every blade of grass


A few autumns ago, I was asked to speak at an all-school assembly at my old high school, or at least its descendant, in Ashtabula, Ohio. As I have been weaving together thoughts and writings for this website, I came across the talk I gave then, and with all the turmoil that the world is facing day to day, I decided that this would be a good beginning for the blog posts here - because it lifts up wonder, and hope, and responsibility, and gratitude.  — Susan


Lakeside High School, Ashtabula, Ohio

The Talmud tells us
That every blade of grass
has an angel that whispers to it,
"Grow. Grow."
Each blade of grass,
Every person.
Each person is a
in the universe -
different retinas
different fingerprints
different voiceprints
In Tibetan Buddhist monasteries
new entrants
are given a meditation bell
cast just for them,
for their unique tone.
No two have ever been cast
Each person
is precious
a special voice
in the universe
(and the angels whisper
grow, grow...)
Do not let the sadnesses
of life crush you,
Do not let the cruelties
of people
pitch a tent in you.
Let them pass on through
carving a deep place
where joy and delight
can rush in to fill.
(Grow, grow)


Here on this ridge
up on this ancient shoreline
here where the goldenrod
is in bloom
and the sumacs are turning red
you have a chance to explore
to find your unique voice.
Who are you at your very best?
Who does the universe
need you to be?
The universe is ever and always
trying to nudge us
urge us
toward finding
our unique and precious gifts,
our once-in-a-universe
Even if your parents
fight and divorce
the universe lovingly urges you on.
Even if you are not one of the popular students
the universe needs you to find
your voice.
Even if the athlete you like
humiliates you at a party
the universe begs you to keep walking
keep growing
We are each of us
to the universe,


And so:
Thank you to the stars
who formed the elements
of this body
Thank you to the limestone
beneath this rich soil
whose minerals formed my bones
Thank you to this glacial lake
whose songs sing in my blood
Thank you to my Finnish and German ancestors
whose stories and struggles
are carried in my DNA
Thank you to my parents Myrtle Palo and John Palo
who transmitted to my cells
their curiosity and love
Thank you to the Jeanette Eskelins
the Mary Boyces, the Richard Potts
the Helen Dickeys. the Oliver Kauras
who entrusted us
with the knowledge of their days
Thank you to the friends
who carried me across the chasm
with madrigals and campfire
Thank you for
the hope
I have
in all your

Susan Palo Cherwien