Poem: Keeping the Peace

I saw it out of the corner of my eye,
noticed its tall, silver form
long before naming it in my mind:
heron. It perched, utterly graceful and
still, on a fallen trunk that sloped down
into the creek we cross over every day.
Fog was rising from the water,
and I wished I could stop the car,
approach quietly with camera in hand,
and somehow arrest the moment—
then lift it, intact, to take with me
as an emblem for the day.

Instead I turned away
to face the road again,
letting the moment flick past
like the flipping of channels,
and swallowing my awareness
that we live in a world with—herons.
The children were slumped behind me,
only just lulled into a dubious harmony
that would no doubt be shattered
if we stopped, or if I called out
for them to notice this marvel,
already now behind us.

I envisioned
three heads swiveling,
eager to broaden their horizons
with the wonders of the natural world.
Then I pictured a careless elbow
clipping a seatmate on the chin,
and two sets of hands clawing
at the sibling with the prime view—
of this animal
who has had the good sense to freeze
as we go barreling past.

No, I decided
(and it felt ungenerous):
today I would choose to keep
this emblem of peace to myself,
not sharing it with them directly,
but thereby preserving
the absence of conflict in the backseat,
and the heron’s solitary breakfast,
and perhaps most important,
that rare jewel—peace of mind—
for me.

© 2012 Sarah Dunning Park

You can say no to constant busyness.

To lead your family with peace, you need to know your NOs and YESes. But what are they?

Like Your Life can help you figure them out.


  1. Anastasia@healthymamainfo.com

    Love the poem. It’s very peaceful and images arise in your imagination while you read it. My tree years old loved it!

  2. marjie

    Wow! I just dumpedsome guilt! Thankyou.This is beautiful and one of those moments that parents face each day. Some moments are just for us……….

  3. Jolene in Michigan

    Thank you so much for this poem. 🙂

  4. Kari Scare

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    On a different note, I like the way you approach affiliates and monitizing. I know that this isn’t the focus of your site, but if you have any advice on how to work in that direction, I would love to hear it. Feel free to email me. Thanks!

  5. Andrewson

    Nice post

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