Paul Tobolowsky, M.D.

Stardust Dancing

A Seeker's Guide to the Miraculous

Thought for the Week

Patches of white in the black cloudy sky

Give a sign that moonlight, like ultimate truth,

Seeps through cracks in an otherwise impenetrable barrier.

I see the white patches

And sense the truth beyond knowing,

Even though I can't tell where it hides in the cloudy night.   5/22/18

Riots around the world

Politicians feud like eight-year-olds

Mother's Day at home

The dog naps.   5/14/18

Where I live,

The temperature on any day in March is similar to a day in November.

However, the spirit of the experience is different

Because direction matters.   5/7/18

Larger than life statue of the heroic general

Atop his noble steed -

I wonder how many generations of pigeons

Have perched upon the general's bronze head.   5/1/18

Bone-dry canyon carved by its sister,

The flash flood.   4/24/18

The full moon is visible between the branches of a tree

That stretches out over a lake

It's a private showing just for us

And anyone else on Earth who looks at the sky.   4/16/18

The geriatrician told my father

"You have Geriatric Syndrome."

That is, my father has the symptoms of still being alive at age 96.

No lab work is necessary to confirm the diagnosis.

The treatment plan is to try to enjoy today today

And try to enjoy tomorrow tomorrow.

Life simplifies when there is no longer a need to sacrifice the present for the future.   4/11/18

Steady two-day rain

Paints the blue sky gray

And the gray lawn green,

Paints March into April

And winter into spring.   4/2/18

Gardening in the Spring

A chance to start over again with a clean slate

I invest a little time

And let Spring and Summer do almost all the magic.   3/26/18

The easy part for a seed is to fall to the ground.

The hard part is to take root and flower wherever it lands.   3/19/18

Today is here

Tomorrow is coming

Might as well treat them as gifts.   3/12/18


The answers to life's deepest questions

Are written in every cloud,

Every leaf,

The song of every bird,

And in your own mirror.

Look at them all with awe,

With humility,

With gratitude.   3/5/18

High school reunion at age 70 -

Conversations have shifted from junior year escapades

To who had the most recent surgery.

If old friends tell you that you haven't changed,

They're just being polite.   2/26/18

The body at any time is confined to such a small space

Compared to the vast expanses of the universe that can be explored by the mind.   2/20/18

The world offers many doors.

Some only open for a short time.

Which will you enter?

How long will you stay?

Choose.   2/12/18

Sometimes the act of falling

Provides remarkable views and insights

Not available at any other time.   2/5/18        

     Spring Strategies

If plants could talk,

Some would say, "Grow tall and steal the sunlight from your competitors."

I would advise them that it also works to stay low,

Below the blade of the mower.   1/29/18

Cold and getting colder

How nice to feel the sting of the wind.   1/15/18

The Wright brothers' first flight was timed at 3 1/2 seconds.

Sometimes it is wise to withhold predictions of the future based only on how something begins.   1/2/18

The world is a screen on which we project our own beliefs.   12/27/17

Aurora Borealis,

A white band when seen with my eyes

Becomes a green band when viewed in photos taken with a long exposure time.

Is either image more true?

What color is the aurora?

What is truth?   12/19/17

I tried to snap the picture of the lake

But the moment was something I felt rather than saw.

It was the cry of the gulls,

The wind in my face,

The solitude.

I put the camera down.   12/4/17

Sounds are the spaces between silences.   11/27/17 

It would be better to have a Complaint Day once a year

And 364 days of focusing on our blessings

Than to have so many days of complaints

And one of Thanksgiving.   11/20/17

You can only do what you can do - 

Or less.   11/14/17

Sliding in slow motion through rain and mud toward the edge of a cliff five feet away

I reach back uphill and grasp a short weed, my best and only hope.

Despite the mud, the root holds fast 

And I pull myself to safety.

