In the comfort of my boat…as on the water I did float

under a cloud filled sapphire sky

From my spot upon the river wide…up ahead along the riverside

one particular tree captured my eye.


I have always been enthralled…how the trees grow straight and tall

How together they create such a beautiful sight

but something was awry…and the tree that caught my eye

was not straight…but leaning to the right.


Yet rooted to the land…this tree continued to look grand

even leaning as it did it still stood tall

For I am must now report…two trees were offering support

using their branches they would not let him fall.


The first tree did astound…it was lying on the ground

and caught the falling tree to help it stop

The second tree still standing with it’s open arms expanding

caught the falling tree nearer to its top.


And I had to smile at the sight…how nature does things right

how she uses all she has to save a tree

And the way, like birds of a feather, trees will work together

is a wonderful and beautiful sight to see.


And I thought we can learn a lot…all that nature knows and taught

for as to life…she seems to hold the keys

For wouldn’t it be grand….if one day we came to understand


How trees stand taller when they stand with other trees

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When I was young I’d pick dandelions…pick them with aplomb

I’d make a little bouquet and take it home to Mom.


I never thought much about it…never saw the need…

after all they weren’t really flowers…just a bunch of weeds.


I was expressing that thought the other day when a dandelion overheard

“Excuse me,” he interrupted, “but your thinking is absurd.”


“I am a lovely flower…grown from a beautiful seed.”

(I can’t believe I was about to have a conversation with a weed!)


I spread out on the lawn and met that dandelion face to face

“OK! I am listening.” I said to her. “Go ahead and make your case.”


“Well, without being too modest,” she began. “people pick me every day

and when they pick a lot of me I become a beautiful bouquet.”


“How many times are we brought to a house and make someone’s mother weep?”

“Did you know I open to greet the morning and in the evening close to sleep.”


“You can travel across the globe…searching everywhere low and high

and you won’t fine another flower who can symbolize the sky.”


“When I am yellow I resemble the sun as it shines in the heavens at noon.”

“When I change into a puff ball…I look just like the moon.”


“And I don’t think I’m taking this comparison a bit too far

when I say that as my seeds fly off…they look just like the stars.”


“There is no doubt when I arrive…from the moment my blooms unfurled

I make people smile and bring beauty to the world.”


“Ok…OK you made your point!” I said.  “There’s nothing more you need to say

but I have to tell you dandelion…you had me at bouquet.”


So now I understand and I’m on the dandelion as a flower bandwagon

Perhaps it’s time I have a talk with that fly 


who thinks he is a dragon.


Thoreau found solace in his pond…trees made Joyce Kilmer quiver

but yesterday I found our comfort…floating on the river.


We paddled and floated in our kayaks…you know…boats…the quiet kind

gladly leaving our computers and technology behind.


If we wanted to watch a video…all we had to do was look around

If we wanted to listen to music…we were inundated with sound.


We had a constantly changing video right before our eyes

we had the slowly moving water, the trees, the clouds…the sky.


We didn’t need a remote…no need to switch the channel being shown

because nature is always changing the view…subtly…on her own.


It’s like a panoramic 3D movie that is shifting all the time

It’s beautiful..it’s breathtaking…and it doesn’t cost a dime.


And if it’s music that you crave…stop and listen as you float

There is a rhythm to the waves as they brush against your boat.


Then music sung by countless birds from their nests in endless trees

finds its way into your heart as it drifts upon the breeze.


You drift along losing track of time…you flow without a care

feeling the coolness of the water…smelling the freshness of the air.


You instinctively stop paddling…as you drift around the bend

wishing this moment would last forever…hoping this feeling would never end.


and there upon the river…far far from the maddening crowds

reflected in the water…you find yourself floating through the clouds.


I understand what Thoreau meant about his pond and Mr. Kilmer about his tree


because yesterday…as if my magic… the river spoke to me.

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As we walk upon the Earth 

under the sky 

among the trees

as we listen to the animals

or the waves upon the seas


As she awakens in the early morning 

or in the evening when she’s sleeping

there is so much about nature we do not know

so many secrets she is keeping.


She understands about balance

about beauty

about grace…

How everything in this world has value

has a place.


She truly understand what it means to be alive

and how only by working together will we continue to survive…


I only hope as we walk upon this Earth 

under the sky 

among the trees

as we listen to the animals

or the waves upon the seas 


she will one day share her secrets with us

and we, with great acclaim…

will smile with the knowledge


our world will never be the same

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As we walked along a wooded path beside the river’s edge 

enjoying the evening breeze

we began to notice the sunset…

peeking through the trees.


We marveled at the ever changing colors 

it was like walking in a dream

As we saw the radiance of the sky before us 

reflected in the stream…


As we marveled at the beauty…

(sometimes we’d be walking and we’d freeze)

I wondered: if we’re enjoying this so much...

what about the trees.


