1337. Of winter’s lifeless world each tree now seems a perfect part; yet each one holds spring’s secret deep down within its heart. ~Edited quote by Charles G. Stater

Now winter nights enlarge
The number of their hours;
And clouds their storms discharge
Upon the airy towers…
~Thomas Campion

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Gray, foggy dreariness
ushered in the day;
A mist, a cold, frigid drizzle,
fell from on high;
Bare, starkly austere, lay everything
I could see; and
Silence, a stilled quietude, blanketed
my wintry garden.
Bleakly naked, towered tall trees that
stood above all else,
But underneath them from the secret place
murmured a voice,
The sacred, almost indistinguishable, faint
whisper emerged amid
The fog and fine rain to go forward undetected
past the woody sentinels
To allow its utterances to break into morn’s reverie
to tell of signs, longed for signs
Of tiny sparks of life that are preparing to push up
despite the gloominess
And ‘twas this message that stirred embers in my spirit
to keep their glimmer from
Becoming far too dim to continue sustaining my hope,
expectations, and “joie de vie.”

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Don’t think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter.
It’s quiet, but the roots are down there riotous.
~Rumi

The tempest comes out from its chamber, the cold from the driving winds. ~Job 37:9 ✝

**Both photos taken by Natalie

1240. And in her secret garden, reptiles raised their faces high, and blessed the cooling water that came pouring from the sky. ~Excerpt from a poem by Danielle White

Walking the Garden After the Storm

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Such delicate green tatters,
the hail-shredded leaves of chard.
I am not surprised,
beneath my disappointment,
to find them beautiful,
not surprised that the heart
should recognize itself here
in the lace. The storms
come, come again.
Beauty is not what
has not been battered.
All around us, resilience,
new life emerges
out of its own destruction.
Already, only two days
after the hail,
a dark wrinkle of new green
forms in the center
of the chard.
I pull away the old leaves.
It doesn’t matter
if the heart asks for a second chance.
There is no limit to the chances,
though they may
not look like anything
we ever thought we wanted
and most of the time
we don’t notice them.
Beauty is the willingness
to offer our attention,
to wander the world
forgetting to want
something more
than what we find.
~Rosemary Wahtola Trommer

Instead, beauty should consist of what is inside the heart with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very valuable in God’s eyes. ~1 Peter 3:4  ✝

1032….that blast of January would blow you through and through. ~William Shakespeare

The night is darkening around me,
The wild winds coldly blow…
~Excerpt from a poem
by Emily Brontë

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The world is resting without sound or motion,
And behind the oak tree the sun goes down
Painting with fire the spires and the windows
In my tree-shaded neighborhood.

Beyond calm streets pastures lie
Silvered with haze as fruits still fresh with bloom,
And the birds weave in flight across the zenith
On a sudden aerial loom.

Into the garden peace comes back with twilight,
Peace that since noon had left the remains of purple phlox,
Heavy-headed asters, the late roses
And the swaying spent hollyhocks.

For at high-noon I heard from this same garden
The far-off murmur as when gales are coming;
Up from the south and down from the north beating
Their stormy music like a drum;

And then hysterical sirens shattered
The brittle winter air,
To say that fierce storms are marching
Across towns and fields and open prairie.

But before the skies rage, they morph
Into violet, for the veils of dusk grow deep —
As earth takes her children’s many sorrows
And stills herself to sleep.
~Edited and adapted poem
by Sara Teasdale

…at twilight, as the day was fading, as the dark of night set in. ~Proverbs 7:9  ✝

**Images via Pinterest, collage 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

711. And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything. ~William Shakespeare

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more.
~George Gordon, Lord Byron

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Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. ~John Muir

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Oh, how I love the sea and at no time more than when I’m there at dusk or dawn.  I took these photos on a visit to Galveston several years ago, and they still speak to me as much of God as does my garden. While the bird and I walked along the “lonely shore” together, you’ll notice that it stopped twice as if waiting and watching and listening.  I believe it’s because in the dim quietude we both clearly heard the sacred songs of the spheres and the music of the deep sea’s roar.  So let us drink a cup of the “good in everything” today as we celebrate the earth, its bounty, and its beauty.  And let us not forget to praise the Lord now and always for all His gifts and goodness!

