The days are getting longer!!! I left the Maria College campus a couple of days ago at around 6:00pm, and there was still light in the western sky! (Sorry for all of the exclamation points, but despite some of winter’s beauties, the short, dark days are really unpleasant.)
Getting through a Northeast winter and seeing signs of the coming Spring always put the word “hope” in my mind.
And the English teacher in me always thinks of the poem “The Darkling Thrush” written by the British author Thomas Hardy just before New Year’s Day in 1899. In the poem, Mr. Hardy describes a gloomy winter day he describes as “spectre-gray” and “desolate.” However, in the midst of the gloom, suddenly, the song of an aged, frail bird with feathers pushed up by the cold wind can be heard, “a full-hearted evensong/Of joy illimited.”
Of course, the poem’s narrator wonders why the bird would sing so joyfully in the midst of such gray gloom. The only conclusion possible for the narrator is “there trembled through/ His happy good-night air/ Some blessed Hope . . .”
Read the full text of this beautiful little poem.
Maybe the same hopeful little bird inspired the American poet Emily Dickinson to write: “’Hope’ is the thing with feathers -/That perches in the soul -/And sings the tune without the words -/And never stops – at all –“
Hope is that essential human trait that allows each of us to trust in possibilities and look with positive expectations on the future.
I am fortunate to see hope in action every day in my work as a teacher at Maria College through our students who have hope in their futures as college graduates looking forward to work as professionals in nursing, occupational therapy, psychology, and so much more. These are careers that also allow them to give hope to others who are in need. That is the power of hope and the gift of hope to others!
As you go about your day, keep an ear open for those hopeful songs that the birds are singing just for us.
Until next time . . .