When you look around at life and see tragedy and despair

and no matter how you try…you cannot make things fair


Sometimes the best that you can hope for when the day is done

is to balance all the sorrow with a little laughter…a little fun.


So to escape the sadness that surrounds us…at least for a little while

we paddled our kayaks to an island to find some things to make us smile.


For when we’re feeling sorrow and frustration with the ball in mankind’s court 

we find it helps to to get away…and turn to nature for support.


So let me offer up some balance…at least for a little while

By sharing some of what we saw…some of the things that made us smile.


We got to the water early as the sun was about to rise…

and once we started paddling we couldn’t believe our eyes.


For not only was she announcing the beginning of a brand new day

but her light across the water helped to guide us on our way.


The water was calm and salty…the panorama wide…

our kayaks on the undulating waves seemed like a magic carpet ride.


When we reached the island we dispensed with the water shoes we wore

so we could feel the sand between our toes as we walked along the shore.


We shared our walk with sandpipers, and herons and seagulls in the sky

and as we searched the shore for shells…a stingray who swam by.


The sun was warm, the breeze was cool…the water…refreshingly mild

and once when I looked back though I can’t be sure… think our shadows smiled.


For a little while we only thought of the ocean, the animals and the land

For a little while it was enough…to make footprints in the sand…


As we returned to shore we thanked nature for presenting things to make us smile…

and for providing us a place to get away…

at least for a little while.


I love to walk in my museum…filled with music…filled with art

It is soothing to the body, 

to the mind, the soul….the heart.


If I choose to walk in the evening…or before the dawns first light

when I look up I see Van Gogh has painted another Starry Starry Night.


If fog has covered my museum at the beginning of the day

I walk through muted colors and impressions of Monet.


The more I walk in my museum…I never really know

was that a Da Vinci…or a Renoir…or a Michelangelo?


As I walk I may see an autumn leaf, a raindrop a snowflake or a butterfly….

for only in my museum is artwork falling from the sky?


Unlike most museums where art is framed in a permanent display

my museum is ephemeral…temporary…it changes subtly every day.


And, courtesy of the birds, the crickets and the wind whistling through the trees

wherever you go in my museum you’re followed by symphonies.


What’s really great about my museum…

beside how every day in it is new…

is how you can see once you step outside…

it’s your museum too.

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Flowers have a language they share with all the trees.

Sometimes you can hear their voices carried on the breeze


Flowers speak from on the ground…

trees from up above

sharing words of kindness, 

words of compassion

words of acceptance

words of love.


If you listen closely to their voices never will you hear

words of anger

words of hate

words to cause another fear.


As I listen to the language of us humans 

carried on the breeze…

I pray for the day when we are as fluent

as the flowers and the trees. 


Sometimes I wonder if I project my own feelings too much

onto the wind, the clouds, and the bees…

If I have a special relationship with the birds, the flowers and the trees?


When a bird is sining her morning song and I hear that melody

could it be that she’s just singing…or is she singing just to me?


When I walk by a flower in full bloom…though she’s meant for the whole world to see

in that moment I walk by her…does she stand a little taller…just for me?


As I work my way from branch to branch…climbing to the top of a tree

does she make it this easy for everyone to climb…

or does she make a little easier just for me.


Sometimes I wonder when it comes to birds, the flowers and the trees

If as humans we are more alike than we are apart…

I wonder if every flower has a brain

every bird a soul

and if every tree has a heart.


We are brought up to believe this is foolishness

It’s an impossibility…we have been taught…

but projection or not when I am with them 

it’s hard to believe…they do not.

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Nature is full of surprises…you never know what she will make:

on our favorite beach..a stone’s throw from the ocean…she’s created a lake.


And I wonder about the water in the lake…if it ever yearns or dreams or craves

to leave the safety of the lake…and join the ocean waves.


Ever wonders what it’s like to be so wild and free

never knowing where it will end up as it travels across the sea.


And I wonder about the ocean waves…what kind of dreams they make…

Do they ever wish upon their return to join the waters of the lake?


To have a spot to call their home…a quiet place out of harms way

surrounded by the trees and sand…visited by the same birds every day.


But I imagine these are my thoughts…easy for me to make

not the thoughts of the waves upon the ocean or the water in the lake…


I imagine they are happy and this kind of thinking in them never arises…

I imagine this is one of nature’s gift…another one of her surprises.