Can a tree enjoy a sunset?…Does a tree even have an eye?

Can it marvel at how the colors transform the evening sky?


And then I saw it…

a lonely tree…

one we passed on our walk out…

and I found the answer to my question

now I have no doubt…


For this little tree next to the river growing free and straight and wild

Seemed to be watching this same sunset…

with the wonder of a child.


She was standing tall to get the best view..

a view that was breathtaking

And as I got a little closer to her I could see her needles shaking.


Standing beside her along the river…

as new colors would appear


on the bark of this tiny tree…

I believe I saw her shed a tear.


It is impossible to know what any tree truly sees

It’s possible her needles were just quaking in the breeze…


It’s impossible to know if any tree truly cries

It’s possible that was just sap and not a tear falling from her eyes.


But I like to believe in miracles…

I like to think as we enjoy an evening breeze

we can share a beautiful sunset…

with each other…


and the trees.

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He was a story teller, my old man, and he was never more in his glory

than when sitting around a campfire telling us a story.


I’m not sure where they came from but as we sat bathed in the campfire light

we were captivated…mesmerized..we could have listened to him all night.


One of my favorite stories…I still remember the look in my dad’s eyes

in the cool of a summer evening when he told us about fireflies.


He had just kindled the fire when he gathered us around

“Watch the fire closely,” he whispered, “and do not make a sound.”


“Out of these dancing flames.” He continued, “You won’t believe your eyes.

for you will be a witness to the birth of fireflies.”


An evil witch once held three children and in the darkness of the night

fireflies led them to safety as they followed their twinkling lights.


The old witch was so angry…every firefly immediately fell

(as she said mumbled wicked magic words)…under the evil of her spell.


“From this day forward,” the old witch smirked, “because of what you did to me

every firefly in the world shall be encased within the trees.”


The old witch thought she was pretty smart then sat down to have a feast

never realizing in a campfire the fireflies would be released.


And once released from within the tree…those evil words the witch had spoken

could not harm the fireflies again…because her spell was broken.


“So rest your eyes on the fire.” Dad said. “Be as quiet as a can be.

and see if you can count all the fireflies that you see.”


We did as we were told and we couldn’t believe our eyes

out of that fire…out of those flames…we saw the birth of fireflies.


I cannot tell you how many…don’t know the exact amount

because as the fire burned on that evening…the three of us lost count.


Today the adult in me knows they are just ashes…

escaping the fire as they soar up to the sky

but the child in me can’t help smiling every time I witness


the birth of fireflies.

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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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We are blessed to walk in nature where everyday her routine unfolds before our eyes

but every now and then we’re blessed when she gives us a surprise.


Each morning like clockwork thousands of crows set forth

crossing the sky just above us…as they head out south to north..


We usually hear them before we see them…in loud gatherings they fly

calling out to one another as they nonchalantly flutter by.


Today a strong wind was blowing which meant those intelligent crows

with an understanding of aerodynamics…would be flying rather low…


We watched them skimming neath the wind almost touching the water…

or just above the ground

and were amazed how this line of normally boisterous crows…never made a sound.


We could hear ropes hitting masts of ships in the marina 

sounds the wind makes when she blows.

We could hear the waves crash upon the shore…

but we never heard the crows.


And when the crows are silent…when they’re as quiet as a kite

We are treated, in that silence, to the beauty of their flight.


Flying and talking to one another…the beauty of their harmony flows

but there is also quiet beauty in the silence of the crows.


Some of nature’s beauty is in her routines…

her nightly sunsets and daily sunrises

but every now and then she reminds us…


there is beauty in her surprises.

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It’s passed down from generation to generation

and though it might seem simple to you and me

their is a knowledge

a method

a spiritualness

an artistry to climbing a tree.


When you find a tree you’d like to climb…you must pause…

as part of the tradition

pause to give thanks for this tree and to quietly ask permission.


For though you are happy to have found a tree that, for climbing, now befits you

you must wait for an answer from the tree…

it is the tree who must permit you.


If there is a nest in the top or it’s branches are to weak 

the tree will tell you now is bad timing

and ask you to come back when the nest is unoccupied

or its branches are more suitable for climbing.


But when you find a tree that is willing

when a tree lets you know it is time

you ascend to the top without effort

as the branches seem to assist in your climb.


And it’s just as important when you’ve finished

when the tree gently sets you back down

to again thank the tree for it’s generosity

the minute your feet hit the ground.


Yes, it seems when it comes to climbing a tree

what’s important is the spiritualness you exude…

It has less to do with your ability to climb

and more with your kindness and your gratitude…


It’s been passed down from generation to generation

and in each generation there comes a time…

when they realize the same magic that works for climbing a tree…


works for whatever in life they might climb.

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