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  ✝

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

436. The spiritual quality of earth: eternally pregnant and containing in its fertility the unwritten cipher of cosmic lore. ~Frieda Harris

Brown and furry
Caterpillar in a hurry,
Take your walk
To the shady leaf, or stalk,
Or what not,
Which may be the chosen spot.
No toad spy you,
Hovering bird of prey pass by you;
Spin and die,
To live again a butterfly.
~Christina Rossetti

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Photo by: http://littlepicsofhope.wordpress.com/

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 voracious caterpillars need
from the host plants on which they feed,
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.
~Adapted excerpt from “Creation Songs
by Muriel Strode

The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy. ~Psalm 65:8   ✝

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you save, you heal, you restore, and you reveal Your Father’s heart to us! You have captured me with grace and I’m caught in Your infinite embrace! Like Saint Hildegard Lord, may I too be a feather on your holy breath and spread, like seeds, the gospel abroad.

287. Hope is some extraordinary spiritual grace that God gives us… ~Vincent McNabb

Sit by the edge of the dawn / and the sun will rise for you.
Sit by the edge of the night / and the stars will shine for you.
Sit by the edge of the stream / and the nightingale will sing for you.
Sit by the edge of silence / and God will speak to you.
~from an ancient Hindu text

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“The semi-colon tells you that there is still some question about the preceding full sentence; something needs to be added…It is almost a greater pleasure to come across a semicolon than a period.  The period tells you that that is that; if you didn’t get all the meaning you wanted or expected, you got all the writer intended to parcel our and now you have to move along.  But with a semicolon there you get a pleasant little feeling of expectancy there is more to come; read on; it will get clearer.”  ~Lewis Thomas, American doctor and essayist

I think of nature’s seasons as junctures followed by divinely positioned, albeit invisible, semi-colons because they impart “a pleasant little feeling of expectancy.”  There are always more of them to be had, and it is that expectancy of “more” that keeps me hopeful not only in nature’s seasons but also in the seasons of my life when what I see tries to delude me into thinking things won’t ever change or this is the end.  In the passage above from the old Hindu text the use of “slashes” and “ands” could instead have been replaced with semi-colons because there is something more that comes after each of the suggested occasions to sit and wait.  In the same way, the fact that gardens keep an unfaltering “punctuation of continuance” right in front of me is one of the reasons I’m so drawn to spend time in them.  I need endless expectancy that breeds hopefulness.

And you will have confidence, because there is hope; you will be protected and take your rest in safety.  ~Job 11:18   ✝

**Even the two mauve hellebores in the photo look a bit like a semi-colon if one uses his/her imagination.

281. There are defeats more triumphant than victories. ~Michel de Montaigne

I found this image on the internet, and I’m not sure why I’m so fascinated with it, but I am.  Perhaps it’s because the rose, though now damaged, remains exquisite in color and form or because the spraying bits of freeze-dried petals create a stunning scene.  Or maybe I’m intrigued by the photo because it somehow reassures me that human brokenness touched by God’s grace can produce valuable and worthwhile fruit.  Whatever the case may be, all this pondering about the fragmented rose triggered the memory of the profound story below the photo.

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A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on each end of a pole which he carried across his neck.  One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master’s house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.  For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water in his master’s house.  Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments.  But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfections, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do. After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream.  “I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you.”  “Why?” asked the bearer.  “What are you ashamed of?”  I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master’s house.  Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work and you don’t get full value for your efforts,” the pot said. The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot and in his compassion he said, “As we return to the master’s house I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.” Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some.  But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again it apologized to the bearer for its failure. The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path but not on the other pot’s side?  That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it.  I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them.  For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table.  Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house.”  ~Author Unknown

Every human “pot” becomes “cracked” in some way, but that does not render the flawed man or woman ugly or useless.  The Creation story in Genesis tells us that each day God looked back at what He had made and saw that it was good.  So, although we humans are imperfect, we started from a place of goodness that is still in us.

Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you, LORD, are good.  ~Psalm 25:7  ✝

126. What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well. ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Take almost any path you please,
and ten to one it carries you down to a dale,
and leaves you by a pool in the stream.
There is magic in it.
~From MOBY DICK by Herman Melville

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Like Melville, I’m drawn to water and its magical properties.  The curious thing is that the magic happens not only in vast bodies of water like oceans but also in bodies of water as limited as what might be found in a garden fountain or the  sometimes glassy stillness of water that stirs up magic and mystery.  Yes, mystery too, and part of the mystery is that water gives the feeling that one is in the presence of something alive and vibrant.  I remember as a child begging to go out and play in the rain or snow.  If and when I got the chance, like most children,  I’d stick out my tongue to catch raindrops or snowflakes and was so thrilled when either of them landed on my tongue.  When I felt the wetness I knew instinctively that I was being fed something good, something essential to my existence.  Perhaps  deep in my heart of hearts, I knew even then that the Presence I felt in water was the Holy One’s.  After all it was He who once hovered over earth’s waters and imbued them with His sanctity and His life giving force.

For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills. . .  ~Deuteronomy 8:7   ✝