Within each cloud exists a thousand possibilities

You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.”
― Thomas Merton

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(dot of clouds litter a mild January day / Julie Cook / 2015)

An endless sea of wispy white puffs dot an expansive sky. . .
Appearing as if from a thousand giant pipes. . .
The exhaled puffs of white smoke, all being released from hidden nostrils,
each at the same exact time.
As far as the eye can see, a continuous blanket of white cotton batting
rides a southeasterly wind streaming nowhere in particular.

It is the kind of day which finds idle heads turning upward,
beckoning the wistful to gaze wantonly into the azure blue sea of sky.
The deep baritone peal of the buoy bell bounces across the wind
As dried leaves scatter along the brown crunchy grass.
It is a day of gentle moods set to a symphony of gentle sounds.

It’s the type of day that asks for nothing in return.
There are no demands.
No one who must be seen.
Nothing must be done.
No places in particular to go.
Just a day to simply be. . .

These are the days of possibilities.
There are no expectations.
No agenda has been set.
And there are no lists of activities to be ticked off one by one.
These are the days of wonder.
Grab it fast, for these are the days of far and in between.

Today the shoulders soften.
The clothes are familiar and cozy
The air purifies the stale lungs of too much time indoors.
Cheeks gain a touch of color
There is simple adulation in breathing.

Grateful souls humbly receive the gift of such a day,
As it is a day when time is but one’s own.
A day when dreams mix with hope
A day when anything and everything is possible
A day when the sky is truly the limit. . .

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The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Psalm 19:1

Beauty in a bucket

“The power of finding beauty in the humblest things makes home happy and life lovely.”
Louisa May Alcott

“No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace as I have seen in one autumnal face.”
John Donne

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(the fallen late blooms of the meyer lemon tree and an oak leaf float in a bucket of water / Julie Cook / 2014)

When might debris in a bucket deep,
take on such beauty doth to keep?
Which floats upon a surface sweet,
while wind and rain so strangely meet.
In Autumn’s late grey days of myth and lore,
as light doth fade forever more.
Be quick to see all who so chose,
for beauty hides just under your nose.

Blessings for a Tuesday full of surprising beauty and joy

For thus says the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.
Isaiah 45:18

Fading light

All that’s bright must fade, The brightest still the fleetest; All that’s sweet was made But to be lost when sweetest.
Thomas Moore

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(a piper in the shadowed light

Shadows grow long as days grow short.
A gentle hush settles in over the horizon.

Savory, heady scents and tastes fill our senses,
While we wrap ourselves in blankets filled with rich warm hues.

Yellow flickering lights fill the magical darkness,
As crunching crackling sounds serenade nighttime wanderers.

Time gently slows as clocks turn back,
While older hearts bask in youthful wonder.

Baking relentless Heat, now mercifully blown elsewhere,
Ushers in gently refreshing rains to a thirsty weary land.

A page turns as days now change.
Seasons shift as bright mellows to soft.
Fresh replaces heavy, as what once was now gently fades
Into the pale shimmering light.

“Amoretti”– a poem, obviously, by a love struck sandpiper

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(sandpiper, Watercolor Beach, Florida / Julie Coo / 2014)

Amoretti
One day I wrote her name upon the strand,
but came the waves and washèd it away:
agayne I wrote it with a second hand,
but came the tyde, and made my paynes his pray.
Vayne man, sayd she, that doest in vaine assay,
a mortall thing so to immortalize,
for I my selve shall lyke to this decay,
and eek my name bee wypèd out lykewize.
Not so, (quod I) let baser things devize
to dy in dust, but you shall live by fame:
my verse your vertues rare shall eternize,
and in the hevens wryte your glorious name.
Where whenas death shall all the world subdew,
our love shall live, and later life renew.

Edmund Spenser’s Amoretti (1595)

How do you do?

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(green grasshopper perched on a meyer lemon leaf / Julie Cook / 2014

This is the voice of high midsummer’s heat.
The rasping vibrant clamour soars and shrills
O’er all the meadowy range of shadeless hills,
As if a host of giant cicadae beat
The cymbals of their wings with tireless feet,
Or brazen grasshoppers with triumphing note
From the long swath proclaimed the fate that smote
The clover and timothy-tops and meadowsweet.

Sir Charles George Douglas Robert

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(katydid–more leaf than insect / Julie Cook / 2014)

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(green grasshopper / Julie Cook / 2014)

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(green grasshopper / Julie Cook / 2014)

A recent visit by two insects which upon first glance appear to be more leaf like than living creature.
One is a slender green grasshopper the other a katydid, also known as a bush cricket. Both are relatives but whereas the grasshopper is not much for singing, the katydid will rub its front wings together producing the long familiar Southern summer evening serenade.

Tiny troubles hiding amongst the dill and parsley

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I to my perils
Of cheat and charmer
Came clad in armour
By stars benign.
Hope lies to mortals
And most believe her,
But man’s deceiver
Was never mine.

The thoughts of others
Were light and fleeting,
Of lovers’ meeting
Or luck or fame.
Mine were of trouble,
And mine were steady;
So I was ready
When trouble came.

