1432. The leaves drift toward the earth like ships to land, a voyage launched from timbers’ great lofty berths… ~Excerpt from a poem by Dan Young

Ah! the year is slowly dying,
And the wind in tree-top sighing,
Chant his requiem.
Thick and fast the leaves are falling,
High in the air wild birds are calling,
Nature’s solemn, autumnal hymn.
~ Edited poem by
Mary Weston Fordham

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Day by day autumn’s end draws nearer, and thus even more strains of “nature’s solemn, autumnal hymn” fill the coldish air. And because the temperatures finally dropped below freezing for several nights here, the things that had been hanging on perished or are now in the process of dying and so their joyous songs of life have ceased for the year. The terrain too is well-nigh down to its barest essentials, and all that we’ll soon hear are winter’s deep sighs and silences or the wailing of her bitter, gusty winds. Things that  hold onto the promise of spring either in their roots or in splitting seed casings will be busy beneath the soil whilst they wait for the sun to invite them to flourish “Thick and fast” falling remnants of leaves have been and are layering the ground to protect what lies beneath waiting for the appointed hour of rebirth in earth’s next circle around the sun. It’s all a God-ordained and Scripturally- declared grand plan, and I love watching Yahweh’s strategy play out round and round as the years pass. In fact on days when I feel out of sorts, I’ve learned to get outside regardless of how cold or hot it is, and as I look, listen, and wait under heaven’s canopy, it’s not long before my inner compass is made right again. Feeling earth’s heartbeat and becoming a part of its rhythms keep at bay the sense of hopelessness that’s often engendered by the trials of life and a world torn by depravity and meriless madness. Being close to the land is as comforting and reassuring as when I was a kid and slipped my hand into the safety of a parent’s hand. The same thing happens even more so now that I’m aware I’m drawing near God and what He has made. Standing in His Creation, I’m certain that even though humans transgress and frequently fall short of what they’re meant to be and do, He still stands ready to take His children by the hand, comfort them, and proffer His magnanimous gestures of mercy and redeeming grace. It’s not unlike what I experienced when I first felt my child move in my womb. I knew that the sensation which felt like wings of a butterfly barely grazing my inner flesh was the unmistakable touch of something sacred stirring inside me. The Lord’s movement in our inner and outer lives is much the same. It may be an ever so slight brush against our flesh and/or soul, but we know that we have indeed felt the Almighty’s loving Presence.

See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power, and his arm rules for him. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him. He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. ~Isaiah 40:10-11  ✝

**All photos taken by Natalie

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  ✝

1296. I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order. ~John Burroughs

The moment that a child can walk,
like that in which it first can talk,
is a precious start of exploration into landscapes of creation.
Walking, walking, walking, walking, walking on the earth.
By sense of touch the feet assess
the nature of the wilderness
of earth beneath;
yet human speech cannot express
what feet can teach.
Walking, walking, walking, walking,
walking on the earth.
~Francis D. Hole

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The ancient Hebrew association of man with soil is echoed in the Latin name for man, homo, derived from humus, the stuff of life in the soil. This powerful metaphor suggests an early realization of a profound truth that humanity has since disregarded to its own detriment. Since the words “humility” and “humble” also derive from humus, it is rather ironic that we should have assigned our species so arrogant a name as Homo sapiens sapiens (“wise wise man”). It occurs to me, as I ponder our past and future relation to the earth, that we might consider changing our name to a more modest Homo sapiens curans, with the word curans denoting caring or caretaking, as in “curator.” (“Teach us to care” was T.S. Eliot’s poetic plea.) Of course, we must work to deserve the new name, even as we have not deserved the old one. ~Daniel Hillel, Out of the Earth: Civilization and the Life of the Soil

My feet have closely followed His(God’s) steps; I have kept to His(God’s) way without turning aside. ~Job 23:11 ✝

**All images via Pinterest; collage by Natalie

1269. The object of our lives is to look at, listen to, touch, taste things.  Without them,-these sticks, stones, feathers, shells,-there is no Deity. ~R. H. Blyth

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In the afternoons,
in the almost  empty fields,
I hum the hymns
I used to sing

in church.
They could not tame me,
so they would not keep me,

and how that feels,
the weight of it,
I will not tell
any of you,

not ever.
Still, as they promised,
God, once he is in your heart,
is everywhere –

so even here
among the weeds
and the brisk trees.
How long does it take

to hum a hymn?  Strolling
one or two acres
of the sweetness
of the world,

not counting
a lapse, now and again,
of sheer emptiness.
Once a deer

stood quietly at my side.
And sometimes the wind
has touched my cheek
like a spirit.

