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.



View joy's Full Portfolio




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.



View joy's Full Portfolio



A pod of pelicans flew by me the other morning and as I bid them au revoir…I wondered to myself if they know how graceful they all are.


Of course this is a mystery I’m likely never too unlock…but it led to a host of other questions as I continued on my walk.


Does a tree know how majestic he is…a nightingale how lovely is her song…does an octopus realize his intelligence…does an elephant know he’s strong?


How does night know when to become day…how does the moon know when to rise…do clouds feel when they’ve been painted by the sun…do rabbits communicate with their eyes?


Does a hippopotamus know how much he weighs…do otters really know how to play…do prairie dogs actually kiss…is an owl as wise as they say?


Can the oceans comprehend their vastness…or how the sunlight turns them blue…do the waves on the tides know where they’ve been…or where they’re going to?


Do butterflies and flowers know how beautiful they are…do flamingos know they are beguiling…do crickets have a conductor…why are dolphins always smiling?


I imagine these questions and others like them shall remain as elusive as the gracefulness of a pelican’s wings…but how lucky are we as humans that we can wonder about such things.

View joy's Full Portfolio




A light rain began falling this morning and when I looked up much to my surprise I saw a small cloud just above me with tears falling from her eyes.


“What’s the matter little cloud?” I asked as she floated in the sky. 

“On a beautiful morning such as this…what could make you cry?”


“It’s funny you should say beautiful.” The little cloud answered. 

“And I’m not sure you’ll understand but I see so much beauty every day as I drift across the land.”


“I see mountains, valleys, lakes and rivers.  I see oceans and the sea.

The animals, the flowers and the people…all look so beautiful to me.”


“I see beauty in every blade of grass and every drop of morning dew but how often I have wondered…if I am beautiful too.”


“Oh little cloud,” I said to her, “I can see you are compassionate…kind and sweet and dutiful…and the fact that you see beauty everywhere…why…that’s what makes you beautiful.”


“I can’t speak for all of nature…I can only speak for me but I have often thought what makes something beautiful is all the beauty you cannot see.”


“Many people look to the outside of a person and think that’s where their beauty begins, but I can tell you from experience…true beauty lies within.”


“I think I can help you little cloud.” I said. “All you need do is follow me.”

Then I took her down to the shore and as she hovered over the sea…


I said, “Perhaps today is the day we set your beauty free.

Look down into the water…into your soul..and tell me what you see.”


The little cloud looked into the water and smiled as she shook her fluffy head.

Then a tear fell from her eye as she sighed…”I am beautiful!” She said.


“Today was your lucky day!” I whispered to myself as I waved to that little cloud from afar…”for many people live their entire lives not knowing how beautiful they are”.

View joy's Full Portfolio




There is this oak tree in our front yard with whom I like to talk…she greets me every morning as I’m about to take my walk.


After our greeting this morning…I paused…overcome by a wave of sadness because…I don’t think I ever thanked this tree for everything she does.


When I think about this tree…any tree…how quickly I discern how a tree’s life is all about giving while asking for nothing in return.


This tree has been around forever…how long is difficult to gauge…because, as she often tells me, you don’t ask a tree it’s age.


But all this time has filled her with wisdom…in every branch and leaf and nook…wisdom she will gladly share…if one knows where to look.


Under her leaves we have found comfort…it’s where our children and grandchildren played….She helps to clean the air we breathe and has provided us with shade.


Her bark has survived all kinds of weather…winds and rains and storms…

and reminds us as we all grow older to be proud of the wrinkles that we’ve formed. 


Her roots run deep into the earth…providing her with strength and stability…and remind us how some of our most important parts are the ones we cannot see.


Her leaves not only help her grow and add to her beauty…but drop when the fall winds blow…reminding us how love is as important in holding us together…as it is in letting go.


So I went back to the thank my tree…for being so important…so valuable…and ever so beguiling….and as I walked away when I turned back to look…I could see my tree was smiling.



View joy's Full Portfolio


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