art credit: the hope tree, by ashvin harrison
she looked older, tired, worn down, but trying
dark eyeliner, hair an unnatural black, a gold barrette
standing at the register
waiting as i approached
buying paper for an art project
noticing colors and prints on the papers
she pointed at them, saying:
“if you mix this blue with this flowered print, it looks exactly like the inside of the locket that i had when i was a little girl. it was shaped like a heart, my mother gave it to me, it had both of our pictures in it. is was really something. it didn’t make it through the fire though. i think someone came and took it after that happened. they didn’t know how important it was. i’ve had my dreams squashed before, but i still have hope.”
she shared all of that with me, a random stranger, in a 2 minute encounter. something about her was achingly sad, yet i also felt admiration for her refusal to surrender to a life that may have never been easy, still holding out hope for a better day, yet to come. amazing person.
“hope is the feeling we have that the feeling we have is not permanent.”
“let’s just have a nice coffee and maybe a little breakfast”
“hope makes a good breakfast. eat plenty of it.”
I signed his copy of ‘The Tale of Despereaux’ and he said, “My teacher said fifth grade is the year of asking questions.”
“Really?” I said.
“Yeah,” he said. He took out a notebook. “Every day we’re supposed to ask someone different a good question and listen really good and then write down the answer when they’re done talking.”
“Oh,” I said, “I get it. I’m someone different. Okay, what’s your question?”
“My question is how do you get all that hope into your stories?”
“That’s not a good question,” I said. “That’s a great question. Let me think. Um. I guess that writing the story is an act of hope, and so even when I don’t feel hopeful, writing the story can lead me to hope. Does that make sense?”
“Yeah,” he said. He looked me in the eye. “It’s kind of a long answer. But I can write it all out. Thanks.”
He picked up his copy of Despereaux, and walked away—writing in his notebook.
This was years ago.
Why did I wake up this morning and think of this child?
Maybe because this is a time to start asking good questions, a time to write down the answers, a time to listen to each other really well.
I’m going to get myself a little spiral bound notebook.
I’m going to listen and hope.
-Kate DiCamillo – American author
in recent days
i have seen and read about
many gestures of hospitality
one reaching out to another
with each act
i find a renewed sense of hope.
“hospitality is always an act that benefits the host even more than the guest. the concept of hospitality arose in ancient times when the reciprocity was easier to see: in nomadic cultures, the food and shelter one gave to a stranger yesterday is the food and shelter one hopes to receive from a stranger tomorrow. by offering hospitality, one participates in the endless reweaving of a social fabric on which all can depend – thus the gift of sustenance for the guest becomes a gift of hope for the host.”
-parker j. palmer
in spite of all efforts
have i been able
to keep an orchid alive
in spite of a pot cracked
on the very first day
trying to care for it
this tiny orchid
a surprise new flower emerges.
“patience is the art of hoping.”
-luc de clapiers
(this is hope. she is not me, but is an enthusiastic re-enactor)
went to the gym
had to be
of the entire year
new year’s day
of resolutions kept
the energy palpable
electricity in the air
(a crack team of synchronized re-enactors)
watched the rose bowl parade together
each of us
at least for this day.
hope is a waking dream.
image credits: getty images, popsugar.com, latimes.com, mlive.com,