Norwegian polymath and polar explorer Fridtjof Nansen was no stranger to “impossible” challenges. He led many expeditions to the Arctic, including the first to cross the entire frozen expanse of the Greenland interior, in 1888. Later, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his humanitarian work in the wake of World War I, providing aid to thousands of refugees, prisoners of war, and victims of the famine in Russia. Nansen’s achievements prove that an “impossible” task is often simply something that’s never been done before. If we have the patience and tenacity to conquer even the most difficult goals, what was previously unimaginable suddenly comes into the realm of possibility.
Theodore Roethke’s poem “In a Dark Time” opens with an assertion: Hardships clarify who we are and what matters to us most. Without challenges to illuminate needs from wants, we risk taking aspects of our lives for granted. The Pulitzer Prize winner, who lost his father at age 14, understood the necessary alliance between darkness and light. As the poem continues, images are invoked of birds and insects, forests and caves, and the wind and the moon. Roethke believed his lifelong pull toward nature came from his father, who had owned and operated a 25-acre greenhouse in Michigan. “In a Dark Time” was included in Roethke’s posthumous 1964 book “The Far Field,” which won him his second National Book Award for Poetry.
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|Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy.|