(Photograph via unbekannt270)
I have seen you grow. I have wallowed in fields of grass and snow that are now schools and stores. I have watched a city revel in self-deprecating humor – to then vigorously defend itself with pride. I have witnessed the warm embrace of a community welcoming their fellow human beings; individuals similarly devoted to making a better life for future generations. I have observed time and again a collective upholding its values yet opening its mind outwardly and inwardly.
It is true that you have stumbled and fallen; that your hardened character from the bitter cold has been mistaken for meanness; that you have seen turmoil resulting from our nature to create out-groups. But it is also true that you have clung on to what matters. That most of you are there to help each other up; that you made it a place where people are free to make mistakes. That you are willing to acknowledge these mistakes and work hard to learn from them; where each day you put every ounce of effort into building up your confidence.
This sense of growth, the self-checking balance of humility and pride, the welcoming of diversity, and the awareness of the wisdom that lies in values is much of what makes you wonderful. The scars and the bruises, the shared hardness of your life in a frigid-to-sweltering swamp, and the mistakes that are made as you develop are what make you real. Your progeny engrain these features; when they depart, they only leave in the physical sense – but like dandelion seeds blowing in the gentle breeze, they will always be a part of you.