courage in its many forms

Courage - by Anne Sexton 
It is in the small things we see it. 
The child's first step, 
as awesome as an earthquake. 
The first time you rode a bike, 
wallowing up the sidewalk. 
The first spanking when your heart 
went on a journey all alone. 
When they called you crybaby 
or poor or fatty or crazy 
and made you into an alien, 
you drank their acid 
and concealed it.
Later, 
if you faced the death of bombs and bullets 
you did not do it with a banner, 
you did it with only a hat to 
cover your heart. 
You did not fondle the weakness inside you 
though it was there. 
Your courage was a small coal 
that you kept swallowing. 
If your buddy saved you 
and died himself in so doing, 
then his courage was not courage, 
it was love; love as simple as shaving soap.
Later, 
if you have endured a great despair, 
then you did it alone, 
getting a transfusion from the fire, 
picking the scabs off your heart, 
then wringing it out like a sock. 
Next, my kinsman, you powdered your sorrow, 
you gave it a back rub 
and then you covered it with a blanket 
and after it had slept a while 
it woke to the wings of the roses 
and was transformed.
Later, 
when you face old age and its natural conclusion 
your courage will still be shown in the little ways, 
each spring will be a sword you'll sharpen, 
those you love will live in a fever of love, 
and you'll bargain with the calendar 
and at the last moment 
when death opens the back door 
you'll put on your carpet slippers 
and stride out.

Sunday Snapshot: I believe in you

“Instead of communicating, ‘I love you, so let me make life easy for you,’ I decided that my message needed to be something more along these lines: ‘I love you.  I believe in you.  I know what you’re capable of.  So I’m going to make you work.’ “
Kay Wills Wyma 

Sunday Snapshot: into the peace of wild things

“When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.  I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief.  I come into the presence of still water.  And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light.  For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.”

– Wendell Berry

Sunday Snapshot: a reflection of our true selves

“We have doomed the wolf not for what it is, but for what we deliberately and mistakenly perceive it to be – the mythologized epitome of a savage ruthless killer – which is, in reality, no more than a reflected image of ourself.”
– Farley Mowat