1449. All through the long winter, I dream of my garden. On the first day of spring, I dig my fingers deep into the soft earth. I can feel its energy, and my spirits soar. ~Helen Hayes 

Spring has returned.
The Earth is like a child
that knows poems.
~Rainer Maria Rilke

But where did spring come from? Was it here?Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 4.47.53 PM.pngOr here?Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 4.50.16 PM.png
Perhaps it was here? Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 4.53.08 PM.pngCan you see it here?Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 4.56.23 PM.pngWas it hiding here?Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 4.57.39 PM.pngDid it just leave never to return?Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 4.58.14 PM.png

Why do we even believe it will come again? Just because someone older than we has seen it before and says that it will? And someone before him or her had done and said the same? Do we believe everything others tell us? And then even if that’s true what’s the spark that creates the phenomena and sets it all in motion?

What makes something like this spring up
from what seems like nothingness?Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 3.30.58 PM.pngOr this?Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 3.58.50 PM.pngWhere does this beauty come from?Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 4.01.50 PM.pngIs there a grand plan for something like this?Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 4.26.04 PM.pngWho could make something like this?Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 4.34.06 PM.pngCan you make one of these?
Not grow it. Not graft it. Not clone it. Not start it from seed.
Just create it from scratch?
Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 4.04.38 PM.pngIs there a purpose for this?Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 4.20.24 PM.pngIs this really necessary?Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 4.13.19 PM.pngWhy and where does this come?Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 4.42.12 PM.pngWho could be responsible for something this exquisite?Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 3.13.08 PM.png

Perhaps it’s time to watch the seasons as they pass over the fields, to be still and quieted, to look and listen, to wonder and question, to consider grand divine design and not random happenstance! Maybe then when the dark nights of the soul come, and they will come again and again, and you’re experiencing more anquish than you think you can bear and have little to no hope left, you’ll be ready to meet the Holy One who has and is the only feasible answer to these questions. Then out of gratitude you might even consider inviting Him into your world. He already knows who you are and He will welcome you back into His arms no matter where you”ve been or what you’ve done or not done.

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. ~Romans 1:20 ✝

**All photos taken by Natalie

1446. Beauty is a nectar which intoxicates the soul. ~T.C. Henley

Beauty unites all things,
links together flower and star,
with chains more certain than
those of reason.
~Henry James Slack

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One spring years ago when the flowering trees were in bloom, we came across one of the most beautiful specimens I’d ever seen. I hadn’t a clue as to what kind of tree it was, but I knew I had to have one of my own one day. Thus began the search, a search as it turned out that was not so easy. First I had to find out what the name of the tree was, and once I found that out I discovered that none of the local nurseries had even heard of it before much less had one for sale. So I went online and found a few mail order places that had them. They were fairly expensive but I knew I’d never be happy until one grew here.

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One spring years ago when the flowering trees were in bloom, we came across one of the most beautiful specimens I’d ever seen. I hadn’t a clue as to what kind of tree it was, but I knew I had to have one of my own one day. Thus began the search, a search as it turned out that was not so easy. First I had to find out what the name of it was, and once I found that out I discovered that none of the local nurseries had even heard of it before much less had one for sale. So I went online and found a few mail order places that had them. They were fairly expensive but I knew I’d never be happy until I had one of my own.

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Then another year or two went by and I finally found one at a nursery in a small town close to where we live. It was autumn and the leaves were falling off but you could tell it was alive so we bought it and all winter my hopes ran high that come spring I would at last have my ornamental Peppermint Peach Tree. As the temps began to rise, I’d go out every day looking for signs of life only to find none and eventual heartbreak once again.

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So I told myself it just wasn’t meant to be and moved on until last spring when I saw another one in full bloom again. As soon as I got home I got online to try one more time to find one, and I did. It came on a late and cold wintry day which was not a good time to get out and plant it. It was packed in ice to keep it alive until we didn’t have to plant it immediately, so it lived like that for nearly a week until at last we could finally get out and get it in the ground. And then the waiting game began again. Every day I would make my little trek out to the back fence where we had planted it to see if anything was happening and sure enough green leaf swellings began to appear and what looked like a few blossoms too. Some of the little flowers are white, some are white with red stripes, and some are just red, and it’s all one one tree, thus the name, Flowering Peppermint Peach Tree.

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A week later, we had a late freeze and I feared the worst, but although the little blossom swellings fell off the green leaves did not and so all summer the little baby tree was filled with the sweet music of many leaves and I made sure it was watered well. Then autumn followed by winter came and the leaves vanished. Nevertheless, I waited with great faith that this, the third try, would prove fruitful and praise the Lord and hallelujah it did! I know, I know, it’s just a tree right?! And many would think me silly and that such really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, but you see it truly does. It reminds me that God is still in His heaven and all’s right with the world!!! Mankind may be doing it’s best to destroy all that Yahweh made, but He, the Maker of heaven and earth, is still on the Throne of Grace and in control!

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Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments. ~Deuteronomy 7:9 ✝

**All photos taken by Natalie; the first one is the tree when I first saw it years ago in another’s yard, and the remaining ones are what’s happening now in my yard on my own little tree

1445. It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the earth and in the contemplation of her beauties to know of “wonder and humility.” ~Rachel Carson

Those who dwell, as scientists or laymen,
among the beauties and mysteries of the earth,
are never alone or weary of life.
~Rachel Carson

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What is that I hear? What is it I see? What’s that smell floating along on the breeze? Are they things returning once again to remind me that just like that with a sound, a sight, and a scent winter falls slowly but surely into spring, glorious, glorious spring? Could it be that time of year has come when the greens are greener, the colors are fresher, the fragrances sweeter? Have we at last traversed winter’s domain of quietness, of drabness, of blandness to find once more that hope is tangible, love is in the air, and the “beauties and mysteries” of the earth yet have a way of filling old and young alike with wonder and humility? If so, which of these photographic delights might be the “proof in the pudding?”

