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

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  ✝

994. Give me the end of the year an’ its fun when most of the plannin’ an’ toilin’ is done… ~Edgar A. Guest

December finds himself again a child
Even as he undergoes his age.
Cold and early darkness now descends,
Embracing sanctuaries of delight.
~Nicholas Gordon

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Why do we feel restored in December
As in a sacramental time and place?
Therein Mystery is artfulness,
And therein too a vision of peace is stored,
So that healing flows from it through our eyes.
~Edited and adapted excerpt
from May Sarton

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As the year draws to an end and winter and Christmas approach, “Shall we liken what has and is coming to pass to the web in a loom?  There have been and still are many weavers, who work into the pattern the experience of their lives. When one generation goes, another comes to take up the weft where it has been dropped. The pattern changes as the mind changes, yet never begins quite anew. At first, we are not sure that we discern the pattern, but at last we see that, unknown to the weavers themselves, something has taken shape before our eyes, and that they have made something very beautiful, something which compels our attempt at understanding.” ~Edited & adapted excerpt  by Earl W. Count

…the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace. ~Numbers 6:26   ✝

**Both images via Pinterest

966. Some places speak distinctly. ~Robert Louis Stevenson

Paris is a place where just walking down a street
that I’ve never been down before
is like going to a movie or something.
Just wandering the city is entertainment.
~Wes Anderson

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Every time I look down on this timeless town
Whether blue or gray be her skies
Whether loud be her cheers or whether soft be her tears
More and more do I realize
That I love Paris in the spring time
I love Paris in the fall
I love Paris in the winter when it drizzles
I love Paris in the summer when it sizzles
I love Paris every moment
Every moment of the year
I love Paris, why oh, why do I love Paris?
Because my love is there.
~Excerpted lyrics
by songwriters Blondy, Alpha

I ran across this image of Paris last night on Pinterest, and the splendor of it brought into the foreground of my mind once again why, like the song above says, I love Paris every moment of the year. The river is the beautiful Seine. Over the two bridges in the foreground on the Île de la Cité is Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris with its renowned flying buttresses. In the background I see the top of the Musée de l’Orangerie des Tuileries, the permanent home for 8 of Monet’s water lily murals as well as works by Cezanne, Matisse, Modigliani, Picasso, Renoir, Rousseau, Sisley, and others. Behind that I see the top of the Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile. And these are only a few of the things that so long ago made captive my heart. Gertrude Stein once said that the US was her country and that Paris was her home. I instantly understood how she felt. Glad am I that the Lord who delights to give us the desires of our hearts is  faithful to His promises for twice now He has granted me the opportunity to spend time in the magical place that is the city of Paris. Ooh la la! Je t’adore Paris!

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. ~Psalm 36:5  ✝

959. Come said the wind to the leaves one day, come o’er the meadows and we will play. ~Excerpt from a children’s song of the 1880’s

Ah! the year is slowly dying,
And the wind in tree-top sighing,
Chants a requiem.
~Mary Weston Fordham

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In the deep fall
don’t you imagine the leaves think how
comfortable it will be to touch
the earth instead of the
nothingness of air and the endless
freshets of wind? And don’t you think
the trees themselves, especially those
with mossy, warm caves, begin to think
of the birds that will come —
six, a dozen — to sleep inside their bodies?
And don’t you hear the goldenrod
whispering goodbye… And
the wind pumping its bellows.
~Excerpted lines from
a poem by Mary Oliver

The tempest comes out of its chamber, the cold from the driving winds. ~Job 37:9   ✝

**Edited autumn photo via Pinterest

856. August, the summer’s last messenger of misery… ~Henry Rollins

August ends today,
and yet summer will continue
by force to grow more days.
They sprout secretly between
the chapters of the year,
covertly between its pages.
~Adapted and edited quote by
Jonathan Safran Foer

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Sail away, sail, sail away–oh wretched month of August that brings into such sharp focus the “furious boil” of Texas summers. Your daily assaults of sweltering heat test my sanity, my stamina, and my endurance! As the beast of sizzling nastiness that you are, you’ve successfully bathed the landscape in drab browns and beiges by keeping nary a drop of rain from falling, day after day after drought-ridden day. But, alas and alack, your time coin will be spent at midnight today! And even though the heat of your volcano-like fury will linger a bit longer, at least there are a few visible signs that autumn is on the way. So it is with a huge grin and a hopeful heart that I say goodbye and good riddance!

I cared for you in the wilderness, in the land of the burning heat. ~Hosea 13:5  ✝

774. The only noise now was the rain, pattering softly with the magnificent indifference of nature for the tangled passions of humans. ~Sherwood Smith

  I like it when it rains hard.
It sounds like white noise everywhere,
which is like silence but not empty.
~Mark Haddon


After an extended period of hot weather,
comes the first rain shower creating
an exquisite and eloquent fragrance in the air –
an earthy sweet smell that permeates and floats all around us,
refreshing our minds and rejuvenating our lives.
~Edited and adapted excerpt
from Deodatta V. Shenai-Khatkhate


Last night
the rain
spoke to me
slowly, saying,
what joy
to come falling
out of the brisk cloud,
to be happy again
in a new way
on the earth!
That’s what it said
as it dropped,
smelling of iron,
and vanished
like a dream of the ocean
into the branches
and the grass below.
~Excerpt fro a poem
by Mary Oliver


If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? ~1 Corinthians 12:17  ✝