I write these words of gratitude

To the strength of a root of one lonely weed

On the edge of a cliff

In the middle of nowhere.   11/6/17   


Walking the dog among trick or treaters on Halloween night

Another case of clashing narratives with no viable middle ground

But lots of loud barking.   10/31/17

Optimism at age 95:

Buying a 5-year battery warranty for the wristwatch.   10/26/17 

On every day of my calendar

I write, "Today matters!"   10/17/17

How many mountains do we climb

Without knowing if the other side is better?   10/9/17

Air France tomato and cheese sandwich:

"Contains gluten, milk. May contain: celery, crustaceans, nuts, molluscs, mustard, egg, fish, sesame seeds, soybeans, sulphites, peanuts, lupin."

Nothing tastes quite like a tomato and cheese sandwich with just the right amount of molluscs. 

Aspen leaves are still on the tree

Because they merely shake

Though many strong winds pass through.   9/25/17

Although Juniper trees sometimes carry as many dead branches as living ones

They can survive for centuries

Because they've learned a way to manage their wounded parts.   9/20/17

While hiking aimlessly through the Welsh countryside

I met another wanderer.

"Do you know where we are?" I asked.

"I don't know," he replied, "But isn't this a lovely place to be lost?"   9/5/17

To what extent should the personal flaws of the messenger

Alter our feelings about the message?   8/29/17

In the scattered light

I cast so many shadows.   8/21/17

Looking out my airplane window,

I sit stunned by the beauty of the full moon rising

Over Chesapeake Bay.

And even now,

Even while I'm still looking at this magical moonrise,

I feel its memory beginning to fade.   8/15/17

I'm wearing the watch my parents gave me thirty years ago

Though the mechanism has been changed,

And the crystal, the battery, and the band.

No part of the original watch remains

Yet in my heart I treasure it

As the birthday gift they gave me with a smile so long ago.   8/7/17 

The garden was lovely, reminiscent of Eden

The morning was cool, the birds flitted by

Brightly colored fish explored the universe that was their pond

Chimes converted the breeze into a song

And I felt a pebble in my shoe   7/31/17

I grow weary

Of hate that is called love

And intolerance that is called righteousness.   7/24/17

Only when it lands upon the ground

Will the falling leaf

Finally unite with its shadow.   7/17/17

A sailor knows more about the ocean than a farmer,

But even so, 

A boat just skims the surface

And oceans are deep.   7/10/17

July 4th - Patriotic songs everywhere, fireworks surround me.

July 5th - Lightning and thunder for hours.

July 6th - Just you and me and the cicadas, another wonderful day.   7/6/17    

Thinking of Greg - 

Birth and death are moments of transition. 

So is every moment in between.   6/26/17

Almost 70 years old

Still waiting to sit at the Adult Table.   6/19/17

Playing at age 3

Walking with my tiny feet in Dad's size 15 shoes, laughing.

Today, 66 years later, out of curiosity

I again put on his shoes.

How interesting to realize I still don't fill them.   6/5/17

On stage, 

A juggler catches everything and bows to applause.

In a movie or novel,

The strands all tie together at the finish.

That's all stagecraft, a lie.

In real life,

Jugglers do the best they can,

Catching what they can catch,

Surrounded by what they have dropped.

Characters scatter, lines unspoken.

Every life persists in a continual state of incompletion.

Every moment, even the final one,

Leaves juggled objects in mid-air,

Plots unresolved,

Just as they are now.   5/30/17

A wind that might not be noticeable

When it's propelling you forward

Becomes obvious when it blows against you.   5/22/17

Each generation

Each word

Each moment

Carries something precious

From the one that precedes it

To the one that follows.   5/15/17

Not good at technology

Should never have put the sundial in the shade.   5/8/17

No matter how far it has traveled,

No matter how hard it tries,

The wave will not be able to hold on to the beach.   5/1/17

Planting a garden right after a rain

A rare chance for an adult to play in the mud.   4/24/17

Small swamp in the woods.

To the frog,

Better than an ocean.   4/17/17

Steady spring rain

Bringing life to the flowers,

The grass,

The weeds,

The mosquitoes

The mushrooms - 

Indiscriminate.   4/3/17

Being an old dog isn't all bad -

He no longer hears the thunder.   3/27/17 

We form our bodies from the atoms we eat and drink, 

And the ones we inhale from the air.

It's important to remember that whatever enters our water, food supply, and air 

Ends up within us.   3/20/17

We are each a small hinge

On which the universe turns.   3/14/17

"Mind Your Head" the sign warned.

