1297. There are no sounds that can stir the sublime emotions of men’s souls like the sighs and whispers of nature. ~James Lendall Basford

Magic is really only the utilization
of the entire spectrum of the senses.
Humans have cut themselves off
from their senses. Now they see only
a tiny portion of the visible spectrum,
hear only the loudest of sounds;
their sense of smell is shockingly poor,
and they can only distinguish
the sweetest and sourest of tastes.
~Michael Scott

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I know the thrill of the grasses
when the rain pours over them.
I know the trembling of the leaves
when the winds sweep through them.
I know what the white clover
felt as it held a drop of dew
pressed close in its beauteousness.
I know the quivering of the fragrant petals
at the touch of the pollen-legged bees.
I know what the stream said
to the dipping willows, and what
the moon said to the sweet lavender.
I know what the stars said when
they came stealthily down and crept
fondly into the tops of the trees.
~Muriel Strode

…there will be heard once more the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom, and the voices of those who bring thank offerings to the house of the Lord… ~Excerpt fro Jeremiah 33:10 and 11  ✝

1187. Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. ~William Arthur Ward

Gratitude is the understanding that many millions of things come together and live together and mesh together and breathe together in order for us to take even one more breath of air, that the underlying gift of life and incarnation as a living, participating human being is a privilege; that we are miraculously part of something, rather than nothing. Even if that something is temporarily pain or despair, we inhabit a living world, with real faces, real voices, laughter, the color blue, the green of the fields, the freshness of a cold wind, or the tawny hue of a winter landscape. ~Excerpt from an article by David Whyte@gratefulness.org

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Stop what you are doing right now! Just stop for a minute! Close your eyes and feel the in and out movement of your breath. Keep your eyes closed, stay still a little longer, and feel your heart beating. Now open your eyes, take in all the colors and sights around you, and recognize the blessing of sight. Then listen to any sounds you hear and be thankful for you ears and the blessing of both sound and silence. Next reach out your hands and touch something, anything, and become aware of its textures or smoothness, hardness or softness–all those things that come with the blessing of touch. After that find something to take a bite or sip of, and as you chew or swallow, savor and enjoy the flavor and taste of whatever it is. Last, before you return to what you were or were not doing, try to wrap your mind around the “many millions of things that had to come together and live together and mesh together” for all those gifts to be realities in your world. Almost 4 years ago, a day came when all that was threatened to be over for me as the result of 2 clots in my brain. Never, ever take for granted the gifts, the blessings, the miracles, and especially the Giver of the “many millions of things!” Thank you Jesus for this day, these gifts, and your faithfulness!

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the Light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. ~John 1:1-5  ✝

**Image via Pixabay; text added by Natalie

1077. Listening is an art that requires attention over talent, spirit over ego, things other than self. ~Edited quote by Dean Jackson

Listening is a great way of receiving gifts
of wisdom, intelligence and inspiration,
but we only hear.
~Anonymous

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Only the briefest of moments
When everything is still
When the world is silent
A magical moment
When there’s just you
And everything God has
Created for you

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That moment
Is always there
But the noise of life
The mad rush
Of the day
Is too loud for us
To hear it to see it
To feel it

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Sit back
Let your worries
Drift away
Clear your mind
And just listen
Breathe in the breeze
As it splashes
Over you

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Listen
Not with your ears
But with your Soul
To the sounds of
The leaves rustling
In the trees and
The song of the birds
Rising like a wave

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Listen
Listen with your heart
Listen closely
For there’s only a moment
Only the briefest of moments
And then the magic’s gone
Lost in the chaos
Of the day.
~Edited poem
by Michael Traveler

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let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance– ~Proverbs 1:5

Images via Pinterest

1061. You never enjoy the world aright, till the sea itself floweth in your veins, till you are clothed with the heavens and crowned with the stars. ~Thomas Traherne


The voice of the sea
speaks to the soul.
The touch of the sea is sensuous,
enfolding the body 
in its soft,
close embrace.
~Kate Chopin

