Beware the ides of March…

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Today, the ides of March, is the average last freeze date in north Texas. There are times, although, when after the 15th of March we’ve experienced one or more late freezes which kill the smatterings of early spring blooms that often start here as early as February. But interestingly there’s a saying hereabouts which purports that if the pecan trees have not yet budded by the 15th, there will definitely be more freezes. So I keep an eye on my neighbor’s pecan tree as it actually has branches reaching over our common fence line, and I can easily see whether it has started budding or not. That’s why today I went out for my usual ides of March sojourn over to my north fence and looked up to find that tiny buds are beginning to appear on some of the tree’s branches. And silly as it may seem, I’ve been watching that circumstance for over a decade now, and it has never failed to be quite accurate in its forecast. So now I can and will bring the ferns out of the green house to enjoy breezy and fresher open air, and I will be able to move forward with more and more plantings. Isn’t it fascinating that seeds which fall to the ground during the growing season in summer and/or autumn know when it’s time to start germinating in the spring and that pecan trees and other already growing things know when it’s safe to start budding and leafing out. Indeed, the Lord’s designs, in all things, are amazingly far better laid out than “the plans of mice and men.”

**Crocus photo taken by Natalie

1356. The February sunshine steeps your boughs and tints the buds and swells the leaves within. ~William C. Bryant

yellow jasmine and
daffodils too have I seen
springtime harbingers

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poppy progeny
grows where seeds fell from dried pods
as summer drew nigh

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tulip foliage
as well as anemones
break ground ‘neath the oak

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new leaves appear on
roses that survived the first
hard, too early freeze

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This is what the Lord says to me: “I will remain quiet and will look on from my dwelling place, like shimmering heat in the sunshine, like a cloud of dew in the heat…” ~Excerpted passage from Isaiah 18:4  ✝

**All but two images taken by Natalie; collages created by Natalie; haikus written by Natalie

1343. Sometimes we need to sink to the depths to know how to swim to the light. ~Julie Parker

Cry. Forgive. Learn. Move on.
Let your tears water the seeds
of your future happiness.
~Steve Maraboli

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If we never experience the chill of a dark winter, it is very unlikely that we will ever cherish the warmth of a bright summer’s day. Nothing stimulates our appetite for the simple joys of life more than the starvation caused by sadness or desperation. In order to complete our amazing life journey successfully, it is vital that we turn each and every dark tear into a pearl of wisdom, and find the blessing in every curse. ~Anthon St. Maarten

For you, Lord, have delivered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling. ~Psalm 116:8  ✝

**Image found on Pixabay

1291. The sky was hung with various shades of gray, and mists hovered at times over the garden… ~Excerpted and adapted line by Henri-Frédéric Amiel

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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

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And at no season, save perhaps in Daffodil time, do we get such superb colour effects as we find in October and November when a cooler version of summer is in effect in Texas. ~Edited and adapted quote by Rose G. Kingsley

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I like spring, but it is too young. I like summer, but it is too proud and too hot. ~Edited and adapted line by Lin Yutang

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So I like best of all autumn, because its tone is mellower, its colours are richer, and it is tinged with a little sorrow. ~Lin Yutang

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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. ~Lin Yutang

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It knows the limitations of life and its content. ~Lin Yutang

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Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding? ~Job 12:12  ✝

**All photos taken by me in my yard today. The yard may not has as many blooms now as the riotous days of its early splendor, but it has more than enough to keep feeding my soul.

1285. Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn. ~Elizabeth Lawrence

Bittersweet October.
The mellow, messy, leaf-kicking,
perfect pause between the opposing
miseries of summer and winter.
~Carol Bishop Hipps

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Do you see any leaves turning autumn colors in the photo above? Do you get any sense at all that it’s cool and crisp outside the window, the window that’s right here where I sit to work at my computer, the window from which I shot that not-so-great photo through the venetian blinds? Sadly neither do I! It’s almost November and that “opposing misery of summer” of which Hipps speaks has NOT gone! I’m certain because when I went out in the yard just a few minutes ago to take some photos, I came in just as dripping wet as I had all summer. It might be about ten degrees cooler our there than it was in August, but with the high humidity we are STILL having, it continues to feel like I’m walking into a sauna when I open the door to go out! So where or where is Autumn??? Did it get lost somewhere along its way to Texas??? Perhaps so because according to the National Weather Service the ending of the year and throughout the winter for much of the US will be warmer and drier as the result of another “La Niña” that has set up in the Pacific. (See the photo below where it shows the predicted varying degrees of heat and lack of rainfall as the year ends in the US.) And that makes for an oh so unlucky me because I’m here in north central Texas. Yippee, huh?! That’s why when I read your blogs about cool, crisp days that include photos of lovely autumn leaves, I either begin to salivate like a rabid dog or my eyes start tearing up because Autumn is one of my favorite times of the year and I’m so ready for it to come! Oh, I know, who wants to listen to a whiny old lady rant? So off I go to find a way, despite the “misery,” to self-soothe and seek the presence of things for which to be grateful. Breathe, Natalie, just breathe…

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“But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’” ~Jonah 2:9  ✝

**I added the border around the photo I took out my window so you would get the feel of looking out a window.

1280. October inherits summer’s hand-me-downs… ~Rachel Peden

I know the year is slowly dying…
Ah, ‘tis then I love to wander,
Wander idly and alone,
Listening to the solemn music
Of sweet nature’s undertone…
~Excerpted lines from a poem by
Mortimer Crane Brown

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Though October grows long in the tooth
a measure of summer’s steamy heat lingers on
and so the dance of sweet glories of the morn waltzes on

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The full, harvest moon has come and gone
but the sultry high humidity of August yet remains
thus dance on still the satiny, white glories of the evening

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Morning’s are cooler, some even quite crisp
but afternoons revive September’s persistent misery
keeping at bay the last dance of all the glories in the garden fair

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The grass is showing patches not quite as green
though it’s not dead enough to slow the hum of mowers
near arbors and trellises where scramble high the twining vines

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The promise of autumn rain has not been fulfilled so far
which keeps the gardener’s feet scuffling along the dusty paths
but it has yet to halt the dance of the morning glories and moonflowers

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The sun’s trek from east to west across the yard continues
and days grow shorter and more golden as November draws nigh
but still the flowering vines dance perkily along the chain-link fence lines

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Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. ~James 5:7  ✝

**All the photos taken by me in my yard today

1277. Then summer fades and passes and October comes. ~Thomas Wolfe

I cannot endure to waste anything
as precious as autumn sunshine
by staying in the house.
So I spend almost all 
the
daylight hours in the open air.
~Nathaniel Hawthorne

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The garden releases its last
radiance, not as something failed,
but as its full reason for being: to give
continually, to its last bit of energetic being.
Its giving is its beauty. It is a smile;
it is the heart of love.

So the birdsong that surrounds me
is given, not away, but into the world.
It is given as rain, as sunlight, as snowfall
and autumn leaves. It falls on our ears
as what it is, with no deception,
the complete truth of being.

Even the smell of decay, drifting from
a deer, dead by the side of the road, says:
“This is what I am and no other. I do not
pretend to be. Even in death I speak
without deceit, even unto my flesh,
my very bones.”

Be tolerant of these songs,
my musings on the way these things are.
For I cannot give up the garden to winter except
by giving myself as well, fully and completely,
into the praise of our mutual beauty,
our total loving of the world.
~Edited and adapted poem
by Richard Wehrman

I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw… ~Proverbs 24:32  ✝

**Image by Natalie; special effects created by my grandson, Joe, and I on my computer and on iPiccy