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Posts Tagged ‘resilience’

 

 

Today I talk to the broccoli sprouts.

I kneel down beside their bed.

You can do it, I tell them.

I don’t mention that every summer

there is a hail storm that will

puncture and tear their leaves,

that bits of their green will litter the soil.

 

Though the sprouts are less

than half an inch tall,

the leaves already look tough—

like thick four leaf clover.

The hail, though, will be tougher.

 

Perhaps I don’t want

to tell myself how tough things will get.

Would rather encourage. Would rather play.

Would rather revel in the day’s sun.

But today, there’s no lying to the self—

the inner hail has already come;

my leaves hang in tatters.

All around me, flower petals

are fallen, scattered.

Out of season, widespread wreckage.

 

There is an inner knowing, though—

one that needs no one else

to encourage it. It knows to grow,

to grow despite the damage, to grow,

because damage. To grow. It knows

to grow, because that is what we are here to do,

our new leaves coming in to support the old,

to support the whole, every bit as vulnerable,

and green, so green.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today I take the courage I don’t feel

and the resilience I doubt and

all my unspent longing to serve,

and I bring them, cupped in my hands,

to the garden. They nestle there in my palms

like three baby birds that have not yet

opened their eyes. I take them to hear

the pungent song of the garlic shoots

and the thriving chives who chant

how to survive the winter.

I bring them to hear the strawberry leaves

who sing how to flourish despite the frost.

and the old song of chicken manure

and composted grass that hum about

how old life begets new life.

And they open their tiny beaks,

as if they could eat the green song.

How vulnerable they are.

So I open to the song, too.

I do what must be done.

I take in the nourishing song,

and feed them with my own mouth.

 

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Last summer’s grass still stands in the field,

dry and fringe-like. It shushes against my thighs

as I walk. How is it still upright? After the weight

of last year’s snow? How has it not fallen, decayed?

 

Though I can break the brittle stems in my fingers,

it bends in the wind, more resilient than I could imagine.

 

What inside me is dead, yet still standing?

What old thoughts, their seeds long gone,

are filling the fields of imagination?

 

The new grass already is emerging into spring.

Soft. Deep green. Unable to be bent or broken,

its scent sweet and sharp in the nose.

 

Let me find in me this freshness, this new growth,

this willingness to push up through what’s dead.

Let me roll in it like a dog, till I come up stained green—

green thoughts. Green words. Green wonder.

Green learning what it is to be green.

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What if, tonight, we all went to bed

and thought of our best version of our self.

It wouldn’t be true, of course. Not

in this moment, and not tomorrow.

Not mid-week. Not next week.

Not even next year. But if we could picture it,

it would be a goal we could live toward.

 

It would be, perhaps, like the garden beds

I prepared today—hoeing in fertilizer,

last year’s grass clippings, leaves.

When I was done, the rows still looked like dirt,

but such fine dirt it was for planting.

 

I believe in our resilience.

What is best in us is eager to grow,

like the sunflower sprouts

volunteering again this year.

What if tonight, we imagined the roots

of our goodness. What if tonight,

we planted only those seeds.

 

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Today it is the chives that spur me,

seeing their slender green scapes and leaves

that have pushed up

through the dried clumps

of last year’s version of themselves.

 

When nothing else in the garden is green,

the chives grow, smooth, bendable, soft,

and yet they have managed to pierce

through the hard spring dirt.

Unwatered. Ignored.

 

In the aftermath of cold and dark,

they come. And something green in me responds,

pungent and powerful, eager. Ready

to flourish. Ready to meet the world,

though the cold is far from over.

 

What is it in us that longs to grow

through the previous, dried up versions of ourselves?

It rises, yes, like tiny spears, unstoppable,

bent on thriving, daring us to be

that resilient, that willing, that green.

 

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Lucky

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Look around, look around, at how lucky we are to be alive right now. History is happenin’.

            —Lin-Manuel Miranda, “The Schuyler Sisters,” Hamilton

           

There are days when we know we are lucky—

when we go for a walk and find, beneath dead leaves,

yellow petals. When an envelope brings a surprise check.

When a loved one calls to say they will visit. When

our name is pulled from a hat.

And then there are days our luck is less clear.

When the commercial world as we know it collapses.

When the schools and restaurants and whole towns are closed.

When our paycheck is gone and we can’t pay

next month’s rent. When loved ones lives are threatened.

Yes then, it’s much harder to say we are lucky.

But. Every day, every day for the last week,

every day when I wake, I think to myself,

This, this is the day to make a difference.

This is the day to bring your best self to the world.

This is the day to shine and work and forgive.

 

Every cell in me is wildly alive. Every moment

feels like a gift. I’m transfixed. Every minute

feels like an invitation to show up more open,

more vulnerable, more brave than I ever dreamed I could be.

And damn, if that isn’t lucky, I don’t know what is.

The morning light, it reaches in,

bathes the whole room in gold.

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Amidst the sirens

and the horns,

tucked in between

the skyscrapers,

we found a garden

with a fountain

at its center

rung with trees

and lush green leaves

and purple hastas—

and there, inside

that sudden peace,

my dad and I

sat side by side

and didn’t solve

a goddammed thing

but listened to

the sound of water

falling, falling,

and watched it

rising up,

rising up again.

 

 

 

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For though it is cold and bitter,

you raise your bright faces

and radiate loveliness—

as if to prove what is delicate

can thrive in adversity.

 

There is so much chill,

and sometimes I forget

I can meet bitterness with softness—

I think I, too, must learn

to speak the language of sharp.

 

But you, pansies, purple and yellow,

white and maroon, you remind me

that softness can be resilient,

that one small beauty

changes everything—

 

and if today we are able to shine,

despite cold, despite callousness,

then shamelessly, splendidly

let us shine.

 

 

 

 

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One Resilience

my heart a cottonwood seed

landed on rock instead of soil—

love says, time to trust the wind

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My brother thrilled to pummel and punch

that red-nosed clown again and again—

an inflatable plastic sack with a round weighted base—

 

and always the clown returned to standing.

Forty years later, I still don’t want to punch anything,

wish, instead, I could be more like that red and blue Bozo,

 

could roll and twist and spin each time

life knocks me over, and though I wobble,

though I bob, I would defy the laws of physics

 

return to standing, yes I would,

and find a way to smile.

 

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