1373. Poor, dear, silly Spring, preparing her annual surprise! ~Wallace Stevens

The early mist had vanished
and the fields lay like a
silver shield under the sun.
~Edith Wharton

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As night’s shades were lifted up, off, and away
the new day dawned with a late April gusting
northward wind that ruffled the leaves on trees,
on burgeoning plants, and flowery petals alike.
So too were there clouds that moved overhead
like fleeing chariots trying to make a hasty run
from threatening legions of vile adversarial foes.
Thus the days’s opus began in a kind of exigent
solemnity, and adding to the drama fell a fine mist
but so briefly t’wasn’t enough to assuage dry soil.
By noon the sun’s gilded rays began to break in
through the cloud cover, and then at long last the
bearer of warmth and light laid claim to the entirety
of the spacious skies above, in exclusivity for itself.

-Natalie Scarberry

…the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. ~Psalm 103:16  ✝

**Clematis image taken by Natalie in her yard

1359. Human beings need pleasure, as in to be thrilled, the way they need vitamins. ~Edited line by Lionel Tiger

thrilled

1. a. A sudden feeling of pleasure or excitement
    b. A source or cause of pleasure or excitement
2. a. A quivering caused by sudden excitement or emotion
    b. A trembling caused by pleasurable excitement or emotion

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O, money can’t buy the delights of the garden,
Nor Poetry sing all its charms:
There’s a solace and calm ne’er described by the pen
When we’re folded within Nature’s arms!
~Edited and adapted poem
by James Rigg

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Surely you’ve been thrilled by something that truly speaks to you, and when it does, your heart bursts with an adrenaline rush? I hope so! For me, is has happened time and time again in my garden during every season. And there is something about all of them that thrills and excites me through and through. But in spring the excitement ratchets up even more so especially when finding those first little green shoots pushing up through the soil or better yet that first bloom that makes me tremble with delight all the way down to my very core. As it sends pure elation racing through my veins, that spicy taste of something thrilling ushers along a sweet taste of hope. For in witnessing another round of earth’s sweet beginning in God’s Eden, I experience the richness of nature’s holy, ancient, and forever faithful design. In knowing that I am so filled with gladness that tears well up in gratitude for the privilege of being alive as well as for being granted time to lead a quiet life and work the soil with my hands in my tiny piece of Eden. Above and below are the first fruits of my labor this year; I planted these tulips last December, and their exquisiteness is taking by breath away day by day by day!

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To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter…to be elated by the stars at night; to be thrilled by a bird’s nest or a flower in spring – these are some of the rewards of the simple life. ~Edited and adapted quote by John Burroughs

In trying to please God, we are asked in Scripture to: Make it our goal to live a quiet life, minding our own business and working with our hands… ~1 Thessalonians 4:11  ✝

1358. If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden. ~Frances Hodgson Burnett, THE SECRET GARDEN

Gardening about enjoying the smell
of things growing in the soil,
getting dirty without feeling guilty,
and generally taking the time to soak
up a little peace and serenity.
~Lindley Karstens

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However many years she lived, Mary always felt
that ‘she should never forget that first morning
when her garden began to grow’…I am sure there is
Magic in everything, only we have not sense enough
to get hold of it and make it do things for us.
~Excerpted lines from THE SECRET GARDEN
by Frances Hodgson Burnett

One of the strange things about living in the world is that it is only now and then one is quite sure one is going to live forever and ever and ever. One knows it sometimes when one gets up at the tender solemn dawn-time and goes out and stands out and throws one’s head far back and looks up and up and watches the pale sky slowly changing and flushing and marvelous unknown things happening until the East almost makes one cry out and one’s heart stands still at the strange unchanging majesty of the rising of the sun–which has been happening every morning for thousands and thousands and thousands of years. One knows it then for a moment or so. And one knows it sometimes when one stands by oneself in a wood at sunset and the mysterious deep gold stillness slanting through and under the branches seems to be saying slowly again and again something one cannot quite hear, however much one tries. Then sometimes the immense quiet of the dark blue at night with the millions of stars waiting and watching makes one sure; and sometimes a sound of far-off music makes it true; and sometimes a look in someone’s eyes. ~Frances Hodgson Burnett, THE SECRET GARDEN