I decided instead to try to mind my mind.   3/6/17

The Earth spun you around in a 25-thousand mile loop yesterday

Like a giant amusement park ride.

You can take the planet out for a spin again today

If you try not to break anything.   2/28/17 

If you are absolutely certain you are right about a complex question,

Forgive me if I turn and run.   2/22/17 

I wonder if ice, snow, sleet, water, and steam could ever realize,

Despite their protestations,

That they are made of the same stuff.   2/13/17 

I was born in a country that isn't a country

In a hospital that has been torn down

In a town with a current population of zero.

I trained to be a doctor in a hospital that no longer exists.

Long ago, I learned not to bet on permanence.   2/6/17 

Number of stars in the Milky Way Galaxy: 100 to 300 billion

Number of synapses in the human brain: 86-100 trillion

Number of atoms in a human cell: 100 trillion

Last night's basketball scores: 104-97,  113-109,  111-105,  104-96

It's interesting which of these statistics made their way into today's newspaper.   1/31/17 

Inauguration Day

Nation teeters

World teeters

To the dog, just another sunrise.  1/25/2017

Neck pain distracts from hip pain

That distracts from foot pain.

A remedy isn't always an improvement.   1/16/17


I stepped into the house to write a poem,

Then ventured to my backyard, 

Surprised to find the afternoon still waiting for me.   1/10/17 

I awaken this morning,

Put on my identity,

Then my clothing.   1/5/17

Bitter cold morning.

The fern bows at the waist to greet me.   12/27/16

Poor man's winter vacation - 

Stay where you are and let the Arctic come to you.   12/19/16                


From all whose bodies outlive their minds,

Let us send forth a collective apology.

We never chose to be like this.

We never chose to cause pain to those who follow behind.

Please forgive us

And love us for who we were 

And who we are.   12/12/16

Temporarily filled with moonlight,

I say goodnight to the winter wind

And walk back toward the house.   12/5/16

Counting rings in the stump of our old tree

That cracked and fell in a storm.

They are the rings of my life as well as the tree's.

I count to the ring corresponding to the year I moved into this house

To the year of my marriage

The years in which my children were born.

Only in its loss do I realize

That the tree and I lived parallel lives

Side by side for decades

Marking the seasons

Marking the years.

Today I count its rings and mine.   11/28/16

The roofers and I scoured the ground

In hopes of finding every nail.

My left front car tire proved to be a more effective nail-detection device.   11/21/16

How far from its tree

Does the most distant autumn leaf travel

Before eventually coming to rest?   11/7/16

The weatherman apologizes all summer for the heat

And all winter for the cold,

As if he is afraid the audience will change channels to a network that offers better weather.

Doesn't he know that making the best false promises is much more effective in politics than meteorology?   11/1/16

Usually an ant on a leaf of a tree

Is a hundred million steps from the roof of the house,

Down the branch and trunk, across the lawn, and up the walls to the roof.

Sometimes on a windy day the branch and leaf blow against the roof

And the ant can make the journey with one step.

Be on the lookout for serendipity.   10/24/16

Unless you are in Outer Space,

Be cautious about arguing with Gravity.   10/17/16

                    Mt. Etna

To live on the slope of an active volcano

Is to live with uncertainty every day.

In this way, it is similar to living anywhere else.   10/10/16 

While anxiously watching the thunderstorm approach,

Bitten by a mosquito.   9/20/16

If you time it right, the entire ocean moves toward you with the tide.   8/29/16

A map gives the false impression that a river stands still.

A mirror gives the false impression that since yesterday you are unchanged.   8/17/16

A tenth of a second can make an enormous difference when racing in the Olympics.

As I mindfully work at slowing down my life,

I remind myself that I'm not an Olympic racer.   8/8/16

What question is the universe asking you today

And what question of yours is it answering?   8/1/16  

Clash of Priorities While Walking the Dog on a Hot Summer's Afternoon:

Dog explored

Man got bored.   7/25/16

A peal of thunder rocks the walls

As roots grow downward

And stems stretch upward

Silently.   7/18/16

I opened the door of a little-used closet.

On a shelf in back, waiting out the decades,

Sit remnants of the youth of our children, now grown to adulthood.

