Each year the Japanese Magnolia blooms in late January or early February and each year I document it with both my digital and film cameras. I love my hope tree, who right in the middle of winter and while empty of leaves, blooms the most glorious large white flowers. The symbolism isn’t lost on me.
Hope is an odd emotion. Poems have been written about it and songs have been sung. When you speak about it, it evokes positive emotions of contented expectations. And while hope can come with bits of joy or eagerness, you don’t usually get to hope without going through despair. Despair comes in and breaks your heart and tries to crush your spirit and just when you think all is lost, hope tiptoes into the room.
For Equilibrium, a Blessing:
Like the joy of the sea coming home to shore,
May the relief of laughter rinse through your soul.
As the wind loves to call things to dance,
May your gravity by lightened by grace.
Like the dignity of moonlight restoring the earth,
May your thoughts incline with reverence and respect.
As water takes whatever shape it is in,
So free may you be about who you become.
As silence smiles on the other side of what’s said,
May your sense of irony bring perspective.
As time remains free of all that it frames,
May your mind stay clear of all it names.
May your prayer of listening deepen enough
to hear in the depths the laughter of god.
“Truly, it is in the darkness that one finds the light, so when we are in sorrow, then this light is nearest of all to us.”
While my tree blooms once a year, hope is something we need to hold in our hearts all year long. Life doesn’t bring us pain and regret once or even just twice, it comes again and again and again. If we stop and listen carefully, we can hear the light steps of hope come in and bring us a taste of lightness and rest. We can feel the warmth of spring’s sun in the middle of winter’s cold.
Is your heart in the middle of a long winter? How do you find hope in the midst of despair and sadness?
*All images were shot with my Hasselblad 500CM on Ilford XP-2.