If I’m asked what is my religion I find it hard to say…because nature is where I get my counsel…she’s where I go to pray.


I try to make my questions simple and easy for her to hear…but her answers are quite nebulous…and never quite as clear.


She answers in a way, I’m sure, she thinks will help me evolve…it’s usually a riddle, a puzzle or some conundrum I must solve.


Take this morning for instance I asked why so much pain, suffering and injustice on this world has been bestowed…Her answer came quite quickly…she sent a possum across the road.


(This might not seem like an answer to you…but there’s more to this story yet…for in all the years I have been walking…this is the first possum I have met!)


This is the kind of response I always get from nature…the kind that makes my head explode…I ask for a simple answer and she send a possum across the road.


I saw him coming from my left…he was walking in the grass…I paused and said, “Good Morning Mr. Possum”…he gave me a quick glance as he passed.


Since I’ve been asking questions of nature all my life I think I got her gist…she was showing me the answer to my query is in how we choose to coexist.


I did not try to capture the possum…I did not try to change him…I did not pick a fight…instead we allowed each other to be who we are as we passed each other in the night.


Nature was reminding me how for a long time….every species on this planet knew where they belonged..every part of Earth co-existed…until mankind came along. 


She was reminding me there is a way to fix the problems…and I’m the only one who can…because the pain and suffering and injustice in the world begins and ends with man.


She was reminding me the solutions to the problems in the world need not make my head explode…That they actually may be found by watching a possum cross the road.

View joy's Full Portfolio


A rabbit in the wild, unlike his friends the birds, goes about his entire life without saying a word.

At least that’s what the scientists tell us…and every textbook too…but after having walked with rabbits for a while…I wonder if that’s true.


I love watching rabbits…in their quiet solemnity…doing the things that rabbits do…that is…until they notice me.


They look at me suspiciously…I’m sure they want to know…

will I try to hurt them…am I a friend…or foe.


Of course it usually doesn’t matter…they are not inclined to stay.

They turn and whisper to one another…then quickly hop away.


Which makes me wonder…after witnessing this firsthand

If rabbits have a language…one we just don’t understand…


What if rabbits speak to one another in whispers…whispers we can’t hear…but whispers all the other rabbits pick up…loud…and clear?


What if rabbits are just a little quieter but have been communicating all along…what if all those scientists and textbooks have been wrong?


What if rabbits have a complex language…a wide vocabulary array…but what if rabbits only speak when they have something significant to say…


If we took the time, to observe them in the world that they inhabit

think of how much we could learn just by listening to the rabbits.


Think of all they have to teach us…if we could only find a way

to listen to their whispers…and hear what rabbits have to say.

View joy's Full Portfolio


Once a day I like to walk in silence…not only to concentrate on what I see…but to listen in to what the voices of the Earth are trying to say to me.


There are voices in the trees, in the clouds, in the mountains and the creeks…and if I listen closely in the silence…I can hear those voices speak.


And the more and more I listen to the voices of the sky, the sea, the land…the more of what they’re saying I begin to understand.


I can hear if one animal is happy or another one’s in pain.

By listening to the wind and the clouds…I begin to understand the rain.


Across the sky and hiding in the trees…are many different languages..a myriad of words…after listening in silence to them…I begin to understand the birds.


The rooster who announce it’s time for the sun to rise…the owl and the nightingale who tuck their families in by singing a lullaby.


I’m not sure how it works but a simple walk in silence as the day’s about to start…seems to give the voices of the Earth time to reach into my heart.


Which makes me wonder if this wouldn’t work with people…family and friends we meet along the way…What if we listened more in silence to what they had to say?


What if silent listening to the words of others…once from their lips their words depart makes it easier for their words to find a way into our hearts?


For I believe it’s only when words have been planted in our hearts that they have a chance to grow…why do I believe this…because on a silent walk one morning…

a little birdie told me so.


View joy's Full Portfolio


Yesterday I wrote poem how about how when the ocean waves meet the land they leave little drawings in their wake…little artworks in the sand.


