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,
alas,

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

1243. Pay attention. Be astonished. And tell about it. ~Mary Oliver

Leaves and Blossoms Along the Way
by Mary Oliver

If you’re John Muir you want trees
to live among. If you’re Emily
(or Natalie), a garden will do.
Try to find the right place for yourself.
If you can’t find it, at least dream of it.

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When one is alone and lonely, the body
gladly lingers in the wind or the rain,
or splashes into the cold river, or
pushes through the ice-crusted snow.

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Anything that touches.

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God, or the gods, are invisible, quite
understandable. But holiness is visible,
entirely.

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Some words will never leave God’s mouth,
no matter how hard you listen.

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In all the works of Beethoven, you will
not find a single lie.

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All important ideas must include the trees,
the mountains, and the rivers.

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To understand many things you must reach
out of your own condition.

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For how many years did I wander slowly
through the forest. What wonder and
glory I would have missed had I ever been
in a hurry!

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Beauty can both shout and whisper, and still
it explains nothing.

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The point is, you’re you, and that’s for keeps.

Stop and be astonished… ~Excerpt from Isaiah 29: 9 ✝

**All images taken by Natalie; the 3 collages by Natalie

1177. The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just to the body, but the soul. ~Alfred Austin

I look back with gladness to the day when I found the path to the land of heart’s desire, and thank fate ceaselessly with a loud voice that it did not permit town to sap all the years away while the heart was turning to wind-voices and flower-faces and the hands of kindly earth. ~Mrs. George Cran

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There are times when I cannot believe I am separate from this earth, when I could swear the wind blows through me as it does the woven needles of the pine tree by the creek, when I feel my feet planted deep in the earth with the roots of trees and wildflowers, drawing essence. ~Cathy Johnson

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The love of dirt is among the earliest of passions, as it is the latest.  Mud-pies gratify one of our first and best instincts.  So long as we are dirty, we are pure.  Fondness for the ground comes back to a man after he has run the round of pleasure and business, eaten dirt, and sown wild oats, drifted about the world, and taken the wind of all its moods.  The love of digging in the ground (or of looking on while he pays another to dig) is as sure to come back to him, as he is sure, at last, to go under the ground, and stay there. ~Charles Dudley Warner

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Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. ~Genesis 2:8-9  ✝

**All images but one found on Pinterest; all collages created by Natalie

1114. The hum of the bees is the voice of the garden. ~Elizabeth Lawrence

The bee collects honey from flowers
in such a way as to do the least
damage or destruction to them,
and he leaves them whole, undamaged
and fresh, just as he found them.
~Saint Francis de Sales

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A garden spot may be a noisy place
Where droning bees seek honey,
Spiders weave their silver lace upon the trees,
And little birds sing songs the livelong day.

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Or it may be so silent that is seems
The flowers sleep, and shy
Mysterious virgin dreams their vigil keep,
And God communes with earth all day.
~Pringle Barret

Eat honey, my son, for it is good; honey from the comb is sweet to your taste. ~Proverbs 24:13  ✝

**Images of the bees via Pinterest; images of spider webs found on Pixabay

 

1111. Is there something we have forgotten? Some precious thing we have lost, wandering in strange lands? ~Arna Bontemps

In the middle of the journey of our life
I came to myself within a dark wood
where the straight way was lost.
~Dante Alighieri

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Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.
~David Wagoner

“…For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” ~Luke 19:10  ✝

**Image via Pinterest

1077. Listening is an art that requires attention over talent, spirit over ego, things other than self. ~Edited quote by Dean Jackson

Listening is a great way of receiving gifts
of wisdom, intelligence and inspiration,
but we only hear.
~Anonymous

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Only the briefest of moments
When everything is still
When the world is silent
A magical moment
When there’s just you
And everything God has
Created for you

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That moment
Is always there
But the noise of life
The mad rush
Of the day
Is too loud for us
To hear it to see it
To feel it

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Sit back
Let your worries
Drift away
Clear your mind
And just listen
Breathe in the breeze
As it splashes
Over you

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Listen
Not with your ears
But with your Soul
To the sounds of
The leaves rustling
In the trees and
The song of the birds
Rising like a wave

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Listen
Listen with your heart
Listen closely
For there’s only a moment
Only the briefest of moments
And then the magic’s gone
Lost in the chaos
Of the day.
~Edited poem
by Michael Traveler

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let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance– ~Proverbs 1:5

Images via Pinterest

1075. Dancing is silent poetry. ~Simonides

To dance is to reach for a word that doesn’t exist,
To sing the heart-song of a thousand generations,
To feel the meaning of a moment in time.
~Beth Jones

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Where Does the Dance Begin, Where Does It End?
Don’t call this world adorable, or useful, that’s not it.
It’s frisky, and a theater for more than fair winds.
The eyelash of lightning is neither good nor evil.
The struck tree burns like a pillar of gold.
But the blue rain sinks, straight to the white
feet of the trees whose mouths open.
Doesn’t the wind, turning in circles, invent the dance?
Haven’t the flowers moved, slowly, across Asia,
then Europe, until at last, now, they shine in your own yard?
Don’t call this world an explanation, or even an education.
When the Sufi poet whirled, was he looking outward,
to the mountains so solidly there in a white-capped ring,
or was he looking to the center of everything:
the seed, the egg, the idea that was also there,
beautiful as a thumb curved and touching the finger,
tenderly, little love-ring, as he whirled,
oh jug of breath, in the garden of dust?
~Mary Oliver

