1318. No wonder the hills and groves were God’s first temples… ~John Muir

The oaks and pines and their brethren of the wood,
have seen so many suns rise and set,
so many seasons come and go,
and so many generations pass into silence,
that they may well wonder what
“the story of the trees” would be to us
if they had tongues to tell it,
or if we had ears fine enough to understand.
-Author Unknown

Screen Shot 2016-12-10 at 6.45.24 PM.png

When one thinks about earth’s courts in such a way, he/she realizes that trees, like us, stand on hallowed ground, and so it’s not surprising that throughout the ages trees have been given deep and sacred meanings. By observing the growth and death of trees, the flexible nature of their branches, the annual reoccurrence of their foliage, humanity has seen trees as powerful symbols of growth, decay, and resurrection. Trees and their way of providing shade and shelter are adored by both wildlife and humanity alike, and the views afforded from their lofty heights are to be envied. Trees are more than simply the largest elements of the landscape or garden; over time they become like venerated companions that unfailingly stand by us throughout the seasons and storms of life. Given their size and the fact that they prevent soil erosion, provide weather-sheltered ecosystems in and under their leaves, play a vital role in the production of oxygen and the reduction of carbon dioxide, moderate ground temperatures, and produce orchard fruits, trees speak to us of the largesse and power of God.

Screen Shot 2016-12-10 at 6.36.48 PM.png

Soon and in a blaze of glory the trees bearing the leaves in my photos will be stripped of their foliage, but though barren and seemingly no more than a silent sentry where they stands, somewhere in their core their music will play on. Muir’s idea that the fibers of the tree’s being thrills “like harp strings” at all times is true and answers Walt Whitman’s inquiry, “Why are there trees I never walk under but large and melodious thoughts descend upon me?” The music of life plays on in all of Creation, and like God’s presence it is never absent from us. We may not always hear the music but the melodies are there. We may be absent from the Lord, but He is never absent from us. He can be found in the lights of the sky, the colors of earth, the warmth of the sun, in waters that flow, in the wind that can be felt but not seen, and in the boughs of mighty trees. In his Celtic Psalter J. Philip Newell uses the image of trees as a revelation of God’s presence, “Like light dappling through the leaves of a tree and wind stirring its branches, like birdsong sounding from the heights of an orchard and the scent of blossom after rainfall, so you dapple and sound in the human soul, so you stir into motion all that lives.” When our ears and eyes weren’t “fine enough to understand,” God sent us His son. As we follow the star to the manger in celebration of Christ’s birth in a few weeks, may the music in all that God has made be heard, acknowledged, and honored.

For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. -Luke 11:10  ✝

O come, O come Emmanuel!

1313. In the woods we return to reason and faith. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson  

How beautifully the leaves grow old!
How full of light and color are their last days!
~John Burroughs

Screen Shot 2016-12-03 at 5.11.07 PM.png

It is not so much for its beauty
that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts,
as for that subtle something, that quality of air,
that emanation from old trees that so wonderfully
changes and renews a weary spirit.
~Robert Louis Stevenson

Screen Shot 2016-12-03 at 5.10.45 PM.png

The forest is not merely an expression or representation of sacredness, nor a place to invoke the sacred; the forest is sacredness itself.  Nature is not merely created by God, nature is God. Whoever moves within the forest can partake directly of sacredness, experience sacredness with his entire body, breath sacredness and contain it within himself, drink the sacred water as a living communion, bury his feet in sacredness, open his eyes and witness the burning beauty of sacredness. ~Richard Nelson

Screen Shot 2016-12-03 at 5.12.19 PM.png

The forests are the flags of nature.
They appeal to all and awaken
inspiring universal feelings.
Enter the forest and the boundaries
of nations are forgotten. It may be
that some time an immortal pine
will be the flag of a united peaceful world.
~Enos A. Mills

Screen Shot 2016-12-03 at 5.11.55 PM.png

When you enter a grove peopled with ancient trees, higher than the ordinary, and shutting out the sky with their thickly inter-twined branches, do not the stately shadows of the wood, the stillness of the place, and the awful gloom of this doomed cavern then strike you with the presence of a deity?  ~Seneca

Screen Shot 2016-12-03 at 5.05.28 PM.png

Take me to a quiet place
with earth under our backs,
cradled in a soft forest glade.
There we’ll point out and
acknowledge things we see
and things we do not.
In solitude we’ll take in the
wisdom offered in each other
and in the hum of the forest.
~Phoebe Wahl

Screen Shot 2016-12-03 at 5.09.30 PM.png

Underfoot, leaves of  wondrous autumn colors
crunch beneath my feet as I tread on and upon
earth’s hallowed ground to capture a piece of the
Lord’s reddened glory laid upon a wooden altar!
~Natalie Scarberry

Screen Shot 2016-12-03 at 5.13.33 PM.png

When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” ~Luke 5:20  ✝

**Notice the lady bug on the leaf in the first photo. I love it when I get an unexpected bonus on a photo. All photos were taken this last week by me.

1276. I breathe the fragrance myself and know it and like it, … I will go to the bank by the wood… ~Walt Whitman

I feel the need to “coddiwomple!”
To be out where autumn’s breath fills my lungs,
where the presence of the Lord is afoot,
where the miracles of nature abound,
where wonder and awe feed my soul,
where I find rhythmic harmony and peace,
where I see visible signs of God’s goodness,
where the simple pleasures of life bring me joy,
where the child I once was rises to the top,
where she laughs and my heart sings
be it in woods, fields, or gardens,
where I feel alive and well!
Indeed it is time to
coddiwomple
again!

