930. The spirits of the air live on the smells of fruit; and joy, with pinions light, roves round the gardens, or sits singing in the trees. ~William Blake

And November sad,—a psalm
Tender, trustful, full of balm,
Thou must breathe in spirits calm.
~Caroline May

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I like spring, but it is too young. I like summer, but it is too proud. So I like best of all autumn, because its tone is mellower, its colours are richer, and it is tinged with a little sorrow. Its golden richness speaks not of the innocence of spring, nor the power of summer, but of the mellowness and kindly wisdom of approaching age. It knows the limitations of life and its content. ~Lin Yutang

I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees their fruit. ~Leviticus 26:4  ✝

**Image via Pinterest

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

720. O, the month of May, the merry month of may… ~Thomas Dekker

Ho! the merrie first of Maie
Brings the daunce and blossoms gaie
To make of lyfe a holiday!
~Old English saying

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Thousands of years ago winter was a time to honor death and the summer a time to honor life. In those ancient times the short days, grey skies, and cold temperatures began to wear people down and that coupled with a gradual decline in food supplies took its toll on their spirits. Indeed winter was a very difficult time for the ancients, and so the coming of summer brought them great hope. As the crops and grasslands became full of life again, the animals bred, and the warmth of the sun thawed out the earth and their spirits, they celebrated the cross-over and coming change in the human cycle that reflected the turning of the seasons. It was a time for celebrating the forces of life overcoming death, light overcoming darkness, and summer overcoming winter.

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Thus began the dancing around the May pole. A kind of maypole dance, with origins in the 18th century, began as a traditional artistic dance popular in Italy and France. Eventually, traveling troupes performed it in London theaters, thus bringing this traditional dance to larger audiences. An English teacher training school adopted the maypole dance and soon it had spread across most of central and southern England. The dance became part of the repertoire of physical education for girls and remained popular in elementary schools in both England and the US well into the 1950’s.

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I remember in elementary school making May baskets and flowers out of coloredl pieces of construction paper and crepe paper. Today May Day has many different meanings, if any, but it eventually found its place in Christianity. And though considered quaint now, in decades past, like dancing around the maypole, as the month of April rolled to an end, people begin gathering flowers and candies and goodies to put in May baskets to hang on the doors of friends, neighbors, and loved ones on May 1st. And there were even rules about the basket tradition:

1.  Giving was supposed to be anonymous. Reciprocity was not expected. One was to leave the basket on the doorknob or doorstep, ring the doorbell, and run.
2.  Children were to give to grownups, instead of the other way around. On almost every other holiday, only the child receives gifts; so they don’t get to experience the true joy of unselfish giving.

He(Jesus) told them this parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees. When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near…” ~Luke 21:29-30   ✝

**Images via Pinterest and the Internet; collages created by Natalie

497. I wanted to know the name of every stone and flower and insect and bird and beast. I wanted to know where it got its color, where it got its life… ~George Washington Carver

i thank You God for this most amazing day:
for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;
and for everything which is natural
which is infinite
which is yes
~e.e. cummings

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Of What Surrounds Me

Whatever it is I am saying, I always
Need a leaf or a flower, if not an
Entire field. As for sky, I am wildly
In love with each day’s inventions, cool blue
Or cat gray or full
Of the ships of clouds,I simply can’t
Say whatever it is I am saying without
At least one skyful. That leaves water, a
Creek or a well, river or ocean, it has to be
There. For the heart to be there. For the pen
To be poised. For the idea to come.

~Mary Oliver

The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing. ~Ecclesiastes 1:8b   ✝

** Image of Dahlia via Pinterest

484. Flowers are those little colorful beacons of the sun from which we get sunshine when dark, somber skies blanket our thoughts. ~Dodinsky

The earth has received the embrace of the sun
and we shall see the result of that love.
~Hunkesni (Sitting Bull)

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The flowers in these photos are the result of another year’s embrace of the sun. It will be the remembrance of them and the haunting songs of their colors, separately and collectively, that will lift my spirits when in the months to come we traverse winter’s “vale of grief.” If my memory of them should grow dim, I’ll have but to look heavenward and watch for them in the rising and the setting of the sun on days when a window in the gloom has been opened. In those moments when they streak the eastern or western horizon in a blaze of glory I’ll remember that as the earth tilts back toward the sun, the sun’s embrace will bring the flowers, their lovely colors, and their songs back to life. When they return and the air is filled with the music of many rhymes, my prayer is. . .

That the morning sun stir us with gladness from ours bed,
That the winds of March move us happily along the new year’s road,
That the rains of April renew our strength,
That the flowers and colors of May captivate our sight,
That the summer inflame our zeal,
That autumn’s colors stimulate our dreams,
That the silver moon make us wiser yet,
That the Lord keep us young at heart so that
we are full of life, laughter, song, and gratitude
for the holiness and goodness in all that the sun and His love embraces.
~Edited and adapted from a blessing by Fr. Andrew Greeley

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens He has pitched a tent for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. ~Psalm 19:1-5    ✝

** I made the collage of flowers from images found on PInterest.

316. On the first warm day of spring I dig my fingers deep into the soft earth. I can feel its energy and my spirits soar. ~Helen Hayes

…the garden is not only a place
to make things grow and
to display the beautiful flowers of the earth,
but a place that should accord
with various moods of its admirers.
It should be a place
in which to hold light banter,
a place to laugh, and, besides
should have a hidden corner in which to weep.
~Alice Lounsberry

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Nor is the fragrant garden ever wholly our own…
Over hedge and wall,
and often far down the highway,
it sends a greeting
not alone to us who have toiled for it,
but to the passing stranger,
the blind beggar,
the child skipping to school,
the tired woman on her way to work,
the rich man,
the careless youth.
~Louise Beebe Wilder

Thank you, Jesus, that you save, you heal, you restore, and you reveal Your Father’s heart to us!

The Lord announces the word, and the women who proclaim it are a mighty throng: Psalm 68:11 ✝

**Photo via Pinterest

9. O Autumn…pass not, but sit…and tune thy jolly voice…and all the daughters of the year shall dance! ~William Blake

In the garden, Autumn is, indeed the crowning glory of the year,
bringing us the fruition of months of thought, and care, and toil.
~Rose G. Kingsley, British Gardener and Writer

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Now that the year has grown long in the tooth, the migratory birds have moved on to warmer lands.  But the birds who overwinter here are still very visible and busy.  However, on the chillier days they, like me, “remain perched” early in the morning and later when the sun is well over the rooftops.  Nevertheless, in spite of our periodic and combined lethargy, we still manage to be out and working during the warmer parts of the day.  The “common feast for all” the garden spreads may be nearly gone and the bird’s tired wings along with my tired feet may drag somewhat, but autumn’s remaining golden glory continues to quicken our spirits.  In fact even after winter ravages the land, we, man and beast alike, who live close to the soil will venture out on the occasional warm day to search with hungry eyes for any signs of what we know lies waiting to emerge from beneath the surface of things.

Autumn’s song is indeed “a rich and lusty melody.”  It induces a healthy renewal in bodies wilted by summer’s long siege of torrid heat, and it creates a restful peacefulness that washes away the “fret and fever of life.”  “It’s jolly voice” sings a comforting song of promise that speaks of God’s circadian rhythms of life–the rhythm of changing seasons, busyness followed by stillness, “youth’s energy followed by age’s measured pace.”

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. . .  ~Ecclesiastes 3:1   ✝