Is it possible nature is but a child?

Let me try to verify:

She loves to play with crayons…

have you seen the way she paints the sky?


She colors over everything…she never stays within the lines...

When she’s hungry her stomach grumbles…

In the wind sometimes she whines.


She laughs at all the little things…she gets tickled by the breeze…

Her attention changes quickly…from the flowers to the trees.


She often cries for no reason…she is changing every day

sometimes...she might smell bad...other times...like a bouquet.


She fills our days with sunshine…she’s a constant source of light

and just like any baby…she needs her sleep at night.


With nature, each day is an adventure…you never know what to expect

perhaps nature…

like a child…

is something we should try more to protect.

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Joyce Kilmer began his now famous poem:

I think that I shall never see…a poem as lovely as a tree

and the older I grow…the more I walk among them…

the more with Mr. Kilmer I agree


His beautifully simple poem…written in 1913…as a tribute to the tree…is what brought us to the Joyce Kilmer forest…in Robbinsville…NC.


After a beautiful drive in the country…at the entrance we arrived

and we realized we were here 30 years ago..with our children and Deborahs’s dad while he was still alive.


As the memories washed over us…memories with one another we exchanged…we thought how our life is so different 30 years later…but this forest hasn’t changed.


In truth…the trees have grown a little older…some have fallen…and their wrinkles aren’t as small…but when we stopped to think about it…that has happened to us all.


It’s a virgin forest (meaning it’s never been logged)…and is truly a sight to behold…There are 100 species of trees…some standing 100 feet tall…many over 400 years old.


As we began to walk among these giants…we didn’t travel very far…before once again realizing how huge are the trees that surround us…and how minuscule we are.


We’d find one of these behemoths…then at it’s base the two of us would stop…We’d turn our eyes to the heavens…but we could not see the top.


We noticed each tree is like a high rise apartment…some standing alone…others interweaved…with a host of animals, insects and plants living among their bark, their branches…their leaves.


Walking in the midst of these ancient giants…we felt blessed…we felt a joy within us release…..our hearts seemed to beat a little slower and our inner souls found peace.


His poem is not a very long poem…it ends as it began…quite lyrically…stating: poems are made by fools like me…but only God can make a tree


We added new memories to our old ones…

in a virgin forest we once visited 30 years before……

and as I try to put our feelings into a poem…

Mr. Kilmer I couldn’t agree with you more.

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Nature was created in silence…her beauty meant to endear

but if we look behind her curtain of silence…what wonderful sounds we hear.


Lift the curtain on a forest path…listen to the breeze…

pause next to a field of wildflowers…listen to the bees.


Lay your ear against the wrinkled trunks and listen to the trees

Next to a lake after a winter snow…listen to the freeze.


Stop before the opening in the rocks…listen to the cave.

Stand along the shoreline…listen to the waves.


Turn your head up to the heavens…then gently close your eyes…

listen to the clouds as they soar across the sky.


Listen to the stars at night…you can almost hear their dreams.

Linger on the riverbank…listen to the stream.


Behind her curtain of silence…nature conducts her symphony.

Behind her curtain of silence…you will find her harmony.


Behind her curtain of silence…softly filling the air…

a myriad of wonders…waiting for you there.




We went on a hike to the top of a mountain…on a morning still sprinkled with dew…

anticipating all the way up..and once at the top..we were in for some wonderful views.


We knew we would see forever…in the sky…high above the pines

but the more we walked..the more we realized nature had other designs.


A fog rolled in…obstructing our view….covering the land surrealistically 

so we focused on what was in front of us…all the things we were able to see…


We saw the beauty of the fog…the way it moves…how to the trees and mountains it clings.

We noticed how, even in the fog, flowers bloom and birds continue to sing.


We watched at times the fog soar up and other times crawl across the trees…and we wondered does the breeze control the fog or does the fog control the breeze. 


We felt the fog roll over us…like ghosts floating through the air

leaving behind a bit of dampness…on our clothes…on our hands…in our hair.


We noticed that moisture on the flowers and plants…making them shine as it helps them to grow…we saw how the fog in the distance…covered the land like a blanket of snow… 


We noticed there was magic in the fog…magic we never knew…

turning trees into magicians as they faded in…and then out of our view.


We found more magic in a large rock surrounded by rose petals…

and although the ceremony was through…

we imagined a couple standing there…

smiling…both of them saying I do.


Yes…we went looking for beauty on the mountain….

we had a certain kind of beauty in our heads…

but unable to see the beauty we came for…

we found our beauty in the fog instead.


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The sun has surrendered to the clouds…now only a suggestion of the mountains remain…as we sit upon the porch swing…and listened to the rain.


There is a rhythm to the sound…it rises and falls upon the breeze

and we marvel how some raindrops find their way onto the ground

while others linger in the trees.


We find ourselves drawn to our bed…as raindrops cascade from the sky

the soft music they’re composing…creating the perfect lullaby…


As we close our eyes and listen…to her music soft and deep

we find the melody so soothing…we drift…slowly…off to sleep…


Until we hear a tapping…upon our window pane

and we smile when we realize…we’ve been awakened by the rain…


We walk back to the porch swing…as the rain beguiles and enthralls

and we find strength among the raindrops…for they are not afraid to fall…


And we find happiness in the rain…where others may find gloom

for we understand the sky must weep…if the flowers are to bloom.


