1103. Springtime is the land awakening. The March winds are the morning yawn. ~Lewis Grizzard

March! March! March!
They are coming
In troops to the tune of the wind.
Redheaded woodpeckers drumming,
Gold-crested thrushes behind;

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Sparrows in brown jackets, hopping
Past every gateway and door;
Finches, with crimson caps, stopping
Just where they stopped before.
March! March! March!

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They are slipping
Into their places at last…
Literature white lily buds, dripping
Under the showers that fall fast;
Buttercups, violets, roses;

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Snowdrop and bluebell and pink,
Throng upon throng
Of sweet posies
Bending the dewdrops to drink.
March! March! March!

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They will hurry forth
At the wild bugle sound,
Blossoms and birds
In a lively flurry,
Fluttering all over the ground.

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Shake out your flags, birch and willow!
Shake out your red tassels, larch!
Grass blades, up from your earth-pillow.
Hear who is calling you…
March, March, March.
~Edited poem by Lucy Larcom

…He(God) makes the clouds his chariot and rides on the wings of the wind.He makes winds his messengers… ~Excerpts from Psalm 104:3-4 ✝

**Images via Pinterest 

257. The tree is a slow, enduring force straining the win the sky. ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Have you ever noticed a tree
standing naked against the sky, how beautiful it is?
All its branches outlined and in its nakedness,
there is a poem, there is a song…
When the spring comes, it again fills the tree
with the music of many leaves.
And this is the way of life.
~J. Krishnamurti

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Trees don’t just provide shade or rhyme and lyric for mortals; they are frequented by and home to an assortment of wildlife.  For example birds not only perch and sing in their lofty heights; they build nests in them as do squirrels who also use the branches as connecting highways to get them from one branch or tree to another.  When it’s winter as it is now and the trees are leafless, I can see the little fluffy-tailed acrobats make leaps, sometimes very daring ones, from one branch or tree to another as they work back and forth or up and down gathering acorns and building nests.  This week while I was observing their antics, I started looking at the differing filigreed patterns of our naked trees.  It was then I noticed the combined density of several trees in the northeast corner of our lot.  They obscure the heavens now almost as much as they would when in full leaf.  In this aerial thicket of woodiness the horizontal branches of my willow tree cross in front of the vertical branches of neighboring trees, and so their poetry or music is more of a series of mingled couplets or vocal duets as they make their “endless efforts to speak to the listening heavens.”

The trees of the field shall know that I am the Lord…  ~Ezekiel 17:23a  ✝

204. The autumn leaves drift by my window, the autumn leaves of red and gold…and soon I’ll hear old winter’s song… ~Excerpts from a tune by Johnny Mercer

There is music in the meadows, in the air…
Leaves are crimson, brown, and yellow…
There is rhythm in the woods,
And in the fields, nature yields…
~Excerpts from LYRIC OF AUTUMN by
William Stanley Braithwaite

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It was 1947 when Johnny Mercer borrowed lines from a French song to create the lyrics to his unforgettable melody, AUTUMN LEAVES, a song I find myself singing, at least the parts I remember, almost every year as I tear November’s page off the calendar.  Why?  I don’t know.  The words just seem appropriate when autumn’s persistent winds, wild with leaves, blow wide open the final month’s portals, and this year’s opening was no different.  November’s yet in place blustery gales did in fact sweep December onto its throne.  Once seated, the 12th month opened under bright, sunny skies, but by noon day one had become shrouded in unending shades of gray.   When night fell, there were few, if any, remaining leaves on the redbud and willow at the back of the yard.  The beneficiaries of these as well as the oak’s leaves when they fall are the big island bed and my secret garden in the north corner.  So now not only can my voice be heard singing autumn’s anthems, but wherever these tinted tidbits lie, I’ll be able to hear them crooning their embracing ballads of promise.  And theirs, songs different from the ones in springtime, pledge warmth and declare they’ll keep my plants safe during the bitter, stone-cold days of winter.  But wait, things like trees and leaves sing?  Really? As a matter of fact, according to some Scriptural references and to those of us who listen carefully, they do!

The Lord reigns…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 with joy.  ~Psalm 96:11-12  ✝

198. Autumn is the dim shadow that clusters about the sweet precious things that God created in the realm of nature. ~Northern Advocate

That soft autumnal time…
The year’s last, loveliest smile,
Thou comest to fill with hope the human heart,
And strengthen it to bear the storms a while,
Till winter days depart…

Far in a shelter’d nook
I’ve met, in these calm days, a smiling flower,
A lonely aster, trembling by a brook…
~John Howard Bryant

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In autumn the Maker’s pigments turn from the soft pastels of springtime to emboldened, jewel tones.  Glad witnesses are we to the green leaves on shining sumac, flowering dogwoods, Bradford pears, sweet gums, Shumard oaks, and crape myrtles changing to mixtures of burgundy, crimson, orange, and gold.  Other treats are setting buds for next year’s blossoms among the fiery red, ripening fruits of the dogwoods, and the deeper shades of blues and pinks that adorn the thickened petals of hydrangeas.  And if that is not enough to make the year smile, there are the willow leaves, among the other falling foliage, that rain down golden glory in one wave after the other like confetti from a ticker-tape parade.  In the gusting winds they litter the streets, and as cars pass by the multicolored leafage gives a festive look to curbs and lawns.  But again, that’s not all.  Roses bloom in deeper hues than before, the red fruits on the Prairifire crabapples shine forth, and sweet purple asters with their bright yellow eyes provide a closing feast for hordes of humming bees.  So smile on, lovely Autumn, and fill my heart with the hope I need to be strengthened against winter’s gathering storms.

Faithfulness spring’s forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven.  The Lord will indeed give what is good, and our land will yield its harvest.   ~Psalm 85:11-12  ✝

190. Listen! the wind is rising, and the air is wild with leaves… ~Humbert Wolfe

Yet one smile more, departing, distant sun!
One mellow smile through the soft vapory air. . .
Yet a few sunny days, in which the bee
Shall murmur by the hedge that skirts the way,
The cricket chirp upon the russet lea,
And man delight to linger in thy ray.
Yet one rich smile, and we will try to bear
The piercing winter frost, and winds, and darkened air.
~William Cullen Bryant

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What a season of contrasts autumn is!  Many of its striking contradistinctions and “mellow smiles” can be seen on a single day, and yesterday was a fascinating example of Fall’s many faces.  Early in the morning the sky was a clear, brilliant blue, and as I wandered the yard I found a butterfly prettily perched on the leaves of a climbing rose.  Then the winds picked up and threatening clouds blew in.  About 30 minutes later, a narrow band of rain clouds passed over us leaving not a single drop, however, in their wake.  Afterwards the sun sat smiling again in the sapphire sky, but it was streaked with a few bands of Cirrus clouds.  Not too long after that the stormy/clear scenario repeated itself.  Finally late in the afternoon a blustery wind blew down like rain more of the yellow leaves off the willow tree as it chased the sun away for good.  What had been an almost balmy day in the mid-70‘s had rapidly changed, and the bite of the chilling north wind stung my unsuitably-clad body when I went out to unplug the fountain and close up the greenhouse.

He(God) wraps us the waters in his clouds, yet the clouds do not burst under their weight.  ~Job 26:8  ✝