“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

I cannot answer the 'what,' but I do know the 'how,' and maybe that's enough. Whether my accomplishments are many or few, I hope to live respectfully of all I have been given.

As a child, I spent afternoons lying in the clover, staring up through the leaves of my favorite wild cherry tree. This tree was weathered and peeling, but still strong enough to stand years of coastal nor'easters. Refusing to grow efficiently skywards, its green swooping branches stretched outward, dipping low enough for a child to climb. That balance of roots and reach remains with me from those summers.

I hope to draw strength from within and never to take that for granted. I will cultivate it and will not use it selfishly. I will reach outwards when it seems most reasonable to draw back, and give when I am unsure if I have enough for myself.

But strength alone is not sufficient. I will also live with grace. However harried the moment, I will remember the arc of that cherry tree against the sky, admire the ocean from a window, and delight in the prospect of summers to come.

— Suzanne Floy Gauron