It happened long ago and yet the memory lingers…the day a butterfly stopped to rest upon their daughter’s finger.


Somehow that butterfly sensed landing on that finger extended out…it was the perfect place to take a break…and she had nothing to worry about.


They have often wondered what made this butterfly decide, once their daughter’s finger she inspected…that in their daughter’s care she’d be safe…she’d be protected.


Was it the gentleness of their daughter’s touch or the smile upon her face that led that butterfly to believe there was no danger in that space?


That butterfly who, as everybody knows, was an insect fluttering wild…could she have somehow sensed the acceptance and the innocence in the child?


Is it possible she landed upon their daughter’s finger knowing she wouldn’t be caught?

Which made them wonder at the time if butterflies are more perceptive than they thought.


As they watched their daughter…from that innocent child grow…butterflies kept landing on her…because, they imagined, butterflies somehow know.


Perhaps butterflies possess an innate talent…one nature has always known…the ability to sense the kindness, the acceptance, the safety and the innocence…even when the child’s grown.


Which leads a person to wonder…

if the best way to choose our politicians…

would be to make everyone of them stand…

inside a butterfly garden 

and see upon which ones the butterflies land.

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I have this wonderful bouquet of friends…all as different as night and day…

Some of my friends pray to their God…while others…to a different God they pray.


Some of my friends don’ t believe in God at all…can you imagine that!

Some of my friends are old, some young…some thin, some bald, some fat.


Some of my friends are uncoordinated…others are amazing athletes.

Some of my friends are messy…some of my friends are neat.


Some of my friends come from other countries…speak different languages…wear different dress.

Some of my friends have more money than me…and some, I imagine, have less


Some of my friends are different colors…read different books…watch different movies and TV…

Some of my friends love to soar across the sky…some love to sail the sea…


Some of my friends are married…some divorced…some are healthy some have allergies…

Some of my friends are alone…others have extended families.


Some of my friends love other friends who happen to be the same sex.

Some of my friends eat meat…some of my friends still write checks!


Some of my friends have changed who they are…and now feel happy, more relaxed and free…for they are now the people they were born to be.


I hope as I grow older…to welcome in new friends…

and I hope the world…one day…

will see the more varied and diverse our group of friends…

the more beautiful the bouquet.

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We walked along the beach today...together hand in hand

enjoying the sights and sounds of nature…while making footprints in the sand.


We watched the sandpipers scurry to and fro between the water and the land

searching for their morning meal…while making footprints in the sand.


We saw a young family playing together making castles with their hands

each moment filled with laughter…while making footprints in the sand.


As we walked what caught my attention was not so much the beauty of the land

It was the myriad of footprints left imprinted in the sand.


And the fact we will never know who made these footprints in the sand.

If they were old or young or black or white…if they were a woman…or a man?


We can’t tell their gender…their God…where politically they stand…

when all we have two go on are their footprints in the sand


We have no way of knowing if they were from Russia, Ukraine, Sweden or Finland…

when the only information before us are their footprints in the sand.


And for one idealistic moment I thought…wouldn’t it be grand…

If all we had to judge another person by…were their footprints in the sand.


No one need be ridiculed…no one need be banned…

we would only see how similar we are from our footprints in the sand.


And in that idealistic moment I wished we were more like sandpipers as we scurry across the land…with no reason to judge each other while making footprints in the sand.


Hoping we could live in harmony…like the footprints we saw today…

and that the rising tide of hate would never come ashore…and wash that harmony away.

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We come from Earth…we are but one part of nature…our brothers and sisters are the land and the sea and the rain…but too often we think we are better than nature…because, we think, we have a superior brain.


We think we’ve evolved beyond nature’s lessons…which causes nature every day to beseech us…pleading how we still have so much to learn…and she…still so much to teach us.


Take acceptance for instance…after millenniums of watching us…nature continues to be concerned…for she knows there is still so much about accepting one another we have yet to learn.


Do the animals care what we look like…if we are tall, short, heavy or thin?

Do the flowers care what God we pray to?

Do the oceans even notice the color of our skin?


Does the snow or rain care about your gender or who you love?

Do trees stand in judgement of you?

Does the Earth draw boundaries across her lands…

or is this something only we humans do?


No, nature continues to try and teach us how we’re all connected…

how every part of nature is our sister and our brother….

and that she doesn’t care who or how we love…

only that we love one another.


It’s a lesson natures’ been trying to teach us throughout all of human history…

a lesson she hopes we humans…

with our superior brains…

one day will be able to see.


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We have no control over many things that across this planet have unfurled…but we can control the way we think and act in our little corner of the world.


Here we have some command over the world we’re trying to create…for instance our corner of the world is so small…we have no room for hate.


In our little corner we want every person to know…from wherever they travel…near or far…they will be always be welcomed and accepted here for exactly who they are.


In our little corner of the world love is simple…love is kind…

In fact with kindness and simplicity is how our little corner is designed.


Reading is simple in our little corner…here we read each other’s eyes…it’s where we find our truth…it’s where our happiness lies.


