I have never been nor will I ever be a good dancer my moves are the opposite of entrancing.

but never have I…nor never will I let my lack of rhythm inhibit me from dancing.


My reasoning is simple…one day it came to me with ease

It took place years ago when I had….a conversation with the trees.


It was in the mountains…the sun was peeking through the trees when by chance 

I happened to be walking and saw the trees begin to dance.


Why are you dancing I asked the trees…I don’t hear any music…

not one song

And what do you have to dance about being stuck in one place your whole life long?


“If you can’t hear the music”, the trees said 

(all the while they kept dancing too),

“that has nothing to do with us and everything to do with you".


“Yes it ’s true…we are all fated to grow in one place…but this one place we can enhance….

by swaying a little, by moving our leaves and branches we have found a way to dance.”


“So why then do you dance” I asked. “Is this part of nature’s plan?”

The trees shrugged…then together smiled…”We dance because we can.?


“There are no secrets, no mysteries in why we dance…no hidden truths to be revealed.

Ask any tree and they will tell you…we dance because of how it makes us feel.”


“We never know what will happen from one day to the next…life is a game of chance…

We dance no matter the season or the weather..because we find our joy within the dance


“In every life we must find our own joy.” the trees said, “our own happiness, our own romance….

sometimes we dance because we’re joyful and sometimes it’s our joy that makes us dance.”


This bit of tree wisdom is why…at any time 

you might find me dancing uninhibited and enthusiastically

after all…

if it was good enough for the trees…

then it’s good enough for me.

View joy's Full Portfolio



May we be blessed to acknowledge all the wonders in our life 

that have, for us, thus far accrued…

and to begin each day with a word of thanks…

and thoughts of gratitude.


Today I woke up thankful

as thankful as I can be

to live in a world inhabited by such a diversity of trees.


The more I walk among them

the more it occurs to me…

how every tree ever created

was created…

to be a giving tree.

View joy's Full Portfolio



When I walk among the trees with their branches stretching high into the air

I think of all the wonders they have seen…all the wisdom stored in there.


In all the years they’ve spent listening as loyal sentries…silent monks

I think of all the knowledge…all the wisdom stored within their trunks.


And I wonder since trees cannot speak…how is their wisdom meant to reach us?

How are we to learn all the things the silent trees are meant to teach us?


Then I think…perhaps with silent wisdom is how our creators have designed them…

and if there are lessons in the trees…it is up to us to find them.


Lessons like strength and patience…and reaching for the stars

How to stand noble…tall and confident…proud of who we are.


How trees are kind and accepting to all the trees…how they help one another thrive…

how trees are all connected and need each other to survive.


How to weather any storm…how’s there is nothing they can’t face…

How they accept the wrinkles on their bark…and age with dignity and grace.


As they provide us with the air and beauty and shade perhaps the best lesson we should learn…is how to give to others…while asking nothing in return.


And I wonder since the trees and I are still growing…

every time to the forest I return….

how much more they have to teach me…

and how much more I have to learn

View joy's Full Portfolio



I love trees but I am not an expert…I just know they touch my heart…

Except for some maples, poplars and a few oaks…I can’t tell trees apart.


Because I’m not an expert…but still love the way they make me smile…

I would never be considered an arborist…but I am a dendrophile.


An arborist would have studied and understand the science of every tree that comes her way….but as a dendrophile…walking among the trees I’m surprised a little every day.


An arborist knows there are over 64,000 species of trees…a fact they have been taught…

As a dendrophile I look at all the trees in awe…and say,..”WOW! I sure do see a lot.” 


An arborist…probably has some awe in him…but understands a tree’s creation

As a dendrophile, happily, I only have my imagination. 


An arborist cannot make up stories about trees she knows may not be true….

but a dendrophile…we’re different…for that’s exactly what we do. 


Since there is so much about the trees and the forest we do not understand…

a walk though the forest with a dendorphile…is like a trip through a wonderland. 


A dendrophile walking in the woods…bathed in moonlight or in the light the day…

hears the trees whispering to one another…and wonders what they’re trying to say.


So we make up fables and fairy tales…some as fanciful can be..

about all that inhabit the forest…and about our friends the trees.


