747. Give me the splendid silent sun, with all his beams full-dazzling… ~What Whitman

I’ll tell you how the sun rose,
-a ribbon at a time.
The steeples swam in amethyst,
The news like squirrels ran.
The hills untied their bonnets,
The bobolinks begun.
Then I said softly to myself,
“That must have been the sun!”
~Emily Dickinson

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“The sun says his prayers,” said the fairy,
Or else he would wither and die.
“The sun says his prayers,” said the fairy,
“For strength to climb up through the sky.
He leans on invisible angels,
And Faith is his prop and his rod.
The sky is his crystal cathedral.
And dawn is his altar to God.”
~Vachel Lindsay

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Ya know coming all to soon upon us now are the days when I’ll be begging for clouds, any kind of clouds, even one big cloud to shade us at least for a little while from the sweltering heat of the summer sun here in Texas, but today after more than a month of gray, gloomy, cloudy, rainy days, I was thrilled to see the sun at daybreak. And although we have more chances for more the rest of the week, it has been deliciously sunny most of the day. Throughout the last decade we have been through a harsh and severe drought that left our water reservoirs in dangerously low or in some areas where the lakes or other water supplies had completely dried up. So I prayed and prayed for rain and promised never to complain about it ever be importune again. And I won’t break that promise to the Lord, but now that our rivers and lakes are approaching flood stage or already flowing over, I pray that the Lord spread the rains out over the summer months before there’s any more loss of life and/or property.

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 of harvest.” ~Isaiah 18:4   ✝

**Images via Pinterest; notice the photo of the deer who seems to be praising the Lord for the sun’s appearance.

717. A whisper in the silence; it’s grass having some fun, rustling in the sunshine… ~Excerpt from poem by Olivia Kent

Where is that secret glade?
The one where time seems to fade
In that place of magic pools
Where ladybugs and fairies lounge on the toadstools…
~Adapted excerpt by Will Justus

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Dumpy toadstools grew close by
Our old peach tree: some were high,
Peak’d, like half-shut parasols;|
Others round and low, like balls,
Little hollow balls; and I
Called my father to the tree:
And he said, ‘I tell you what:
Fairies have been here, you see.
This is just the kind of spot
Fairies love to live in. Those
Are their houses, I suppose.
Yes, those surely are their huts!
Built of moon and mist and rain…
~Excerpted lines from a poem
by Madison Julius Cawein

**The “lady” in ladybug refers to the Virgin Mary. Legend has it that crops in Europe during the Middle Ages were plagued by pests, so the farmers began praying to the Blessed Lady, the Virgin Mary. Soon, the farmers started seeing ladybugs in their fields, and the crops were miraculously saved from the pests. They associated their good fortune with the black and red beetles, and so began calling them lady beetles. In Germany, these insects go by the name Marienkafer, which means Mary beetles. The 7-spotted lady beetle is believed to be the first named for the Virgin Mary; the red color represents her cloak, and the black spots represent her sorrows. ~Image via Pinterest; information about the ladybug via the Internet

And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of His servant. From now on all generations will call be blessed. ~Luke 1:46-48   ✝

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   ✝

696. Welcome, wild harbinger of spring! To this small nook of earth… ~Bernard Barton

Listen, can you hear it?
Spring’s sweet cantata.
The strains of grass pushing up.
The song of buds swelling on the vine.
The tender timpani of a baby robin’s heart.
Spring!
~Diane Frolov and Andrew Schneider

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In the glow of the dawn,
Welcome a new day,
Greet the golden sunlight or rain,
Nature in all its subtlety.
Whip of the wind,
Earth unfolds,
Softly falling rain,
Growing plants and buds blossoming.
Visions of the earth, with glories of nature,
Beauty of the daffodils,
Sunshine and rain from a rainbow,
Awe! Nature in full bloom.
~Blanche Black

The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God. ~Isaiah 35:1-2 ✝

And so spring begins in my small nook of earth with a smattering of roses and a new piece of yard art.  I took this photo early this morning of a portion of the north quadrant of my back yard.

669. Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy… ~Line from a song written by Carole King and David Palmer

If I had a tale that I could tell you
I’d tell a tale for sure to make you smile
If I had a wish that I could wish for you
I’d make a wish for sunshine all the while…
~Excerpted lyrics from the 
above named song
that was
 recorded by John Denver

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It was such a lovely sunshine-day,
The house and the yard couldn’t hold me;
A meadow I found, so on my back I lay,
And sang what my spirit told me.

It was such a lovely sunshine-day,
The house and the yard couldn’t hold me;
I climbed up a tree, oh, what bliss to stay,
Where only could peace enfold me.
~Edited excerpted lines from poem
by Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson

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Beautiful – beautiful morning outside,
Bright with the sunshine and glows in the sky.
Birdies are singing and dewdrops are falling:
It’s a beautiful morning outside.

Day after day in this wonderful way,
Nature is showing its wonderful face,
With sunshine at mornings, and cheers every where;
It is morning again in this world.
~Excerpted lines from poem
by Parmanand Mahabir

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 of harvest. ~Isaiah 18:4    ✝

**Both image via Pinterest

668. There is…an order of succession in the garden year which is deeply pleasing…seed time flows on to flowering time and flowering time flows on to harvest time… ~Edited lines by Susan Hill and Rory Stuart

A little seed for me to sow…
A little earth to make it grow…
A little hole, a little pat…
A little wish, and that is that.
A little sun, a little shower…
A little while, and then – a flower!
~Mabel Watts

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SEEDS
The seeds I sowed –
For week unseen –
Have pushed up pygmy
Shoots of green;
So frail you’d think
The tiniest stone
Would never let
A glimpse be shown.
But no; a pebble
Near them lies,
At least a cherry-stone
In size,
Which that mere sprout
Has heaved away,
To bask in sunshine,
See the day.
~Walter de la Mare

“As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” ~Genesis 8:22   ✝

** Image via Pinterest

651. The real voyage of discovery comes not in the seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. ~Marcel Proust

What sunshine is to flowers,
smiles are to humanity.
These are not trifles, to be sure;
but scattered along life’s pathway,
the good they do is inconceivable.
~Joseph Addison

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The poppies send up their
orange flares; swaying
in the wind, their congregations
are a levitation

of bright dust, of thin
and lacy leaves.
There isn’t a place
in this world that doesn’t

sooner or later drown
in the indigos of darkness,
but now, for a while,
the roughage

shines like a miracle
as it floats above everything
with its yellow hair.
Of course nothing stops the cold,

black, curved blade
from hooking forward—
of course
loss is the great lesson.

But I also say this: that light
is an invitation
to happiness,
and that happiness,

when it’s done right,
is a kind of holiness,
palpable and redemptive.
~Mary Oliver

You will also declare a thing, and it will be established for you; so light will shine on your ways. ~Job 22:28   ✝

**Photograph of Iceland Poppy taken by Natalie

586. And so the Shortest Day came and the year died and everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world came people singing, dancing, to drive the dark away. ~Susan Cooper

They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.
And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, reveling and
partaking of the wassail.
~Adapted excerpt from Susan Cooper

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Wassailing
~by Unknown Author

The word “wassail” is thought to come from the Anglo-Saxon “wel hal” which means “be healthy.” The Anglo-Saxons used the phrase as an everyday greeting. “Waes” is a form of the verb “to be.” “Hal” is the ancestor of the modern English words whole and hale. Thus, “waes hal” literally meant “Be healthy.”

The Vikings who later settled in Northern England used a variant of the same phrase, “Ves heill.” Since the Anglo-Saxons and Norse shared a custom of welcoming guests by presenting them with a horn of ale, a cup of mead, or a goblet of wine, the greeting evolved into a toast.

The phrase eventually evolved into the single word that we know today as “wassail.” The use of “wassailing” to mean “caroling” very likely descended from the custom of singing songs while drinking from the wassail bowl during the Christmas holidays.

