Thursday, 11 April 2013


I refuse to show you what it looks like outside my window today. I refuse to look. Okay, I just peeked. It is white and wet. They are calling for freezing rain by the afternoon commute. They did not call for snow, but that is what is falling and ACCUMULATING right now.

Being Canadian, I love to moan about the weather, no matter what it's doing. This Eeyore-like approach to meteorological conditions is a defense mechanism, of course. It helps me bear up under the heavy weight of disappointment. Expecting the worst weather-wise means never being crushed when it snows in April.

But I'm changing, I think. I'm hoping more, which is why I'm peppering this post with pictures that I took a few years ago on a garden tour on magical Ward's and Algonquin Islands. (Find out more about the Toronto Islands here. )

Just to look at these pictures in the midst of an April snowstorm feels like a defiant act of hope.


So, what is all this about personal transformation and hope?

It began when my indoor cat escaped and was lost. I was desperate to find him, and I walked the neighbourhood calling and calling his name (and delivering hundreds of fliers). As I walked and called, I felt how hard it was to hope for something that seemed hopeless. This neighbourhood is a dramatic intersection between built and wild environments. Ravines filled with coyotes, foxes, raccoons and peregrine falcons carve through the landscape, as does a busy six-lane highway lined with strip malls and questionable motels.

Hoping that my pampered indoor feline survived his first foray into the Big Wide World took guts. I felt brave as I called his name. I felt faithful. I knew the odds were miserable, and that's what made my act of hope so poignantly courageous.

As I thought about this partnership between hope and bravery, I realized it applied to so many acts.


Gardening is an act of hope. Who can plant a tree without hope? It is impossible! Who can dig with her hands and not feel hope for the cool dirt that is our Earth? Such an act of bravery and hope it is to plant and tend and love a garden.

And here is another aspect of the nature of hope.

What gave me the strength to keep calling for Jet, releasing his name into the quiet mornings on streets still sleeping? After all, I did not know if he was close by, miles away, dead or just alone and terrified in some dark, close hiding space.

It was love that kept me calling. Hope springs forth from love.

Losing Jet showed me that hoping is not a foolish, empty act, but one requiring great courage. Hoping to make the world better—through gardening, easing a lost pet's suffering, writing a letter to the government about gun control, praying for an abused child unknown to you who is alone somewhere out there in the world—these are acts of immense bravery, not pointless petitions to an uncaring universe.


I'll add one more act of bravery to the list. Writing fiction. Writing your first work of fiction, with no guarantee it will see the light of day as a published piece, doing it anyway because you have a story to tell and only you can tell it—that's brave.

And audacious. 

And hopeful!


So that is how things have changed in my world. I know more deeply that I simply must do what calls to me, and do it bravely, hopefully and with love. It's so very hard to hope without any guarantee that the suffering of innocents will cease, that the cat will be found, that spring will come, that the Earth will survive humanity, that our words will one day live beyond our hard drive...

...but you just have to do it anyway. Hope for more. Act with love. 

That is something—no, that's everything.


P.S. Someone found our cat hiding under their deck,
recognized him from the flier and returned him to us! We are so fortunate!
And I'm still writing.

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