Oil Paintings of Florida
John Sterpe

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Page of Quotes, poems and short stories by John Sterpe



Then we will know

When the towering cypress trees fall down into the deep clear blue waters.

When the storm clouds swept away those last few raindrops.

When the songs of the Great Horned owl turns still.

When the turtles no longer slide down into the clear water

and the wake of the foam in the twilight no longer shape the sounds of our wandering river,

Then we will know.

Into the deep blue shadows and down the rocky shoals,

Then we will know.

We turn to a place of the land that warned us, the waters that taught us,

Long ago, long ago.

Together, we stay strong, in a long lost wandering world,

Yet still, when those towering cypress trees fall down into the deep clear blue shadows,

When that final storm cloud swept away those last few raindrops and no longer formed the twilight,

No longer shaped the sounds of our wandering river.

Then we will know

John Sterpe 2008

high springs barn 2.jpg (114940 bytes)


'Ode to the old red brick walls'

Perhaps it is the sound of church bells, the calmness and the beauty of the old red brick town that has spoken to me,

 the water tower likened to a lighthouse that guides the way, Welcome to High Springs it may be titled. I did not

 go out seeking to paint over and to deface the walls of High Springs, The beauty of it all is the actual scene as

 you look down Main Street, cover it up in murals and you will ruin the whole darn thing, the red brick is the art

, the history is under the paint, bring your French easel and set it up on a sidewalk and paint your own canvas,

 but for heaven's sake, leave the old red bricks and the town alone.   John Sterpe February 2022 



Blessed by the Squirrels, short story

It was nothing more than a mangled furry ball of moss which lay on the ground beneath which looks like a 60 foot White oak tree near the house.

On closer inspection I realized it is a squirrels nest which was blown down from the high winds which swept thou the tree tops and torn the nest in half.

Three of my cats were hanging around the nest which lay scattered across the wet ground. What must be mommy squirrel was squawking and making all sorts of racket .

I saw something moving in the leaves, a little baby, so small, its eyes still closed, wounded ,helpless , stunned from a 60 foot fall, left alone to fend for itself amongst the wild instincts of my cats and perhaps birds of pray.

My first thought, my normal standard routine in situations like this, I yell out, Marge, , yes John, she calls back, I found a baby squirrel and it needs our help, I said, My good and caring Margie would drop everything and run to my rescue, she brings me relief knowing that I dont have to handle this alone, what could I do other then protect the baby, how could I take care of it , so with our two � brains we could possible come up with a rescue plan.

Gather the nest into a ball , lets put it into one of those moss hanging baskets, there amongst the scatterings , another baby, alive .

Now mommy squirrel was watching from the tree tops, Margie said, lets hang the basket with the babies to the highest parts we can reach on the tree, good idea Marge, I,ll  get the ladder, you tuck up the nest and make it cozy.

Within 3 minutes of hanging the basket, mommy squirrel came down the tree to the basket and clutched the first squirreling into her mouth and up to the tree top she shot, one minute later, down she came and took the second to the top as well.

What happiness we felt for the small squirrels, this family is back together.

Thanks to scamper the cat, Another baby showed up on the entrance to of my door step, still alive, back up the ladder I took it, as soon as I let this baby lay onto the basket, mommy just about scooped it from my hand, up she went to the tree top.

Back down she came for one last look around, secure, all is well, safe with her babies on the top of the trees.

Another day passes as the night falls, The wind still blows, the rain comes and goes , the leaves dry and fall to the ground, buds come back once again, life abounds.

Perhaps, Like the song, God must be busy, perhaps I helped, perhaps this team work brings me closer with my Margie, it might have been planned all along, what is just one or even three more squirrels that would hop thou the trees, not to be missed by anyone.

To many of us, just to wake in the fog of a quiet morning, to listen to the clatter clattering of the squirrels, to dodge the Hickory nuts that fall to the ground, this alone is a blessing.   

John Sterpe 2005





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 Est. 1996 -2023 Oil paintings of Florida by John Sterpe all rights reserved