When I was young and asked the question why is the ocean blue?

There was a simple answer…one everybody knew.


The way the water filters the spectrum of sunlight holds the key…

the red colors are absorbed…while the blues are the ones we see.


I didn’t realize how essential the oceans were back then…how vital for all life too…

I only knew there was a lot of water, it was fun to swim in…it was salty…and it was blue.


Now I know we need the oceans to live…it’s a certainty that we do!

But here’s something else that I have learned…the oceans needs us too.


They need us to stop polluting, stop overfishing…stop causing them so much distress.

They need us to help replenish them 

so they can go back to doing what they do best…


Sustaining life for a host of diverse creatures that inhabit the ocean blue

and while they’re at it sustaining life for all the people on Earth too…


I’ve learned the oceans are sad because they’re dying…and they have a story to tell

that if we succeed in killing them…we’ll be killing ourselves as well… 


Now that I’m older I know the answer to the question is not a simple one…

but one I wish everybody knew

It’s also how we’re mistreating them everyday…


that makes the oceans blue.

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When one of the first settlers asked a Native American, 

“What do you call this land?”

He shrugged his shoulders and scratched his head…

“It has no name…

it’s shared by all

we call it ours.”he said. 


The other day we visited sacred Indian mounds built by people we didn’t know

Temple mounds and burial grounds constructed a thousand years ago.


The mounds were built next to a river and as we watched clouds drift in the sky

we were blessed as quietly in that river a family of manatees came floating by.


And I thought as we stood in the shade and comfort of two beautiful old oak trees

how they have a lot in common…Indians and manatees.


How they lived in tandem with the land honest sincere direct

taking only what they needed…treating all things with respect.


How they shared this land together…. for oh so many years

until our ancestors came across the ocean and chose to settle here.


Chose to endanger their way of life, who they were…who they would be

threatening their individual journeys…endangering their history.


And today when I look a Indians and Manatees I see all that we hijacked

how we’ve left them, through our greed and arrogance, with scars upon their backs.


And I wondered as we climbed reverentially to the top of the temple stairs

how they must wish for a time when America was not America…

just a land they both called…theirs.


for a time when they shared the land, 

the rivers 

and the trees

for a time when they were happy 


being Indians and manatees.

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Let There Be Light

The Lectern's Rise

Let there be light
God said, it became bright ,
Earth in the morning
Creatures came, and following

Dawn the first ray
Of early time, always
The silence hollow, all
Atmosphere, the total.

Flower too, looked at up
Sky's blue, the buttercup
Fully open the face
Was comely, quiet and gay,

Asleep, the shadows but
Did me the calmest heart
Pulse struck it oft aflight,
For God said, there be light!

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I bring to you a memory…a story that undertakes

to show we never know what lesson we will learn from our mistakes.


Years ago I took my students on a field trip to Tarpon Springs

We visited the sponge docks and took a boat ride…of all things.


The plan was…after we finished with our spongy ocean jaunt

we would eat a sit down lunch in a nice Greek restaurant.


I put all my students money in two envelopes in the pocket of my coat

one half was for the restaurant…the other for the boat.


The boat ride was magnificent…a fun morning in the sun

and after paying off our captain…he hugged us…everyone…


He made it a point to thank each one of us before we went away…

I wondered if all Greek captains were as happy…or just him…that day.


The meal at the restaurant was amazing……the perfect way to end our day

but I ran into a little snag when it came time to pay.


When I reached for the second envelope inside the pocket of my coat

I realized I’d given both envelopes…all our money…to the captain of the boat.


It seems what enhanced the captain’s happiness…was my tiny, little slip

as I gave him something in the neighborhood of a $300 dollar tip.


So there I was at the restaurant…where…to my dismay

after we all finished eating…I had no money left to pay.


My students were blissfully unaware…they seemed as happy as can be

so I reached into my wallet and took out my credit card…Plan B.


I have made a lot of mistakes in my life…and I’m sure I’m not done yet

but the mistake I made that day is one I never will forget….


It’s the day I learned mistakes can also be blessings

for when I see that captain’s smile in my memory from way back then

I like to think if given the chance


I’d make the same mistake…again.

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Yesterday I was walking in the early morning fog

When I stopped at the edge of a field to watch a man and his Frisbee dog.