Marilyn, and old friend from my Ohio high school days (that was a long time ago!) reminded this now-Floridian…there’s also artistry in the snow.


She opened a door into a room in my mind where memories of old art I retain:

Like waking up and looking out my window to see the snow after a rain…


How the world outside was different than when I went to bed at night.

How everything was coated in little coverlets of white.


How overnight while I slept…there was an unexpected freeze…allowing nature to paint the snow that fell onto the branches of the trees.


Everywhere I looked snowflakes could be found…

Clinging to the rooftops…blanketing the ground.


But nature was not content with snow dominating my entire view…

So she added beams of yellow from the sun against a sky she painted blue.


And knowing she needed to add more color into that day’s art’s design…she added drops of red by painting cardinals in the pines.


So thank you Marilyn for reminding me…for making me aware

nature’s beauty is not unique to Florida…it can be found everywhere.


Thanks for reminding me it’s in the widest ocean…in the smallest babbling brook…that beauty’s all around us…if we take the time to look.


Thanks for opening a door to a room I closed long ago…

Thanks for allowing me to stand on a beach in Florida…

and remember the beauty of a winter snow.



View joy's Full Portfolio


When you walk along the shore…as you and nature are reacquainting…you get this sudden feeling you’re inside of a painting.


In the early morning hours on a shore pristine, untouched…untainted…you realize the painting you’re in…is in the process of being painted.


The artist begins applying colors to the sky that stretches out in front of you…splashes of yellows, reds and oranges against a canvas painted blue.


Each morning, each new painting, is filled with new surprises…as the clouds that dot the sky change their shapes, colors and sizes.


Next the artist stops experimenting with color and begins exploring the use of light and the clouds, only a moment ago filled with color, soften then turn to white.


Your attention is now drawn to the waves…rhythmically washing on to shore…as the artist paints each wave differently than the one painted before.


But perhaps the most beautiful…most subtle bit of artwork…as on the beach you stand

are the tiny little drawings each wave leaves upon the sand.


You watch the waves pour onto shore at a steady, rhythmical speed…and you discover little drawings in the sand as they quietly recede.


If you’re lucky to be standing there to view the artwork left behind…you notice each wave has its own artistic style…each drawing its own design.


But you must view them quickly…each wave's drawing’s as it’s shown…because some will only last an instant…before the next wave draws its own.


There are some spots you discover, however, as you take your walk along the beach where the artwork lasts a little longer…where the tides no longer reach.


Where you can linger for a little while…where you ultimately find…a host of beautiful little drawings the waves have left behind.


And you marvel at how the painting you’re in has changed…marvel at what the waves have drawn…knowing if you walk this same path tomorrow…the drawings will be gone.


For that is the nature of nature’s artist…how the artwork constantly changes…and why we must enjoy its beauty quickly…before its beauty rearranges.



View joy's Full Portfolio


It’s easy to forget we are but one part of this Earth…forget all the ties that bind us

no matter how often…how every day…the Earth tries so hard to remind us.


The food we eat, the air we breathe…comes from the Earth that surrounds us

Not to mention the magnificence…the wonder and the beauty

that she’s created all around us.


If you happen to be near the ocean at sunrise

you’re treated to a sight that’s difficult to put into words

It is beautiful, rhythmic…and acrobatic…we call it the dancing of the birds.


You see birds standing on the shoreline…you marvel at the amount

hundreds…maybe thousands…far too many for you to count.


Then together, as if on cue, in the glow of the morning’s first light

every bird that was, a moment ago, standing…collectively takes flight.


They fly in this wonderful formation

you find yourself mesmerized…in kind of a trance

for it is here you realize they’re not flying

but you’re witnessing them dance.


I happened to be out on the water as the birds danced right in front of me.

Gracefully they flew up, down and all around…

at times their wings were almost touching the sea.