Am I lonely?
The beautiful, striped sparrow,
serenely, on the tallest weed in his kingdom,
also sings without words.
-Mary Oliver 

Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young— a place near your altar, Lord Almighty, my King and my God. ~Psalm 84:3  ✝

**Images via Pinterest and the Internet; collage by Natalie

1225. I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order. ~John Burroughs

We live on the leash of our senses.
There is no way in which to understand
the world without first detecting it
through the radar-net of our senses.
~Diane Ackerman

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Listen-Do you see that you can’t hear beauty? But you can hear beautiful birdsongs.

Look-Do you see that you can’t smell love? But you can smell the fragrance of a rose when it comes into view.

Touch-Do you see that you can’t see the soul? But you can touch the hand of another and look into his/her eyes, the windows to his/her soul.

Taste-Do you see that you can’t taste color? But you can taste the purplicious flavor of a grape.

Smell-Do you see that you can’t touch the intellect? But you can smell food prepared intelligently for our health.

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Look at the opening sunflower and passionflower above: I can see their beauty; I can hear the buzz of the bees around them; I can touch their petals and leaves; I can taste their edible seeds and fruit; I can smell the earth in which I planted them; and in my garden which puts my senses in order I am soothed and healed by their presence.

Ears that hear and eyes that see—the Lord has made them both. ~Proverbs 20:12  ✝
Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. ~Psalm 34:8  ✝
Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. ~Matthew 8:3  ✝
For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. ~ 2 Corinthians 2:15  ✝

**I took both these photos in my yard today.

1187. Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. ~William Arthur Ward

Gratitude is the understanding that many millions of things come together and live together and mesh together and breathe together in order for us to take even one more breath of air, that the underlying gift of life and incarnation as a living, participating human being is a privilege; that we are miraculously part of something, rather than nothing. Even if that something is temporarily pain or despair, we inhabit a living world, with real faces, real voices, laughter, the color blue, the green of the fields, the freshness of a cold wind, or the tawny hue of a winter landscape. ~Excerpt from an article by David Whyte@gratefulness.org

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Stop what you are doing right now! Just stop for a minute! Close your eyes and feel the in and out movement of your breath. Keep your eyes closed, stay still a little longer, and feel your heart beating. Now open your eyes, take in all the colors and sights around you, and recognize the blessing of sight. Then listen to any sounds you hear and be thankful for you ears and the blessing of both sound and silence. Next reach out your hands and touch something, anything, and become aware of its textures or smoothness, hardness or softness–all those things that come with the blessing of touch. After that find something to take a bite or sip of, and as you chew or swallow, savor and enjoy the flavor and taste of whatever it is. Last, before you return to what you were or were not doing, try to wrap your mind around the “many millions of things that had to come together and live together and mesh together” for all those gifts to be realities in your world. Almost 4 years ago, a day came when all that was threatened to be over for me as the result of 2 clots in my brain. Never, ever take for granted the gifts, the blessings, the miracles, and especially the Giver of the “many millions of things!” Thank you Jesus for this day, these gifts, and your faithfulness!

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him 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 1:1-5  ✝

**Image via Pixabay; text added by Natalie

1156. I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order. ~John Burroughs

May the touch of your skin
Register the beauty
Of the otherness
That surrounds you.

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May your listening be attuned
To the deeper silence
Where sound is honed
To bring distance home.
May the fragrance
Of a breathing meadow
Refresh your heart
And remind you you are
A child of the earth.
And when you partake
Of food and drink,
May your taste quicken
To the gift and sweetness
That flows from the earth.
May your inner eye
See through the surfaces
And glean the real presence
Of everything that meets you.
May your soul beautify
The desire of your eyes
That you might glimpse
The infinity that hides
In the simple sights
That seem worn
To your usual eyes.
~John O’Donohue

Ears that hear and eyes that see—the Lord has made them both. ~Proverbs 20: 12  ✝

**Watercolor images via Pinterest; collage created by Natalie