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  ✝

1098. How can I stand on the ground every day and not feel its power? How can I live my life stepping on this stuff and not wonder at it? ~William Bryant Logan

A garden is the mirror of the mind.
It is a place of life, a mystery of green,
moving to the pulse of the year,
and pressing on and pausing the whole
to its own inherent rhythms.
~Henry Beston

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After the autumnal equinox passes sometime in late September the days begin to grow shorter and shorter so that light blesses the soil less and less. Soon with each new cold front that blows in temperatures start dropping more and more from the feverish pitch of their summertime highs. Then as the year’s last child draws near its end, the first freeze comes and the garden starts to wither and unravel. Soon afterwards another freeze arrives, harder than the last, and then another until the stage is set for ice or snow or frost to layer the land. With each onslaught winter’s sting strikes deeper and deeper at the remains of the garden. However, after the winter solstice occurs, the process of “pausing the whole” slowly but surely begins to reverse itself so that day by day there’s a little more sunlight and a little more and a little more until somewhere in all of that movement of the sun and the earth and the stars, the divine mystery and its miracles spark children of the soil into being once more. Faithfully in hidden wombs beneath soil or in bark, embryos have been growing and waiting for the elements to create the right catalytic mixture to push tiny tips upward or outward into the light of day. Following the first emergence of new life, earth’s sacred rhythms, which had been faint as we traversed winter’s veil of grief, become louder again until buds, nurtured by water, warmth, and sunlight, grow large and ripe enough to come into their time of blossoming. So it is that the “pausing” at last comes to an end, and spring’s first comers to press upward, outward and onward burgeoning into flowers and the “mystery of green” that’s a garden. And then in the mirror of my mind I can see clearly the countenance in the Face of all faces because as Robert Brault says, “As a gardener, I’m among those who believe that much of the evidence of God’s existence has been planted.”

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

1051. The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart in nature. To nurture a garden is to feed the soul. ~Edited quote by Alfred Austin

In my garden there is a large place for sentiment.
My garden of flowers is also my garden of
thoughts and dreams. The thoughts grow as freely
as the flowers and the dreams are as beautiful.
~Abram L. Urban

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Once upon a time there was a tiny seed, a sacred and anointed seed, deposited deep down in a woman’s soul, though she wasn’t aware of its presence. The Creator of the seed had sowed it there long ago, but it wasn’t until she’d become despairingly broken and cynical about life that He set off a spark to split the seed’s casing. Thus an unexpected and silent impetus began within in her dark world where hope for happily ever after or even anything better had all but been extinguished. Her first awareness of the changing tide was vocalized one spring by the melodies coming from a songbird. It had been an especially painful night when she found herself lying there at dawn listening to the bird’s sweet song and feeling a vestige of joy beginning to whisper in her heart. Wanting to know what kind of bird, where it was, and why it was so cheerful, she arose before long and went outside. She found the winged minstrel perched in her neighbor’s tree, a dogwood that was filled with hundreds and hundreds of stunning pink blossoms. Thrilled by the sight of it her brain was flooded with memories of flowery images from her now distant childhood. And in that magical moment, though she’d always thought herself to be lacking a “green thumb,” she knew, knew that somehow she had to create that kind of natural beauty in her world again. Wanting to start prudently at first, however, she bought only a few pots, filled them with soil, pushed them together on a corner of her patio, and then sowed in them an assortment of inexpensive seeds. Soon afterwards came a most wondrous day, one in which she saw “that first, minuscule, curled, pale green wisp of a sprout poking up.” In an instant her heart felt unsurpassed gladness and her ears heard God’s voice speaking, for the seed in her had germinated as well. So it was that the credence of fairytales, in part, was restored, a devout gardener was birthed, and a faith journey was restarted.

For we are glad whenever we are weak and you are strong. Your restoration is what we pray for. ~2 Corinthians 13:9  ✝

923. Without passion man is a mere latent force and possibility, like the flint which awaits the shock of the iron before it can give forth its spark. ~Henri-Frédéric Amiel

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs;
ask yourself what makes you come alive.
And then go and do that.
Because what the world needs is
people who have come alive.
~Howard Thurman

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I remember reading an article a while back about Pablo Casals, the world-renowned cellist. He was in his 90’s at the time and still going strong so the reporter asked him to what he attributed his health and longevity. Casals answered that they were the result of his passion for music. When I read that, I was envious because at that time I had never experienced that kind of passion for anything. But the Lord knows the desires of our hearts, and it came to pass that He granted me things to stir up passion in me. It began one summer when I bought some seeds and sowed them in pots on my patio. From the onset seeing new life emerge from those tiny seeds, I was hooked. So with spade in hand, I began pushing it down into the soil and thus began my love of gardening. As my efforts flourished and the birds and bees came, the desire to capture the day to day beauty of it all became the catalyst of my passion for photography. Now not only do I have a great camera and lots of beds with wondrously beautiful flowers but on my blog I’ve also sown, it seems, a “garden” that blooms with amazingly deligtful people.

Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. ~Psalm 37:4  ✝

**Images via Pinterest, and the music in video is my happy song

688. No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn. ~Hal Borland

Let me arise and open the gate,
to breathe the wild warm air…
To let in Life,
and to let out Death.
~Violet Fane, British novelist, poet, and essayist

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Blow, Breath of heaven, blow!  Blow through the land and over the waters.  Carry away death’s dark vapors and let life in.  Let the “wild warm air” of springtime spark life in every nook and cranny.  Let every mountain, plain, and valley break forth in gladness.  Let the ceaseless waves of the seas and the rushing currents of rivers roar with a renewed passion for life.  Let the clouds suckle earth’s waters and then send rain from heaven to moisten the earth and let loose her flowering.  Let life, whole and vibrant, dazzle us into a new awareness of You.

Blow, Breath of heaven, blow!  Blow through us and take us down to the bottom of our souls where You, O God, the Breath of all things, are present “deep within all that has life.”  We who have recently traversed winter’s dark domain yearn to feel your warmth and vitality course through our bodies and all that has life again.  We long for earth and sky’s vast array of bright colors to take away winter’s preponderance of grays and browns.  O Holy One, come; let us see You “in every emanation of Creation’s life.”  We give you glory and thanks for all that You are, for Your ever-lasting goodness and never-ending love, “for creatures stirring forth,” “for plant forms stretching and unfolding,” “for the stable earth and its solid rocks.”  O blessed Breath of heaven, arise and blow life afresh through Eden’s gates!

By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth.  ~Psalm 33:6   ✝

**Both images via Pinterest

645. And if tonight my soul may find her peace in sleep, and sink in good oblivion, and in the morning wake like a new-opened flower then I have been dipped again in God, new created. ~D. H. Lawrence

In slumber we fall into the deep, silent waters of consciousness, and then something, somewhere beneath the surface stirs us back to wakefulness. The same thing is happening now in my slumbering, wintry garden. A divine force or spark is stirring life back into seemingly lifelessness.

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A spark.  A flame.  A fire. A seed.  A plant.  A flower.  An egg.  An embryo.  A life. What is it that stirs matter and spirit?  What is it that stirs us?  What moves us?  What is it that makes life taste bitter or sweet upon the tongue?  What things do we feel that can’t quite be put into words?

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The following poem was written by Wallace Stevens. In it, his is the voice of questioning meant to refute religion/Christianity, and yet his images are the kinds of things that stir me in the opposite direction by rousing and impassioning my faith and belief in Christ. So it seems to me that Stevens, even in his attempt at denial, was himself somehow stirred by things in nature not wholly of this world, And I also have to wonder what exactly he thinks a soul is? Is not the soul that which connects mortal man to the Holy One who made us? Isn’t it the piece of God in us?

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Sunday Morning

What is divinity if it can come
Only in silent shadows and in dreams
Shall she not find in comforts of the sun,
In pungent fruit and bright, green wings, or else
In any balm or beauty of the earth,
Things to be cherished like the thought of heaven?
Divinity must live within herself:
Passions of rain, or moods in falling snow;
Grievings in loneliness, or unsubdued
Elations when the forest blooms; gusty
Emotions on wet roads on autumn nights;
All pleasures and all pains, remembering
The bough of summer and the winter branch,
These are the measures destined for her soul.
~Wallace Stevens

For God may speak in one way, or in another, yet man does not perceive it. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls upon men, while slumbering on their beds, then He opens the ears of men, and seals their instruction. ~Job 33:14-16   ✝

634. Bright reds – scarlet, pillar-box red, crimson or cherry – are very cheerful. There is certainly a red for everyone. ~Christian Dior

If one says “Red” – the name of color –
and there are fifty people listening,
it can be expected that
there will be fifty reds in their minds.
And one can be sure that all these
reds will be very different.
~Josef Albers

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Red
Red is a fading sunset on the horizon.
It’s a burst of flame;
A spray of the fire leaping towards us.

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It’s the heat of the warm afternoon.
It’s a flickering flame of a tiny candle.
It’s the spark able to spread the wildfire of love.

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Red is the color of heat.
It’s full of passion.
It’s bold.
~Sunny Summers

For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does. The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of His unfailing love. ~Psalm 33:4-5   ✝

**Images via Pinterest; collages by Natalie