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

1214. Heart-stopping envy is the sincerest form of flattery. ~Anna Godbersen

Life is indeed colorful. We can feel in the pink one day,
with our bank balances comfortably in the black, and
the grass seemingly no greener on the other side of the fence.
And then out of the blue, something invites envy.
~Edited and adapted excerpt
by Alex Morritt

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In the spring when we were actually getting rain, we also had several bouts of hail along with the showers. As a result this summer there have been little armies of roofers tap, tap, tapping their way all around town. Our roof too was recently replaced, and then two weeks later my new neighbor got her new roof put on. Shortly thereafter, Natalie, yes interestingly we share the same name, was out in her front yard when we pulled onto our driveway. When she saw us, she came running over to tell us about something funny that had happened while the workers were up on her roof. It seems that one of them was so taken with my yard and flowers that he was leaning over on his ladder to get a better view. But because his view was blocked by a large tree, he had to lean way over on his ladder to get a good look at it. And then boom, he finally had leaned a tad too far over and tumbling down came he and his ladder. Fortunately, other than his pride, the guy wasn’t hurt so we felt no remorse about having a really good laugh about the incident. Then Natalie went on to tell us another funny story about her mom who is so envious of my yard that she’s been trying to get glimpses of it through the slats in her privacy fence. And it also seems that she’s seen enough to jokingly ask Natalie if she thought I’d notice if she sneaked over and dug up a few things. Of course I was very flattered and pleased that others enjoy my little piece of Eden as much as I do, but I don’t want them falling off ladders or having to peek through fences to see it. So I told Natalie, as I tell everyone, that people are always welcome to open the gate and come on in to look around, and that I’d be happy to share with her and her mom all the seeds that they might want. I also told her that I have chairs spread out around the yard for those who want to linger a while longer. Lastly and with tongue in cheek, I said that she and her mom were more than welcome to come in and dig up all the weeds they wanted.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast; it is not. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. ~1 Corinthians 13:4-5 ✝

**The collage is of some of what’s on my garden’s altars today.

1208. Wisdom is oftentimes nearer when we stoop than when we soar. ~William Wordsworth

We plant seeds that will flower
as results in our lives, so best
to remove the weeds of anger,
avarice, envy and doubt,
that peace and abundance
may manifest for all.
~Dorothy Day

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Weeder’s Thoughts
I have raked the soil and planted the seeds
Now I’ve joined the army that fights the weeds.
For me no flashing saber and sword,
To battle the swiftly marching horde;
With a valiant heart I fight the foe,
My only weapon a trusty hoe.
No martial music to swing me along,
I march to the robin redbreast song.
No stirring anthem of bugle and drum
But the cricket’s chirp and the honey bee’s hum.
No anti-aircraft or siren yell
But there’s Trumpet-creeper and Lily-bell.
With a loving heart and a sturdy hand,
I defend the borders of flower-land;
While high over Larkspur and Leopardsbane,
A butterfly pilots his tiny plane;
But I shall not fear his skillful hand,
My enemy charges only by land.
Would those who lead nations in war and hate
But lay down their guns at some garden gate,
There, bury-their bombs and their bloody deeds,
And join the grand army that’s fighting the weeds.
~Alma B. Eymann

Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding. ~Proverbs 3:13  ✝

**Image found on Pinterest

1062. A gardening I did go, a gardening I did go, hi-ho the derry-o, a gardening I did go. ~Natalie

The smell of garden soil
Is in the air.
With patient toil
The musk of earth is freed
From winter’s cell.
~Edited excerpt from a poem
by Alice Prokasky

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What is a garden?
Goodness knows!
You’ve got a garden, I suppose:
To one it is a piece of ground
For which some gravel must be found.
To some, those seeds that must be sown,
To some a lawn that must be mown.
To some a ton of “Cheddar rocks;”
To some it means a window-box;
To some, it is a silly jest
About the latest garden pest;
To some, a haven where they find
Forgetfulness and peace of mind…
What is a garden?
Large or small,
‘Tis just a garden,
After all.
~Edited excerpt from a poem
by Reginald Arkell

Yes, indeed, today was warmish enough and a gardening I did go. For time is running out for getting the flower beds ready for spring. So sit down on the ground, get hands in the dirt, and pull those weeds from around the baby seedlings did I. Then I carefully put some of their sheltering, autumn leaf litter back in place. And from what I’ve seen, the good news is I’m going to have a bumper crop of poppies and larkspur. Yay team!!!! And by the way, ‘tis not just a garden, these toils yield glimpses into the “deeply private moments between the Creator and creation.”

