Northwest Nature Log Hope is the Thing with Feathers

A gull takes a quizzical — perhaps hopeful — look at the sand in search of breakfast.

When I wrote about my Dad’s love of watching birds at the end of his life, it seemed to resonate with many people. There is something about us, some light that burns bright till the end, and we recognize that in each other. Life can be dark, but somehow that spark still lives.

There isn’t a person I know whose life hasn’t been touched in some way by the specter of breast cancer: mother, sisters, friends, ourselves. Having been a nurse for so many years, I walked this path with many people; some at the outset, some at the end.

Emily Dickinson, a poet from the mid-1800s says it best. This is for all of us. I think of walking that path with fear in our hearts, only to look up and see a bright bird.

“Hope is the

Thing With Feathers”

Hope is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul

And sings the tune without the words

And never stops at all —


And sweetest in the gale is heard

And sore must be the storm

That could abash the little bird

that kept so many warm —


I’ve heard it in the chillest land

And on the strangest sea

Yet never in extremity

It asked a crumb of me.

—Emily Dickinson


Remember: October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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