The man would throw his Frisbee east, west, north or south

the dog would chase it, jump up in the air and catch it in his mouth.


Next that dog would trot that Frisbee back and lay it at the man’s feet

The man would pick it up…toss it again…and this scenario would repeat.


After each chase the dog would wait as excitedly as he did the chase before 

and I couldn’t tell by looking at their faces which one enjoyed it more…


I noticed the more I stood there watching them…seeing how that Frisbee flew

seeing how that dog would jump…I was smiling too.


I watched until they finished…until the final chase was done

and marveled at how dog and man were having so much fun.


My thoughts drifted back to our dog- he couldn’t catch a Frisbee at all

but he would act just like that Frisbee dog when we threw a tennis ball.


And I remembered when we played fetch…how I loved to watch him run

how just like this man and his Frisbee dog…we too had so much fun.


Our pets will pass away too soon…before us…this is true

and now I wonder if there isn’t an explanation…a rationale for why they do…


To remind us life is short and to get the most from our life span

perhaps we should be chasing as many frisbees as we can…


Perhaps we should be running in the fields…jumping over logs


and having as much fun living…as that man and his Frisbee dog.

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It happens every day…it comes as no surprise

When the day is done…we fall asleep…we gently close our eyes…


And we assume that every morning…again we’re not surprised

when a new day will dawn before us…as we open up our eyes.


But the other day a friend of ours…it was kind of a surprise

went to sleep and it was the last time she ever closed her eyes…


I’m sure, although, she was prepared, she didn’t know right then

once she closed those beautiful eyes…they would never open again.


And so it makes us wonder…it makes us think…sometimes we agonize…

Will we be happy with the life we’ve lived…the last time we close our eyes?


Have we played and laughed and smiled enough?  Have we been kind in our replies?

Have we danced and sang and shared enough before that last time we close our eyes?


Have we loved and have we been loved?  Have we enjoyed the oceans and the skies?

Have we accomplished some of our hopes and dreams…before that last time we close our eyes?


Have we been compassionate and accepting to everyone we greet?

Have we been the kind of person…we would like to meet?


If today is the day we experience our final moments…our final awakening…our final sunrise…

Have we left good memories for those who tomorrow will open up their eyes?


Of course each one of us has our own questions….our own list we must comprise….


Things to make us wonder…before that last time we close our eyes.

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Time and fate are unpredictable as united in life they flow

Take the man and the woman in this story…lets go back an hour ago.


They had a pleasant morning…she had coffee…he…cocoa

as they talked and laughed together…only an hour ago.


When the policeman told him she was gone…he screamed…he hollered NO!

You must be mistaken, he cried…she was here an hour ago.


You must be confused…I’m sure…in fact…I know

you must have the wrong person…we were together an hour ago.


The policeman explained there was an accident…it happened in the snow

she died immediately, the doctor said…about an hour ago.


The policeman stood in silence…as the man swayed to and fro

Thinking how his life was different…only an hour ago.


The policeman’s seen it many times…he never gets use to it though…

How people wish their lives would return to where they were an hour ago…


He sees it on their faces…they instantly lose their glow

when they realize their life will never be the same as it was an hour ago…


It reminds us all to cherish every moment…because we truly never know


when our life will change forever…like theirs did…one hour ago.

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Looking up at the sky this morning

as clouds and colors fill the air

I have to wonder…

am I looking up at heaven


or already standing there?

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My family came to visit me in the bookstore…where I was working the other night

I greeted them as they came through the door… with a smile broad and bright…


And as they gathered round me…I paused to take a look

and think about how a person’s story…is somewhat like a book. 


Each day we add a new chapter, new pages, new paragraphs…new lines

and I was glad on this day…to add their pages into mine.


When they departed…when the door closed…with their visit at an end

my mind wandered to other memories…other pages we have penned.


For isn’t that the beauty of a family…the host of memories we’ve made…

memories we look back on…memories that never fade…


And isn’t that the beauty of a good book…you’re excited to read ahead

but you can stop anytime you want and return to pages you’ve already read.


And you realize this book you’re writing is about much more than just yourself…

and you hope when your final chapter’s written and your book is laid upon the shelf…


when others choose to read it…in a different time…a different place


the memories within its pages…will bring a smile to their face..

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