1251. We strain to renew our capacity to wonder, to shock ourselves into astonishment once again. ~Shana Alexander

What
if you were
a beetle,
and a soft wind

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and a certain allowance of time
had summoned you
out of your wrappings,
and there you were,

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so many legs
hardening,
maybe even
more than one pair of eyes

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and the whole world
in front of you?
And what if you had wings
and flew

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into the garden,
then fell
into the up-tipped
face

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of a white flower,
and what if you had
a sort of mouth,
a lip

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to place close
to the skim
of honey
that kept offering itself –

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what would you think then
of the world
as, night and day,
you were kept there –

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oh happy prisoner –
sighing, humming,
roaming
that deep cup?
~How Everything Adores Being Alive,
by Mary Oliver

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. ~Isaiah 40:29  ✝

**Photos 1, 4, 6, 7, 8 by Mandy Disher; images 2, 3, 5 via Pinterest

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

1158. Memory is the treasury and guardian of all things. ~Marcus Tullius Cicero

…I swear I will not dishonor
my soul with hatred,
but offer myself humbly
as a guardian of nature,
as a healer of misery,
as a messenger of wonder,
as an architect of peace…
~Diane Ackerman

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Boredom, anger, sadness, or fear
are not “yours,” not personal.
They are conditions of the human mind.
They come and go.
Nothing that comes and goes is you.
~Eckhart Tolle

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Every morning, every moment,
with every breath, breathe in forgiveness,
breathe in the Holy Spirit, breathe in life,
and breathe out gratefulness.
Let the love and light of God soak
into your spirit and flood your heart.
You are loved.
~Author Unknown

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For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways… ~Excerpt from Psalm 91:11  ✝

**First image found on the internet along with Ackerman’s quote; other images via Pinterest

1151. Cherish sunsets, wild creatures and wild places. Have a love affair with the wonder and beauty of the earth. ~Stewart Udall

Life has loveliness to sell,
all beautiful and splendid things,
blue waves whitened on a cliff,
soaring fire that sways and sings,
and children’s faces looking up,
holding wonder like a cup.
~Sara Teasdale

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Wowed! When was the last time you were wowed, really, really wowed? I love being wowed! I’ve always loved being wowed! And for awhile after becoming a grown up, I spent some hard years when I wasn’t wowed by much of anything! I was frequently overwhelmed but not wowed! Then I started a garden and now seldom does a day go by that I’m not wowed by something. And I know I’m an easy mark because I adore flowers and birds and butterflies and bees and sunsets and rain and oceans and such. Nevertheless, easy mark or not, I still maintain that the Lord has made incredible things and that they are meant to wow us! So don’t just look at my flowers; notice the colors, look at the shapes, and the amazing details like the pistils and the anthers.

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Beauty is nature’s brag, and must be shown
in courts, 
at feasts, and high solemnities,
where most 
may wonder at the workmanship.
~John Milton

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He who can no longer pause to wonder
and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead;
his eyes are closed.
~Albert Einstein

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The point is that when I see a sunset
or a waterfall or something,
for a split second it’s so great,
because for a little bit I’m out of my brain,
and it’s got nothing to do with me.
I’m not trying to figure it out,
you know what I mean?
And I wonder if I can somehow find
a way to maintain that mind stillness.
~Chris Evans

Only those who look with the eyes of children
can lose themselves in the object of their wonder.
~Eberhard Arnold

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He(God) performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted. ~Job 5:9  ✝

**All images taken recently by me in my yard.

1120. It is only when we are aware of the earth and of the earth as poetry that we truly live. ~Henry Beston

If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense
of wonder without any such gift from the fairies,
he needs the companionship of at least
one adult who can share it,
rediscovering with him the joy, excitement,
and mystery of the world we live in.
~Rachel Carson

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The old people came literally to love the soil and they sat or reclined on the ground with a feeling of being close to a mothering power. It was good for the skin to touch the earth and the old people liked to remove their moccasins and walk with bare feet on the sacred earth.  Their tipis were built upon the earth and their altars were made of earth.  The birds that flew into the air came to rest upon the earth and it was the final abiding place of all things that lived and grew. The soil was soothing, strengthening, cleansing and healing. ~Chief Luther Standing Bear

It had been planted in good soil by abundant water so that it would produce branches, bear fruit and become a splendid vine. ~Ezekiel 17:8  ✝

**All images are photographs of spring’s offerings from my yard

1119. 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

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Earth, my dearest, I will.
Oh believe me, you no longer need
your springtimes to win me over –
one of them, ah, even one,
is already too much for my blood.
Unspeakably, I have belonged to you,
from the first.
~Rainer Maria Rilke

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The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God.  Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As long as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles. ~Anne Frank

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The mystery at the heart of creation is Love. To be in love with the gift of nature is to be well within oneself. ~J. Philip Newell

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Grace of the love of the skies be thine,
Grace of the love of the stars be thine,
Grace of the love of the moon be thine,
Grace of the love of the sun be thine.
~Excerpt from the
Carmina Gadelica, an anthology
of poems and prayers from Gaelic oral tradition

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. ~Psalm 19:1  ✝

**All the images are ones I took in my yard this last week, and I created the collages with the.

1098. How can I stand on the ground every day and not feel its power? How can I live my life stepping on this stuff and not wonder at it? ~William Bryant Logan

