1312. Trees are the earth’s endless effort to speak to the listening heaven. ~Rabindranath Tagore

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

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When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”
~Mary Oliver

The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. ~Excerpt from Genesis 2:9  ✝

576. Time-honored, beautiful, solemn and wise – noble, sacred and ancient – trees reach the highest heavens and penetrate the deepest secrets of the earth. ~Author Unknown

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

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Owl in the Black Oaks

If a lynx, that plush fellow,
climbed down a
tree and left behind
his face, his thick neck,

and, most of all, the lamps of his eyes,
there you would have it—
the owl,
the very owl

who haunts these trees,
choosing from the swash of branches
the slight perches and ledges
of his acrobatics.

Almost every day
I spy him out
among the knots and the burls,
looking down

at his huge feet,
at the path curving through the trees,
at whatever is coming up the hill
toward him,

and, though I’m never ready—
though something unspeakably cold
always drops through my heart—
it is a moment

as lavish as is fearful—
there is such pomp
in the gown of feathers
and the lit silk of the eyes—

surely he is one of the mighty kings
of this world.
Sometimes, as I keep coming,
he simply flies away—

and sometimes the whole body
tilts forward, and the beak opens,
clean and wonderful,
like a cup of gold.

~by Mary Oliver

The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. ~Psalm 19:7   ✝

** Image via Pinterest

533. Laughter is God’s blessing. ~Joseph Prince

Laughter is the brush
that sweeps away
the cobwebs of the heart.
~Mort Walker

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Like the joy of the sea coming home to shore,
May the relief of laughter rinse through your soul.

As the wind loves to call things to dance,
May your gravity by lightened by grace.

Like the dignity of moonlight restoring the earth,
May your thoughts incline with reverence and respect.

As water takes whatever shape it is in,
So free may you be about who you become.

As silence smiles on the other side of what’s said,
May your sense of irony bring perspective.

As time remains free of all that it frames,
May your mind stay clear of all it names.

May your prayer of listening deepen enough
to hear in the depths the laughter of God.
~John O’Donohue

Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. ~Psalm 126:2a   ✝

507. Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face. ~Victor Hugo

E = mc2, WW II, Shakespeare,
Parliament, ABC, Home Ec,
Digital, Olympics, Dewey Decimal,
H2O…

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If one desperately needed to laugh, he/she would probably not look first in the “groves of Academe” for that which brings the gift of uproarious laughter, but that’s where I found it yesterday. And the folks around the table at lunch, including me, whose areas of expertise are expressed above the photo, had all long been high school educators. During our time together in those “groves” we formed bonds like hydrogen does with oxygen to make a life-giving source.

We were young then and raising our families, but now decades later we’re retired. The bond we formed while we taught, however, is strong still, as it usually is, with people who share in each other’s tragedies and failures as well as rejoice in each other’s triumphs and joys. Inside and outside classroom walls, we were part of the village it takes to raise a child, ours and those of others, and overtime the village was forged into a fortress that has withstood the test of time.

After my friends and I retired, we decided to meet for lunch once a month. But because I’ve been experiencing more pain than usual this last year, I have not been joining them for a while. Though not life-threatening the arthritis in both of my feet has kept me from being able to stand very long for years.  Now the Restless Leg Syndrome I’ve been experiencing has worsened rendering some nights virtually sleepless, and the problem with my left knee that developed in January has not been resolved which keeps me hobbling around with a cane. Together these issues have lately had me spiraling down into a dark and humorless pit; so I decided last week I needed to and therefore should attend our little gathering this month, and I’m so glad I did. Though we eat in the restaurant where we meet, my friend Liz always makes dessert, and yesterday she brought her “world’s best” cheesecake. So it was that as all headed home our bellies and souls had been richly fed, and we had shared in long, joyous, and spiritually healing laughter.  Winter had been driven from my face, and now I can enjoy autumn even more than ever.

Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. ~Psalm 126:2a   ✝

Thank you, Lord, for these and all your “tender mercies.”

379. And the stately lilies stand, fair in the silvery light, like saintly vestals, pale in prayer; their pure breath sanctifies the air, as their fragrance fills the night. ~Julia C. R. Dorr

God’s the lily of the valley
Praise Him from all fields to cope
Where all angels meet to rally
Insuring us with lasting hope.
~Excerpted lines from a poem by Mae Stein

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I have been thinking
about living
like the lilies
that blow in the fields.

They rise and fall
in the edge of the wind,
and have no shelter
from the tongues of the cattle,

and have no closets or cupboards,
and have no legs.
Still I would like to be
as wonderful

as the old idea.
But if I were a lily
I think I would wait all day
for the green face

of the hummingbird
to touch me.
What I mean is,
could I forget myself

even in those feathery fields?
~Excerpted lines from Mary Oliver’s poem, Lilies

My beloved is mine and I am his; he browses among the lilies. ~Song of Songs 2:16 ✝

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!

326. 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 

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CHERRY BLOSSOMS ADRIFT

Pink petals passing
Scents above so high
Painted porcelain perfection
Blossoms caress the sky

Swaying silent shroud
Suitors strolling by
Pink petals passing
Lover’s gentle sigh



Pastel hues falling
Slow fluttering grace
Pink petals passing
Lining streams in lace

Pink petals passing
Smoothest transit by
Soft essence floating
In most subtle lullaby



Inducing springtime slumber
Upon a satin shore
Sailing with the current
Pink petals pass before
~Mary Fumento

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The sun shines down.
Pink flowers glow softly.
A gentle breeze rustles the leaves.
Birds flutter about the branches.
A young girl sits below it.
Relaxing in the shade.
The sweet smell of cherry blossoms fills the air.
And I know
I am home.
~Kylee Bartz

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it. Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy. Let all creation rejoice before the Lord… ~Psalm 96:11-13 ✝

Jesus, I am captured by Your grace and caught in Your imfinite embrace!

323. Nature inanimate employs sweet sounds, but animated nature sweeter still, to soothe and satisfy the human ear. ~William Cowper

There’s music in the sighing of a reed;
There’s music in the gushing of a rill;
There’s music in all things, if men had ears;
Their earth is but an echo of the spheres.
~Lord Byron

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The wings of spring have taken flight in the feisty winds of March. In so doing they have lifted Columbine’s curving, knob-tipped spurs on fanciful flights. Spilling down from deep in the throats of the yellow, flowering “bells” are stunning filaments and anthers which are like tiny, musical tongues issuing forth sweet, golden proclamations. Winter, as inanimate as it seems, has a lyrical sound, but the sounds of spring as the earth reanimates itself are far richer and more honeyed. They along with the other silvery sounds of spring are soft-hearted and serene in the beginning; however, as spring grows long in the tooth and summer approaches, the arias reach almost deafening crescendos. Then after the solstice passes, summer moves along to a steady, hot latino beat until autumn comes again and tones down earth’s rhythms with ripe, mellower tones. We, mortals, may never understand the what and where of earth’s magic and music, but that certainly can’t stop us from enjoying it nor from adoring the mysteries of the music’s Maker.  Lest one believe that it is only poets, writers, and musicians who hear the music of the natural world, let me say that it was Giuseppe Mazzini, an influential Italian political thinker, who said, “Music is the harmonious voice of Creation, and echo of the invisible world.”  I believe the love of music comes from the Lord because He gave birds their songs, and also those who love and compose music are created in God’s image.

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Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent. ~Victor Hugo

Praise the Lord with the harp; make music to Him on the ten-stringed lyre. Psalm 33:2 ✝

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you save, you heal, you restore, and you reveal Your Father’s heart to us!