I saw Curious George, the Cat in the Hat, Jeff the Bear, Snoopy, and King Peach.

I wondered if my children have forgotten their old stuffed friends

That I will always remember.   7/11/16

If you had just this one moment

To share your wisdom with another person,

What would you tell them?

If the person to receive your wisdom was you,

What would you say?   7/5/16

Sometimes our disappointment over not getting something we want

Causes us to overlook all the gifts that rain down upon us.   6/27/16

Summer Solstice

The Earth begins to tilt the other direction

Carrying me from summer toward winter.

The plants and animals around me feel the change

That I can only read from a calendar.   6/21/16

It's easy to ignore knee pain

Once a toothache starts.   6/13/16

A key to skillful navigation in life is to assess our limitations as accurately as our strengths. 

Some of our worst decisions come from underestimating our weaknesses.   6/6/16

          Incense from Nepal

The smoke from burning incense

Draws brief fragile patterns in the air,

Proof that the flame exists

and the breeze exists

and Nepal exists

and I exist

and beauty exists.   5/31/16

To those of you who meant so much to me

At some time during the many years of my life,

In these words you likely will never read

I send my love and gratitude

For the steps we took together.   5/23/16

I sing

Knowing each song is irretrievably lost in the past

As soon as it is finished

And I will one day be just a name on someone's family tree.

But today I sing while I can

And love the song.   5/17/16

Concern through the years about the widespread fragile-looking branches of the backyard elm trees

While the proud cedar tree on the side of the house stood ramrod straight.

Then the sound of a loud crack

And the apparently stable cedar had fallen

While the fragile elms stood peacefully with branches waving in the breeze.

Life is uncertain -

Enjoy it now.   5/11/16

Steady rain on the lake

How many times have those water drops journeyed

From sky to Earth and back again

Always traveling

Always in the process of becoming part of something else?   5/5/16

Be a stream

That casually flows past boulders in its path.   4/28/16

Amorous lizards mating somehow

On the side of a vertical metal fence post.

My backyard is a wild unpredictable place.   4/19/16

Dad's 94th birthday

As he begins his 95th orbit around the sun.

For 68 of those years,

I have traveled with him.

Love can be as strong a force as gravity,

Maybe stronger.   4/13/16

Through you,

The universe gains the ability to ask questions.   4/4/16

May the vines that entangle you mostly be the ones you have chosen.   3/28/16

I waken to the promise of early spring,

To pollen and allergy attacks,

To new crops of weeds,

To hoeing and sneezing

Amidst buzzing insects,

And she smiles and I smile

As we both hope for a future

Of beautiful days just like this.   3/22/16

Miniature schnauzer strides like a giant through the pansies in the garden.

How nice it is for schnauzers and humans to pick a comforting frame of reference.   3/14/16

How long have you been dragging those boulders?

Is today a good day to let go of them?   3/7/16

Any kite can fly in the wind.

The trick is staying afloat when the air becomes still,


Awaiting the next breeze.   2/29/16

Good or bad,

Compared to what?   2/15/16

As a seeker,

I swam in a Norwegian fjord (cold!)

Hiked in the Sahara and Sinai deserts (hot!)

Waded in the Jordan River and sailed on the Nile (wet!)

And I carry the miracle of my own life everywhere I go,

Even here and now.   2/8/16

I feel certain I could hear the river singing "Om"

If it weren't for the steady drone of cars

Like the one I drove to the riverbank.   2/1/16

It is so easy to see the entrance to an unexplored trail

And so difficult to guess the quality of the journey

Or where it might lead.   1/25/16

A winter storm is the belated answer

To your July wish for cooler weather.   1/18/16

Zen Beach Day

Imagine basking peacefully in the warm sun on a tropical beach,

Listening to the waves.

Then subtract the ocean, the beach, the waves, the warmth,

And you are wherever you are in the middle of winter,

Holding on to the sense of peace.   1/11/16

If new years start in the middle of the night in the middle of winter,

Any time is a good time for new beginnings.