The rain stops as quickly as it began…the mountains all return

as nature once again reminds us…of all we have to learn…


Like how, in a gentle afternoon shower,

there is so much to be gained

if one stops to take a moment…

and listen to the rain.

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We went to the top of a mountain…up a mountain road we wound our way

because we know it’s the perfect place to watch the sun set on the day.


We never tire of watching a sunset…for each one is unique 

The sky is ever-changing as the sun and clouds play hide-and-seek.


There is something soothing…mesmerizing…watching another day go to bed…as colors stretch across the sky in shades of yellow, orange and red.


I guess you could say, as far as sunsets, Deborah and I are fans…but this evening as we stood atop the mountain the sun and clouds had other plans.


This evening’s sun was bashful…she seemed a lttle shy…choosing to hide behind the clouds as they spread across the sky.


But we were not upset…on a mountain top…surrounded by the trees..

for even a sunset with no sun…is a beautiful sight to see.


With no sunset to watch…our eyes found so many other sights to see…

For instance…a group of little birds as they landed in a nearby tree.


They were a little distance away but we noticed how the tree they landed in shook…

so I ran to the car, got our binoculars…so we could get a closer look


There on the mountaintop…unable to watch the sunset we adore…

we saw, instead, a group of birds we had never seen before.


A google search led us to cedar waxwings…and I admit we were both stunned

because the cedar waxwing has the same colors of our bashful setting sun.


The little orange atop its head looked kind of like a veil…

The red showed up on the tip of its wings…they yellow on its tail.


To top it off…we were serenaded by this previously, to us, unseen bird

with one of the softest sweetest birdsongs we have ever heard.


Yes, we came to the mountain to watch a sunset…

but when that sunset was obscured….

we were blessed…

oh how we were blessed

to find our sunset in a bird.

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I noticed it quite early…in the cool of a morning breeze

around the corner of our cabin…the sun…peeking through the trees.


Only when the sun is rising does she send out these mesmerizing rays…

Shafts of light that brighten up our morning…saying, come out play.


And there…illuminated by the sun…fluttering in the breeze

I saw a spider in her web…suspended from the trees.


As I made my way for a closer look…by its beauty I was stunned

and I wondered if the spider, like me…was enamored by the sun.


Is the spider even capable of seeing beauty through her eyes?

Does she dance within the sun’s rays as it rises in the sky?


Does she understand how day and night rise…and how they ebb?

Does she realize…while she’s creating…the beauty of her web?


Does she appreciate that beauty once its symmetry is done…

as it glows in the early morning…illuminated by the sun?


I wanted to ask the spider all these questions…but as the sun rose in the sky…I realized it was best to enjoy the moment and not to question why?


So there we stood as the day awakened…as silent as can be…

Bathed in this daily miracle…the spider…her web…and me.


Perhaps one day she’ll share her secrets with me…before my life is done

until then…I am perfectly content 


with her, 

the sun.





I noticed the old man every morning as he walked by on his own…one day I stopped and asked him, “Old man…why do you walk alone?”


The old man, who was always smiling, turned and his smile fell on me… “I never walk alone.” he said, “as long as there are trees.”


“As long as there are birds who in those trees do sing…as long as there are crickets chirping…as long as there are flowers in the Spring.”


As long as there’s a breeze in my face…as long as there is water in the bay…as long as there are rabbits who hop with me along the way.” 


“As long as there are owls who hoot heir morning tune…as long as looking down on me…there is a sliver of the moon.”


“As long as there are stars and planets in colors white and yellow and red…as long as there are clouds to greet me gently floating overhead.”


“You ask why I walk alone,” he said, “but alone I never will be…as long as the memory of my wife is walking next to me.”


“I’d love to stay and talk more,” the old man winked, “but it is such a beautiful day.” Then the old man smiled saying, “so we best be on our way.”


Most days now I wave at him as he walks with his memories…

his trees…

his clouds…

but every now and then…

with the old man’s blessing…

he lets me join the crowd.



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We couldn’t help but notice her…on the sand…washed up by the sea…stretched out in the sun…what remained of a driftwood tree.


I wondered how she found her way here…naked on the shore of our state park…Did the incessant waves on her journey strip away her bark?


I had so many questions for this lonely driftwood tree…How long have you been drifting?…Did you travel across the sea?


What started you on your journey?  How’d you end up on this sand?

Are you from a nearby island…or from a far off distant land?


Was it frightening on the ocean…once that enormous wave you caught?

Have you enjoyed the freedom….of not being rooted to one spot?


What’s it like to take a trip with destinations undefined?

How long have you been drifting?

Do you miss the trees you left behind?


Have you met other trees along the way?  Were you able to make friends?

Are you heading out tomorrow or is this where your journey ends?


I asked her all these questions…but of course she did not answer me…

just another illustration of the mysteries of the sea.


One question was answered however…for on another day as we walked along the beach at dawn…when we reached the spot where we first saw her…the driftwood tree was gone.



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