the blue firmament. ~John Keats

Nature is man’s teacher.
She unfolds her treasures to his search
unseals his eye, illumes his mind, purifies his heart;
an influence breathes from all the sights
and sounds of existence.
~Alfred Billings Street

DSC_0015

It is not so much being “city pent” that keeps me from looking long into the “fair and open face” of the heavens in summer. It’s from being “house pent.” However, to keep my heat-driven incarceration inside my air-conditioned home from totally stifling my spiritual breathing, I hungrily emerge out of doors for a while very early and/or very late in the day. Outside and under the heavens I am able at last to breathe long and deep in prayer. According to Howard Pyle, “The stories of childhood leave an indelible impression, and their author always has a niche in the temple of memory from which the image is never cast out to be thrown on the rubbish heap of things that are outgrown and outlived.” In my childhood nature and her sweet stories left a profound impression in my memory. Because as Pyle suggests that impression was not thrown on “the rubbish heap” and because late in life I reentered nature’s haunts by means of a garden, I was brought back to a reverent and devoted relationship with the Maker of my soul and Creation.

Last night when I was out, I noticed that a pure white Angel’s Trumpet had opened, and it was still there briefly this morning. The brilliance of its whiteness reminded me of the temporal dominion of any kind of darkness and the inevitable return of light. Then when I came inside, I read an email from a friend in which he quoted “Peace is seeing the sunrise and sunset and knowing who to thank.” Though neither he nor I knew whom to credit for the thought, we always know who to thank for everything. So thank you, Lord, for sunrises and sunsets as well as endings and beginnings. For you see the Angel in the Trumpet intimated that the heat beast is on its last legs.

The earth is filled with Your love, Lord; teach me Your decrees. ~Psalm 119:64   ✝

Lord God, Your breath is within me, and I will honor and praise you with every breath that I breathe.

427. Man’s heart away from nature becomes hard. ~Standing Bear, Ponca Native American Chief

Happiness flutters in the air
whilst we rest among
the breaths of nature.
~Kelly Sheaffer

DSC_0007

The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As longs as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles. ~Anne Frank

DSC_0008 

Nature is man’s teacher. She unfolds her treasures to his search, unseals his eye, illumes his mind, and purifies his heart; an influence breathes from all the sights and sounds of her existence. ~Alfred Billings Street

DSC_0019

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. ~Romans 1:20   ✝

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! Like Saint Hildegard Lord, may I too be a feather on your holy breath and spread, like seeds, the gospel abroad.

180. The great man is he who does not lose his child’s heart. ~Mencius, Chinese philosopher and sage

Image

rainy days
magical rainy days
pitter-patter, pitter-patter

puddles forming everywhere
bouncing droplets on the ground
pitter-patter, pitter-patter, pitter-patter

water gushing off old, rusty gutters
wind chimes whirling around and around
bowers bending from heavy showers, pitter-patter

each drop a tiny dancer bobbing up and down
tiny rivers flowing between stones on a garden path
beads forming along the tendrils of a grapevine, pitter-patter

rumbling, grumbling thunder; flashes of cool, clean air in the face
tree branches bending close to the ground; soothing sounds all around
vague memories of wet beginnings forever draw me to the rain, pitter-patter

As I the rain started to fall today, I noticed it began with a few drops here and a few drops there.  Then there were a few more more and then more and more until finally it was falling steadily all around.  It was like it was building up momentum and so as I watched, I let my words fall on the page in a similar manner while watching the effects of its progression.  What I wanted to do was imitate the pleasant sights and sounds that kept cropping up as the rain fell heavier and heavier.  Frivolous and silly perhaps but every now and then I think we need to remember the kinds of simple pleasure we enjoyed as children.

When they see among them their children, the work of My hands, they will keep My name holy. . and will stand in awe of the God of Israel.  ~Isaiah 29:23  ✝