Wild Comfort: The Solace of Nature, by Kathleen Dean Moore

An excerpt from her book:

…So I don’t know what to think about people who tell their grieving friends to be patient. “Be patient. Time is the great healer. Give it time.” Have these people ever watched a heron hunt, ever heard one die in the dark? What are they thinking? There are many kinds of patience, and maybe they work against each other. Patience is active and passive. I would call patience a paradox, except that’s too simple.

Here is the work of patience: to die to the world of acting, the world of hoping, and so to open oneself to the suffering of the whole world. This is true passion, taking in the suffering of all together. This patience is the birth of compassion.

And here is the work of patience: to become brave and fierce, set like a spring to seize whatever life puts in the way of our stiletto beaks. To stalk it and impale it and with a flip of our muscular necks, to fling it into the air and swallow it whole. Seize the day in a razor beak. This patience is the birth of joy.

And here is the work of patience: to be ready for the world to slit us, the full length of us, opening our hearts with the pellucid attention that is the watchfulness of the heron in the cove at the end of the day, when wood smoke slides onto the rising tide and slanting rain pocks the water. This patience is the birth of gratitude…

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