Courage is that tiny seedling
I planted in a dry year
In an unlikely spot,
Where the soil was too scant to raise a crop.

Every morning, in the dark,
I carried water to where it was,
Dogged in my hope
That something good would come.

And there it grew,
Slow and crooked,
No beauty in its form
Save that it was, at all,
And it was years before
It ever became strong,
Or sturdy enough for me to lean against-
Though certainly not in a storm.

Truth be told,
There were seasons when
I forgot that it was even there
And others when I could not find
That sapling, for the brush that grew about.

But something about it
Was more determined than I imagined,
Despite the tender nature of its fiber.
So one spring, when I ventured its direction,
I took note in some surprise
To see that many had taken shelter in its boughs-
There was a nest, that peace had made,
And a den, where justice raised her cubs,
And here and there
Upon that harsh and scanty hill,
I saw seedlings more of courage
Unwavering in their intent to make a forest
Where only the wind had lived before.

George R. Pasley
January 19, 2016
Ketchikan Alaska

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