lessons learned: what forgotten plants can teach us about hope
As I continue to sit with “Hope” this week, I thought I would repost this one.
“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –
~from “‘Hope’ Is the Thing with Feathers” by Emily Dickinson
This morning, I stumbled across the dark basement to reach for the laundry room light. In the midst of my fumbling
around, I uncovered 3 plants I had bought 2 weeks ago. They are packaged at the roots so they won’t dry out, but they had not been nurtured since they arrived at my home. I looked at them with the guilt a busy mother sometimes feels about ignoring her children–how did my life get so hectic that I could not make time for one thing I love so much? Immediately, I watered them and took them over to the windows so they could have a bit of sunlight.
As I set them down, I examined them. I was worried they might be beyond repair, but then I noticed something. There, amidst some of the dead leaves on outside branches were small, fresh green leaves unfolding to be welcomed by the water and sunlight. My first thought, “YES! I have not killed them,” but then I realized something else–a feeling of hope had flooded my body and washed away any disappointment I had about forgetting them. Looking at those spring green leaves reminded me how small pieces of nature can often inspire a sense of belief when we least expect it. Hope doesn’t have to come in the form of a miracle to fill us with wonder and faith.
When I think about hope, I often return to the poem by Emily Dickinson that I learned in high school. When I read it, I am reminded of the little brown wren that sits in the hedge by my driveway. In spite of snow, rain, or lack of seed, he sings to me every morning as I leave for work. I am grounded by his gentle reminder that sometimes the small gifts are the ones that perch within our soul and fill our spirit with renewal and peace.