Hope

We are living in strange times. What used to be up, feels down. What was once down, feels up. Days go by as we wonder which day of the week we are moving through. How did we ever keep up with our lives before this? And why did things like labels, dates, and times really matter so much? We laugh and poke fun at our humanness. We fret. We grow angry. We grieve. We share stories. And then we get back to the business at hand. 

Self-distancing, quarantine, flatten the curve, isolation: words that were once remote or considered jargon are very close and used more than I ever thought I would say or hear them. But here we are.

Everyone is dealing with covid-19 in their own ways. My days haven’t changed too much. I work from home. As a writer, income is always insecure and uncertain. And I rarely move beyond my garden or neighborhood. I’m a homebody. I’m saddened by the folks whose lives have changed drastically, financially, physically, and permanently in many different ways. And I know that at any time, my life could be upended, as well. That’s nothing new, either. I have gone through life waiting for the next shoe to drop, the next devastating phone call, impending doom. It doesn’t make me pessimistic, on the contrary, it makes me wildly hopeful and full of gratitude for everything I have right now.

It seems trite to write about my writer’s residency Feb-March 5. So, I won’t. Or can’t right now. Matter-of-fact, these words I sit and write today are the first real words I’ve written since I left the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. The words are in my head and don’t seem to want to appear on paper. Yet. But soon, I tell myself. Be gentle, I tell myself.

Until then, hope sustains me.

Last night I walked the greenways by my house with my husband. The first butterfly of the season, an Easter Tiger Swallowtail, flew over our heads and landed right beside me on a shrub. Hope. Bluebirds are nesting in the bluebird house in my garden. Hope. The earth is bursting forth in flowers and greenery. Hope. Squirrels still scamper and excavate winter’s acorns. Hope. Good people everywhere are coming together to be part of the solution. Hope. Brave nurses and doctors. Hope. Everyone who is making the best of a difficult situation. Hope

I just wrote a few words when I didn’t think writing was possible. Hope.

I am also finding hope in poetry, like this relevant poem by Ada Limón.

Instructions on Not Giving Up
More than the fuchsia funnels breaking out
of the crabapple tree, more than the neighbor’s
almost obscene display of cherry limbs shoving
their cotton candy-colored blossoms to the slate
sky of Spring rains, it’s the greening of the trees
that really gets to me. When all the shock of white
and taffy, the world’s baubles and trinkets, leave
the pavement strewn with the confetti of aftermath,
the leaves come. Patient, plodding, a green skin
growing over whatever winter did to us, a return
to the strange idea of continuous living despite
the mess of us, the hurt, the empty. Fine then,
I’ll take it, the tree seems to say, a new slick leaf
unfurling like a fist to an open palm, I’ll take it all.
Copyright © 2017 by Ada Limón.

Listen to the poet speak the poem on Poets.org

Where are you finding hope?

                                                   A few recent pics of what brings me hope.

Your posts, photos, and words also bring me hope. Thank you.
Be well. Stay safe. And may all beings be happy, healthy, safe, and free of suffering.


39 thoughts on “Hope

  1. So happy to see your post today, Cheryl, as I’ve been thinking of you, your recent residency, and hoping to hear of your experience and that you and your family are safe. (Sigh of relief.)

    Your post is beautiful and a welcome diversion from all of the downcast news on the virus. Like you, I am more of a homebody, spending time in the garden and am grateful to live in a rural area where crowds are not the norm and I can safely move about. And like you, I find comfort and solace on my daily walks in nature. (My garden is yet to bloom but the dwarf irises have been popping up here and there.) It’s my favorite time of year, perhaps because it also speaks of hope.

    Warm wishes to you and yours for safety and peace during these challenging times. And welcome back!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Always a pleasure to read your words and love this message of hope. I have had some word blocks, too and am gradually getting back at it. Funny, isn’t it, how we are used to being at home, but I think it is the world changes that pull at my heartstrings and wondering what’s the next thing to happen. Yet, to feel hope is what is so necessary in this time, in this moment, the one we get, and as I see changes happening I am hopeful that the change will be for the better and that we can truly experience some kind of resolution. I am empowered by the dedication of others as they lay their lives on the line, as they are truly dedicated to make positive changes. And it is in these observations I can hope to be someone who also makes a difference in the lives of other.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, Lisa. This is a time that calls us all to step up our game. Whether it’s providing an urgent resource, expressing more empathy, or staying at home, we all MUST do our part. What I really love that you are doing is diving into your art. And I especially love that you take so much pleasure in that. Maybe I need to get out my watercolors and play? My garden is my art, so I’ve been burying (metaphorically 😆) myself there. And reading books that have been on my shelves for years. Take care in whatever you do:) ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes! Get those paints out! I used to love my garden and tended some lovely roses, but I don’t have anything here. I can enjoy the gardening the landscapers do so well. Nice thing about books is that the library being closed rendered me a stack I had checked out before that happened. Score!!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Another beautiful post from you – is this not writing? A song of praise for hope. As has already been said by others of your readers, most welcome and uplifting. You are a treasure!

