Selected Essays|

At The Heart Of It

It’s the sunshine that colors a metallic wing, or the smile on a human face;
or perhaps it’s “Alberta,” so proud with her young, or the kestrel so tiny and bright.
Whatever it is, I’m never so happy as when it is part of my life.

It’s the fun that we have between cleaning, or the sorrow we share late at night;
it’s the nighthawk that finally gapes to be fed, or a weak bird that stands all alone.
Sometimes it’s simply the feeling you have when you know that everyone’s home.

It’s the warbler so rare, that lives to fly free;
and the fawn that survives against terrible odds.
It’s the geese as they waggle their necks and their wings.
It is all and then more of these wonderful things.

It’s friendship and laughter and freshly-brewed coffee;
it’s a new pair of gloves or a fresh bag of feed —
it’s the time between feedings that’s totally free.
Somehow it seems we have all that we need.

It’s a mother opossum with twelve nursing young,
once despised and in danger, now peaceful and warm.
It’s “Rover” on guard for all in the pen, or “Felony,” who’s in charge again.

It’s watching a robin hatch out of an egg, knowing it must fly away.
It’s taking care of a starving squirrel, though you know it’s already too late.
It’s staying up late with a new-born fawn and then getting up with the birds.
It’s all and then more of so many things that I never can put into words.

It’s taking the time to bandage a wing, in case something else can be done.
It’s wanting to help every creature, and never to turn away one.
It’s feeding an owl missing a leg the meal that will be its last.
It’s telling a person who cares very much that the time for healing is past.

Whichever it is, and however said, you are with us each minute, each day.
All of the creatures we’ve held in our hands depended on you in some way.

So take heart and remember when you might despair; 
the strangers around you are people who care, 
and kindness is really not so very rare; 
We just need to look, and it’s there.

© 1999 Yvonne Wallace Blane

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