As the birds all danced around me…as this way and that way I glanced…

I felt blessed at least for that moment…to have been invited to the dance…


And blessed to again be reminded

as into my kayak floated an errant feather

how we are all part of this wonderful Earth

and how we are all meant to dance here together.

View joy's Full Portfolio


We have this cute little bird house we keep on our patio

We didn’t know who would use it, perhaps a chickadee or a crow


It’s too small for a pelican or an eagle to make a den

so, we thought, perhaps a blue jay, a cardinal or a wren.


One day to our surprise we saw something in the birdhouse lurking about…

On closer inspection the hole was almost completely covered and there was something peeking out.


I think, at first she was startled and that’s what made her stir…

“I wonder if she’s angry.” Deborah asked, “that we’re disturbing her.”


We weren’t sure what we were looking at…she was very hard to see

“She can’t be angry." I replied. “She’s staying here rent free!”


When we finally realized what she was…we thought it a bit absurd…

There’s a bee living inside our birdhouse…that thinks she is a bird.


So we have us a bee lodger…who now peeks out to say hello

from the safety of a birdhouse where she’s free to come and go.


We are anxious to see what happens…our imagination has been spurred

by this little bee we can hardly see..who thinks she is a bird.


She’s been living there for weeks now…her life protected, secure and stable

and I’m pretty sure, by the wire I see, that she’s stealing our cable.


And the other day when she had a packaged delivered I smiled at our new family paradigm…

wondering how a bee in a birdhouse has access to Amazon Prime!


But we don’t mind her idiosyncrasies as the lines between us have become a little blurred…

by the bee who lives in our back yard…who thinks she is a bird.

View joy's Full Portfolio


Dear humans,


I am an octopus and I’m unhappy with how you humans think you’re so great.

You might say I have a bone to pick with you…

which would be true if I weren’t an invertebrate.


I want you to know I am more than just a cephalopod

with 8 tentacles who spits out a little ink

for I too have a brain, in fact with nine of them…

and I am much smarter than you think


I have learned to use different tools and I solve problems too

and what if all those times you think you’re watching me…

I’ve been watching you.


You humans think with your one heart you’re as loving as can be…

Well think again mere humans…for every octopus has three.


So the next time you’re feeling superior…

the next time you think that you’re so great

remember…most animals in the world live in the ocean…

and most, like me, are invertebrates.


Please do not lament these facts…

do not become a sourpuss…

I’m sure you have some good qualities too…




The Octopus


P. S. I know you’re proud of your ability to write…

and to be fair I think that’s great

but in the time it takes you to write one letter…

I’ve already written eight!


View joy's Full Portfolio


We were finishing up our morning walk when there beneath our feet

we saw a snail on the sidewalk…getting up the nerve to cross the street.


As I looked down from up above I felt somewhat conflicted

for my world is so far-reaching and the snail’s so restricted.


I felt bad but then I thought perhaps my thinking is defective

for, when it comes to a snail’s world, I imagine

the joy’s in the perspective.


From where the snail crawls…bringing his shell for safe refuge

I imagine he…like me, thinks his world is pretty huge.


And there’s something to be said for a life with little worry…

where you find your food along the ground and you’re never in a hurry.


I thought I would help this snail…that the normal laws of nature we’d defy

So I picked him up and took him across the street…

in a way I showed him how to fly.


I set him down in the grass where he now had more time to eat or dance or play…

“No need to thank me Mr. Snail.” I said as we happily walked away.


I was feeling pretty good about myself…this I must concede

even though helping a snail cross the road…is but a minuscule good deed.


“What if that snail had already crossed the road?” Deborah asked

 “What if you threw off the day he had planned

 by picking him up and putting him back in the place where he began?”


Of course she was correct…

for I surely had no way of knowing

If, when we first saw Mr. Snail

He was coming or he was going….


But I have learned my lesson…

even though with this snail I couldn’t atone…

The next time I see a snail beneath my feet…

I’ll leave well enough alone.


View joy's Full Portfolio