When my daughter Bea was a little girl, she found a seed in a seedless Satsuma, and planted it in a tiny pot on our kitchen windowsill. She kept the soil moist and, to our delight, a tiny Satsuma tree sprouted. We nearly lost hope when the little tree was infested with insects, but it hung on. Through the years, we tried everything we could think of to bring it back to health. We washed it with dish soap to get rid of the bugs, and transplanted it to a bigger pot. We tried covering the soil with plastic wrap, to keep the bugs away from the leaves. In desperation, we trimmed it down to almost nothing, but it came back–and so did the bugs. I half hoped it would die, just to be done with it.
Last summer I set it out on the deck, like a fish thrown back into the water, to sink or swim. But the little tree liked the fresh air and sunshine, and grew greener and healthier than ever. I brought it inside before the nights turned cold, and it’s back on the windowsill, perhaps gazing out at the yard and looking forward to warm summer nights.
We live our lives in hope.
Almost everything we do is an act of hope. Big ones and little ones.
Hope is writing this post, even when I couldn’t figure out the new Photobucket last night. It’s trying a new flavor of yogurt. It’s getting out of bed each morning. It’s teaching your child to look both ways when crossing a street. It’s writing the address of a friend with cancer into your address book—in ink. Hope is page one of every new book you open.
It’s writing page one of a new manuscript before the last one has sold. It’s everything from watering a plant to having a baby, from a blind date to getting married. It’s why Jack planted his magic beans, against all odds and common sense. Hope was the last most precious thing left to us, when Pandora opened up her box. It’s more important than love, because as long as we have hope, love might yet grow.
A scientist studying nature vs. nurture put identical twins into separate rooms, one stocked with toys, candy, a real live pony. The other he put into a room filled with manure. When he went back to observe, the twin in the room of toys was sitting in the middle of it, crying. “What’s wrong,” said the scientist. The child replied, “I just know I’m going to break something and get in trouble.” The scientist found the other child up to its ears in manure, laughing, leaping about, scooping up handfuls of the stuff and tossing it to one side. “What are you doing?” asked the scientist. The child answered, “With all this shit, there’s got to be a pony in here somewhere!”
Who says Jack doesn’t know shit? Bring on the magic beans!
And with all the shit life throws at you, there’s got to be a pony in there somewhere.
All words and images c2013 Naomi Baltuck