I was sitting on the steps of my deck yesterday, absently looking at the little woodlot beyond my back yard and searching for some hope.
I was feeling sorry for myself, down in the dumps and missing my family, trying desperately to give myself a kick in the pants by mentally listing the many, many blessings in my life.
It was a warm, sunny April afternoon and I was not having much luck in the cheering-myself-up department.
Here is the thing about feeling sad: you know you are the lucky recipient of so much unwarranted grace, you understand you are loved, you can see how very fortunate you are, but for some reason, all of the good things in your life are crowded to the spare edges of your psyche and the negatives take up a lot of space right at the center.
Then I saw a gray catbird and the bubble of despair popped and hope rushed in.
This catbird streaked from the woodlot and disappeared into a huge rhododendron next to the garage. He carried a piece of dried grass in his mouth, building a nest.
I will get to watch him and his mate raise their family, something I look forward to with much anticipatory joy. Raising a family, after all, takes courage and faith in the future.
A catbird is visually unremarkable at first glance. They are, as their name says, gray. But there is something in their demeanor I love; they are so jaunty, so sassy, so…bold.
They remind me of hope.
One of my favorite poems, written by Emily Dickinson, begins like this:
It’s those last two words that get me every time. Every. Time. They cause the mist in my eyes and a catch in my throat. “At all.”
No, hope never stops.
Not for a year, not for a season, not for a second.
Not even in the midst of a pandemic.
I saw the thing with feathers.
What is it that gives you hope these days?
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