Math is simple in our little corner…our feelings we do not hide…all our sadness is divided…all our joys are multiplied.


I guess what we’re trying to say…what we think it’s our destiny to do…

when you enter our little corner of the world…

is, simply, to put a little love on you.


So no matter what has happened in your past…

no matter how your life has previously unfurled…

we hope you will find peace and love and comfort 

in our little corner of the world.


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Some people believe those of us with a bleeding heart can’t possibly be strong…well those of us with a bleeding heart would like them to know they’re wrong.


In the remainder of this poem…if you choose to continue reading…you’ll find a few examples of why our hearts are bleeding.


They bleed for Native Americans, for people of color, for women, for LGTBQ, for immigrants…for all those people who have ever been and continue to be wronged…they bleed for all those who have ever been made to feel inferior…to feel as if they don’t belong.


They bleed for our innocent children who attend school thinking they’ll be safe within its walls…who have been or fear they will be shot while walking down its halls.


They bleed for soldiers in countries whose leaders think the only solution is to fight…and in a world where some of us throw leftover food away…they bleed for those who go to bed hungry every night. 


They bleed for all the homeless people…for all those without healthcare…for anyone in need…they bleed for we the people when our leaders have forgotten how to lead.


And they bleed for the planet we are living on…they bleed because so many don’t seem to care about the damage we’re inflicting to her lands…her seas…her air.


To all my fellow bleeding hearts…let me leave you with this thought…

Is it wrong that our hearts are bleeding…

or is it wrong…

that so many hearts are not?


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When I was young I thought the road to love…to kindness…to acceptance and to equality would be an easy road to follow as long as everyone had the same thoughts and feelings as me.


We’d all be kind, loving and generous…all people would be free…if everyone in the world had the same thoughts and feelings as me.


There would be no animosity…no hate…no wars…no prejudice…no bigotry…if everyone in the world had the same thoughts and feelings as me.


Alas! That is not the way it is…not the way I’d hoped it would be…because everyone in the world does not have the same thoughts and feelings as me.


Which means we spend a lot of time angry with one another…angry about the things on which we disagree…because you can’t force me to think like you…and I can’t force you to think like me.


And how ironic that because there is so much on which we disagree…that I would end up hating you…and you end up hating me.


And though it’s true hoping everyone would share my thoughts and feelings was my original intent…sharing thoughts and feeling of hatred was not exactly what I meant.


Instead I’ve come to realize on the road to love, to kindness, to acceptance and equality…there are many paths to cross…and with so many paths…it is easy to get lost.


I’m now resigned to the fact everyone in the world will never have the same thought s and feelings as me….but I still pray that whatever path they choose will lead to love…to kindness..to acceptance and to equality.


Yes, there is now an old realist in me who knows 

everyone will never think and feel like me….


There is also a young dreamer in me who continues to hope



they will.

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It’s funny…how it works…people walk into the bookstore as strangers…we greet…we talk…I might help them find the book they’re looking for…we talk some more…and in those few brief moments…we’re not strangers anymore.


We begin by talking about books…then move to sharing things about our life…

“Her birthday is next week.” He smiles.  “I’m going to buy this old book for my wife.”


“What a beautiful baby!” I say. “I remember when our children were that small…but it’s been a while…when I wave to the baby and she waves back…everybody smiles.


“Can I bring my dog into the store?”

“Of course…that would be fine.”

Then he tells me a little about his dog…and I tell him things I remember about mine.


And so it goes…one after the other…strangers walk into our store…and once we share what we have in common…we’re not strangers anymore.


Because the more we learn about each other…the more bridges we create…the more there is to love and the less there is to hate.


Which means if we can make strangers into friends…

the less chance there is for danger

because it’s harder to hate a friend…than it is to hate a stranger.


So here’s my vote for viewing the world as one giant expansive bookstore…

where we meet as strangers…

we talk…

we share with one another…

where in a matter of minutes…

we’re not strangers anymore.



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One way, I think, to come to a better understanding of our country…of this land…is to take a walk along the beach…and watch people playing in the sand.


With our first steps onto the sand…one simple thought arises…how before us stretch a sea of people in all colors…shapes and sizes.


This alone makes us smile but we are also pleasantly surprised to watch as an entire circle of life plays out before our eyes.


We see lovers holding hands…we pass a wedding…we sneak a peek…we see another couple…she’s pregnant…their baby’s due within the week.


As our walk continues in the cooling breeze of a Florida Autumn…we see a family with a naked baby…the sand is covering his bottom.


We see families with older children…their sounds drowned out by the oceans roar…running…laughing…jumping…playing catch along the shore.


We see older couples, just like us, walking with elegance and grace…It’s hard to find a person on the beach without a smile on their face.


Here’s a little something, I imagine, every seashore has to teach…people playing on the beach have no labels…they’re just people on the beach!


So, if you want to come to a better understanding of this country…of any country…of any land…take a walk along any beach and watch how people share the sand.


Yes, I imagine that’s exactly the message the seashore means to send…

as we share the sand…

the sun…

the sea together…

how easily we blend.


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