Do not be afraid
of shifting rocks,

they will always exist,

take my hand,

plant one foot
as best you can,

don’t panic,

if the stones move,
find some balance,
then lift your other foot,

wait until it’s secure
before moving forward,

keep doing that
until you reach shore,

until you reach
the end of another day,

remove your boots,
dump out the muck,
the unwelcome stuff,

get some sleep,
then plan to wade through
another day tomorrow,

shifting rocks
are all around,

take my hand,
we’ll find our way together.

Picture was taken by my niece of her two young daughters with their grandfather (my brother)
at the Yellowwood State Forest Spillway in Indiana after a day of fishing.



Her hands plunge deep into the flower bed,
pulling out rocks,
breaking up clumps
of stubborn dirt,

her fingers hurt from household work,
the soreness easing while kneading
rich, affirming earth,

a respite from cooking, scrubbing, mending,
lending an ear to each child’s concerns,

she learns to take it all to the garden,
where her smiles and tears
mix with sprouting seeds,
her prayers lie down with iris bulbs,

her plants much like the children she’s borne,
each one unique, each one a treasure,
needing time and space to fully bloom,

in death, her labors were done,
yet the work of her hands carried on,

irises bloom from original bulbs
in the gardens her children now grow,

plunging their hands into welcoming earth,
they sense their sweet mother,
hear her kind words,

knowing they blossomed
alongside these bulbs,
alongside these seeds,

in ways she envisioned
so many long years ago.

This poem originated from a discussion I had with my friend (and park neighbor), Tanya Willett. The irises in the photo are now in Tanya’s garden but were originally planted by her mother at Tanya’s childhood home.



It’s easy to miss
a miracle,

like a moment
of unbidden grace,
it arrives unannounced,

dropping into your life
like a soft, spring rain,
brushing your cheek with
a tender kiss,

not asking to be
the star,

just a miracle
so quiet you
might miss
it altogether,

save for the subtle shift
in the air
suddenly imbued
with a taste so sublime
you might think
it was spiced
with nectar from the heavens,

that taste, that moment
so rare,
is a miracle just for you.



Life can feel like a race,
leaving us a bit winded
by its unrelenting pace,

like bicyclists pedaling uphill,
legs churning,
we move through our days
trying to reach the top
of some elusive peak,

we search for more,
but can’t ignore the simple truth
that finding more
often feels like less,

maybe there’s a blessing in knowing
we are more or less
navigating the same path,

a path that is infinitely more
rewarding when we travel
with a lighter, less burdened spirit.


How can such beauty exist
in a world that suffers so,

while we carry on
with guns and strife,
there are precious, hopeful plants
breaking through warming earth,

reaching toward a sun-drenched sky,
showing us an array of elegant perfection
in each leaf and blossom,

instructing us in show stopping hues
with endless clues,

Value this,

Seek that,

Embrace this,

Treasure that,

drink in every nourishing drop
until there’s no more room for hate.

Rhododendrons 2022



As the train
leaves the station,
hearts are torn
from grief-stricken souls,

sad eyes say
it might be forever,

never uttered,
yet understood
to be true,

the train hurtles down the tracks
toward fraught unknowns,

away from identity,
place of being,
where hearts could rest at night
without fear of harm,

no more, no more,

now hearts are torn,
strewn along the tracks,
lodged in the cracks
of rocky, weed-choked land.

Who will collect these ravaged hearts
from the forgotten, war-torn tracks of life?

Photo and Poem by Rita Bourland


I pass the statue
every day,
its presence no longer stops
my gaze, my steps
from continuing
along the path,

my dog in tow,
we know the way,

but today I pause,
a forgotten hat and ball
add a splash of color,
of whimsy,

I step closer, I smile,
I think about my sons’ first steps,
my arms reaching to catch them,

before they fall
for the first time,

before life trips
them up
in unforeseen ways,

the way it does for all of us,

but today it’s all joy,
stopping in the park,
imagining a first step,
then a second,

then who knows where
his tiny steps will take him,

trusting his mother will
never let him fall too far.

Alfred Tibor (February 10, 1920 – March 18, 2017) was a beloved sculptor, Holocaust survivor and Bexley, Ohio resident who dedicated his life to expressing art that evoked human emotion. He said, “As a Holocaust survivor, I believe that my life was spared to do my work so people can enjoy it. I never lost faith and I never gave up hope that tomorrow would bring a better, brighter and more beautiful future for all. Whether it is one of my Holocaust sculptures, a biblical figure, or a woman standing proud and tall, the human aspect of the piece is what is being expressed to the viewer – that there is beauty and value to be found in all our lives, for I truly believe that life is a celebration.”
Tibor’s art can be seen in over 500 private collections and countless public spaces. Many are in the Columbus, Ohio area.
This sculpture is called “Second Step”.



We are seekers of light,

even on our darkest days,
we search for rays of hope
through shuttered windows,

since the dawn of time,
since the sun’s first rising,
our eyes have sought relief
from life’s encroaching shadows,

our hearts have drawn
comfort from a candle’s gentle flame,

we have blossomed beneath a full moon,
grown hopeful under starry skies,
felt protected by a beaconed lighthouse,
its steady beam guiding our way,
righting our ship,
leading us home,

but we needn’t journey alone,

if we reach out to others,
we will see in their eyes
how they search,
how they yearn
for the same light,
the same hope,

whether it’s in sorrow or celebration,
in grief or joy,
in darkness or light,
we can be a beacon,
a full moon,
or a gentle flame for one another,

we are all seekers of light.

Photo of Mabelle by Estelle Boyaka © 2022 – Sunny 95 Park neighbor and friend



I remember that day
when my toes were so cold,
when I thought I’d never grow old,

I remember how good it felt,
the hand that I held,
as I trudged up the hill
to slide down again,
and again,

I can still taste the cold,
feel the crunch of the snow,

I think of it now and again,
and remember how good it felt,
the hand that I held,

I remember it even now
after so many winters have passed.

Poem and Photo by Rita Bourland
Norton the Dog at Sunny 95 Hill
Photo editing by Philip Bourland



Flamboyant leaves fall like drops
of luminous paint,

their brilliant, textured hues
take my breath away,

pull my eyes to the canopy above,
then to single leaves below,

I walk slowly,
not wishing to disturb
their comfy, earthen bed,

grateful to witness
another fall miracle,

another forest brushed
with the grace of dawn,

grateful we humans can’t squash
the dreams of nature,

nor deter its desire to be seen
at the peak of its brilliance,

a reminder to celebrate all
who wish to paint the world
with their own, rich palette,

who wish to be loved
for their abundant, textured hues.

Photos taken at Whetstone Park of Rose by Rita Bourland – Fall 2021