Nature looks dead in winter because her life is gathered into her heart. She withers the plant down to the root that she may grow it up again fairer and stronger. She calls her family together within her inmost home to prepare them for being scattered abroad upon the face of the earth.
~Hugh Macmillan, “Rejuvenescence,” The Ministry of Nature, 1871
“In the sheltered heart of the clumps
last year’s foliage still clings to the lower branches,
tatters of orange that mutter with the passage of the wind,
the talk of old women warning the green generation of what they, too,
must come to when the sap runs back.”
– Jacquetta Hawkes
As a child, my father helped me dig
a square of dense red clay, mark off rows
where zinnias would grow,
and radishes and tender spinach leaves.
He’d stand with me each night
as daylight drained away
to talk about our crops leaning on his hoe
as I would practice leaning so on mine.
Years later now in my big garden plot,
the soggy remnant stems of plants
flopped over several months ago,
the ground is cold, the berries gone,
the stakes like hungry sentries
stand guarding empty graves. And still
I hear his voice asking what I think
would best be planted once the weather warms.
“Lonely Harvest” from Family Constellation by Margaret S. Mullins
The shepherd always tries to persuade the sheep that their interests
and his own are the same.
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Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
“Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost
“All I know to do is to light the candle that has been given to me”
~ Mister Rogers
When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
~ from ‘The Tyger’ by William Blake
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They sing of the church in the valley.
But my heart receives a great thrill
When I think of the home of my childhood
And the little white church on the hill.
It stands as a symbol of Gods love
And mother and father love too
For they went with us each Sunday morning
To show us the pathway so true.
God’s acre is near and our dear ones
Lie under its green grassy sod
Their lives have been our inspiration
We know they’ve gone home to God.
I’ve seen very beautiful churches
Some that I’ll never forget.
But none so dear as the church on the hill
The one that we call Olivet.
~ Great-Aunt Ida Dixon Price
“How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains!”
~ John Muir
“How important it is to walk along, not in haste but slowly, looking at everything and calling out…”
~ Mary Oliver from “Yes! No!”