For instance arborist sees two trees close together and explains how they communicate, how they share nutrients…how it’s part of what the Creator and nature have planned…

A dendrophile sees the same two trees and says…

Aw look…they’re holding hands.


Certainly there is a place for arborists….

their profession is both beneficial and worthwhile…

But as for me…

I’m happy walking through the woods for the rest of my life…

one joyful dendrophile.

View joy's Full Portfolio



If I could choose one type of love for two people to share that would allow them throughout their life together to be happy…to rejoice…one love above all others…

then tree love would be my choice.


Tree love begins when two seeds of love are planted together…how it happens…no one really knows…but once planted side-by-side, like two trees, their love begins to grow.


They grow so close together their limbs are always touching and anyone who sees them understands the love they share between them…as they’re forever holding hands.


Individually they are independent and wonderful but together…each other they enhance…

Watch them in the wind…see how beautifully they dance.


Watch them weather any storm together…watch them feel each other’s pain…watch them share their joy and laughter watch them play out in the rain.


Watch if one tree teeters in the wind or a sudden summer squall…how the other tree is there to catch them…and will not let them fall.


Watch if one tree is filled with sorrow…is ever nervous or afraid…how the other tree is there with arms outstretched to offer the comfort of its shade.


Watch how there is no jealousy between them…no feeling they have to hide…if one tree is taller or more colorful than the other…there is only delight…and joy…and pride.


Watch how, no matter how old and wrinkled they become…they remain young in their hearts…and how their roots have grown so intertwined they can’t be pulled apart.


The road to joy and happiness…that’s an easy choice for me…

Yes, if I could choose one path to true love…then tree love it would be.

View joy's Full Portfolio




It was 30 years ago…one year after Grandma died…after we said goodbye…when our son wanted to plant a tree by her grave…at that time the tree was 4 inches high.


I was quite impressed that day with the love and wisdom he displayed,

“I’m going to plant this by Grandma’s grave,” He said, “because Grandma loved the shade.”


When I mentioned that little tree won’t provide much shade…his answer gave me a thrill,

“Not today, Dad,” he said, “but one day…one day…it will.”


Yesterday Deborah and I visited her mom’s grave and that tree is no longer small…from its humble 4 inch beginning it now stands 45 feet tall.


When we decide to plant a tree…that tree has no way of knowing where it will end up…where it is destined to grow…if it will bask in the southern sunshine…or weather the winter snow.


If it will look out over the ocean from an island in the seven seas…if it will stand on top of a mountain and sway gently in the breeze.


If it’s lucky perhaps a young boy will see something special in that tree…and give it a chance to shade his Grandma throughout eternity.


I gave the cemetery a final glance before we left and I had to smile…

for this is memory I shall forever save…

you see the sun was shining brightly…

but there was shade on Grandma’s grave.




View joy's Full Portfolio




She loves to walk inside the forest…among the trees…the streams…the ferns…

to enjoy what beauty nature has to offer…and what, from nature, she can learn.


She knows there is always something nature has to teach…wherever she may go

In Fall the lessons are usually about accepting change…and sometimes…letting go.


But this particular Autumnal walk brought with it a very different theme…

when she noticed two trees had fallen into one another…from opposite sides of a stream.


She knows all trees are part of the same family…of this there’s no dispute….

and that they communicate with one another…(it all starts within their roots)


Did the one tree feel in its roots what was about to happen?

Did the surrounding trees hear it call…to the other tree across the water

“Don’t be afraid I will catch you if you fall”.


Did the other tree know it was about fall…and know the only way to escape from harm…was to trust the tree across the water…and fall into its arms?


She would have loved to know the answer…she wished the forest would confess…

but nature does not reveal her secrets…so she had to make do with her guess.


Which made her wonder what lesson the forest was trying to teach her?  

Could it be in life that leaning on one another is the key….

and how all trees are a little stronger…when they stand with other trees?


That even when a tree grows old…when it begins to teeter…when it can no longer stand…how other trees are ready to help…and will catch them if they can.


How trees will always be there to remind one another…from the time their seed is sown…there will always be a tree around…and they will never be alone.


She stayed a little while longer…enjoying the stream…the view…the breeze…

and wishing…

if only people…

could be a little more like the trees.

View joy's Full Portfolio




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.

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