1179. I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order. ~John Burroughs

Nothing can be found in the intellect
if previously it has not been found in the senses.
~Michael Servetus
We evolved to move and to learn
with all our five senses!
~Martha Beck

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I’ve been thinking since I got up this morning about yesterday’s post in which I discussed creature comforts and the power of smell(#1178). I’m still particularly intrigued by Ackerman’s quote as well as Keller’s quote and the implications of the passage from Scripture I chose for that post and am repeating for this one. And then today one of my fellow bloggers wrote a poem today about a spark of life she had experienced. It was then that it occurred to me that the tripwire triggered by smell which Ackerman talks about coming through the “weedy mass of years” and setting off a spark that detonates memories could be true of all the senses. Since all 5 are capable of setting off such “soft” explosions of memory in us, could it be that the purpose of bringing us good memories through sensory methods of perception is intended to bring us ultimately back to Yahweh, the Father of all life and the Giver of our senses. Seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, and smelling are parts of the pleasures that come from out observance of and interactions with Creation. And so where better to find God than in nature and/or in His gifts inherent in the things that comfort us. Maybe God intentionally incorporated a fail-safe in His children who could and would wander, and in so doing built into the fabric of our being little beacons that once lighted anew by sensory input would restore memories of home and creaturely comforts which in turn would brings us back to Him, the comforting source indwelling in our hearts and souls. Okay, so why the need for 5 senses? Why not just one? One of my quotes was from Helen Keller a woman who was both blind and deaf, and yet she still had the ability to smell which brought her to the conclusion that “smell is a potent wizard” capable of transporting someone “across thousands and thousands of miles and all the years” that individual had lives. Perhaps, this is why I’m so enamored with my garden.When one truly loves a garden which inhabits a piece of ground on Earth, some of the elements of its reality root in the soil of his/her soul, thus blessing him/her with hosts of sparks that rise like fireflies in the night.

Live with all of your senses.
~Sue Townsend

The hollyhock above is truly a spark of life. I threw the seed down for it in the fall and have no idea at what moment the spark that ignited it came, but come it did and now today this beauty is the progeny of that tiny seed. And its beauty and presence is a balm unto my soul and “puts my senses in order.”

If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? ~1 Corinthians 12:17  ✝

943. If you wish to know the Creator, come to know His creatures. ~Columbanus, Medieval Irish Monk

Out of the waters of God’s life
come the creatures of earth, sea, and sky.
With the birth of the creatures on the fifth day
there is the emergence of seeing, hearing,
smelling, tasting, and touching.
~J. Philip Newell

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One of the keys to listening needs to be simply an appreciative attentiveness to God’s creatures. The Book of Job says, “Ask the animals, and they will teach you; the birds of the air, and they will tell you.” And to look to the animal world is not to look away from God; instead, it’s a way to look at a showing forth of the mystery of God. For it reveals something of the way of God’s seeing and sensing, and one can see as well that in Creation’s mysteries is part of the Christ mystery.

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I’ve seen animals, such as the bird in the photo above, who seem to be bowing before the Creator in gratitude for life, for the day, for His continuing Presence here. There is also the unbroken song of the creatures. And in Revelation John envisaged an unending song of praise being sung by all that swims and flies and has motion. He said every creature on earth here below and in the ocean beneath and in the air above was giving glory to God, singing Holy, Holy, Holy. ~Both paragraphs contain directly quoted, paraphrased, and/or adapted random excerpts from THE BOOK OF CREATION by J. Philip Newell

Consider first the Canada Goose,
brown body, whitish breast
black head, long black neck…
Then there’s the Barnacle Goose…
flight note
a rapidly repeated gnuk
gnuk gnuk gnuk gnuk gnuk gnuk gnuk
(like an ecstatic Eskimo)…
The snow goose
has a pure white plumage
with black-tipped wings…
In Europe you might take her for a swan
or maybe a gannet
till she lets you know abruptly
she’s all goose
there they go
through the wind, the rain, the snow
wild spirits knowing
what they know
~Kenneth White

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.” ~Job 12:7-10  ✝

**Mike Bizeau posted the great photo of a bull elk on his blog, and I found the image of the bird with its head bowed on Pinterest

501. There is no glory in star or blossom till looked upon by loving eye; there is no fragrance in autumn breezes till breathed with joy as they wander by. ~William C. Bryant

He couldn’t stop smelling the air
in great, deep, loud sniffs.
It was so delicious.
It smelled of water, and mud,
and maple trees, and autumn.
~Elizabeth Enright

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Sweet fruit
high above me,
out of reach
up in the canopy
formed by wire and bush
Another smell of autumn
sweet sweet smell
of Concord grapes
warming ripening
ready to burst with flavor
strong urgent smell
lured me closer
spreading outward
from the makeshift arbor
a plume twenty feet wide
enticing, coaxing
me to linger
luxuriate in its aroma
smile at the memory
of other pickings
long ago
~Edited poem by Raymond A. Foss

But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. ~2 Corinthians 2:14   ✝

** Image via Pinterest

174. The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated. ~Mahatma Ghandi

If all the beasts were gone,
men would die from a great loneliness of spirit,
for whatever happens to the beasts
also happens to the man.
All things are connected.
Whatever befalls the Earth befalls the sons of Earth.
~Chief Seattle of the Suquamish Tribe


The creatures of earth, sea and sky came forth “out of the waters of God’s life.”   And their arrival was yet another manifestation of the visible from the invisible–another disclosure of the mystery of God.  In addition, “with the birth of the creatures there is the emergence of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching.  The light of the sun and the whiteness of the moon can now be seen.  The wind blowing through the leaves of trees and the crashing of ocean waves can be heard.  The early morning fragrance of the earth can be smelled.  Its fruit can be tasted, and its textures touched,” writes J. Philip Newell.  It has even been said that if one wants to know the Creator, one of the ways to gain insight is to know His creatures, and I think that’s especially true when it comes to examining the sensory aspect of their coming.  For does not the ability to see, that the creatures brought, teach mankind to see with the eyes of the heart?  In the silences of humanity’s reality does not the ability to hear teach men to listen for the “echo of the spheres” and the still, small voice of God?  Do not the abilities to smell, taste, and touch help mortals meet their Savior, Jesus, through the holy sacrament of the Eucharist (Communion)?

And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground–everything that has the breath of life in it–I give every green plant for food.”  And it was so.  ~Genesis 1:30

60. That God once loved a garden we learn in Holy writ. And seeing gardens in the Spring I well can credit it. ~Winifred Mary Letts

With the birth of the creatures there is
the emergence of seeing, hearing,
smelling, tasting, and touching.
The light of the sun and the whiteness
of the moon can now be seen.
The wind blowing through the leaves
of the trees and the crashing
of ocean waves can be heard.
The early morning fragrance of
the earth can be smelled.
Its fruits can be tasted and
its textures touched.
~Excerpted lines by J. Philip Newell


Springtime is so much “a showing forth of the mystery of God” that if one wants to know more of the Creator, all he/she needs do is pull up a chair in a garden and watch the year’s first season unfold.  Seeking the goodness of God and what He made by being still therein and listening to the Holy Spirit as well as Creation’s rhythms is a way of bringing the Heavenly Father closer.  In that nearness one is then able to look through eyes that recognize the depth of His and Creation’s  goodness.

And the LORD said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.  ~Exodus 33:19   ✝