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I had to go. I just had to go down to the sea today if only through photographic memories. I haven’t been to the beach in so long, and it appears that I won’t get to go this year either, at least not for months and months. As a child, I was weaned and grew up on the beautiful, blue waters of the Pacific Ocean, and since then sand, shore, and sea have haunted me. Via sensory perceptions even as a young child I heard a voice, a clear voice-a familiar voice-a welcome voice-a sacred voice who reached down into the depths of my soul to touch me in ways that are still not easy to articulate. But here goes. Since the sea is always moving in its ceaselessness, I became aware of its cadenced rhythms early on. Day after day, night after night its undulations never stopped, and I found myself comforted by the sounds they created. Even when it was just along the shore and not out in a boat on the deep water, the songs of the sea continued to poignantly reverberate as they rolled in on the waves to the sandy shore. These were songs as primordial as the days and as ancient as the Holy One Himself who yet hovers over the waters, and when I sat quietly listening, waiting, and watching, I began to feel and internalize the pulsing rhythms of the sea while their songs filled up the space around me, its devout, hearkening witness. “Wild silences,” as haunting as the call of the gulls, were “heard” as well, and the elements of light and darkness affected and enhanced the ocean’s charms, chants, and silences as it enfolded me in its embrace. What’s more a lonely beach, devoid of crowds, also transports of delight to the magical, mystique of the sea. For it was then, and only then, that I was privy to the voices of the ocean’s more wistful “shy presences,” the ones with the subtle, emotive melodies.

If you look at the map in the collage you will see a blue marker where our house at 68 Prospect Avenue in Long Beach, California was. It was only a half a block from Ocean Boulevard, and once I crossed that busy street, all I had to do was take the stairs down from the seawall onto the sand. Between the houses on each street ran an alley way that you can see in one of the photos beneath the map. This passage way was one of my favorite places to travel as it was along those fences  that so many of the cherished, fragrant flowers grew, and in the distance you can actually see the ocean.

The seas have lifted up, Lord, the seas have lifted up their voice; the seas have lifted up their pounding waves. ~Psalm 93:3  ✝

**Images via Pinterest and Safari; collage created by Natalie

1042. Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. ~Berthold Auerbach

And the night shall be filled with music,
And the cares that infest the day
Shall fold their tents
And as silently steal away.
~Edited lines by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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In January, as winter begins to deepen, the rhythms that “wash away from the soul the dust of everyday life” grow faint, as if whispered. However, when nature’s earthly notes are muffled by icy gales, heavy frosts, or falling snow, the “echo of the spheres” overheard remains audible. And on the less chilly days, the ones between cold fronts, bits and pieces of tender, albeit potent, harmonies often continue to rise. Today, for example, I spotted the tiny tips of hyacinth bulbs breaking the cold, hard ground, and as if escaping through the tiny fissures the bulbs had created, Eden’s heartbeat jumped up another fraction of a decibel. Even on the really, really forbiddingly cold days, within the sounds of silence, there are pauses, ripe and pregnant, that are as eloquent as notes and lyrics. For it is in those rests and pauses that can be heard dulcet sounds, soothing honeyed ones which are recognized not by the ears, but by the soul. And although it has been said that trees and flowers grow in utter silence while the sun, the moon, and the stars above our heads do the same, I’m not sure that’s true. I contend that on any  given day of the year if one listens with a hunger in the heart and a thirst in the soul, the footfalls of God can yet be ascertained upon the sacred soil of Creation and His voice which spoke everything into being can still be heard echoing amid the orbs of the firmament. That’s why if one stills him or herself and earnestly seeks Yahweh’s face, it can be made out even winter’s inhospitable bleakness. And after it’s glimpsed, one’s ears can also discern the sweet, sweet sounds of the Father’s loving utterances as He calls out to His beloved children.

The music is not in the notes,
but in the silence in between.
~Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as He was walking in the garden in the cool of the day… ~Excerpt from Genesis 3:8 ✝

**Images via Pinterest; collage created by Natalie

880. Autumn comes with a subtle change in the light, with skies a deeper blue… ~Glenn Wolff and Jerry Dennis

The stretch between dusk and dawn
A mere whisper in the wind
~reocochran at:
https://witlessdatingafterfifty.wordpress.com

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And so it has been with the coming of the autumnal equinox. Autumn is yet a mere whisper in the wind between yesterday’s dusk and today’s dawn. However, with its arrival the “powers of summer” must now slowly disrobe themselves and go back from whence they came. Despite being sapped and dry from surviving the dog days of summer’s wrath, we should now be able to anticipate the coming of fall’s crisp days that will invigorate us, to hear murmurs of music in untamed winds that will blow freshness into us, to watch bird migrations that will that lift our spirits in the deepening blue skies, and to expect blustery storms that will infuse their energy into our heat-wearied flesh. Oh autumn, how happily we greet thee with our eager yearning for your scents and shapes, sounds and hues.

The birds are consulting, about their migrations,
the trees are putting on the hectic
or the pallid hues of decay,
and begin to strew the ground,
that one’s very footsteps may not
disturb the repose of earth and air, while
they give us a scent that is
a perfect anodyne to the restless spirit.
Delicious autumn!
My very soul is wedded to it, and if
I were a bird I would fly about the earth
seeking the successive autumns.
~George Eliot

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. ~James 1:17  ✝

**Image via Pinterest, text by Natalie

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

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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

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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