Why I Need My Garden

 

In the window

above my kitchen sink,

one golden bloom rises on a

toothpick-thin stem

in a tiny pottery vase.

A black-eyed Susan.

I lean closer,

admire her petals,

her dark brown center.

It’s like looking into the smile of God.

Outdoors, pink coneflowers sway

beside magenta coleus leaves

blanket-stitched along the edges

in bright yellow-green.

The smile of God.

Yellow gazania bloom bright,

happily resilient in the heat.

Red-purple impatiens overspread their pot,

preferring the shade.

The smile of God.

I also know the tears of God.

Anyone with eyes to see

and an open heart

feels the sadness,

knows the tears.

So many.

Too many.

That’s why I need my garden—

gazania and impatiens,

cornflower and coleus,

black-eyed Susans.

They remind me

that God does smile.

They give me hope

that we, too—

all shapes, colors, and

types of us—

can flower and flourish

in beauty and peace.

If only we will.

We, too, can be the smile of God.

-kh-

 

Nurture peace, cultivate kindness, and carry the calm.

Nature of the week:

Shadow of the week:

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‎Text and photos © 2024 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

Soul Stretching

 

“So let us look for beauty and grace, for love and friendship, for that which is creative and birth-giving and soul-stretching. Let us dare to laugh at ourselves, healthy, affirmative laughter. Only when we take ourselves lightly can we take ourselves seriously.” – Madeleine L’Engle from her lecture Dare to Be Creative

Nurture peace, cultivate kindness, and carry the calm.

 

Nature of the week:

Shadow of the Week:

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Text and photos © 2023 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

The Sky’s Gift

It is the sky that makes the earth so lovely at sunrise,

and so splendid at sunset.

In the one it breathes over the earth the crystal-like ether,

in the other liquid gold.

painter Thomas Cole

A wondrous sky greets this cold, crisp morning. It’s criss-crossed with contrails, probably due to holiday travel. Toward the horizon, a wide sweep of thin, feathery clouds spans the blue like a skyscape dry-brushed in white across a deep blue canvas. All this, and the sun is still on the rise. It’s painting tree tops gold, while their lower trunks and branches rest in twilight shadow. The sky is breathing over the earth, waking it up with beauty.

Nurture peace, cultivate kindness and carry the calm.

Nature of the week:

Shadow of the Week:

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Text and photos © 2022 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

Taking Ourselves Lightly

 

“So let us look for beauty and grace, for love and friendship, for that which is creative and birth-giving and soul-stretching. Let us dare to laugh at ourselves, healthy, affirmative laughter. Only when we take ourselves lightly can we take ourselves seriously, so that we are given the courage to say, ‘Yes! I dare disturb the universe.’” – Madeleine L’Engle

Nurture peace, cultivate kindness and carry the calm.

 

Nature of the week:

Shadow of the Week:

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Text and photos © 2022 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

Precise, Meticulous Beauty

It’s hosta season. Their large bouquets of leaves have been content to sit on the ground for weeks, soaking up the summer sun until they were ready to send up tall, thin stems and line them with buds. Last week, they were ready, bursting with light purple buds veined in darker purple. The petals of the buds are folded up, cupping their centers protectively the way my grandson’s hands cup a newfound treasure to hide and protect it.

This week, the buds began to open. Each bloom has six purple petals pointed at the tips. Deep inside where the petals connect to each other, they’re white. From that inner sanctum, one pure white pistil and six white filaments rise taller than the petals and curve gently down like a swan’s neck. At the end of each filament is a tiny, elongated anther of dark purple, maybe even black, with two of the tiniest, vertical, tan-gold stripes on their faces. I am amazed. There is nothing careless here.

It doesn’t matter to this hosta, this precise, meticulous beauty, whether or not I pause here to look closely. Hostas will keep budding and blooming and being beautiful, because that’s who they are. No, it doesn’t matter to the hosta if I see it or not. But it does matter to me.

Nurture peace, cultivate kindness, and carry the calm.

Nature of the week:

Shadow of the Week:

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Text and photos © 2022 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

Like the Glorious Rose

 

“We can walk across the lawn in the morning dew, smell the grass and pick a dandelion, because, like the glorious rose, it has a beauty all its own, as do all things, if we will only learn to look for it.” – Joan Chittister, The Gift of Years

 

Nurture peace, cultivate kindness, and carry the calm.

 

Nature of the week:

 

Shadow of the Week:

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Text and photos © 2022 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

Who Can Clutch It?

 

“The beauty that shimmers in the yellow afternoons of October,

who ever could clutch it?”

Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Nature” –

 

Nurture peace, cultivate kindness, and carry the calm.

 

Nature of the week:

Shadow of the Week:

 

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

A Path of Peace

 

Think toward whatever leads to hope,

to beauty,

to peace,

to gracious love.

Then move in that direction.

– kh –

 

Nurture peace, cultivate kindness, and carry the calm.

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.

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.