Radically Hopeful

Doesn’t it feel like the past two years have been an unrelenting series of catastrophes? A global pandemic, climate-change-fueled natural disasters, domestic riots and insurrection, and now war in Europe. I find myself falling into the bad habit of wondering what the next unthinkably awful thing the near future has in store for us.

It all makes it hard to hope—even now, on spring’s doorstep.

Of course you can’t swing a rusty shovel on a farm without smacking against the cliche of spring as the season of new hope, but cliches arise because on some level they are, in fact, true. This month I began the work of the new season, the sowing of seeds, one of the most radically hopeful human activities I can think of.

And hope, whatever else it may be, is a kind of activity. Hope generates some sort of work in the world, or at least ought to. The least hopeful thing is to curl up in despair and do nothing.

So I strive to work this month in full expectation that the coming growing season has gifts in store for us, if we but attend. Perhaps not always the gifts we had wished for, but good gifts nonetheless. And part of the preparation here at the season’s beginning is preparing to receive those gifts.

The ground thaws. The sap rises. Birds return from their southern ranges. Soon the snowdrops and crocuses will thrust through the earth and stretch their blade-like leaves toward the sun. Amidst it, there is good work for us all to do. Time to get busy.