The Day After

Yesterday we were remembering.

Wage-Peace-buttonToday, after re-reading Judyth Hill’s poem “Wage Peace,” written on 9/11/2001 (, I am following her example, replacing thoughts of mayhem by finding grace everywhere.

Last night I participated in a community celebration of Patriot Day with other members of the Hermosa Arts and History Association (, and witnessed community in action. The American Legion Hall in Hermosa filled with folks from the surrounding area, both old-time residents and those who have arrived more recently. Many elements of the widely-spread out Custer County community support us with their free will donations. We also welcomed many couples from the SD State Square Dance Festival ( taking place this weekend in the Hermosa School gym. Soon everyone was visiting back and forth across the patriotically-decorated tables as HAHA volunteers served hamburgers from local grassfed beef with appropriate accompaniments. Amazing how we all moved into the chain of service, switching jobs smoothly as one person went to replenish the lemonade and another stepped in to serve burgers.

And I overheard another exchange that spoke to me of the way community should function: “Do you know anyone who would like a used washer/dryer?” asked one member.

“Why yes,” said another, “My assistant told me this morning that her daughter’s washer/dryer had broken down and her husband is in Afghanistan.”

“Tell her I’ll be happy to deliver it.”

That mutually beneficial transaction took thirty seconds.

A half hour before sunrise, while the light was still silvery over the dam, three Great Blue Herons lifted like smoke off the water and flew low to the narrower part before settling down to watch for frogs.

In the windbreak trees, fifty yards from our house, we found the largest coyote scat we’ve ever seen, which makes us nervous for our Westies. But the scat was filled with vole fur, a good sign.

Plants below the water on the dam are reasserting themselves as thousands of gallons of water evaporates each day: Western sloughgrass and Baltic rush and Dudley, fox sedge and fescue sedge, all reaching up and bursting through into the sunlight.

Thai pepper harvest 2015A day or two ago Jerry harvested what will probably be his entire crop of Thai peppers from the plant in the greenhouse. They are arranged on the lower screen of my homemade food dryer ( to be prepared for winter storage. We collected some potatoes and onions from the basement of the retreat house.

I opened windows wide there to let in the fall air and sunshine, knowing that a retreat guest was waking up in a campground somewhere south of here, packing up while thinking about her retreat starting today. And now that I’ve prepared myself for a serious writing retreat by writing something, it’s time for me to turn again to making comments on her writing to make her trip worthwhile.

Linda M. Hasselstrom
Windbreak House Writing Retreats
Hermosa, South Dakota

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(c) Linda M. Hasselstrom, 2015

2 thoughts on “The Day After

  1. Dear Linda,
    Thank you for reading and responding to Wage Peace – I am honored. This is such a beautiful piece of writing, and you deeply enacted peace and called in Grace,
    All Blessings,
    Judyth Hill

    1. Thank YOU Judyth Hill, for writing such a beautiful poem at such a difficult time and for so generously inviting everyone to share it. I had not ever looked at your website before, so I’m sorry to say I had failed to ask permission, but I discovered your authorship right away, and I have mentioned this poem and the impulse from which you created it, to many people. The idea that we are what we speak, write, say and think is so simple and clear and yet when I watch the faces of people read your description of the poem on your website, I can see that idea slowly fill them and makes their faces relax. “Yes,” they say. “Yes.”

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