A garden is the mirror of the mind.
It is a place of life, a mystery of green,
moving to the pulse of the year,
and pressing on and pausing the whole
to its own inherent rhythms.
~Henry Beston

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After the autumnal equinox passes sometime in late September the days begin to grow shorter and shorter so that light blesses the soil less and less. Soon with each new cold front that blows in temperatures start dropping more and more from the feverish pitch of their summertime highs. Then as the year’s last child draws near its end, the first freeze comes and the garden starts to wither and unravel. Soon afterwards another freeze arrives, harder than the last, and then another until the stage is set for ice or snow or frost to layer the land. With each onslaught winter’s sting strikes deeper and deeper at the remains of the garden. However, after the winter solstice occurs, the process of “pausing the whole” slowly but surely begins to reverse itself so that day by day there’s a little more sunlight and a little more and a little more until somewhere in all of that movement of the sun and the earth and the stars, the divine mystery and its miracles spark children of the soil into being once more. Faithfully in hidden wombs beneath soil or in bark, embryos have been growing and waiting for the elements to create the right catalytic mixture to push tiny tips upward or outward into the light of day. Following the first emergence of new life, earth’s sacred rhythms, which had been faint as we traversed winter’s veil of grief, become louder again until buds, nurtured by water, warmth, and sunlight, grow large and ripe enough to come into their time of blossoming. So it is that the “pausing” at last comes to an end, and spring’s first comers to press upward, outward and onward burgeoning into flowers and the “mystery of green” that’s a garden. And then in the mirror of my mind I can see clearly the countenance in the Face of all faces because as Robert Brault says, “As a gardener, I’m among those who believe that much of the evidence of God’s existence has been planted.”

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

1090. Your big opportunity may be right where you are now. ~Napoleon Hill

With the past, I have nothing to do;
nor with the future. I live now.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Now is the time to free the heart,
Let all intentions and worries stop,
Free the joy inside the self,
Awaken to the wonder of your life.

Open your eyes and see the friends
Whose hearts recognize your face as kin,
Those whose kindness watchful and near,
Encourages you to live everything here.

See the gifts the years have given,
Things your effort could never earn,
The health to enjoy who you want to be
And the mind to mirror mystery.
~John O’Donohue

But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you. ~Psalm39:7  ✝

**Image via Pinterest

1060. When the heat of the summer made drowsy the land, a dragonfly came and sat on my hand. ~Eleanor Farjeon

Clouds of insects danced and buzzed in the golden autumn light,
and the air was full of the piping of the song-birds.
Long,
glinting dragonflies shot across the path, or
hung tremulous with gauzy wings and gleaming bodies.
~Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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You are made of almost nothing
But of enough
To be great eyes
And diaphanous double wings;
To be ceaseless movement,
Unending hunger
Grappling love.
Link between water and air,
Earth repels you.
Light touches you only to shift into iridescence
Upon your body and wings.
Twice-born, predator,
You split into the heat.
Swift beyond calculation or capture
You dart into the shadow
Which consumes you.
You rocket into the day.
But at last, when the wind flattens the grasses,
For you, the design and purpose stop.
And you fall
With the other husks of summer.
~Louise Bogan

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Today I saw the dragon-fly
Come from the wells where he did lie.
An inner impulse rent the veil
Of his old husk: from head to tail
Came out clear plates of sapphire mail.
He dried his wings: like gauze they grew;
Thro’ crofts and pastures wet with dew
A living flash of light he flew.
~Alfred Lord Tennyson

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Curious dragonfly with
Wings of stained glass,
Oh, ancient bearer Of secret dreams,
Your delicate beauty
Keeps wonder in my heart.
~Grace Edwards

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Deep in the sun-drenched growths the dragonfly
hangs like a blue thread loosened from the sky.
~Dante Gabriel Rossetti

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Predating the dinosaur dragonflies have inhabited and flown the earth for 300 million years or more and the related damselflies for at least 250 million years. The difference between these two amazing insects is that damselflies are smaller, have slimmer bodies, and most of them, when resting, hold their wings along or above the body whereas dragonflies hold their wings flat and away from the body. Both species are found on all continents except Antartica., however because of the loss of wetland habitats their populations are currently being threatened all around the world.

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. ~Excerpt from Genesis 1:31  ✝

**Images via Pinterest; collages created by Natalie

1057. When all is said and done, we exist only in relation to the world… ~Diane Ackerman

The more we exile ourselves from nature,
the more we crave its miracle waters.
~Diane Ackerman

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In the name of the daybreak
and the eyelids of morning
and the wayfaring moon
and the night when it departs,

I swear I will not dishonor
my soul with hatred,
but offer myself humbly
as a guardian of nature,
as a healer of misery,
as a messenger of wonder,
as an architect of peace.

In the name of the sun and its mirrors
and the day that embraces it
and the cloud veils drawn over it
and the uttermost night
and the male and the female
and the plants bursting with seed
and the crowning seasons
of the firefly and the apple,

I will honor all life
—wherever and in whatever form
it may dwell—on Earth my home,
and in the mansions of the stars.
~Diane Ackerman

In the beginning, Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. ~Hebrews 1:10  ✝

**Images via Pinterest; collage by Natalie