    Do you know I can’t quite remember when my days were so busy! I most usually live a quiet and gentle life, by inclination and the grace of years. And now, especially since the lockdown has come to this country, I am spending over half my day on social media and video calls. Everyone wants to catch up, check in, make sure all is well. I want to do likewise but am already missing my quiet hours of puttering, making, being. I love my family and friends, but I also want my contemplative hours back. Such a conundrum 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ha! Pauline, you are not the first I’ve heard say this time is busier than ever. It is nice to be keeping up with family and friends on video calls and social media. I got back on Facebook at the beginning of March because as much as I loathe it sometimes, it is a way to connect with family members. Especially my cousins in Italy, which I really wanted to do more at this time. Thank you for always being an encourager. I love “a song of praise for hope.” Thank you. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I think I always tend toward hope, luckily for me. That’s not to say I have not had moments of crushing worry, mostly about my parents and my son and pregnant wife, but also about our way of life (all of us the world over), what will happen to people whose lives ARE terribly disrupted, when and how we will ever get out from under this pall.

    I do think it will pass, and I honestly think there are things about this period that I will miss! Life feels simpler and in many ways more manageable. I hope when we do emerge, the world and I can carry forward some of what we learned during this time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, Lexi, I share your hope that we will learn more about our world and our interconnectedness. There’s no denying it now. And also with the natural world, as our environment is changing during this time as well. One of the ways my life is simpler now, is that the things I worried about so much just six weeks ago, feels fairly irrelevant. Or maybe just less important. Regardless, I suspect that many of us will be seeing things differently. Be well, and take good care. x

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Sometimes you have to write something unexpected or just a little to grease the machinery of the mind for writing. Sometimes you just have to let everything stay there in your head or grow to a point it’s worth writing. I loved the poem and must look up the poet.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Lovely to have you back, Cheryl. And I’m so glad you wrote your thoughts and feelings on these weird threatening times we find ourselves in – all of us find ourselves in – and that is what is so staggering you can hardly believe it when you wake up in the morning. Yes, a whole new vocabulary has taken hold, and ‘unprecendented’ keeps being used on the news over and over again. Nature is hope, and hopefully we can all settle into a rhythm of biding our time and using it wisely, with this unique opportunity to reflect on what’s really important. I’m looking forward to spring really getting a hold and to relish the new growth. Stay well, Cheryl :>) (Oh, and can you tell me the name of the bird in your montage of pictures?)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. And there you are … writing in spite of yourself! And on such a worthwhile subject – hope is where it’s at. And thanks for the lovely photos and that poem – I’m really impressed. I, too, am touched by all the good this has brought out in people. And you will share your writers’ residency when the time is right. Meanwhile – feel like reading? Here’s the winter ZoonooZ – https://www.ahscares.org/downloads/ZnZ-Winter2020-web.pdf 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jeanne, thank you. The newsletter was exactly what I needed to read with my morning coffee. It is so well done with the perfect mix of information and entertainment. I hope Kya is still doing well. I’m going to check out the eagle cam later today. Stay well. x

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I just found this on Linkedin! hah I went there to accept a connection and discovered that Marie had “liked” this post that I didn’t know anything about. WOW, that poem! and the flowers! Just what I needed, so thank you. I am also a homebody, so staying home for the most part isn’t a terrible thing. Also to have my cats, books, computer, couch, and garden around me means a lot. I can’t imagine not having those things around. The gardener, too ;). Beautiful post, Cheryl. I hope you are starting to be able to write. I am finding it very difficult.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Luanne. ❤️
      We are connected all over social media! 🤣 Yes, I feel fortunate to have the things and family 🐈🐈🐈🐈 👨🏽 I love around me, too.
      Writing, eh. Some. A little more. Still not much. I’m reading A LOT though. So reading is kind of like writing. Right?!?

      Like

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