1351. Stella, oh, Stella, Stella! Stella for Star! ~Excerpted line from A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE

Beauty is a nectar which
intoxicates the soul.
~T.C. Henley

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In north central Texas where I live, more often than not, we have a winter warm up for a week or so in January. It’s just enough for a few things to believe that spring has arrived and subsequently bloom weeks earlier than normal. As a result of this year’s January warm up, my first magnolia stellata, sometimes called the star magnolia, opened this morning believing that springtime had indeed arrived. Her white, tinged with pink, beauty intoxicated, as it always does, not only my soul but also my eyes. Thus  I found myself uttering the usual litany of words about her stellar loveliness, words like exquisite, gorgeous, magnificent, elegant and so on. However, I given that I’m certain the magnolia has been egregiously duped by January’s treacherous travesty,  I also offered up a prayer that none of her succeeding blooms should perish before the return to winter that February will bring.

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Ecclesiastes 3:4 tell us there’s “a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance…,” and what amazes me is that even the creatures and beauties of the field seem to know this. The more I observe the goings on in my garden and other aspects of Creation, the more awestruck I become with its plans, its workings, and its Maker. God’s promises are rock solid and too is His faithfulness in keeping them. For no matter what may strike at the foundations of Creation, nothing stops it cycles and continuation. Another thing that simply blows my mind is that God specifically chose all of you and I to partner with Him in Creation’s amazing and ongoing drama. Perhaps that’s something we should contemplate and let sink down deep in our spirits every day and then thereafter take great delight in the peace that comes with such an awareness.

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

1218. Flowers do not indulge in sentiment. They indulge in passion… Octave Mirbeau

Surely the flowers of a hundred springs
Are simply the souls of beautiful things!

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The poppies aflame with gold and red
Were the kisses of lovers in days that are fled.

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The purple pansies with dew-drops pearled
Were the rainbow dreams of a youngling world.

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The lily, white as a star apart,
Was the first pure prayer of a virgin heart.

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The daisies that dance and twinkle so
Were the laughter of children in long ago.

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The sweetness of all true friendship yet
Lives in the breath of the mignonette.

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To the white narcissus there must belong
The very delight of a maiden’s song.

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And the rose, all flowers of the earth above,
Was a perfect, rapturous thought of love.

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Oh! surely the blossoms of all the springs
Must be the souls of beautiful things.
~Lucy Maud Montgomery

My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms from the vineyards of En Gedi. ~Song of Songs 1:14  ✝

**All images via Pinterest; collage by Natalie

1213. May you touch dragonflies and stars, dance with the fairies and talk to the moon. ~Morgan Bergeron

THERE are fairies at the bottom of our garden!
It’s not so very, very far away;
You pass the gardner’s shed and you just keep straight ahead —
I do so hope they’ve really come to stay.
There’s a little wood, with moss in it and beetles,
And a little stream that quietly runs through;
You wouldn’t think they’d dare to come merrymaking there–
Well, they do.

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There are fairies at the bottom of our garden!
They often have a dance on summer nights;
The butterflies and bees make a lovely little breeze,
And the rabbits stand about and hold the lights.
Did you know that they could sit upon the moonbeams
And pick a little star to make a fan,
And dance away up there in the middle of the air?
Well, they can.
~Excerpted lines from a poem
by Rose Fyleman

And if ever there were a place on a summer night such as this to look for the fairies at the bottom of the garden, I’d start by peering up into this enchanting, blue clematis bloom.

Praise Him(God), sun and moon; praise Him, all you shining stars. ~Psalm 148:3  ✝

**Image of blue clematis taken in my garden by me

1199.The act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought, this in turn makes us think more deeply about life, which helps us regain our equilibrium. ~Norbert Platt

The ablest writer is only a gardener first,
and then a cook: his tasks are, carefully to select
and cultivate his strongest and most nutritive thoughts;
and when they are ripe, to dress them, wholesomely,
and yet so that they may have a relish.
~Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare