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At first people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done, then they begin to hope it can be done, then they see it can be done–then it is done and all the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago…Of course there must be lots of Magic in the world,” he said wisely one day, “but people don’t know what it is like or how to make it. Perhaps the beginning is just to say nice things are going to happen until you make them happen. I am going to try and experiment….And the secret garden bloomed and bloomed and every morning revealed new miracles… Much more surprising things can happen to anyone who, when a disagreeable or discouraging thought comes into his mind, just has the sense to remember in time and push it out by putting in an agreeable, determinedly courageous one. Two things cannot be in one place. ~Excerpted lines from THE SECRET GARDEN by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. ~Genesis 2:8  ✝

“Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce…” ~Jeremiah 29:5  ✝

**Images via Pinterest; text added to the collage by Natalie; collage created by Natalie

1349. Before the seed there comes the thought(promise) of bloom. ~Adapted line by E. B. White 

I can hear, underground,
that sucking and sobbing,
In my veins, in my bones I feel it,–
The small water seeping upward,
The tight grains parting at last.
When sprouts break out,
Slippery as fish,
I quail, lean to beginnings, sheath-wet. ~
Theodore Roethke

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The dictionary defines a promise as: 1.) a declaration that something will or will not be done or given and 2.) an express assurance on which expectation is to be based. Therefore, it seems to me that seeds declare and express assurance of what the Lord has done and given, and as such is a promise of what we as His children can expect. For the mention of seeds and their promise is made on the third day of the Genesis story where we can see that plants and trees are manifestations of a sacred and prescribed “seed force.” The roots of this ordained and holy “seed force” reach down into the darkness of the earth’s “concealed depths,” and therein they are sustained by water. That’s why in the Celtic tradition the moisture in earth’s soil is a “symbol of the waters of God that enfold and infuse all things.” Not only that but as J. Philip Newell says, “everything that was born in the great matrix of life is sustained by roots that reach into the deep mystery of God’s life.” In so doing we mortals can see God’s goodness, deeper than any evil, at the inception of Creation and in the heart of all life.

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from my hand into the wind
one clings
as if to say there is in me
something yet to be
~Jeanne Emrich

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Earth teach me to forget myself as melted snow forgets its life. Earth teach me resignation as the leaves which die in the fall. Earth teach me courage as the tree which stands all alone. Earth teach me regeneration as the seed which rises in the spring. ~William Alexander

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And the sower going forth to sow sets foot into time to come…Like a tree, he has given roots to the earth, and stands free. ~Wendell Berry

Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. ~Genesis 1:11-12  ✝

**All photos of seeds and seed pods taken by Natalie; all collages created by Natalie.

1296. I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order. ~John Burroughs

The moment that a child can walk,
like that in which it first can talk,
is a precious start of exploration into landscapes of creation.
Walking, walking, walking, walking, walking on the earth.
By sense of touch the feet assess
the nature of the wilderness
of earth beneath;
yet human speech cannot express
what feet can teach.
Walking, walking, walking, walking,
walking on the earth.
~Francis D. Hole

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The ancient Hebrew association of man with soil is echoed in the Latin name for man, homo, derived from humus, the stuff of life in the soil. This powerful metaphor suggests an early realization of a profound truth that humanity has since disregarded to its own detriment. Since the words “humility” and “humble” also derive from humus, it is rather ironic that we should have assigned our species so arrogant a name as Homo sapiens sapiens (“wise wise man”). It occurs to me, as I ponder our past and future relation to the earth, that we might consider changing our name to a more modest Homo sapiens curans, with the word curans denoting caring or caretaking, as in “curator.” (“Teach us to care” was T.S. Eliot’s poetic plea.) Of course, we must work to deserve the new name, even as we have not deserved the old one. ~Daniel Hillel, Out of the Earth: Civilization and the Life of the Soil

