Fall Folliage

It’s a colorful Fall here in the East so I thought this chilly October morning should have a little poetic tribute to the changing season.

I now know why we call them leaves;
Too soon they fall when frosted thieves
Lure their green to red and golds
In colors soft and dazzling bolds.

Leaves drop from age and sometimes breeze
To land on lawns by shrubs and trees.
They drift in circles to the ground
In crinkling, cracking, scrunching sound.

O’ leaves of branch and bush, behold!
Your service lasts despite the cold,
As quilts of warmth for creatures low
Beneath the ground, before the snow.

Some leaves will sail to lawns serene
Where children’s smiles can then be seen
Waiting for the rake and pile
To leap upon and lie awhile.

But soon the crumpled stems and flake
Are raked in rows for match to make
A downey flame and spired smoke;
Incense of honor to the oak.

Then barren trees stand naked, strong,
To slice the wind of winters song.
They lean and bow from bending blow,
When snapping, cracking, to and fro.

I know there is a message here,
Where trees with leaves at end of year
Do molt their husks of leafy sheen
So other seasons can be seen.

Thus trees and man are oft’ alike,
In time each shed their aging haik.
What’s left in silhouette pristine,
Is life below in spirit green.


Some thoughts on calls for justice.

Justice is defined in the dictionary as the quality of being just, impartial or fair.

In recent times we’ve seen one side or another in demonstrations or news conferences demanding justice, but the way it’s said, and the meaning implied, has nothing to do with being impartial or fair.

It seems individuals or groups in seeking the quality of justice, get caught up in the phrase and use it as a rallying cry to address perceived wrongs.

When some cry “we want justice” their passionate cry seems to be for the opposite. They seek a validation of their viewpoint, their opinions, their expectations and they forget that justice is represented as blind for a reason.

If the noble call for justice only means an intolerant demand for punitive action or reversing a decision no matter what, then it is not justice that one seeks, but vengeance.

It is extreme justice and as Cicero once said, that’s extreme injustice.

The positive action of justice is truth and that is discerned by careful analysis, patient communication and a willingness to unconditionally listen.

John Denver

A friend sent me a link to a John Denver, Peter, Paul and Mary You Tube video of John’s song, “Leaving On A Jet Plane”. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LvtDb0ZPwQ&NR=1) John joins them on stage as they sing his song. I loved seeing it for it was the genesis of John’s entrance into the world arena of global stardom. Sure he had many other public appearances with the Chad Mitchell Trio and then beyond into the expanded wonder of public acclamation. But Peter, Paul and Mary’s recording opened the public door of John’s writing and performing talent.

John Denver was a friend of mine and I do not use the expression loosely. We did not hang out on a regular basis, but we did share what friends share. Golf, hiking, private dinners, flying experiences since we were both pilots, a professional relationship through broadcast interviews, Windstar Symposiums, and most of all deep personal and spiritual conversations on what it would take to make our glorious planet sustainable, renewable and respected for its sentient awareness.

Through the years of being in the public eye, as a news broadcaster it has been my experience that people who meet you once, in a shake hands only arena or even sharing a few pleasantries over a chance encounter, are prone to say they are friends. And by virtue of being allowed into people’s homes on a nightly basis, to some of them, you become a defacto friend, family member, lover, and even enemy.

Friends! People use that term loosely in their description of acquaintances, casual or peripheral, and it’s usually to gently amplify their importance or stature, as they perceive it, or to impress others whom they think might then think better of them because they know someone who everyone else seems to know. One resonates with the name, but not necessarily the personality.

Being in the public eye is not all that it’s cracked up to be. It has more down sides than it does advantages, but that’s only known by the ones who are in the proverbial “eye”. Those who are not there can’t see it and never will understand the strain or tension fame brings to the individual private self. There are personal and professional responsibilities one cannot understand or embrace unless you have experienced notoriety on a protracted basis.

As I watched the video of John’s early entrance into public adulation I was again saddened, not only by his early passing in a plane accident in California, but too that our planet has lost an intelligent and entertaining voice through words and song to encourage all of us to acknowledge our connection to nature and to champion the truth that we are the nature we abuse.


Some thoughts today on teachers.

I listened last night to the Vice Presidential debate and heard very few references to education, to teachers and to the unwritten responsibility that all lawmakers have, local to national, to insure the sanctity of our educational system.

We all understand, with the possible exception of an earmarking Congress, that budgets are necessary, cuts are necessary and we must live within our means. Too often, however, education budgets and teachers’ salaries receive a disproportionate amount of trimming and I suspect that thinking still persists.

If we spent on education subsidies the equivalent billions that we spend in fighting wars in just one month’s time, America’s educational system would be the envy of the world. Since that is not going to happen there is something else each of us can do to show our appreciation to teachers.

Teaching is the noble profession. How many of us cannot think of at least one teacher who influenced our choices, our careers, our character.

It is unfortunate, in our gifted society, that money is often the only form of compensation. What is blatantly missing from the education ledger is appreciation through praise.

Every parent should go to the nearest teacher and say thank you. Thank you for your dedication, for choosing a profession where hours are long and pay low, where influence is vast and gratitude minimal. Thank you for enduring the frustrations of bureaucracy and sometimes dispassionate parents. Thank you for your tolerance and patience in instructional repetition to the daydreamers, the slackers, the frightened, who forget they need an education just to get by, and thank you for your enrichment of the geniuses who may grace our society with greatness.

Teachers are special and blessed, for once they share knowledge with others, teach discernment, logic, ethics, reason and the love of learning, a piece of them lives forever.