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I would like to write a poem about the world that has in it
nothing fancy.
But it seems impossible.
Whatever the subject, the morning sun
glimmers it.
The tulip feels the heat and flaps its petals open and becomes a star.
The ants bore into the peony bud and there is a dark
pinprick well of sweetness.
As for the stones on the beach, forget it.
Each one could be set in gold.
So I tried with my eyes shut, but of course the birds
were singing.
And the aspen trees were shaking the sweetest music
out of their leaves.
And that was followed by, guess what, a momentous and
beautiful silence as comes to all of us, in little earfuls, if we’re not too
hurried to hear it.
As for spiders, how the dew hangs in their webs
even if they say nothing, or seem to say nothing.
So fancy is the world, who knows, maybe they sing.
So fancy is the world, who knows, maybe the stars sing too,
and the ants, and the peonies, and the warm stones,
so happy to be where they are, on the beach, instead of being
locked up in gold.
~Mary Oliver

My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer. ~Psalm 45:1  ✝

**All images via Pinterest; collage created by Natalie

1198. When you arise in the morning, think of what a privilege it is to be alive-to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love. ~Marcus Aurelius

Every morning, when we wake up,
we have twenty-four brand new hours to live.
What a precious gift!
We have the capacity to live in a way
that these twenty-four hours will bring
peace, joy, and happiness to ourselves and others.
~Thich Nhat Hanh

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Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who made the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even,
the miserable and the crotchety –
best preacher that ever was,
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light –
good morning, good morning, good morning.
Watch, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness.
~Mary Oliver

The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. ~Proverbs 4:18  ✝

**Morning glory in my yard

1074. It is good to be alone in a garden at dawn or at dark so that all its shy presences may haunt you and possess you in a reverie of suspended thought. ~James Douglas

The stories of childhood leave an indelible impression,
and their author always has a niche
in the temple of memory
from which the image is never cast out
to be thrown on the rubbish heap
of things that are outgrown or outlived.
~Howard Pyle

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The “shy presences” of which Douglas spoke can be very real ones, like toads or snails or garden snakes and such; however, the “shy presences” for an imaginative child are often both real as well as make believe. For them the real ones might be shadow dancers, enlivened dollops of light, or glistening drops of dew whereas their make-believe ones might be the fabled “wee folk” found in stories they’ve heard or read. Gardens in and of themselves are naturally enchanting places, and tales of “fairies, elves, and leprechauns” can’t help but add an irresistible dimension to that enchantment, at least in the mind of a child or in someone with a very healthy inner child. And as Mr. Pyle so aptly put it, childhood images are never cast out onto rubbish heaps but instead leave “indelible impressions in the temples of our memories.” That’s why in early spring findings such as grape hyacinth, daffodils, crocus, snowdrops, and tulips can open doors in revered temples of memory and thus release cherished phrases such as “fairy woods where the wild bee wings,” or  “tiny trees for tiny dames,” or “tiny woods below whose bough shady fairies weave a house,” or “tiny tree tops, rose or thyme, where the braver fairies climb” as found in poems by Robert Louis Stevenson and others. Or maybe they come from a poem like this one below:

THERE are fairies at the bottom of our garden!
It’s not so very, very far away;
You pass the gardner’s shed and you
just keep straight ahead —
I do so hope they’ve really come to stay.
There are fairies at the bottom of our garden!
They often have a dance on summer nights;
The butterflies and bees make a lovely little breeze,
And the rabbits stand about and hold the lights.
Did you know that they could sit upon the moonbeams
And pick a little star to make a fan,
And dance away up there in the middle of the air?
Well, they can.
There are fairies at the bottom of our garden!
Now you can guess who that could be
(She’s a little girl all day, but at night she steals away)?
Well — it’s Me!
~Excerpted lines from a poem
by Rose Fyleman

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**Image via Pinterest

1040. It’s not the strength of the body that counts, but the strength of the spirit. ~J.R.R. Tolkien

The human spirit needs
places where nature
has not been rearranged
by the hand of man.
~Author Unknown

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The spirit
likes to dress up like this:
ten fingers,
ten toes,

shoulders, and all the rest
at night
in the black branches,
in the morning

in the blue branches
of the world.
It could float, of course,
but would rather

plumb rough matter.
Airy and shapeless thing,
it needs
the metaphor of the body,

lime and appetite,
the oceanic fluids;
it needs the body’s world,
instinct

and imagination
and the dark hug of time,
sweetness
and tangibility,

to be understood,
to be more than pure light
that burns
where no one is —

so it enters us —
in the morning
shines from brute comfort
like a stitch of lightning;

and at night
lights up the deep and wondrous
drownings of the body
like a star.
~Poem by Mary Oliver

Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering the waters. ~Genesis 1:2  ✝

**Images via Pinterest; collage created by Natalie