|Today, I did my last gardening job for the year. My task for the morning was to plant bulbs. Usually, gardening work offers the opportunity for instant gratification. You dig weeds and prune shrubbery. Once you remove the refuse, you see results right away. There is no reason to wait.
With bulb planting, it is a different story. The gratification is delayed. The bulbs are planted in the spring and, then, you have to wait all winter to see results. Fortunately, for me, I tend to be easily distracted so I don’t spend all winter wondering what color my crocuses might turn out to be or if any of the bulbs that I planted might turn out to be a delicacy for deer. And speaking of deer, I plant with them in mind. I don’t plant any tulips. The deer love to eat tulip bulbs. If they don’t polish off the bulbs, they get pretty excited about eating the flowers. I suppose that deer like tulips as much as humans love chocolate.
So, yes. Delayed gratification. Feeling hope all winter. Hope that the snows will come and hope that the snows will go. Hope that the lovely green shoots of late winter will poke through the hard ground and bring color back to a monochromatic world.
Hope never dies. For millennia, there has always been hope, even though it is shut up in a box and is, sometimes, hard to find. According to Greek mythology, the first woman on Earth was Pandora. She was actually created by Zeus as a punishment to humans. Zeus was angry because Prometheus stole fire to give to humans. Pandora was given the traits of deceitfulness, stubbornness, and curiosity. She was also given a box and was instructed never to open that box. Pandora really did try hard not to open the box. Eventually, her curiosity became too much. She peeked inside the box. When she opened that box, she accidentally let out all sorts of bad stuff: disease, poverty, war, death, sadness, and misery. Pandora, who thought that the box would be filled with fine cloths and exquisite jewelry, was horrified. She quickly shut the box but it was too late. All of the ills contained in the box had fluttered away to torment the world.
Before long, Pandora heard a little cry from within the box. She opened it and a beautiful creature emerged. It was hope. It touched the places and people that were attacked by the ills of the world and it healed everyone that it was able to touch.
|Many years later, we are still beset by the ills of the world. Just when it seems as if we can’t handle it any more, out flutters that little guy who got stuck in the box when Pandora hurriedly shut it. It is hope. Hope is always with us. Hope means not giving up, ever. Even when the odds seem impossibly long, hope is still there.
During the process of choosing a president in the United States, it felt as if all hope had fled. Listening to two candidates bash each other nearly nonstop for months was discouraging. Could things possibly get any worse? Some people claim that we will be all right, that everything will work out. But, no, I don’t believe that. I do not believe that everything will work itself out. I believe that we are in for a rough ride.
I do, however, believe that all hope has actually not fled. As long as there is life, there is hope. People are doing great things to make this world a better place. They will continue to do so.
Like Pandora, we opened a box that we probably should not have opened. We are looking into the mirror and are not liking what we see. We don’t see that little guy hiding behind us. The guy called hope. The guy who will dry our tears and will take us by the hand and help us to see beauty in a world that looks ugly. It’s sort of like the gardens, but on a bigger scale. The crocuses and the snowdrops and other early flowers will grow through the snow. They will grow through the hard soil and they will be the living symbols of hope, of never giving up.
So, I choose, as my word for 2017, hope.
I hope for better things for everyone and for our beautiful, but such sad, world.