Nature’s Secret

 

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Nurture peace, cultivate kindness, and carry the calm.

 

Nature of the week – trillium:

Shadow of the Week:

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Text and photos © 2019 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

Divine Peace, Enthusiastic Joy

 

“Every day opens and closes like a flower,

noiseless, effortless.

Divine peace glows on all the majestic landscape,

like the silent enthusiastic joy

that sometimes transfigures a noble human face.”

John Muir

 

“Silent enthusiastic joy.” That’s what I often see in Thursday night art class at Art and Soul. Music plays softly in the background as my friends and I work independently but side by side, each of us creating art that comes from our souls and nourishes our souls. It’s then that I often see in my friends’ faces a “silent enthusiastic joy.”

But I picture other faces as well – my dad and sisters laughing uproariously in enthusiastic joy – delightfully not silent. Then there are my friends in the church choir as we listen to our director in silent, enthusiastic joy – which transforms into the joy of song. Whose faces do you picture when you think of enthusiastic joy – silent or not?

Ralph Waldo Emerson famously said, “Earth laughs in flowers.” In our part of the world, nature is now in bloom. As each day opens and closes like a flower, I wish you the divine peace that comes with earth’s joy and laughter. Happy Spring!

Nurture peace, cultivate kindness, and carry the calm.

 

Nature of the week – peach blossoms:

Shadow of the Week – stems in a back-porch pot:

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Text and photos © 2019 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

Mute Music

 

“[E]very withered stem

and stubble rimed with frost,

contribute something

to the mute music [of winter].”

– Emerson, “Nature” –

 

Pause for a moment this week to enjoy stems and stubble, to listen to the shushing sound they make in the wind – or if the day is still, to discover the season’s mute music.

Nurture peace, cultivate loving kindness, and carry the calm.

Nature of the week:

Shadow of the Week:

 

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For my posts on life, faith, and the mystery we call God, link here.

 

Text and photos © 2017 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

A Drop in the Ocean

 

As the ocean surges overland this week, two thoughts:

“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean.

But if that drop was not in the ocean,

I think the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.”

– Mother Teresa –

 

“The drop is a small ocean.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson –

 

Nurture peace, cultivate loving-kindness, and carry the calm.

Nature of the week – after the rain in Yokohama, Japan:

Shadow of the Week – roses in Texas:

 

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For my posts on life, faith, and the mystery we call God, link here.

 

Text and photos © 2017 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

 

Laughing in the Colors of Spring

“Earth laughs in flowers.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson –

Wishing you earth’s laughter this week!

Nurture peace, cultivate loving kindness, and carry the calm.

Nature of the week:

Shadow of the Week:

 

If you want me to send these thoughts to your email each week, simply sign up on the right.

For my posts on life, faith, and the mystery we call God, link here.

 

Text and photos © 2017 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

Colors of the Spirit

“Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.”

– Emerson, “Nature” –

The word nature comes from the Latin nasci, which means “to be born.” Leaves are peeking out and stretching, buds are opening – must be the earth’s birthday. Enjoy!

Nurture peace, cultivate loving-kindness, and carry the calm.

Nature of the week – a redbud blossoming all along its branches:

This week, a double shadow:

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For my posts on life, faith, and the mystery we call God, link here.

 

Text and photos © 2017 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

What Have You Missed Until Today?

“The eye is the best of artists.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Nature” –

In their book Living the Questions, David Felton and Jeff Procter-Murphy say that poet William Carlos Williams “used to carry a notepad around with him in which he listed ‘Things I noticed today that I’ve missed until today.'” With your eye as the artist, notice something beautiful today that you’ve missed until now.

Nurture peace, cultivate loving kindness, and carry the calm.

Nature of the week – paperbark:

Shadow of the Week:

If you want me to send these thoughts to your email each week, simply sign up on the right.

For my posts on life, faith, and the mystery we call God, link here. karynhenley.com

Text and photos © 2017 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

How to See God’s Handwriting

“Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful for beauty is God’s handwriting – a wayside sacrament. Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every fair flower, and thank God for it as a cup of blessing.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson –

Nourish peace, cultivate loving kindness, and carry the calm. The world needs it.

Nature of the week:

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Shadow of the Week:

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Text and photos © 2016 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

6 More Ways to Notice Like a Child

“To the attentive eye, each moment of the year has its own beauty.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson –

I spent last week at a writers’ conference in Princeton and realized again just how much a change of location draws our attention to our surroundings. Of course even in unfamiliar places, we can stay stuck in our own thoughts (or focus on our smart phones). But to a child, a new place is an adventure. And that’s what I had last week – new paths, different gardens, benches on the green where I could sit and simply notice the world around me. Adventure.

In my last post, I suggested six ways to notice the world like a child: Sit in a swing, angle yourself, squint, focus on moving water, squat, and get bored. Here are six more ways we can enter into that space of childlike wonder.

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  1. Use as many senses as you can. When adults notice, it’s usually with the visual sense. Listening is a close second. Children notice with as many senses as adults will allow them to use. Touch is right up there with looking and listening. So is smell and taste.

2. Look up. I love trees, especially treetops. I love how the top branches reach toward the sky and dance in the wind. But when I get busy, I plow through my day at eye level. So notice the tops of tree. Gaze at the stars. Watch a jet make a vapor trail. Look up and discover.

3. Imagine. Children specialize in imagination, which is an extended way to notice the world. Imagining takes noticing to the next level. Remember when you were a child and looked up at clouds? Maybe you not only noticed them but also imagined that the cloud shapes were elephants or ships or whatever delighted you. My daughter-in-law and I often walk at our local botanical gardens. One of our favorite trails passes among trees where roots vein out across a ground carpeted with moss. We almost expect to see fairies come dancing through.

4. Experiment. Make something happen. Toss a pebble into a pool, listen to the splash, and watch the ripples. Blow a dandelion. Blow bubbles with a straw in a glass of milk. Stir the milk and watch the vortex.

5. Follow through. Sometimes we notice but turn away too soon to absorb the wonder of the moment. Blow bubbles, watch colors wink on their surface, and then follow through by continuing to watch as the bubbles float away. (Seriously, how long has it been since you’ve blown bubbles?)

6. Linger. This is like following through, but I think of it in the context of an unexpected moment that strikes us with a sense of wonder in passing. I grew up in West Texas, where the sunsets can be spectacular. I now live in Nashville, Tennessee, where trees block the view. But a few months ago, an amazing sunset turned billowing clouds overhead every shade of brilliant pink and orange. Along some of the busiest streets, people stepped out of shops and pedestrians paused on the sidewalks, and for a few moments, it seemed like the whole city looked up and lingered in awe.

So use as many senses as you can, look up, imagine, experiment, follow through, and linger. And use those moments to nourish peace and cultivate loving kindness. Then carry the calm.

Nature of the week – flowers in Princeton:

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Shadow of the Week – lamp shadow in Princeton:

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Text and photos © 2016 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

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