Cranberry Wassail
1 gallon ocean spray cranberry juice
5 cups apple juice
2/3 cup sugar
4 cinnamon sticks
2 tsp allspice (whole)
1 medium sized orange sliced
20 whole cloves

Combine cranberry juice cocktail, apple juice, sugar, cinnamon sticks, and allspice in a large pot. Heat to boiling over medium heat; reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Strain punch to remove spices. Serve warm in a heat proof punch bowl or chill and serve over ice. Garnish with orange slices studded with cloves. Makes 42 4-ounce servings.

And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and day and years, and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on earth.” And it was so. ~Genesis 1:13-15   ✝

** Image via Pinterest

564. I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

Autumn is the eternal corrective.
It is ripeness and color and a time of maturity;
but it is also breadth, and depth, and distance.
What man can stand with autumn on a hilltop
and fail to see the span of his world
and the meaning of the rolling hills
t
hat reach to the far horizon?
~Hal Borland

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Nature reveals intimations of its Maker in so many ways. It can even mask disturbing realities in this fallen world so that in the remaining clarity one can gain a better perspective of the bigger picture. The exact beginning and end of nature’s seasons, like the seasons of our lives, come and go shrouded to some extent in veils of mystery. And we can never really be sure of the exact moment in time that the spark of change ignites. Nor do we know when the remaining ember of that initial spark will die, but the time and space between beginnings and endings, like autumn, ripen life with more than enough breadth and depth and distance and color. For example it was over 80 degrees here today and although I did not “waste anything as precious as autumn’s sunshine,” I know November’s door will close at midnight and the winter solstice is only 3 weeks away. But I also know there’s no guarantee that the solstice will mark the exact end of lovely autumnesque realities. The weather forecast may say that an arctic norther will start blowing in here in the wee hours of the morning and plummet our temperatures to below freezing by tomorrow night. But the same forecast also shows that a day later we’ll be on the climb right back up to the warmer ripeness and color that is quintessentially autumn. So who knows? Is this cold snap the beginning of the end or will it be the next one or the one after that? There may be many things we cannot know in this life, and although it has been said that “life is a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury signifying nothing,” others perceive life as a different kind of tale. I, for one, find that standing outside in autumn, or any season for that matter, gives me glimpses of Yahweh, the Holy One, wrote the tale, who knows everything, who’s in control, and who has a plan, purpose, and time for all things under heaven.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. ~Ecclesiastes 3:11  ✝

**Image via Pinterest

484. Flowers are those little colorful beacons of the sun from which we get sunshine when dark, somber skies blanket our thoughts. ~Dodinsky

The earth has received the embrace of the sun
and we shall see the result of that love.
~Hunkesni (Sitting Bull)

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The flowers in these photos are the result of another year’s embrace of the sun. It will be the remembrance of them and the haunting songs of their colors, separately and collectively, that will lift my spirits when in the months to come we traverse winter’s “vale of grief.” If my memory of them should grow dim, I’ll have but to look heavenward and watch for them in the rising and the setting of the sun on days when a window in the gloom has been opened. In those moments when they streak the eastern or western horizon in a blaze of glory I’ll remember that as the earth tilts back toward the sun, the sun’s embrace will bring the flowers, their lovely colors, and their songs back to life. When they return and the air is filled with the music of many rhymes, my prayer is. . .

That the morning sun stir us with gladness from ours bed,
That the winds of March move us happily along the new year’s road,
That the rains of April renew our strength,
That the flowers and colors of May captivate our sight,
That the summer inflame our zeal,
That autumn’s colors stimulate our dreams,
That the silver moon make us wiser yet,
That the Lord keep us young at heart so that
we are full of life, laughter, song, and gratitude
for the holiness and goodness in all that the sun and His love embraces.
~Edited and adapted from a blessing by Fr. Andrew Greeley

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens He has pitched a tent for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. ~Psalm 19:1-5    ✝

** I made the collage of flowers from images found on PInterest.