Some people say that where they are
Is where they’re meant to be;
For years, I never understood –
Those comments puzzled me

Sometimes, you’re down and desperate,
As I was, long ago:
I saw no reason at the time
Why it needs must be so

For almost thirty years ago
I tried to end my life;
I never would have known my kids
My grandchildren, my wife –

I never would have typed these words
That you are reading now;
I would have been a nobody,
A nothing. A no how —

I couldn’t find a reason,
Couldn’t generate a spark
To see me through the nightscape;
Through the hopeless, whirling dark

But somehow, day led on to day;
And I regained my voice.
Then I decided living
Was my only living choice

I do not know where you might be,
How your life’s filled with pain;
I do not know the grief you’ve felt,
And that, I will not feign —

But this I tell you, reading friend:
There is, most times, a light:
So you can climb the hill ahead,
And fear
No more
The night


(“Nightscape” – 7-1-2015)

They heard the music playing,
  so followed them the tune:
The mystic ocean symphony
  a soothing bit of harmony
    communing with their souls —
    they needed to commune.

And though poor in materials,
  they found a way to go:
For truly rich, and truly deep
  are memories we make to keep,
    like echoes in the shoals —
    and finding space to grow.

There is a love that joins us,
And there are hearts that feel;
There’s beauty in simplicity,
And making good things real.

And though we slump or cower
Beneath our load of care,
We each can hear the music,
Because it’s always there…

They found a chance for freedom,
  so took it when they could:
And though imperfect all we are,
  ‘twas worth some hours in the car
    to give up their old goals —
    and bask in something



We call things ‘mixed’ as though
  they don’t belong together;
  this is strange.

All that is
  belongs together, for
  here we are,

Or maybe…

We call them ‘mixed’ because
  they come from different places, but
  everything is from
  a different place from everything else —
  it’s just a matter of
  how far apart.

Such mixture as there is
  brings all the flavor;
  such togetherness as we can manage
  makes the experience of it possible.

So, sure, we are mixed:
  Mixed up,
  Tossed around,
  Cooked together, and


{ Swim the Galaxy }

Tell me who I am, and I’ll tell you
About the kind of world you long to see:
A wonderland beyond expectancy,
Where what is good, and beautiful, and true
    Can find a home, or sit beneath the stars
    Like fireflies turned loose at last from jars.

Tell me what you’ve learned, and I’ll show you
The hope you once thought you had left behind;
To be alike, is to be of a kind
Of world that we could make or form anew —
    So come and swim the galaxy with me,
    For to belong is to be truly


Joy and Discovery

Every weekend that I can, I go out for many-hours-long random drives in the countryside surrounding the city we live in. I do it just to see what I can discover. I love going down roads I’ve never been on, seeing towns or fields I’ve never seen. It’s pure joy for me.

Looking back on my life, I realize that every single joy I’ve ever experienced has, in some way, been intertwined with an act of discovering. We are born with a desire to discover. You see it, easily, in small children. Almost every discovery is an occasion for joy, and they want to do it, constantly.
So I got to thinking – how do we lose it? How do we lose our desire to discover?

Well, first of all, many people don’t. They continue to want to explore – new things, new places, new people, new ideas, even new music. My parents were like that, well into retirement years.

Still, many people do lose the desire to discover. And the question remains – why?

One reason may be that many people look back on the joy of discovery and come to associate it with the thing discovered, not the act of discovering itself. We all know people like this: the best music is from when they first discovered music, the best television shows and movies are from when they first discovered particular shows or movies, and so on.

In order to bolster their viewpoint, they tend to denigrate anything not from their discovery period. All music written since (fill in the blank year) is garbage, all television since (whatever) went off the air is trash, and the like. There is hardly a YouTube comment section concerning older music, movies, or television shows that isn’t filled with these same sentiments, over and over.

Life, to me, is about discovery: people who have stopped doing it have more-or-less stopped living, which is why, I think, so many people who are stuck in the past are so miserable. We are meant to be explorers, and when we cease exploring we have relinquished something vital.

Discovery isn’t about something having to be “new”, by the way. It can be our discovery of something very old, but which is, as they say, “new to us”. As a child, I discovered that my favorite children’s mystery series of books (The Hardy Boys) had started back in the 1920’s and had since been updated, so I went in search of the older originals. It took me years, but each original I found was another discovery that brought tremendous joy.

There can also be discovery in finding new ways of looking at familiar things. As a child, I loved Warner Bros cartoons — Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, and the rest of that crew. With age, a lot of the jokes took on different meanings, as I realized that a lot of the humor was way over my head as a kid. I have talked to young parents who loved the “Toy Story” movies growing up, who see a message in the movies about the relationship of parents and children that they couldn’t detect as children. Great works of art have a tendency to be sources of perpetual discovery. And yes, I consider Toy Story and Bugs Bunny to be great works of art.

Taking this discussion away from things to people, something analogous happens. Some people (a) seek out and enjoy meeting new people; (b) seek out and enjoy meeting old people; and (c) find new discoveries in people they have known awhile. Others do none of the above, and those people tend to be pretty miserable.

I mentioned my parents earlier. While they were living, they each went through stages of physical and mental decline. At each phase, they continued to explore and discover, but had to shift how they did it to accommodate new limitations.

One particularly sad group of people — at least to me — are those who love, and have loved, exploration and discovery, but who consider themselves unable to do it due to limitations imposed by life’s vicissitudes. It is as if they tie the act of discovering to the particular power lost, and without that power, no discovery is possible. Eventually, that no doubt becomes true, but there are those who give up discovery far too soon.

Exercising our creativity, by the way, may be the ultimate act of discovery. To write, to compose, to paint, to draw, to think up new worlds, new people – this is, as all writers know, both a tremendous joy and a tremendous frustration when it isn’t working out right.

So keep looking. Keep listening. Keep learning. Keep searching. Keep creating.

Keep discovering.