How about Now?   1/4/16

I do not know how far the universe extends

Or what can be found in its distant reaches

But I do know that one of the centers about which it revolves is you.   12/28/15

How strange it feels

That life is clothed in the garment of my body again today.   12/21/15

Bare branches seem to split the sky into puzzle pieces,

But it's all one sky,

One puzzle.   12/14/15

Four nights after the full moon

The glowworms light up the water in the bay

And, for a few minutes just after sunset,

Shine as bright as stars.

Do they see the moon or feel the tides?

What drives the ancient rhythms, the mating frenzy?

Do the glowworms understand any part of it?   12/7/15

I put down my book and step outside

To stand in the cold rain,

Today's gift from the universe.   11/30/15

Act with wisdom.

Everything you do shapes your future body

And your future mind.

You are always building your future self.   11/23/15

Continental plates crash together, raising up mountains.

Distant galaxies glow.

I look into your eyes, and you look into mine.   11/16/15

Like putting a message in a bottle,

You never know when you cast an idea into the sea

Where the tides will carry it

Or who might discover it on a distant shore.   11/10/15

If you just listened in the forest,

You would think that you heard a million voices,

But every melody is sung by the same stream.   11/2/15

Moons orbit planets,

Planets orbit stars,

Stars orbit within galaxies,

Galaxies orbit within universes.

Cosmic traveler, what do you orbit?  10/26/15

If you want to get rid of the dead leaves in the tree,

Sit in a chair and wait for the wind to blow.

New replacement leaves are on back-order

And should arrive in the spring.   10/21/15

The plants have doubled in size

And blaze with bright red flowers,

Unconcerned about the approach of winter,

Grateful for autumn.   10/12/15

As I swam past the tree

I saw more trees behind it,

And behind them

I saw still more trees,

And I realized that the ability to see broader truths

Sometimes requires some swimming.   10/5/15  

The most amazing part of the eclipse.

Is not that the Earth's shadow falls upon the moon.

The most amazing part is that you and I are alive to watch it.   9/28/15

It takes so much background silence

And silence of the mind

To hear the whisper of the wind.   9/22/15

The ocean sparkles because even the smallest wave

Is big enough to reflect the sun.   9/17/15

Think of your connections to the outside world -

The food you eat, the water you drink, the air you breathe,

The atoms of Earth that have become the atoms of you,

The people in your life.

You are woven into the fabric of the Universe,

And the Universe is woven into you.   9/1/15

As we toured our living room,

We found paintings, other ornaments, and even furniture

Whose origin and history we could not recall,

That we did not even recognize as part of our house

Though we had lived here thirty years.

What a surprising place to encounter mystery.   8/24/15

This moment,

Reluctant to let it go,

But can't hold it.   8/17/15

As the candle glows

And the incense burns

I'm asked to take out the garbage   8/10/15

Flower rises through a crack in the pavement

Concrete doesn't always win.   8/4/15

A cloud is proof that we often see what we cannot touch.   7/22/15

The gift of life is handed out

One moment at a time...7/14/15

Trees don't survive storms by being rigid and unyielding.

They drop some leaves, sacrifice a branch or two

And dance with the wind.   7/6/15

The plant was drooping, moribund.

I watered it for 30 seconds

And almost immediately

It sprung back to life.

Perhaps we know people who are drooping

And we just might say something,

Or at least show that we care,

And they might straighten, blossom, and become what they are capable of being.

Keep your heart open,

Make a difference,

For each of us droops at times

And is in need of someone who cares.

Love always matters.   6/29/15

Hitch a ride on the Earth

As it circles the sun

On its path through the Milky Way.

Pay attention to the beauty of your chariot

And the galaxies that light your path.   6/22/15

The fact that you cannot perceive something

 isn't proof that it doesn't exist.

Allow your mind to open to possibilities

 that your senses cannot detect.   6/19/15 

Root canal surgery, a broken washing machine, and a family wedding ----

An amazing week on a superb planet.   6/8/15

Who are you, really?

Do you think you can ever know the answer?   6/2/15

The meaningless often hides in words, while meaning hides in silence.   5/26/15 

What if we rotated lives every single day,

And you never knew in advance which life you would have tomorrow?

You might wake up tomorrow in a different country with a different race or religion,

Rich or poor.