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.  ~Romans 1:20   ✝

595. Who loves a garden loves a greenhouse too. ~William Cowper

I managed to keep a few square yards on a shelf for staging in a greenhouse, and those few square yards were crowded with bright things from December to Easter. Their brilliance contrasted with winter’s leaden skies; it was like coming into an aviary full of tropical birds and butterflies… ~Excerpt by Vita Sackville-West, edited and adapted

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I have a little greenhouse
Here in my backyard,
Where hyacinths and tulips grow
And pansies bloom unmarred.

No matter how the winter’s storms
May rage with ghoulish glee
And beat against my casement there,
It never frightens me.

I watch my flowers from day to day,
I water them with care
And they give back their sweet perfume–
Their fragrance fills the air.

I wonder if in years to come
The greenhouse yet will stand,
When I who tend it now so well
Shall sleep beneath this land?

I wonder if–but who can tell
What passing years may bring?
But still–there’s always flowers to bloom
And beyond this door birds to sing.
~Poem by Iva H. Drew,
edited and adapted

…We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience… ~Colossians 1:9-11   ✝

**I took this photograph today of tulips abloom in my greenhouse.

509. How we treat the vulnerable is how we define ourselves as a species. ~Russell Brand

What is it to grow old?
Is it to lose the glory of the form,
The lustre of the eye?
Is it for beauty to forego her wreath?
Yes, but not for this alone.

Is it to feel our strength –
Not our bloom only, but our strength -decay?
Is it to feel each limb
Grow stiffer, every function less exact,
Each nerve more weakly strung?

Yes, this, and more!

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It is to spend long days
And not once feel that we were ever young.
It is to add, immured
In the hot prison of the present, month
To month with weary pain.

It is to suffer this,
And feel but half, and feebly, what we feel:
Deep in our hidden heart
Festers the dull remembrance of a change,
But no emotion -none.

It is -last stage of all –
When we are frozen up within, and quite
The phantom of ourselves…
~Excerpted lines from a poem by Matthew Arnold

Echoes, echoes of the past–voices, so many familiar voices gone, now silenced by the closing of their life’s doors–memories, memories mingling with the present, all bringing the dark clouds that move in across her brain where the fury of raging storms begin on unfamiliar shores. The echoes, the voices, and the memories become scrambled in her dementia so that things and people once cherished create anxiety, anguish, and at times torment. Her mind, once sharp and clear, is now befuddled as she becomes more and more lost inside herself and her fears. Her family raised, her labors done, there is nothing left now but the lonely silence of her worsening deafness and the rapid waning of her vision. Soon she will be ever so far away from me, the one in whose womb my life began. Will she then still know my face and the feel of my touch? Will the skies ever again clear in her head and cast her weary, but back on familiar shores? Or has she begun the final journey of her dreaded aloneness? Please Lord, be with my mother as she struggles to navigate these dark passages of uncharted waters. Bring her comfort and peace, and if not mine, then let her recognize Your touch and know Your face. Let the child she has again become blindly trust as she once did that all is well with her soul and that You will care for her always. And let Your sweet benedictions steal into her senescent heart and fragile mind that’s becoming so profoundly confused, wounded, and betrayed by her aged, earthly body.

One of my followers commented yesterday on my memory post about the sadness of dealing with an aging parent who has Alzheimer’s, and I know that others of you are caring for elderly parents whose memories are failing. In those situations there are two or more people affected by the circumstances; both the aged and their caregiver(s) are profoundly impacted by this passage. So I decided to share the above with all of you.  It is something I wrote in my journal during a long, hard night when I was caring for my 92-year-old mother before she passed away.

 

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. ~Isaiah 46:4   ✝

**Image via Pinterest

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. ~Isaiah 46:4 ✝