I had this dream while growing up…that I’d be a millionaire

l’d live in a beautiful house, drive a fancy car…there’d be money everywhere.


I’d float through a life of happiness…I’d seldom wear a frown.

I’d have no reason to be sad because…I’d be the richest man in town.


It’s funny how life sometimes has other plans…how different dreams unfold

when on a teacher’s salary, now with a family…I put my initial dream on hold.


There were mouths to feed and bills to pay…facts I couldn’t deny

Now I dreamed of health and happiness with enough money to get by.


Yes, growing up I had this dream…as many young people do

but I never dreamed I could be happy if a different dream came true. 


My dream house isn’t as big nor my dream car quite as fancy…

but I found I do not care

I have a beautiful wife, a wonderful family…I have joy and love everywhere.


I’d like to tell you the exact moment when it happened…but I don’t think I can…

when the young boy’s dreams from long ago gave way to the new dreams of the man.


But this new dream I am living…I’ll be the first one to concede

has allowed me to float through a happy life…with everything  I need.


Which is why, after all these years…I seldom wear a frown…

because somehow, even though a different dream came true…

I’m still the richest man in town.


There is a bird in the morning when the sky is painted black

Who every other bird I’m sure, must think a maniac...


While all her friends are sleeping...heads nestled neath their wings

this bird rises before the rest...and all she does...is sing.


She sings at the top of her lungs...before the sun’s first glow.

Does she know morning is approaching?  

It’s dark...how can she know?


But she fills the night with music...my morning walk with grace

and tho I’ve never seen her...I imagine there’s a smile on her face.


It’s such a lovely song she sings during the day/night interlude

and I admire her determination...her faith...her fortitude.


In this time of uncertainty and apprehension…

when it’s confidence we lack

We can draw inspiration from a bird 

who sings in the morning

when the sky is painted black.

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We are born…we live…we die…that’s the way it’s supposed to be

We are all bound by the circle of life…and our own mortality.


I noticed her as I walked outside…she was hanging from a tree

A little worm…her color green…and she seemed to smile at me.


I was confused at first by her greeting…but I returned her smile

then I sat down next to her…and we visited for a while.


“Hey there little worm.” I asked. “What brings you here hanging by that thread?”

The little worm smiled as she swayed to and fro, “It was the wind,.” she said.


“And I am not a worm I am a caterpillar.” she corrected me with a sigh…

“One day I shall be a moth or, perhaps, a butterfly.”


“One day I will be even more beautiful.”

Here she looked up at the sky.

“One day I will have wings…one day…I will fly.”


And nether of us could have predicted that would be her final word

because when she finished speaking…she was eaten by a bird.


And I felt betrayed by time, deceived…as this caterpillar was cheated…

as her circle of her life was all too soon completed.


And once again…a lesson taught…much to my chagrin…

how in some way every life is at the mercy of the wind.


How we never know what fate…what destiny lies ahead…

How all our lives, when we stop to think about it, are hanging by a thread.


How life will one day end…we don’t know when…or why

How we never know how far we’ll go…or if ever we will fly….


But if there is one lesson from this caterpillar I find endlessly redeeming….

It would be wherever we are in the circle of life…

to never stop our dreaming.

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One thing this pandemic has been doing from the very start

is forcing us to look at life a little differently…as we stand 6 feet apart.


It’s allowing us to reevaluate as we adjust our day to day…

It’s reminding us what’s important…as we stand 6 feet away.


Yes, hand sanitizer and paper towels make our lives easier

when we can find them in the store

but our friends

our family

our children 

our grandchildren….

are the very things we’re living for.


When we can’t be together as often…

when we don’t see each other as much.

We learn the importance of that closeness…

of a kiss…a hug…a touch.


We find other was to express our love 

when we can’t visit every day

We learn to cherish a phone call…

a letter….

a smile or a wave…

as we stand 6 feet away.


And when we see people in need

whose lives have also been redefined….

we learn the importance of helping others

the importance of being kind.


When this pandemic comes to an end…

and we all celebrate that day…

I hope we’ll remember the lessons we learned 

that time we stood 6 feet away.

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I have moments I begin to think hatred and pain and suffering in this life are a given

Luckily in the next moment I’m reminded of what a wonderful world I live in.


Yesterday as sadness spread through the world like a virus how was I to know

joy would tap me on the shoulder in the form of: 

an old book, 

an old song 

and a forgotten TV show…


A young couple came into the bookstore not on a specific expedition 

but they found a book they both loved and had to have…it was a first edition.


They hugged then kissed as together they held onto that book

“Smile!” I said as with their phone their anniversary picture I took.


