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.
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 ✝
December finds himself again a child
Even as he undergoes his age.
Cold and early darkness now descends,
Embracing sanctuaries of delight.
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
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 ✝
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.
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.
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 ✝
Ah! the year is slowly dying,
And the wind in tree-top sighing,
Chants a requiem.
~Mary Weston Fordham
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 ✝
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
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 ✝
I like it when it rains hard.
It sounds like white noise everywhere,
which is like silence but not empty.
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
spoke to me
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,
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 ✝
There be delights that will fetch the day about
from sun to sun and rock the tedious year
as in a delightful dream …for a garden is Arcady
(a region of rural simplicity and contentment)
brought home. It is man’s bit of gaudy
make-believe – his well-disguised fiction
of an unvexed Paradise – a world where
gayety knows no eclipse…
~Edited lines by John D. Sedding
Shhhhhhh! Do you hear it? Okay, okay, try again. Listen carefully! Did you hear something this time? Did you? If not, did you see anything different? Surely with the vernal equinox only 4 days away, you’ve heard and seen the come-hither voice of springtime and the early signs of it that daily grow more visible and audible. In my yard and elsewhere birds are aflutter and atwitter as they bring nesting materials to birdhouses; colorful crocuses, upright and abloom, chant lovely, little ditties; green perennials whisper quiet anthems as they rise from wombs beneath the soil in search of light and warmth; iris spears that were cut back in the fall now stand tall again offering up gladsome refrains; busy, buzzing bees scurry about in search of nectar and pollen; swelling buds on cherry trees whisper pretty, pink ballads; and on and on go the sights and sounds that make the human heart leap as the faithful promise of Spring materializes once more.
For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations. ~Psalm 6:11 ✝