*Cheddar rocks: Limestone found in a gorge in the Mendip Hills, near the village of Cheddar, Somerset, England

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. ~Excerpt from Hebrews 4:13  ✝

846. Light shot through diaphanous wings; its long beak dipped in the flower of life’s sweet nectar… ~Excerpt from a poem by Laurence Overmire

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A hummingbird in magic play
Appears to you this summer’s day.
Turquoise shades against the sky
Shimmer as it flutters by.

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The sweetness of its beauty sings
Through rapid dance of tiny wings
On a random path of mystery
In brilliant, balanced harmony.

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Gracefully it hovers there
In front of you atop the air.
Hold out arm and it will land
Upon the softness of your hand.
~Edited poem by Edna Whitney

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From scarlet to dusty gold,
to yellow flames,
to the rare
ashen emerald,
to the orange and black velvet
of our girdle gilded by sunflowers,
to the sketch
like
amber thorns,
your Epiphany,
little supreme being,
you are a miracle…
~Excerpted lines from a poem
by Pablo Neruda

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The weeds are gone! The weeds are gone! At long last the freakin’ weeds are GONE! (Well at least for the moment anyway.) When I had my meltdown earlier this week and decided to take a break from just about everything, I also decided to hire someone to come finish the weeding. And then as luck would have it, a cool front blew in two nights ago and dropped our temperature to 66. The next day we had a cloud cover all day, and though it brought only a smidgen of rain, it kept the day’s high in the low 70‘s. What an unexpected blessing that was! It was enough of a hint of autumn’s coming to begin lifting me out of the grumpy doldrums. So I spent the whole day pottering around the yard. In fact I overdid it a tad; well actually it was more than a tad, because I’ve had to pay the piper today. But the price of these aches and pains have not exceeded the joy; that’s for sure. And I happy to report that along with me, my little hummers (like the ones in the photos) have been dancing. Have you? I hope so.

I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember Your miracles of long ago. ~Psalm 77:11  ✝

Images via Pinterest

819. My garden is a balancing act between weeds and wonders. ~Carol Stocker

Roots of the weed sucked first
life from the genesis of earth
and hold the essence of it still.
Always the weed returns; and
the cultured plant retreats before it.
~Beryl Markham

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They know, they just know where to grow,
how to dupe you, and how to camouflage themselves
among the perfectly respectable plants,
they just know, and therefore, I’ve concluded
weeds must have brains.
~Dianne Benson

Man oh man am I up to my “derrière” in weeds. After the huge amount of rain we had last spring, more weeds than ever sprang up, and they are EVERYWHERE. I was already losing the battle with them when we left for Europe on the 22nd of June; then after we got home nearly three weeks later, they had grown exponentially denser and bigger.

Sweet flowers are slow and weeds make haste. ~William Shakespeare

So in this awful heat I’ve been going out when I can to save my flowers from being overcome by their immensity and girth. However, since many have already dropped seeds that will lie dormant until next year, I’ve essentially already lost next year’s battle too. Oh well, if one wants beds and beds of pretty flowers and/or veggies, a weeding one must go, right?! But, ya know, it’s not so much the backbreaking work of pulling or digging them up that’s a problem; it’s this relentless, searing heat that sends me grumbling back in the house dripping with sweat from head to toe and in clothes that are wet down to my underwear.

By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust are you and to dust you will return. ~Genesis 3:19  ✝

483. …dark furrow lines grid the ground, punctuated by orange abacus beads of pumpkins – now the crows own the fields… ~John Geddes

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At the end of the garden,
Across the litter of weeds and grass cuttings,
The pumpkin spreads its coarse,
Bristled, hollow-stemmed lines,
Erupting in great leaves
Above flowers
The nobbly and prominent
Stigmas of which
Are like fuses
Waiting to be set by bees.

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When, like a string
Of yellow mines
Across the garden,
The pumpkins will smolder
And swell,
Drawing the combustion from the sun
To make their own.
At night I lie
Waiting for detonations,
Half expecting
To find the garden
Cratered like a moon.
~John Cotton,
clergyman in England
and the American colonies

You care for the land and water it; you enrich it abundantly. You drench its furrows and level its ridges; you soften it with showers and bless its crops. You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance. ~Psalm 65:9a, 10-11 ✝

**Images via Pinterest