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September 7, 2021


Frigate birds can remain in the air for up to two months, ornithologists say.

They can sleep while they fly, they say, resting one half of their brain while the other remains awake,

then waking the first half to let the other doze.

They lock the joints of their wings, they say, so they can glide at jet-altitude atmosphere without

summoning a muscle. They sail for weeks without food or water, rising on up-drafts and drifting out

of the way of whirling skirts of storms.

Sailing, static, surviving.

If this isn’t resilience, what is?

This isn’t resilience. What isn’t?

Atlas, brother of Prometheus, stood under the weight of the heavens, his sentence for insurrection.

For eternity, he would stand with his knees locked under the weight of all that was not under his feet,

mind locked against the cold of the jet-altitude atmosphere on his shoulders.

Standing, static, surviving.


But not resilient.

Prometheus hung chained to a cliff. His freeing humanity stupor reciprocated his bondage; some-

one had to take their place. Every night, he was visited not by a frigate bird, wings locked and brain dozing, but by an eagle, talons spreading and beak gaping. The eagle did not, like the frigate, fast for months. Rather it feasted each night on the liver of chained Prometheus, which grew back by day

only to be torn out again that night.

Writhing, dying, regrowing.

Not enduring.

But resilient.

To endure is to sustain, to remain unchanged. It demands no dying, requires no regrowing.

Resilience is regeneration of that which is eaten, torn, deceased. One cannot lock the fire door and throw away the key, rather one must forget the lock and throw away the door. Locked doors and

joints and minds preserve endurance.

But they stifle resilience before its host is alive enough to be killed, to regrow and be killed again.

To regrow.

Christina Cannon                                                                                                                                             

Reprinted by permission from Legacy Spring 2021

Southern Adventist University