Is it the forsythia I saw above?

Or is it this that was right behind it?

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Or is it these side by side hellebores?

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Or perhaps it is the glowing whiteness of this Magnolia Stellata?

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Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven. ~Psalm 85:11 ✝

**All photos taken by Natalie

1433. Even though it’s the longest night, even though it’s the darkest night; there is always an odd excitement in the air. ~DD

This is the solstice, the still point
of the sun, its cusp and midnight;
the year’s threshold
and unlocking, where the past
lets go and becomes the future;
the place of caught breath, the door
of a vanished house left ajar
.
~Margaret Atwood

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Did you feel it? You know the tilt, the happenstance on which the earth titled to a position where the northern hemisphere is farthest away from the sun today, causing less light to reach part of the planet, the tilt that made this the shortest day of the year and will give us the longest night of the year. It was the Divinely ordained and sacred Winter Solstice tilt, the tilt that’s an annual event shrouded in ancient lore.

For ages the Winter Solstice was seen as a special and critical moment in the cycle of a year. From neolithic times the physical remains at New Grange and Stonehenge in the British Isles have attested to this because their primary axes seem to have been carefully aligned on a sight-line framing the winter solstice at sunrise in New Grange and at sunset in Stonehenge. Given that these earliest communities were not assured of living through the winter, the time of the solstice had to be marked because it was of maximum importance for which preparations had to be made during the previous nine months. Nowadays, for many, the shortest day of the year simply means that winter has arrived and for the next six months there will be a bit more daylight each day. For those who follow Jesus, the Christ, they know the solstice opens the doors on celebrations honoring His, the Messiah’s birth.

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Winter is
Awakening
The Solstice Sun is
Rising

The Heart of Nature
Is dreaming
Poems of Earth
Now sleeping

The Seasons are
Weaving
The journeys
Of Creation

The Seeds are
Quickening in
Mother Nature’s
Sacred Wing

~Edited poem by Victoria Pettella

He(God) made the moon to mark the seasons, and the sun knows when to go down. ~Psalm 104:19 ✝

**Images found on Pinterest; text on each added by Natalie

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

1429. Autumn, meek and lackluster, came…

late with little rain to its credit,
and now the time draws near
for winter’s arrival, leaving me wondering
if it too will be mild and characterless.

Nevertheless…

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To-day I think
Only with scents, – scents dead leaves yield,
And bracken, and wild carrot’s seed,
And the square mustard field;

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Odours that rise
When the spade wounds the root of tree,
Rose, currant, raspberry, or goutweed,
Rhubarb or celery;

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The smoke’s smell, too,
Flowing from where a bonfire burns
The dead, the waste, the dangerous,
And all to sweetness turns.

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It is enough
To smell, to crumble the dark earth,
While the robin sings over again
Sad songs of Autumn mirth.

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~”Digging,” a poem byz
Edward Thomas

And without doubt the lesser is blessed by the greater. ~Hebrews 7:7

**Images via Pixabay

 

1397. August brings into sharp focus and a furious boil everything… ~Excerpt from a quote by Henry Rollins

“Heat, ma’am! it was so dreadful here,
that I found there was nothing left for it
but to take off my flesh and sit in my bones.”
~Sydney SmithScreen Shot 2017-08-01 at 9.34.53 PM.png
The month of August had turned
into a griddle where the days just
lay there and sizzled.
~Sue Monk KiddScreen Shot 2017-08-01 at 9.24.55 PM.pngEvery year, August lashes out in volcanic fury,
rising with the din of morning traffic,
its great metallic wings smashing against the ground,
heating the air with ever-increasing intensity.
~Henry RollinsScreen Shot 2017-08-01 at 9.26.38 PM.pngAugust is one of the great and awful tests
of one’s endurance, sanity and stamina.
~Henry RollinsScreen Shot 2017-08-01 at 9.27.53 PM.png

Mr. Rollins has also said that August is the summer’s last messenger of misery, but I would have to beg to differ with him on that at least here in Texas. Our heat “misery” can and often does extend into September, sometimes even into October, and upon occasion it has also been known to infiltrate part of November. And so try as I have all day, I can think of nothing else to say about July’s departure and August’s arrival but goodbye and good riddance and a begrudging hello to the year’s longest month. For me August moves at a snail’s pace and seems to go on forever and ever. And though I never fear that summer will be short, I love this quote by Emerson as it reminds me that the next season is autumn, and I rely on the Word of God to be as faithful about that and all thingsas He always is!

Screen Shot 2017-08-01 at 9.30.38 PM.pngWhen summer opens, I see how fast it matures,
and fear it will be short; but after the heats of
July and August, I am reconciled, like one
who has had his swing, to the cool of autumn.
~Ralph Waldo EmersonScreen Shot 2017-08-01 at 9.32.33 PM.png“As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
summer and winter,
day and night
will never cease.”
~Genesis 8:22 ✝

**Sunflower photos taken by Natalie in her yard