Would you treat other people differently today

If you knew you might have their life tomorrow?   5/18/15

Sometimes a breeze is so faint that only one leaf in all the world flutters.

Sometimes each of us is that leaf.   5/11/15

I saw my shadow on the ground,

A shadow of a three-dimensional being

Cast onto a two-dimensional surface.

And I felt as if I myself

Was a projection cast by an infinitely dimensional power

Onto a three-dimensional form.   5/4/15

Everything I see is bathed in the force field of my way of thinking

As I gaze Outward

And Inward,

And each is a mirror revealing the other.

My mind selects the frame and lighting

For the vision my eyes gaze upon.   4/27/15

Today's schedule:

8:15 a.m.   Dog dental appointment

9:30 a.m.   My dental appointment

11:00 a.m.  Spouse dental appointment 

Some days are easier than others to comprehend a master plan for the universe.   4/21/15 

I was bruised from smashing over and over into the unyielding wall

Until I realized that the door was open.   4/13/15

On the planet Earth

There is only one ocean

Though it is called by different names in different places.

I have been to the Mississippi River

And the Ganges and the Nile.

They all flow into the same ocean

Where their waters mix.   4/6/15 

I searched all over India and Nepal

Trying to find myself

And there I was

And now I'm here.   3/30/15

If you wonder if it's time to feed the dog, don't ask the dog.   3/23/15

I can't know what it is like for you to be you, and you can't know what it's like for me to be me.

To those I have judged harshly, I apologize. I didn't understand.   3/16/15

Sometimes we mistakenly feel the world offers each of us one narrow path.

The world is usually far more generous and filled with paths.   3/10/15 

The long journey from Here to Here requires my withdrawing from social media for the next three weeks, the equivalent of a silent retreat in the Age of the Internet. I promise not to think until I resume having a "Thought for the Week" in early March.  Until then, may you look in the mirror and see only beauty.   2/11/15 

The greatest truths can only be expressed in silence.  2/9/15 

A journey of thousands of miles doesn't really begin with the first step.

It begins with an idea.   2/2/15

If you knew twice as much as you know,

Would your life be happier?

What if you loved twice as much as you love?   1/26/15

The "Ordinary" is a mask for the Unknowable.   1/20/15

Gray tombstone against a backdrop of gray grass

Beneath a cloudy sky.

Cold bites into me as I look out on a world of gray against gray against gray.

Joyfully, hopefully,

I spin the wheel of fortune once more,

Grateful to be cold and alive.   1/13/15  

This is the beginning of my new life,

The one that each moment brings.

Shake free from unnecessary baggage,

  toss it behind you,

And welcome the Now that arrives,

  fresh and untarnished,

  on this and every day.

Join me in celebrating another New Year and New Moment.   1/6/15 

Should auld acquaintance be forgot?

Usually no, but sometimes yes.   12/30/14

Could "Peace on Earth, good will to men" be anything more than a line in a song?

Could we try it for a few days?   12/22/14

Bodies require water to live -

Don't curse the rain.   12/15/14 

Sometimes the fog dissipated

And I could clearly see the other side of the lake.

I didn't feel as if the fog obscured

the view of truth on the other side.

Instead I realized that sometimes

Fog is the truth, the only truth.

                  - - - - - - - - - -

When a fog obstructs your vision,

It is wiser to accept the fog

Than to act as if you see clearly.   12/8/14 

As winter approaches,

If you want your wish to come true,

Wish for cold.   12/1/14

I took 999 steps,

Disappointed that I did not see a single egret.

I took one more step

And an egret took flight,

Then another egret, then a dozen.

I wondered how many times in my life

That I stopped one step too soon.   11/24/14

I wonder why we must first fall asleep

Before we can dream.   11/17/14  

The patient heron catches a fish by standing still

Until a fish comes to him.

This is also a good way to catch tranquility.   11/10/14

The color of leaves is at its brightest

Just before they fall.   11/3/14

The Earth tilts,

Carrying me with it,

So that I can see the universe from the other side of the sun.   10/27/14

Even if you might never know the answers,

Try to ask the right questions.   10/20/14 

So many small and apparently conflicting truths must somehow fit together to form a seamless ultimate truth.