A.E. Housman, A Shropshire Lad

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(biting flies and tiny wasps feeding on the tiny flowers of dill and parsley / Georgia / Julie Cook / 2014)

small wonders amongst the heather

“I never saw a moor, I never saw the sea; Yet know I how the heather looks, And what a wave must be. I never spoke with God, Nor visited in Heaven; Yet certain am I of the spot, As if a chart were given.”
Emily Dickinson

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(cobweb skipper feeding on the heather–Mexican Heather as Scottish Heather cannot tolerate Georgia’s heat / Julie Cook / 2014)

Flowers of the Moorland
Wild flowers of the moorland, ye are very dear to me;
Ye lure my dreaming memory as clover does the bee;
Ye bring back all my childhood loved, when freedom, joy and health
Had never thought of wearing chains to fetter fame and wealth.

Wild blossoms of the common land, brave tenants of the earth,
Your breathings were among the first that helped my spirit’s birth;
For how my busy brain would dream and how my heart would burn,
Where gorse and heather flung their arms above the forest fern.

Eliza Cook
(English poet 1818-1889)

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(cobweb skipper and bumble bee feeding on the heather / Julie Cook / 2014)

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(cobweb skipper feeding on the heather / Julie Cook / 2014)

A consuming light

“May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”
John 8:12

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(rain clouds linger in the late afternoon mid west Georgia sky / Julie Cook / 2014

Our days grow dark and worry abounds
When a deafening crescendo of exploding bombs breaks the tired silence
Wary souls now tremble in the shadows

As the planes fall strangely from the sky,
We know that Madness wanders the eroding land
Bleeding children lie stretched out in pleading arms,

Lessons learned long ago are easily now forgotten
We were warned but no one listened
Right and wrong collide madly into one. . .
Hell is happy here today.

20 lives
200 lives
300 lives
Each new day brings a sad new number
As the question begs–why?

We watch
We wait
We plead
We hope

And as we wonder when is enough enough,
with the last ray of faith growing helplessly dim,
a brilliant light victoriously pierces the blackened sky

As the battles wage onward across a sad weary land,
and with smoke circling like vultures over our trembling heads,
Courage and Strength rally the faithful few

For despite this unending march of Death,
as tears are shed and blood is spilled
Peace and Calm unite in Hope
for this bloody War is already won. . .

This is what God the Lord says—
the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out,
who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it,
who gives breath to its people,
and life to those who walk on it:
“I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness;
I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you
to be a covenant for the people
and a light for the Gentiles,
to open eyes that are blind,
to free captives from prison
and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.

Isaiah 42:5-7

Sweet and simple

It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.
Laura Ingalls Wilder

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(a tiny sweet begonia blossom / Julie Cook / 2014)

Taking stock of what was,
melancholy and nostalgic,
do we count our treasures?

Looking back on a life long lived,
tired and weary,
can we hold our possessions in open arms?

Time no longer kind,
spent and gone,
is it who we know or who’ve known which matters most?

Complicated, overwhelming, excessive
No time, too busy, maybe later
What does any of it mean now?

Can we rewind, return, renew
The chances come and chances go
Time begs to begin again

Take it while you can
Hold on to it longer,
to all that mattes most

When everything was simple
When time never mattered
When less was happily more
When life was sweet

Observance

“Have you noticed how nobody ever looks up? Nobody looks at chimneys, or trees against the sky, or the tops of buildings. Everybody just looks down at the pavement or their shoes. The whole world could pass them by and most people wouldn’t notice.”
― Julie Andrews Edwards

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(stopping to smell the heavenly scent of flowers in the yard I first hear, then see, the army of bees busy at work pollinating and doing their spring things / Julie Cook / 2014)

I certainly agree with Miss Andrews and her observation regarding our lack of observation—
To be one who “observes” seems to be a luxury we no longer feel is important to afford ourselves.
Do we not take time because we have no time?
Is it because our lives are simply too busy?
Too rushed? Too frantic?
Have we just gotten to the point that we don’t really care one way or another?

With the time clock always acting as a hidden enemy, the frivolity of actually “stopping to smell the roses” becomes an unrealistic cloyingly slick idiom and sadly, nothing more.
Who has time to stop?!
We barely have time to visit the loo let alone stopping for some roses!

Yet ask any aged individual who is looking closer to the eternity side of life rather than to the living side of life, or ask any individual presented with a bleak health prognosis. . .and you will hear a great deal about the importance of stopping and smelling roses, or anything else delightfully sweet for that matter.

Yes, time is certainly an enemy.
It seems to rob us of so very much, and sadly, often with our whole hearted consent.

and yet. . .

Life is always so much more than what we see sitting merely on the surface.
We will never know any more other than the surface unless we actually stop, taking a tad bit more time to actually lift our face and our eyes. . .
To dig a little deeper.
To listen more intently.
To touch more tenderly
To taste more sweetly

Spring is a wonderful season for observation.
So many vibrant colors.
So many titilating sounds
So many magical scents.

We have been given such a grand gift with this thing we call Nature. An endless treasure chest full of utter wonderment. Now is the time for a flurry of activity with the magic of life merely sitting under our very eyes, ears and feet.

Take time today for a little observation.
Nature is our poetry—take time to savor it’s lyrics.