1135. May every sunrise hold more promise and every sunset hold more peace. ~Irish Blessing

At Dawn
I slipped into the garden
Almost before ’twas light,
As the lazy sun arose
I glimpsed a charming sight…
Red Poppy flung her cap aside,
Shook out her silken skirt;
The way she danced with a young breeze
Told me she was a flirt!
~Mary C. Shaw

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A Noon Song
There are songs for the morning and songs for the night,
For sunrise and sunset, the stars and the moon;
But who will give praise to the fullness of light,
And sing us a song of the glory of noon?
Oh, the high noon, the clear noon,
The noon with golden crest;
When the blue sky burns, and the great sun turns
With his face to the way of the west!
~Excerpted verse from a poem
by Henry Van Dyke

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Evening Hours

The dusk has little gateways
That lead to pleasant homes
Enveloped in the soft light
Before the darkness comes.
Each home is in a garden
Alight with vivid blooms,
And there are fragrant posies
In all the restful rooms.
They are so cool and quiet,
After the hectic day,
After the crowded hours
That rush us on our way.
They are the little havens
Where we may turn to sit
And rest us in a leisure
The day could not permit.
~Ella C. Forbes

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Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. ~Psalm 90:12  ✝

**All flowery photographs taken by me in my yard

527. If you want to be reminded of the love of the Lord, just watch the sunrise! Jeannette Walls

How sweet the morning air is!
See how that one little cloud floats
like a pink feather
from some gigantic flamingo.
~Arthur Conan Doyle

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Somewhere, out at the edges, the night
Is turning and the waves of darkness
Begin to brighten the shore of dawn

The heavy dark falls back to earth
And the freed air goes wild with light,
The heart fills with fresh, bright breath
And thoughts stir to give birth to color.
~John O’Donohue

In Him(Jesus) was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. ~John 1:4-5   ✝

**Image via Pinterest

222. Green thoughts emerge from some deep source of stillness which the very fact of winter has released. ~Michael Osler

I danced in the morning when the world was begun
I danced in the moon and the stars and the sun;
I was called from the darkness by the song of the earth,
I joined in the singing and she gave me birth.

Dance, then, wherever you may be!
I am the Lord of the Dance, said he,
And I’ll lead you on, wherever you may be,
I will lead you all in the Dance, said he!

The moon in her phases and the tides of the sea,
the movement of the Earth, and the seasons that will be
Are rhythm for the dancing and a promise through the years–
The Dance goes on through joy and tears.
~Excerpts from the Lord of the Dance, traditional

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The Winter Solstice that arrives tomorrow is an annual event shrouded in ancient lore.  The words which mean “sun set still in winter” are derived from the Latin.  For ages the Winter Solstice was seen as a special and critical moment in the cycle of a year.  From neolithic times the physical remains at New Grange and Stonehenge in the British Isles have attested to this because their primary axes seem to have been carefully aligned on a sight-line framing the winter solstice at sunrise in New Grange and at sunset in Stonehenge.  Given that these earliest communities were not assured of living through the winter, the time of the solstice had to be marked because it was of maximum importance for which preparations had to be made during the previous nine months.  Today, for many, the shortest day of the year simply means that winter has arrived and for the next six months there will be a bit more daylight each day.  For those who follow Christ through His teachings, the solstice opens the doors on celebrations honoring His, the Messiah’s birth.  Christ is our Lord of the Dance, and He has come that all may join Him in the dance of life by accepting His offer of salvation.  “Sing we now of Christmas!”

The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  ~Mark 1:1  ✝

192. Magnificent Autumn! He comes like a warrior, with the stain of blood upon his brazen mail. ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Fall: bright flame before winter’s deadness;
harvest; orange, gold, amber;
cool nights and the smell of fire…
…everything we see is celebrating
one last violently hued hurrah before
the black and white and silence of winter.
~Shauna Niequist

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After last week’s hard freeze the march of fall’s foot soldiers revved up, and now more and more leafy encampments are being set ablaze.  What leafage is still dressed in green regimentals is fading fast to shades of yellow, orange, or hot reds cooled only by the occasional purple hue.  Though rare so far have been the firings of booming “thunder cannons” and the barrages of pelting rain, there have been, indicative fiery, explosions erupting on the eastern horizon at sunrise or westward over the rooftops at sunset forewarning the coming of fall’s final, crushing blitz.  The fallen victims of the earliest skirmishes are already gathering along curbs, littering the ground, and floating where waters collect, and the yet vanquished remaining leafy squadrons have not long before they too shall face their “last, violently hued hurrah.”  All is not as lost as it would seem however; for, despite the ever-increasing volume of casualties and the fact that the winter solstice is closing in, a measure of springtime miracles are already pushing up low and in warm safety under the autumnal warrior’s leafy carnage that’s been ransacked from on high by gusting winds.  Though but skimpily clad seedlings they be now, the deepening roots of larkspur, columbine, and poppies will hold their new growth steadfastly in place enabling them to hang tenaciously to life all winter long under fall’s stricken glory.  How could there be a more supremely, well-designed plan than that or any better a Creator than the Lord who devised such a grand and faithful plan!

Yet I call this to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.  They are new every morning, great is Your faithfulness.”  ~Lamentations 3:21-23  ✝

120. Every happening, great and small, is a parable whereby God speaks to us, and the art of life is to get the message. ~Malcolm Muggeridge

The world has different owners at sunrise. . .
Even your own garden does not belong to you.
Rabbits and blackbirds have the lawns;
a tortoise-shell cat who never appears in daytime
patrols the brick walls,
and a golden-tailed pheasant
glints his way through the iris spears.
~Anne Morrow Lindbergh,
pioneering American aviator and author

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In my yard are squirrels instead of rabbits, mockingbirds instead of blackbirds, an assortment of stray cats instead of one tortoise-shell cat, and garter snakes that slither through the grass instead of a pheasant that glints his way through the iris spear.  So it is that my yard has as Lindbergh penned “different owners at sunrise.”  But since I planted everything for the wildlife as much as for me, why shouldn’t they come and sometimes in large numbers all through the day and night.

J. Philip Newell says that God’s glory glows “in the glistening of a creature’s eyes” as well as in “every emanation of creation’s life,” and that we can reverence God “in all that has life.”  My guess is that’s why some people garden in the first place.  We are fascinated by and delighted with the flowers and the wildlife, but we long for the presence of God into our green temples–that Presence that we feel and see in tiny buds breaking the soil, in pinkish purply glows in the eastern sky, in a silver slivers of the moon in the darkness of night, or in the delicious stillnesses in the garden as day passes into night.

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. . .  ~Romans 1:20   ✝