One of the Hardest Lessons

 

“One of the hardest lessons we have to learn in this life, and one that many persons never learn, is to see the divine, the celestial, the pure, in the common, the near at hand—to see that heaven lies about us here in this world.” – John Burroughs

 

Nature of the week:

Shadow of the Week:

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Text and photos © 2021 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

Broken Dreams, Beautiful World

 

“Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive God to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.” – Max Ehrmann, “Desiderata”

 

Nature of the week:

Shadow of the Week – shadows and reflections in a double paned window:

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Text and photos © 2021 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

Peace and Possibility

 

The energy of this week lost some of its spark at the death of a lovely friend, a good, creative, and generous soul. I’m grateful for the community we shared at Art and Soul Nashville, where she was—and her memory continues to be—a joyful, hopeful part of the welcome, the creativity, the encouragement, and the peace.

Here are some thoughts on peace that I wrote a few weeks ago:

 

For Peace

I’m grateful for the gentle souls

who hear peace,

hold it in their hearts and

hum it into mine.

 

I’m grateful for the fiery souls

who envision peace,

sing it out loud and

shout its possibilities into the world.

 

I’m grateful for souls both gentle and fiery

who know peace is both deep and wide,

sometimes the gift of a whispered breeze,

sometimes a hard-won shelter in storm.

 

I pray for the holding,

the hoping,

the healing

of peace.

– KH

 

Nature of the week:

Shadow of the Week – short cat, long shadow:

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Text and photos © 2021 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

If We Listen

 

“In the stillness of the quiet, if we listen, we can hear the whisper of the heart giving strength to weakness, courage to fear, hope to despair.” – Howard Thurman

 

Nature of the week:

Shadow of the Week:

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Text and photos © 2021 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

In the Back Yard Under the Pines

 

I rarely share my thoughts here, because so many have said them before, much more clearly and beautifully. But here’s one I put to paper yesterday.

 

I meant to put on sunscreen,

insect repellent,

maybe even a floppy hat—

Isn’t that how you dress

for a garden that needs weeding?

Instead, I went out to take a picture

of a rose,

the first of the season.

Then the mahonia beckoned,

its berries hanging in grape-like clusters,

blue, powdered with white,

another photo op

in the back yard under the pines

in the garden that needed weeding.

 

I’ll just test the weeds, I thought,

see if recent rains have softened the soil,

find out if they pull easily.

Up came a mat of chickweed,

a clump of wild violets,

tendrils of ivy,

all overstretching their bounds.

And so it went,

tugging and tossing,

freeing the spent daffodils

from one clump of weeds,

then another

and another.

 

There on my knees,

fingers digging through pine straw,

I breathe the rich smell of dirt,

the fresh scent of leaves.

A surprised millipede skitters past,

disturbed earthworms tunnel deeper.

Chickadees sing their name,

Wrens chirr,

a woodpecker tap-tap-taps overhead.

Wind brushes the pines and elms,

ebbing and flowing like the ocean,

a sea of air

swishing,

sighing,

whispering peace—

peace with the rhythms of nature,

peace with the seasons of life and death

in the garden now in late spring bloom

after dying back for winter.

 

Whispering, too, of my own seasons,

of my own dying to come

some day.

Even though I hear the whisper,

even though I might prepare,

that day will surprise me.

Oh—

I meant to put on sunscreen,

insect repellent,

a floppy hat—

Isn’t that how you dress for a garden?

 

–KH

 

Nature of the week:

Shadow of the Week:

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Text and photos © 2021 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

Sunrise and Song

 

“The sun is rising. All the green trees are full of birds, and their song comes up out of the wet bowers of the orchard. Crows swear pleasantly in the distance, and in the depths of my soul sits God.” – Thomas Merton

 

Nature of the week – Gardeners made out of Lego by Sean Kenney for Cheekwood Botanical Gardens’ new art show:

Shadow of the Week:

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Text and photos © 2021 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

Holding Infinity

 

In honor of Mother’s Day, I’m posting one of my favorites:

 

“To see a World in a Grain of Sand

And Heaven in a Wild Flower,

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand

And Eternity in an hour.”

William Blake

 

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you who mother us so beautifully.

 

Nature of the week – rhododendron:

Shadow of the Week – there’s a heart in this leaf shadow:

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Text and photos © 2021 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

A Doorway to a New World

 

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul. Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world.” – John Muir

 

Nature of the week:

Shadow of the Week:

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Text and photos © 2021 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

On the Edge of the Road

“The pale flowers of the dogwood outside this window are saints. The little yellow flowers that nobody notices on the edge of that road are saints looking up into the face of God.” – Thomas Merton

 

Nature of the week:

Shadow of the Week:

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Text and photos © 2021 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

When the Year Laughs

 

“Then laughs the year; with flowers the meads are bright;

The bursting branches are tipped with flames of light:

The landscape is light; the dark clouds flee above,

And the shades of the land are a blue that is deep as love.”

Robert Bridges, “April” –

Nature of the week:

Shadow of the Week:

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Text and photos © 2021 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.