In the Presence of Hope

Nature is hard

For the feathered
For the furred and for the finned
For those creatures that crawl 
For those that burrow or slither
Nature is hard

For you, for me, for those of us with the
Ability to read or understand these words
Life might not be easy
But it’s rarely as it is out there
Out there in nature

Out there, disaster usually means death
A broken wing or a strained leg
A spoiled source of water
A fallen nest or a disturbed den
Disaster like that almost always brings about the end

But sometimes–rarely, but sometimes
Disaster happens in the presence of hope

Hope in the form of human hands
That will scoop up and embrace
Human hands and a heart that strives to
Bring a wholeness to the broken and to 
Preserve that which was surely lost

Sometimes
Rarely, but sometimes

A word on wildlife rescue and rehabilitation:  While the fate of some animals might rest in the hands of humans, it is crucial that a would-be rescuer not make a difficult situation worse.  Many times, animals that are “rescued” were never in any danger.  Fledged birds, hidden fawns, and even box turtles crossing the road are oftentimes captured, putting them in an even worse situation. 

Fledged birds on the ground are almost always being watched over by an invisible parent, fawns are left by parents, concealed for the day, and turtles (who unknowingly appreciate being assisted across the road in the direction they were headed) are territorial and will often perish in a new location.  

If you find yourself in a position to help wildlife, please first contact a licensed rehab provider in your area for advice.  Thank you! 

11 thoughts on “In the Presence of Hope

  1. I love this poem and your reminders about when to intervene and when not to. Your title is perfect and it’s such a welcome change to read about human hands helping rather than hurting. Thanks!

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  2. I love the way you set this line on its own, “Disaster happens in the presence of hope.” An important image for all of us – to have hope! Thank you. Also, such good advice about working with injured wildlife.

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  3. The line that really catches me in this poem is “Hope in the form of human hands”. I so rarely think of humans as bringing hope to any part of nature. And yet… your last lines remind me of the possibility. Thank you.

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  4. “Hope in the form of human hands” There is such power in these words. You are right, we can help more than we think. Thank you for sharing this thoughtful poem.

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  5. Your poem is wonderful with concern and caring coming through loud and clear as well as the awe you have for our friends in the wilderness. I like how you encouraged people at the end to contact a wildlife specialist before they try to help. Very often we do not understand before we intervene. You offered some sage advice! Thank you!

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  6. Beautiful poem honoring the nature and its ways – something I’ve learned to savor more each year that I live. The word that comes to mind is “sanctuary.” We can be so well-meaning (as you point out) but there’s a balance there without us, a clear order to the workings of it all – a constant wonder to me. “First do no harm …” that’s what I learned from my grandfather, a lifelong farmer who “read” nature, whose very heart beat with the rhythm of the Earth. This week I happened to see, from my kitchen window, a mockingbird flying low to the driveway, chasing a small black racer that was literally racing for its life (amazing how fast it could ripple along – like living fluid). The snake went under my husband’s car and the disgruntled mockingbird flew off. I watched that snake stretch its head high, considering if it could hide on the car’s underside … it settled for disguising itself near a tire. All in all so fascinating. My son recently killed a big black snake by his country home (he has dogs and a child) — and felt terrible about it as his car, parked in the yard, was shortly overrun with MICE (they chewed up lots of stuff and tried to nest!).

    All these things came to mind as I read your post – nature IS hard. We don’t need to make it harder, but to develop a deep and abiding respect – awe – for it. The pulse of your poem.

    Lovely and true.

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