Do not be misled into thinking that an alluring small truth is the ultimate truth.   10/14/14 

We each fill a hole in the universe.   10/7/14

Life includes beginnings and endings.

Words fail, love remains.   9/30/14

Every current life form is a manifestation that not only lives, but in the multi-billion year history of the universe, shares our moment of time with us.   9/23/14

Water splits and merges, splits and merges,

Always in new combinations.

This is a brief history of the world.   9/16/14 

Our body is an instrument capable of translating biochemistry into meaning.   9/8/14

The memory of an insignificant event from 30 years ago popped into my mind last night. How had the memory hidden for 30 years, and why did it re-emerge when it did? What is hidden within our minds?

It is easier to understand a distant galaxy than to understand our own thoughts.   9/1/14 

The drier the desert

The more precious the water.   8/25/14

The shore would be foolish to ignore the tide

Or to try to hold on to it.   8/18/14

What a saga a penny could tell

Of its long journey through pockets and purses,

Wallets, tabletops, and cash registers,

And the many hands that have held it along the way.

If you want to see the world,

Be a penny,

Not the observation deck of a skyscraper.   August 11, 2014

Since you have to carry all your own luggage, what baggage are you dragging with you today, and what can you leave behind?   August 4, 2014

The shortest path between you and a beautiful life is to realize that you are already there.   July 28, 2014 

I held the pebble in my hand

And thought if I could understand its ancient history,

Then I would understand the Earth

And the sky

And whatever lies beyond.   July 21, 2014

Multi-colored warblers flit into view

And then disappear just as quickly into the trees.

The world is filled with gratuitous beauty -

And mosquitoes.   July 14, 2014

If you think the miracle of your own life is greater than the miracle of someone else's life, you don't understand miracles.   July 7, 2014


On Earth, rock is created, cracked, pounded, crushed, dissolved, and re-created.

Not even stone is "written in stone."   June 30, 2014

Sultry summer afternoon in my yard.

Behind the façade of an ordinary day,

So much is happening.

Breeze blowing, chimes ringing, clouds floating,

Grass growing, leaves dancing, sun baking,

Birds chirping, squirrels climbing, branches waving,

Insects buzzing, planes droning, dogs barking,

Flowers sparkling,

Like a giant circus with an infinite number of performers

And an audience of one,


As I sit dazzled.   June 23, 2014 

Getting on the right train only helps you reach your destination if you know when to get off. Carrying a burden requires knowing when to let go.   June 16, 2014 

Engage others by allowing the miraculous part of you to connect with the miraculous within them.  

June 9, 2014 

Weeds, as well as vegetables and flowers, all emerge from the same fertile soil.   June 2, 2014

I hope for the time to come when the need for Memorial Day will be ancient history, when the voices of those who seek peace drown out the voices that demand war all over the world.

Honor those who died in battle, but let the peace they fought for be their memorial.   May 26, 2014 

Within and around us, transience intersects eternity.   May 19, 2014

Everything you see blocks your view of whatever is beyond it.   May 1, 2014 

What is more amazing,

A thousand lunar eclipses,

Or your life,

Or mine?   April 28,2014

How many times have you heard

the ambulance siren

And thought, "This time it isn't me"?

But every time it's someone.   April 14, 2014

As this moment dissolves beneath my feet,

I land in the next moment's embrace,

But only for a moment.   March 31, 2014

Viewing your life as a miracle is only one thought away.   March 24, 2014


Alive today - Time to celebrate!   March 17, 2014

Like putting a message in a bottle,

You never know when you cast an idea into the sea

Where the tides will carry it

Or who might discover it on a distant shore.   March 10, 2014 

Ignoring class distinctions

The sleet descends

Upon the rich and poor.

Only the dog seems to celebrate sliding across the ice.   March 3, 2014

Wedding at the home for the elderly.

Canes, walkers, and wheelchairs dot the periphery.

The groom, still dapper at age 91,

Kisses his slightly younger and very elegant bride.

Camera bulbs flash.

In this imperfect world,

Sometimes love still triumphs.   February 24, 2014

From a small stream, A roaring waterfall.   February 17, 2014

The Earth speaks

Through mountains and rivers and trees.