And David was dancing before the LORD with all his might… ~Excerpt from 2 Samuel 6:14 ✝

**Images via Pinterest; collage created by Natalie

1065. Let God’s promises shine on your problems. ~Corrie Ten Boom

February is a quiet month in the garden…
But just because it looks quiet
doesn’t mean that nothing is happening.
~Edited and adapted quote from
Rosalie Muller Wright

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The dictionary defines a promise as: (1. a declaration that something will or will not be done or given, or (2. an express assurance on which expectation is to be based. Isn’t is amazing that something as tiny as seeds declare what the Lord has promised, done, and given, and what we as His children can expect from His covenants. Special mention of seeds and their guarantee is made on the 3rd day in the Scriptural Genesis story. And the plants and trees God created have never failed to produce profuse manifestations of this “seed force” which has been been emerging for millions of years and comes forth yet from earth’s vegetation. The roots of this holy “seed force” reach down into the darkness of the earth’s “concealed depths.” Therein they are sustained by water, and in the Celtic tradition the moisture in earth’s soil was seen as a “symbol of the waters of God that enfolded and infused all things.” God’s goodness, which is deeper than any evil, can be seen then at the very inception of and at the heart of all life. J. Philip Newell puts it this way: “Everything that is born in the great matrix of life is sustained by roots that reach into the deep mystery of God’s life.” And I love the imagery these words paint of the seed and humanity’s roots reaching deep into our Maker’s life. What a comforting and safe place is the sheltering heart of Yahweh!

As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. ~Isaiah 55:10-11 ✝

**In the collage are a collection of seed pods I found in my winter garden.

1046. The trees down the boulevard stand naked in thought, their abundant summery wordage silenced… ~D. H. Lawrence

Have you ever noticed a tree standing naked against the sky,
How beautiful it is?
All its branches are outlined, and in its nakedness
There is a poem, there is a song.
Every leaf is gone and it is waiting for the spring.
When the spring comes, it again fills the tree with
The music of many leaves,
Which in due season fall and are blown away.
And this is the way of life.
~J. Krishnamurti

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“You think I am dead,”
The apple tree said,
“Because I have never a leaf to show-
Because I stoop,
And my branches droop,
And the dull gray mosses over me grow!
But I’m still alive in trunk and shoot;
The buds of next May I fold away-
But I pity the withered grass at my root.”

“You think I am dead,”
The quick grass said,
“Because I have parted with stem and blade!
But under the ground,
I am safe and sound
With the snow’s thick blanket over me laid.
I’m all alive, and ready to shoot,
Should the spring of the year
Come dancing here-
But I pity the flower without branch or root.”

“You think I am dead,”
A soft voice said,
“Because not a branch or root I own.
I never have died, but close I hide
In a plumy seed that the wind has sown.
Patient I wait through the long winter hours;
You will see me again-
I shall laugh at you then,
Out of the eyes of a hundred flowers.”
~Edith M. Thomas

Let the trees of the forest sing, let them sing for joy before the Lord… ~Excerpt from 1 Chronicles 16:33  ✝

**Images via Pinterest; collage created by Natalie

1005. Over everything connected with autumn there lingers some golden spell—some unseen influence that penetrates the soul with its mysterious power. ~Northern Advocate

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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Leaf by leaf and petal by petal, the garden unravels more and more each day. And with every wind that blows, be it from the north, the south, the east, or the west, little eddies of leaf litter now blow about dancing like bits of confetti. Too can be seen the first skeletons of trees and shrubs laid bare by the blustery winds and recent downpours. Yet the temperatures have remained mildish and so amid the decay are, even as the sands in late autumn’s hourglass run out, “honey’d leavings” and faint renditions of fall’s “lusty song.” However, soon and like all things, the last season of the year will come to its Sabbath and therefore have to rest until its next appointed hours.

What prodigious phenomenons are the seasons of the year! How carefully planned! What attention to detail they are given! Even in places where there are no robust seasonal changes, one is able to discern the Divine’s purpose. No matter when or where one is, there is a discernible rhythm to the seasonal harmonies in the cosmic book of days. And in the rhythms are a sacred and perceptible heartbeat, a heartbeat that if sought and listened to is as recognizable as that of a mother’s to her infant. For it is the beating heart of God, and His comforting eternal echo of the spheres can be heard in every corner of the universe. Like gravity the sound of it holds hearers in its grasp, and in the hearing comes the longing to see the face of the Holy One whose heart holds us, His children, with a love bigger than the universe itself.

Even the stork in the sky knows her appointed seasons and the dove, the swift and the thrush observe the time of their migration. ~Except from Jeremiah 8:7  ✝

**I love this capture I got of the red oak leaf that became wedged in the latch on my greenhouse door during yesterday’s high winds.