Hope Springs Eternal: Spring of Eternal Hope

To me, Easter is hope. Hope that loved ones live on in some way after we lose them. Hope that Spring will follow Winter. Hope that we are not doomed — love makes a difference.

I used to think of hope as a relatively naive emotion, a blind and Pollyanna-ish sentiment ill-founded in reality. At least I thought such on gloomy days when I had spent a little too much time reading the newspaper or listening to NPR. I went through a period last spring when I was studying global warming and felt as if we were all doomed — no way out, bleak future at best.

Since then, however, I have come to think of hope in another way, starting with a recognition of dire circumstances and emerging as a commitment to live as if we can make a difference Maybe all we can do will not be enough, but we do not ultimately know this for sure. Hope is looking the world’s and our own pain and problems in the face and daring to move forward anyway. Thus hope wears the look not of a fresh-faced cherub but of a wrinkled old woman who still insists on “puttin’ up peaches” for the winter.

Grandma’s mother was such a woman. On the day she died, she canned peaches all morning.

As a New Englander now, I must trust that Spring will come … eventually. I had occasion to assure a newcomer to our country of this fact yesterday. The couple whose wedding I attended in Peru joined my family and me for Easter yesterday. (He works here and brought his new wife to the US shortly after they were married in Lima.) What a time to arrive in America! January in this part of the country is frigid and bleak. When I told this woman that soon she would see an explosion of green everywhere, that New England is positively lush in springtime, to hang on and she will see a feast for the eyes — she looked dubious. It’s hard to imagine such a scene when one looks out the window at this moment.

I, myself, have been anxiously scanning the conservation land behind our house for the first signs of spring: budding skunk cabbage in the creek bed. Nothing yet. But I well remember how within a week of seeing those bright green leaves emerge, all the lawns will turn green and then the leaf and flower buds will appear on the trees. And we will have months of verdant foliage, ending in a blaze of bright hues months later in the fall.

Our new friend must take this on faith.

We all must.

Happy Spring, folks. The calendar says last Thursday spring arrived. I don’t believe everything I read, but I am determined to hope. Maybe this year I’ll even take up canning.

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3 Responses

  1. Great post. I really liked “starting with a recognition of dire circumstances and emerging as a commitment to live as if we can make a difference ”

    So true.

    Anyhow, I’m with you on the spring thing. We’re in Pennsylvania so I can relate to everything you say. We had a green Christmas and a white Easter!

    A few weeks back the temperature rose to 50 degrees and I actually grilled some hamburgers on the grill to take advantage of the “heat”. The green will soon be here!

  2. Spring, this year, although I’ve always looked forward to it, is a reminder of last Spring – when Owen was here admiring all the budding trees around our house. So many crossing-over emotions. Hope. Just stick with it. It’s that thing we let go of…last.

    Linda

  3. strugglingwriter — I haven’t dared to get the grill out yet. Afraid I’ll jinx spring. Have fun at tomorrow’s primary!

    Linda — I’m so sorry! Yes, everything sweet and lovely must make you think of Owen. I know you miss him terribly. Hang onto hope, my friend….

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