My feet have closely followed His(God’s) steps; I have kept to His(God’s) way without turning aside. ~Job 23:11 ✝

**All images via Pinterest; collage by Natalie

1252. The first act of awe, when man was struck with the beauty or wonder of Nature, was the first spiritual experience. ~Henryk Skolimowski 

O Marvelous!
What new configuration will come next?
I am bewildered with multiplicity.
~William Carlos Williams

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Soil . . . scoop up a handful of the magic stuff.   Look at it closely. What wonders it holds as it lies there in your palm.  Tiny sharp grains of sand, little faggots of wood and leaf fiber, infinitely small round pieces of marble, fragments of shell, specks of black carbon, a section of vertebrae from some minute creature. And mingling with it all the dust of countless generations of plants and flowers, trees, animals and – yes – our own, age-long forgotten forebears, gardeners of long ago. Can this incredible composition be the common soil? ~Stuart Maddox Masters

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I went out first thing this morning to see if I might find something picture worthy and came across some rather extraordinary things. A garden is not just about flowers or vegetables or fruits or trees. It’s about the soil and creatures as well. Some might think what I found is strange, bordering on ugly or scary, but they are essential to the life of a garden.

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First I came upon the sedum at top starting to show color followed by a mystical passionflower not yet fully open. Then I found the two fruitings, above and below, of fungi in the soil. Fungi perform an essential role in the decomposition of organic matter. In fact they are the principal decomposers in ecological systems, and interestingly fungi are genetically more closely related to animals than plants. These two are strangely beautiful in a way, don’t your think?

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If you want to live and thrive,
let the spider run alive.
~American Quaker saying

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Next I found this huge spider, and although I’m not a fan of spiders, it was an awesome specimen sitting in the middle of an amazing web. I’d seen this same kind of spider in almost the same exact place two years ago, but this one is much bigger than the previous one. So I snapped my photos quickly and gave it a wide berth as I moved on. I was willing to let him run alive as the saying goes, just not after or on me.

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. ~Isaiah 61:11  ✝

1215. We are all farmers tending a little part of the Lord’s vineyard. ~Sheri L. Dew

One of life’s gifts is that each of us,
no matter how tired and downtrodden,
finds reasons for thankfulness:
for the crops carried in from the fields
and the grapes from the vineyard.
~J. Robert Moskin

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So James and I are driving along headed for lunch one day last week, and I just happened to glance down a cross street in time to see a house with a large side yard that has established its own tiny vineyard. Fascinated by the prospect, I asked James to turn around and go back so I could get a better look and take some photos. There on 4 rows with 7 vines on each of the rows, whoever owns the house has created what appears to be, at least for the moment, a healthy and prospering vineyard. Sadly however there are no roses at the end of the rows. Why roses? “In wine regions around the world, roses are frequently planted at the perimeter of vineyards. Roses typically require the same type of soil and sun requirements as grapevines and traditionally, rose hedges were planted as an early warning system to protect the health of the grapevines. Early detection of disease or stress on the roses alerted winemakers to take the necessary precautions to protect vines from damage. Roses also add beauty to the vineyard landscape, provide food for bees and offer habitat for beneficial insects preying on undesirable insects that can damage the grape crop.” Unfortunately this is not being done much any more as toxic pesticides are being used instead to control what would harm the vines, and I fear that this is what may be the plan here. But we shall see for I plan to make regular visits to this little suburban vineyard and will be praying that the owners are earth-friendly gardeners.

Has anyone planted a vineyard and not begun to enjoy it? ~Excerpted line from Deuteronomy 20:6  ✝

**I already knew about roses and why they were planted at the end of vineyard rows, but I opted instead to use this snippet from an article I found on the internet to explain it. Also as you can see, the leaves on the grape vines, as are leaves on most things in Texas, are a bit wilted at midday this time of year due to the intense heat .