To all her creations: 

the ones that remain in one spot or the ones that travel far

she has given the gift of contentment…

for whatever and wherever they are…


And we would be wise to learn this lesson…

and all envy in us…dispel

for as nature is trying to shows us…


It is in contentment where happiness dwells.

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I saw it as I walked one day…an acorn in the snow

and I stopped for a moment to wonder…what makes this acorn grow?


What makes this little tiny seed…barely bigger than a pea…

what makes this little acorn transform into a tree?


Certainly it must be planted with care…for it’s roots need to take hold 

If it’s ever to withstand the summer heat and endure the winter cold.


And an acorn needs to be cared for…of this I have no doubt 

It needs love…it needs to be nurtured…if it’s ever going to sprout.


And once it peeks out of the ground…once it’s leaves begin to show

that little tiny acorn…needs a lot of room to grow.


And it will always need nature’s protection as it’s life ebbs and flows

it will always need her patience and her caring…no matter how tall it grows.


As I saw that little acorn…and fancied it a full grown tree

standing in it’s imaginary shade…this thought occurred to me


Every child…every baby…is like that acorn in the snow.

They need what every acorn needs if they ever are to grow.


As parents we must understand…how tall our children grow


depends on how we care for them…when they are but acorns in the snow.

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Sometimes he walks before the town wakes up.

He walks a path down by the bay.

It’s usually quiet and serene…usually…but not this day.


Usually he walks in silence

where only the softest sounds are heard

that changed when he reached the center of town

and was confronted…by a bird.


A mockingbird began chirping loudly

then she flew around his head…

She stopped on the sidewalk in front of him…

“Follow me.” She said.


At least that’s what he thought she said.

After all…he didn’t understand a word

for he is just a man

and she…a mockingbird.


But he followed her across the street

where she landed in a tree

and as she kept chirping loudly he wondered

‘What does she want from me?’


He saw that she was in her nest

making bird sounds he’d never heard

and then he saw what she was fussing about…

On the ground…a baby mockingbird.


Her baby must have fallen 

and here she came to rest

so gently…softly…he picked her up

and returned her to the nest.


The mother mockingbird thanked him

He could see it in her eyes

And he smiled as he walked away

listening to a mockingbird lullaby.


At least he thought it was a lullaby

After all…he didn’t understand a word

for he is just a man


and she…a mockingbird.

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On our walk the morning as we made the turn 

down a tree filled lane

we were greeted in the silence by a tender…misty rain.


We could feel a slight coolness brush agains our face…

and yet

so delicate were her droplets that we did not get wet.


So light…so mild was that touch of rain 

we barely could perceive her

so gentle even the most fragile flowers 

had to lift their petals to receive her.


I looked up to try and glimpse the mist 

floating against the backdrop of the dawn

but as quickly as she started…that misty rain was gone


And once again I had to smile 

as I thanked the rain for the simplicity of her greeting

reminding me to enjoy both life and beauty…


for both of them are fleeting.

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You may think this is a little crazy but I think of it as more carefree

When the other day I found myself having a conversation…with a tree.


This tree stands next to the ocean…and when I saw him I had to grin

There was an eerie beauty in the way he stood.

The way he was influenced by the wind.


I said, “You look a little old and weathered.”

The tree replied, “That is true….I have a few wrinkles on my bark

but then again…so do you.”


“I’ve lost most of my leaves,” he said, “as year after year has passed me by.”

I smiled as I leaned against his bark…“That’s funny…so have I.”


“But look how strong you still are,” I said,

“Even after all the storms that you’ve been through.”

The tree chuckled and I felt his laughter.

“But then again…so are you”.


“I like to think I’m still beautiful.” the tree said as he let out a deep sigh…

“Oh but you are .”I answered quickly…“and I like to think…so am I”.


“What is your secret to a full and happy life?” I asked the tree

“what do you recommend?”

“The key for me”, the tree replied “lies in my ability to bend”.


We talked a little while longer 

about our branches

About our trunks, our crowns…our roots

About how we love the wind and the rain

and other shared attributes.


As I walked away I stopped, turned around

then waved and smiled at that old tree…

And I can’t be sure but I think I saw him wave and smile back at me…


And I remember thinking as I left him gently bending by the sea….


How lucky and proud I was that day…to have a conversation with a tree.

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