1211. The summer came to life. It burst from gray to fierce blue and gold in the blink of an eye; the air pealed with grasshoppers and lawnmowers… ~Tana French

Grasshopper Green is a comical chap;
he lives on the best of fare.
Bright little trousers, jacket, and cap,
These are his summer wear.
~Excerpt from a poem
by Nancy Dingman Watson

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Gary the Grasshopper sat down in the sun
and sang of the way that his life had begun.
First off as an egg he was laid in the ground
and there he remained with never a sound,
his body unmoving, all pallid and white,
till Spring came around and the weather was right.
He remembers quite clearly the day of his birth
he wriggled and pushed his way up through the earth,
then on reaching the surface he threw off his skin,
he had to do this so his life could begin,
but it wasn’t a problem because underneath
he was wearing another as green as a leaf.
Once born he went looking for something to eat
he really liked salads and seldom ate meat,
and being quite young he thought it was good
to eat just as much as he possibly could.
He grew as he ate, and three times since then
he’s needed to make a new skin once again.
But now he’s full grown and he’s learning to be
an adult grasshopper both handsome and free,
so he sings in the night, and all through the day
till a suitable lady should wander his way,
and when they’re together, and after the rain,
they’ll start the ball rolling all over again.
~Gordon J.L. Ramel

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Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded? He(God) sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in. ~Isaiah 40:21-22  ✝

**All images via Pinterest; collages by Natalie

1185. We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures. ~Thornton Wilder

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Today is not just another day, it is the one day that is given to you today. It is a gift, the only gift of a day that you have right now. And so the only appropriate response is gratefulness. If you do nothing else but to cultivate that response, to the great gift that this unique day is, and if you learn to respond as if it were the first day of your life and the very last day, then you will have spent this day very well.

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Begin by opening your eyes and be surprised that you have eyes you can open, the incredible array of colors that is constantly offered to us for pure enjoyment. Look at the sky; we so rarely look at the sky, so rarely note how different it is from moment to moment with clouds coming and going. We just think of the weather, but we don’t think of all the different nuances of weather. We just think of good weather and bad weather. This day, right now, this unique weather, maybe a kind that may never come in that form again. The formation of clouds in the sky may never be the same than it is right now, open your eyes and look at that.

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Look at the faces of people that you meet. Each one has an incredible story behind their face, a story that you could never fully fathom not only their own story but the story of their ancestors. We all go back so far. And in this present moment, this day, all the people you meet, all that life from generations and so many all over the world, flows together and meets you here like life giving water if you only open your heart and drink. Open your heart to the incredible gifts that civilization gives to you. You flip a switch and there is electric light. You turn a faucet and there is warm water and cold water and drinkable water. It is a gift that millions and millions of people will never experience. ~Br. David Steindl-Rast, Benedictine Monk

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Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; His love endures forever. 1 Chronicles 16:34  ✝

**Images via Pinterest except for middle one that I took at the bottom; collages by Natalie

1102. Fate shall yield to fickle chance, and chaos judge the strife. ~John Milton

Bright and true and tender
can Mother Nature be albeit 
dark, fierce, fickle and disastrous
oft too is she.
~Natalie Scarberry

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It is sad that nature will play
such tricks with us poor mortals,
inviting us with sunny smiles to confide in her,
and then, when we are entirely
within her power, tricking us to the heart.
~Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Every year it seems to me
I hear complaints about spring.
It is either “late” or “unusually cold,”
“abnormally dry” or “fantastically wet,”
for no one is ever willing to admit
that there is no such thing as a normal spring.
~Thalassa Crusso

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This year had been shaping up to be the best spring ever in my gardens, and then as so often happens over the Texas prairies this time of year, blustery high winds caused cold air from the north to collide with the existing warm air making Mother Nature more foe than friend as night fell. I must have had some kind of sixth-sense inclination of the impending doom, however, because I took the three photographs above before I called it a day and came inside for good. Sadly what you see in them is gone now. The reason for their demise can be seen in the picture below of the huge amount of pea-size to quarter-size hail that fell with the two-inch downpour of rain. I know that it could have been worse because tornados can and do sometimes accompany such weather events; so I’m grateful this time wasn’t one of them and that no one was hurt or experienced loss of life, limb, or property. But it was still sad, very sad today, to see masses of green “carnage” as well as the remains of flowery life and beauty scattered everywhere. Yet I will always praise the Lord for the rain.

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Ask the Lord for rain in the springtime; it is the Lord who sends the thunderstorms. He gives showers of rain to all people, and plants of the field to everyone. ~Zechariah 10:1  ✝

1097. Red skies in morning, sailors take warning, red skies at night, sailors delight. ~Weather lore rhyme possibly based on a passage in Scripture or a passage in literature by William Shakespeare or a proverb from mediaeval England

A ring around the sun or moon,
means rain or snow is coming soon.
~Old Time Weather Proverb

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People have been using signs from nature to predict the weather since the beginning of time. For example:

