Posts Tagged ‘resilience’


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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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—

morning light reaching in, bathing the room with 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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Trickster Ridge



At the edge of the cliff

the wind tousles the snakeweed

into a riot of waving fronds.


They dance and still, and dance

and still, resettling into their natural state

before being danced again.


All morning I have been thinking

about resilience, or more rightly,

resilience has visited me,


not as a thought, more as

a mandate. And here, the snakeweed,

golden flowers lit by sun,


leads me to the edge of the cliff

where the wind whips everything

that dares show up,


and the snakeweed—

stirred, disturbed and rearranged—

has never been more itself.


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Blowing and gusting

and pushing and rushing

the wind tugs at every

surface it finds

and pries and whips

and shreds and flips,

overturns and tears

and ravages, wears down

and frays, unravels

and loosens in an entropy

dance, and to all

it touches—willow,

leaf, clothesline, fence,

it whispers

resilience, resilience.

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I tell her, well, if you continue to work with horses,

before long you’ll be kicked and bucked and bit, too.

She smiles solemnly, slips back into her boots.


If only the heart could wear boots, I think,

something to make it feel a little more invincible.

No, I think. It doesn’t work that way. The heart,


though rolled and kicked and bucked and bit,

must never feel invincible. It must always know

it is in terrible danger of being hurt


and return to love anyway.



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