When Alexander Pope penned the words “hope springs eternal. . .” I wonder what was running through his mind. I like to think he was thinking of heaven – that lovely, eternal place – that is hope’s address.
Here is the snippet of text where these three words come from:
“Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never Is, but always To be blest:
The soul, uneasy and confin’d from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.”
If we didn’t have hope, it would be a sorry life indeed. Hope keeps us from folding in on ourselves when life demands too much of us, when it seems like it always will.
Yesterday, I took a walk with my husband through the Blue Sky Ecological Preserve – a woodsy track of land four miles from my house, ablaze just six months ago when it seemed all of San Diego County was on fire. It was only the second weekend the Preserve had been re-opened to visitors. After the fire was snuffed, Blue Sky looked alien, scarred, wounded. I looked away when I drove past it, which was nearly every day. Skeletal, blackened tree limbs reached out in supplication, and toast-colored boulders, now an ashy, charcoal gray, eerily dotted a scorched terrain that resembled acreage from another planet. The Preserve looked lifeless. Suffocated.
Its caretakers, though deeply saddened by the loss of so much foliage, told us not to lose hope. Wait until spring, they said. The Preserve is not dead. It has been dealt a hard blow, but it is still breathing. Wait until spring.
They were right of course. The oaks are still black, their branches still charred, but blossoms of oak leaf clusters are springing from what looks dead. The clusters look like bridal bouquets. There was still the evidence of a fierce assault at every turn in our walk, but also vividly colorful reminders that hope always trumps despair. Always.