We describe it

With vowels and consonants,

Commas and periods,

Numbers and equations.   February 10, 2014

I hold the compass in my hand.

It tells me more than which direction is north.

Through the compass I learn there are forces I cannot feel

That shape the universe.   February 3, 2014

Each of your cells contains approximately 100 trillion atoms and organizes them to work together, so even one of your cells is a marvel. Your body contains trillions of cells whose interaction keeps you alive.
How do you do it?   January 27, 2014

Will this be a day that will be over after 24 hours

Or-more likely-will it be a day that alters the rest of your life?   January 20,2014

A universe containing billions of galaxies speaks through your voice.   January 13, 2014
My mind selects the frame for the vision my eyes gaze upon.   January 6, 2014

Does it really require a new year to make resolutions?   December 30, 2013
It is said that we learn from adversity. As I was lying on my back on the driveway, I realized how much we can learn about friction and gravity from an ice storm.   December 23, 2013

The difference between a rain-slicked 33 degrees Fahrenheit and a frozen 32 degrees can be enormous.
Life is filled with large changes that can mean little
And small changes that can alter everything.   December 10, 2013

A perfect 75 degree day in December. Sometimes miracles sneak up on you.   December 2, 2013

The past can never be retrieved -
For better and for worse, the present is all we ever have.
Yet as the family gathers again for the holidays as in olden times
From far-flung cities and separate lives,
Today our idealized mythical past becomes the present
And there is nothing to feel but joy.   November 25, 2013

In the low waves
I see the scattered reflected fragments of a tree.
From those fragments I know for certain
There exists a living tree and a shining sun.   November 11, 2013

Chill of October dusk.
V-shaped phalanx of geese flying north.
"South," I wanted to remind them.
"Fly south in the autumn."
Northward they flew
And I suspected they knew more about being geese than I did.   November 4, 2013

Advice to a falling autumn leaf:
Enjoy the ride.   October 29, 2013

The grass is a carpet of life burning like green fire across the ground.   October 8, 2013

My breath dissolves into the Universe
And the Universe breathes into me
And becomes me.
With every breath,
I merge, dissolve, and become,
Every breath an act of creation.
It is so very easy,
Just breathing.   October 3, 2013

Look in the mirror - what do you see?
Say your name - what do you hear?   September 16, 2013

Before my first birthday, my parents and I were involved in an auto accident that was nearly fatal to my parents. I was unharmed. I grew up with my mother constantly telling me I survived because God had special plans for me. I presumed my mother meant that I was destined for fame. It took decades for me to appreciate that the opportunity to lead a normal life is a very special gift.   September 9, 2013

Does a retired person such as myself whose only weekly labor is coming up with a Thought for the Week celebrate Labor Day by not having a thought?  September 2, 2013

Does a fish know it is in water? 
Do the bee and the rosebush realize they need each other?  August 26, 2013

If humans had known thousands of years ago how small we are relative to the size of the universe, might humility have softened some of the sharp edges of our certainties?  Could we accept the possibility that the ultimate answers to our deepest questions might be beyond the capacity of our three-pound brain? 
August 19, 2013

Our brains are estimated to contain 85-100 billion neurons and some 100 trillion interconnections.  Just think how many problems we are capable of solving or creating.   August 12, 2013

Although these numbers seem like wild guesses to me, it has been estimated that each of us has 50,000-70,000 thoughts per day. This would suggest that most of our thoughts are brief, lasting 1-2 seconds, and that a large percentage are subconscious, unrecognized even by us. From this vast river of flowing thoughts, we select a small percentage to translate into language and bridge the gap with other people. As your own editor, which of your thoughts will you put into words and share today?   August 5, 2013

I awoke this morning
Startled by my existence.   July 29, 2013

On the day of your birth
You were given a living planet,
Stars, innumerable galaxies, a universe.
Were you wishing for more?   July 22, 2013

If I had ten words to describe my life,
They would all be "grateful."   July 15, 2013

Many people have not only lost the sense of Miracle and Mystery in their lives, but are also unaware that anything valuable has been lost.   July 8, 2013

It has taken the entire history of the universe to create you.   July 1, 2013

Every atom in your body was once floating around our galaxy before becoming a part of you. You are made of stardust.   June 27, 2013