Screen Shot 2016-10-16 at 2.50.15 PM.png

To wonder, to know,
To explore, always asking:
What am I?
Who am I?
What will become of me?
Of my knowledge?

Am I squandered on the world?
Cheapening existence through vanity?
How long before I am fit to say, I know this!
Rather than, I think this.

That in itself questions self,
Whether our thought and mind is
Our own knowledge and assurance.
At what point in time do we stop marching?

Pencil upon paper, sight upon colour and light.
A fixation upon what we comprehend
And that, which is incomprehensible.
Are we gambling with the gifts we are given?

Are they gifts?
The ability to question choice, life, the air we breathe;
The sun, the moon, clouds, stars, the earth, wind, rain, height.
Random, our teachers abandon us,
Fending for all we are on our own
‘Tis a lonely path humans follow, trying to fill the void
~Edited excerpt of a poem,
To Wonder, by Lily

“Go in peace. Your journey has the Lord’s approval.” ~Excerpt from Judges 18:6  ✝

**Text above images by Natalie. Images found on  Pinterest; collage by Natalie; backgrounds and special effects via iPiccy

1064. God is the experience of looking at a tree and saying, “Ah!” ~Joseph Campbell

Sometimes thou may’st walk in groves,
which being full of majestie will
much advance the soul.
~Thomas Vaughn

Screen Shot 2016-02-11 at 4.10.09 PM.png

To rest, go to the woods
Where what is made is made
Without your thought or work.
Sit down; begin the wait
For small trees to grow big,
Feeding on earth and light.
Their good result is song
The winds must bring, the trees
Must wait to sing, and sing
Longer than you can wait.
Soon you must go. The trees,
Your seniors, standing thus
Acknowledged in your eyes,
Stand as your praise and prayer.
You rest in this praise
Of what you cannot be
And what you cannot do.
~Wendell Berry

Blessed is the one…whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on His law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and whose leaf does not wither–whatever they do prospers. ~Excerpts from Psalm 1:1-3  ✝

**Image found on Pinterest

820. Flowers really do intoxicate me. ~Vita Sackville-West

  All the names I know from nurse:
Gardener’s garters, Shepherd’s purse,
Bachelor’s buttons, Lady’s smock,
And the Lady Hollyhock.

DSC_0981

Fairy places, fairy things,
Fairy woods where the wild bee wings,
Tiny trees for tiny dames–
These must all be fairy names!

Screen shot 2015-07-26 at 7.39.56 PM

Tiny woods below whose boughs
Shady fairies weave a house;
Tiny tree-tops, rose or thyme,
Where the braver fairies climb!

Screen shot 2015-07-26 at 7.30.56 PM

Fair are grown-up people’s trees,
But the fairest woods are these;
Where, if I were not so tall,
I should live for good and all.
~Robert Louis Stevenson

The artist is the confidant of nature, flowers carry on dialogues with him through the graceful bending of their stems and the harmoniously tinted nuances of their blossoms. Every flower has a cordial word which nature directs towards him. ~Auguste Rodin

Ah to be an artist and to be able to have conversations with the flowers, but then I talk to mine all the time, offering up praise for their beauty. Admittedly they tend to be one-sided conversations, but nodding the head demurely is an acceptable way of accepting words of admiration, is it not?! So too, when I hear the Lord speak, I bow my head in the same way the flowers do, and I pray He also sees it as an act of devoted adoration.

Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. ~1 Chronicles 29:11  ✝

**I took the photo of the pink Hollyhock when we visited Monet’s gardens at Giverny, France. The other two images I found on Pinterest.

711. And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything. ~William Shakespeare

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more.
~George Gordon, Lord Byron

DSC_0363

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. ~John Muir

DSC_0356

Oh, how I love the sea and at no time more than when I’m there at dusk or dawn.  I took these photos on a visit to Galveston several years ago, and they still speak to me as much of God as does my garden. While the bird and I walked along the “lonely shore” together, you’ll notice that it stopped twice as if waiting and watching and listening.  I believe it’s because in the dim quietude we both clearly heard the sacred songs of the spheres and the music of the deep sea’s roar.  So let us drink a cup of the “good in everything” today as we celebrate the earth, its bounty, and its beauty.  And let us not forget to praise the Lord now and always for all His gifts and goodness!

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   ✝

585. On the first day of winter, the earth awakens to the cold touch of itself. ~Laura Lush

Alas! how changed from the fair scene,
When birds sang out their mellow lay,
And winds were soft, and woods were green,
And the song ceased not with the day!
~Excerpt from poem 
by
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Screen shot 2014-12-21 at 2.40.31 PM

Winter is Awakening
The Solstice Sun is Rising

The Heart of Nature
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

Perhaps I will stay with you for a while, or even spend the winter, so that you can help me on my journey, wherever I go. ~1 Corinthians 16:6   ✝
(Paul was speaking here to Christ followers in Corinth, but this could well be a prayer we lift up unto the Lord for safe passage through winter’s dark realm.)

**Image via Pinterest