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.



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I don’t think I understood the true meaning of Veteran’s Day when I was but a boy

I knew people got together to commemorate…to be thankful…to share joy.


But I thought of it as an old people’s holiday...I was just happy to be out of school.

Now I look back at that naive little boy and consider him a fool.


In high school and college, since I never had to fight…and it was a different time,

I hated everything about war...it’s reason and it’s rhyme.


I did not heed the main lesson of war and the men and women who taught it.

That it is possible to hate a war...but have respect for those who fought it.


But time and experience have slowly left their signature on me

And I’ve come to realize my folly and see today quite differently.


I imagine most people in the world hate war just as much as me

and understand that people fight…so we can all be free.


I know that those who fight in war are black and white and gay, 

I know that they are men and women…I know they have different ways to pray.


I also know that on Veteran’s Day as we honor Veterans far and wide

we come together…united…and put our differences aside.


Today we honor our soldiers…who fight to keep us free

Today when we commemorate…Americans are all we see.


Which makes you wonder, doesn’t it…

if our differences didn’t matter any more

we might not need to fight….

there’d be no need for war.


I know...I know...the world we live in is a lot more complicated than it seems...

and I am not that naive little boy anymore, 

but still...a man can dream.


So on this Veteran’s Day and every day…

my thanks for those who fight shall never be impeded…

nor will my hope their services…


will no longer be needed.

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