Next in the store came a mother…to her chest she was carrying her child

They stopped to say hello and when the baby looked at me…he smiled.


“His name is Malcolm.” his mother said and I could see innocence in his eyes.

He smiled at me every time they passed me and even as he waved goodbye.


For the last half hour we are open in the evening…I do this religiously

as a nice way to end the day…I play the same soft, smooth CD.


When it began to play this older couple came to me…

the wife’s eyes were filled with tears

“This is the song we danced to at our wedding!” She said ,

“and we’ve been married for 35 years!”


They lingered in the store a while, bought a book and were about to leave when…

I said, “Wait one minute. Happy Anniversary!”… and I played their song again.


A young couple a baby and an older couple reminded me of joy 

and left me feeling high

as they all, on their way out of the store, smiled and waved goodbye….


In case you were wondering what book, what song, what TV show

here’s the answer to that riddle

It began with A Clockwork Orange 

It ended with What a Wonderful World 

And the smile that brought such joy…


that was Malcom in the middle.

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Knowing life is temporary and will be over much too soon

Every day I take a walk and say good morning to the moon.


I say good morning to the clouds reflected in her light

I say good morning to the stars and all the animals that populate the night.


I love to walk among the shadows with the sounds around me blending

I love to begin my day the moment the night is ending.


And because every moment is precious and I don’t want to miss a one

In the evening I will look out and say good night to the sun.


Good night to the clouds that darken as she slips into the bay

Good night to all the animals that populate the day.


And as the day heads off to sleep…as she turns of her last light

I always make one wish as I retire for the night.


Knowing life is temporary and will be over much too soon


I wish that on the morrow…I’ll wake up to greet the moon.

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There are times when I’ve looked in the mirror and thought

certain parts of me I’d like to undo them

but the older I get the more I realize

it’s all in how I view them.


When I see how old my face looks…

I could lament my wrinkles and my scars…

or rejoice in the knowledge that I’ve been blessed

to have made it in life…this far.


I could lament that I wear glasses

that my vision’s not crisp and clean…

or rejoice knowing with my glasses

all the beautiful things I’ve seen.


I’ve seen our children and grandchildren grow up

I’ve seen nature’s beauty all around me

and everywhere I look

I see how my family’s love surrounds me,


I could look in the mirror at my ears 

and lament their enormous shape and size

or rejoice that with these ears

I have heard our babies’ cries.


These ears have heard all kinds of music, 

our children’s and grandchildren’s first words

They’ve heard every sound from a lion’s roar

to the chirping of the birds.


Besides…when I stop and think about it…

when everything is done…and everything’s been said

If I didn’t have these big ears…

how would I attach my glasses to my head?


So the next time I look in the mirror

and see all my different parts that seem defective…

I’ll turn around and try looking again


this time from a new perspective

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Whenever I see a baby passing by me on the street

I smile…

you see I’m captivated by their baby hands and baby feet.


It reminds me of the miracle of birth


how swiftly our time goes

when I see their little fingers…

and count their little toes.


I remember when my children and grandchildren were babies…

Was it really that long ago

when I held their baby hands in mine

and tickled their baby toes?


And again I think how time moves ever onward

does not stop

will not repeat

and how we must cherish every moment 

of baby hands and baby feet.


Knowing babies grow up…

that it’s all part of the plan

I look into the parents' eyes and whisper…


“Enjoy this while you can”.

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From the time of our first breath…from the moment our life starts

we begin creating, until we die, an unfinished work of art.


Some days we are an artist…we wake up and set our sights

on painting with broad brush strokes in colors bold and bright…


Some days we are a sculptor… hoping at the end of that day

after chiseling, carving and smoothing…we are happy with our clay.


Some days we are a composer…searching for the notes that will add harmony

to the notes already written in our life-long symphony.  


Sometimes we are a a writer…seeking the right words…perhaps an allegory

that when mixed with previous words add beauty to our story….


Sometimes we control the brush, the clay the pen…other times we’re waiting

for friends and family to add their colors…to the artwork we’re creating.


And when we stop to look…when each day comes to an end

we notice subtle differences as all our different styles blend.


I wonder sometimes if that’s not why we sleep…if that isn’t the reason why?

so at the end or every day whatever medium we were workin in

has the night in which to dry.


So when we wake up the next morning…no matter where or when

we are refreshed…and we are ready…to begin creating again


Ready to add paints or clay or words or notes…looking for emotion, soul…and heart

to an ever-changing…never-ending…unfinished work of art…


And if we’re blessed the final result each day…has captured our hopes our joy our fears


as slowly, imperceptibly we become more beautiful each year.

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