When life is going my way, it’s easy for me to write about taking chances, being bold, daring to leap. But it’s writing that sometimes seems all sugar and no salt because when my life goes off the rails, I struggle desperately to walk the talk, to face up to fear, to not go fetal in my bed in the afternoon. My knee-jerk response to adversity is to fold like a cheap umbrella in a windstorm when what I really want is to be as sturdy as this tree, as transcendent as the moon. Yes, I’m resilient and always bounce back, but I wish I didn’t have that initial reaction of panic, cowardice and surrender when trouble stops at my door. I was thinking about this last night when I stumbled across a line from “The Mad Farmer Liberation Front” by Wendell Berry: “Be joyful though you have considered all the facts.” The words lit up in my mind like mercury scrawled across the night sky. Because the facts are (contrary to what Pinterest and Instagram would have us believe) that dark days, poverty, illness, betrayal, loneliness, blood, snot, loss, pain and death are all mixed up in this life along with the big pink moons, laughing kids, leaping dogs, cake icing, wish bones, watermelon flesh, candlelight, snow angels, country lanes and new shoes. And the biggest fact of all is that we will every one pass out of this world, this green and gorgeous home some day. We will leave behind all we love and all we’ve accomplished and all we’ve accumulated. But maybe it’s possible, in the meantime, to be joyful even though we’ve considered all those facts. To use the candlelight to find our way through the dark. To savor the cake while the wind howls outside. To worship each moon as if it were our first.