1. Smith-Stoner, Marilyn RN, PhD, CHPN

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I sailed around the globe today,


The sea revealed herself to me once again.


Although my voyage ended in beauty, it began in frustration.


As I prepared to leave port, the captain sounded the alarm.


When I called back to the commander I shouted, "What gives?"


The frustration was evident in my voice.


"You are needed more in the East than the South today," he said.


I know better than to question the commander.


I could have objected but would not have prevailed,


Navigating the water takes all my attention anyway.


So I decided to save my energy for the trip.


As a cleared the harbor I began to relax,


Determined to make the most of my day.


I smiled at the possibility of seeing a mermaid.


Once I reached open water I steered clear of rocks and sea creatures,


I looked down and noticed my hands looked old, from my years of traveling from home to home.


Once I was at sea, my mind turned to the people I would see.


They usually moved to the Eastern village at an advanced age,


Often after having launched families of their own.


I began to picture their faces in the rays of the sun.


Most of them were old and very frail,


Their bodies were worn from years of sailing unpredictable seas.


Some of the villagers made their living riding waves,


Others gathered the bounty of the sea,


Still others devoted their lives to protecting it.


They all share a love of the sea and its inhabitants.


Each one dreams of their last day,


That glorious day when they will exchange legs for fins and lungs for gills.


I visited villagers who were close to death


And that prayed to sail again someday.


As I tended to them, I listened to their tales of the sea,


They often spoke of the treasures brought to the surface by the most violent storms,


And what they learned by seeing their own reflection in tide pools.


As I lifted anchor to return home, I felt at peace.


Like the villagers, I too dream of my final voyage.


In my dreams I learn the secrets of mermaids,


And talk to the animals that live in the deepest parts of sea.


But for now I pray for a safe return to harbor,


And the opportunity to return to sail the seas tomorrow.

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