Some say if you notice hornets, bees, and wasps building their nests higher than usual, like in the tops of trees rather than closer to the ground, a harsh winter with lots of snowfall may be coming. Or if you notice livestock and wildlife looking more woolly than usual in the fall, they may be gearing up for a particularly harsh winter. Or if rabbits and squirrels look especially fat in the fall, they may be bulking up for a cold winter. Likewise, if you see squirrels burying nuts at a more hurried pace than usual, that may also be a sign of a hard winter. Or if spiders build larger webs than usual, it could be because they are trying to catch more food and fill their bellies for a coming cold snap. Or if apple and other fruit trees produce more fruit than usual, a harsh winter may be in the forecast. Or there’s a story which goes that the thicker the outer shells of nuts, the worse the winter will be. This theory also extends to acorns and the thickness of their shells because it could be nature’s way of protecting the tree species during harsh weather. Or some people believe that the brighter the leaves are in the fall, the snowier and colder the coming winter will be. And here in Texas, I’ve always heard it said that until pecan trees begin to bud out winter’s not over and so there’s still a chance for a freeze. And ever since I’ve watched my neighbor’s pecan tree near my north fence line, it has never failed to be true. Although it has seemed like spring for weeks, until today that tree nor others around our neighborhood had not started to bud out so I’ve worried that a freeze would come and ruin all the pretty “babies” that have been blooming in the area. But now I believe that we should be safe to continue celebrating this early, early spring because the pecan trees have started to leaf out.

He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, ‘Today will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ ~Matthew 16:2-3  ✝

1080. Come, gentle Spring!  Ethereal Mildness!  Come. ~James Thomson 

O the green things growing, the green things growing,
The faint sweet smell of the green things growing!
I should like to live, whether I smile or grieve,
Just to watch the happy life of my green things growing.
~Dinah Maria Mulock Craik

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But, but, but, it’s just way to early for spring’s “ethereal madness” and the green things growing. The day after my knee surgery at the end of February last year, it snowed and then three days later when I came home from the hospital it snowed again. Our last average freeze date isn’t until March 15th, and there have been times when a hard, late freeze or an ice/snow event have occurred even as late as April 1st. So what’s up with this crazy weather? I love springtime and I’m always thrilled when it arrives, but this is just too soon for it to come. Thank goodness I got started earlier than usual on cleaning up and weeding the beds because we virtually had no winter to speak of. Also I’d already gotten the roses pruned and ready to go. But then since roses are supposed to be fed when they are leafed out and most of mine are almost leafed out already, what do I do now? If I go ahead and feed them, they’ll really get going, and a late freeze could kill all the new growth and set them way back. I’m also concerned about the ducks that winter at our neighborhood pond since I noticed last week that they’ve left already. It’s too early for that too. They could end up getting their little derriere’s frozen off by returning too soon to their northern homes because Old Man Winter and Jack Frost may have high-tailed it out of Texas, but that doesn’t mean they’ve closed up shop elsewhere.

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Come, fill the Cup, and in the Fire of Spring
The Winter Garment of Repentance fling:
The Bird of Time has but a little way
To fly–and Lo! the Bird is on the Wing.
~Omar Khayyám

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Spring’s cup is indeed being filled regardless of the date and time, and it’s fire has begun to fling off winter’s garments. As well the bird is on the wing. I know this because I’ve been watching them for at least a week or two refurbishing birdhouses or feathering nests. So it looks like I’m going to need to pray for their sake and for sake of all the green things growing that winter doesn’t come back for a last hurrah!

See! The winter is past… ~Excerpt from Song of Songs 2:11  ✝

1020. Come, see the north wind’s masonry… ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Through the sharp air
 a flaky torrent flies…
and hides the gloomy skies;
the fleecy clouds their chilly bosoms bare,
and shed their substances on the floating air.
~George Crabbe

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What a weekend weather wise it has been! We’ve been dealt nearly the full gamut of frequent Texas weather patterns in the last 72 hours–high winds, thunder, lightning, heavy rains, flash floods, hail, tornados. And then as if that were not enough, for good measure Mother Nature also threw in an earthquake and a white-out blizzard in the Panhandle and a few other places. On top of that I woke up here to find a smattering of snow on the ground which given that it didn’t freeze overnight nor was it 32 degrees or below when I awoke is very unusual. About the only thing that got skipped the last few days was the intense heat of summer although on Christmas Day the temperature did climb to almost 80 degrees. So hellooooo Winter! It seems you HAVE arrived ready to go, ready to wash off last year’s grime, and bringing nighttime temps right at freezing or below for the next 10 days. Makes me kind of wonder, and a bit fearfully I might add, what more Mother Nature could have up her perfidious sleeve for truly she’s demonstrated once again that she can be most untrustworthy at times.

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Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. ~Psalm 51:7  ✝

**Weather image found on Facebook; all other images taken by Natalie; collages created by Natalie

925. The earth has music for those who listen. ~William Shakespeare

Inside the silence between
your 
heartbeats hides a summons.
Do you hear it?
Listen.
Quiet the voices and noise around you.
Honor the Holy One calling you!
~Author Unknown

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I perceive the universe as a cosmic temple and planet earth as a sanctuary in that temple. Although not given the power of speech as such therein, rain and other weather-related phenomena exhibit distinctive voices in and under the heavens. And as these things fall from earth’s chaotic atmosphere, they often blend their unique voices with other holy sounds in the natural world. In that sacred chorus is a call for humanity to seek the Maker of the temple because God not only hardwired man with a desire to connect with other human beings but also with a  longing to seek and connect with Him. Thus to that end man was given eyes to witness the sacraments of heaven and earth, ears to hear the chants of their hallowed voices, intellect to question and understand to some extent what is seen and heard, and a heart that in due time turns from irreverence to deep longing.  Tecumseh, a leader of the Shawnee, said, “Nature is so powerful, so strong.  Capturing the essence is not easy – your work becomes a dance with light and the rain in its weather.  It takes you to a place within yourself.” And so after the 11 inches of magical, mystical rain that we’ve had in the last week, I’m a’listenin’ and doin’ little jigs all over the place.

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

**Image via Pinterest