Seeds of Hope

On The Edge of Hope

If there ever was a hobby—or craft or skill or activity, whatever you want to call it—that is based around hope it has to be…

No.  Not writing. (Although there are days…)

No.  I’m talking about Gardening.

There’s a traditional rhyme about why you plant four seeds.

One for the blackbird

One for the crow

One to rot

And one to grow

There are a lot of variations of this rhyme.  I’ve heard “mouse” instead of “blackbird.”  Or “pigeon.”  Or even “farmer.”  Or “for the wind” rather than “to rot.” But the message is always the same.  Plant four times what you hope to end up with, because three-quarters of your effort will not benefit you personally.

I know that every garden I plan is—when looked at statistically—a preordained failure.  Nonetheless, I keep on planting.  Four times the seeds.  Extra plants.  This past weekend, we planted the containers that will hold flowers.  Since my allergy-related asthma has been revved up, I spread a tarp on the kitchen table, and brought the window boxes inside.

Last night, waking up in the dark hours, I realized I’d seriously over-planted marigold seeds, even by the guidelines of the aforementioned verse.  Oh, well.  If too many come up, I can always transplant them and give marigold plants to my friends, right?

As you can see from the picture, my new copy of DreamForge magazine arrived this week.  I think editor Scot Noel must have precognition because, long before the current national emergency, he had chosen “Tales On the Edge of Hope” as the theme for this issue.

What people miss so often is that there are two things we call by the word “hope.”  There is the dangerous hope, what you might call a gambler’s hope.  Roll the dice and hope for the best.  Believe things will get better, but don’t do anything to assure that they will.

This last sort of “hope” is typified by the “gardener” who tosses seeds in unprepared soil or in where there is too much or too little light.  Then forgets to water.  Then floods.  And says, “I hope I get some nice tomatoes this year…”

Call it hope, but you know what it really is, don’t you?  It’s wishful thinking.

The hope I advocate isn’t some light fluffy warm-and-fuzzy belief in the best.  Real hope is a fighter.  Hope is facing that you’ll plant four seeds, get one plant—and even that plant might not make it.  Hope is doing what it takes to tilt the odds in your favor.  Hope builds a lighthouse, draws maps, patches the roof. Hope says “What four seeds I can plant to assure that I have flowers and fruit?”

Don’t be fooled by wishful thinking. Make the real hope your battle cry.

3 Responses to “Seeds of Hope”

  1. CBI Says:

    Good discussion of hope. Thanks! There is a third definition, that of hope as a confident expectation. I’ve mainly seen this definition used in theological contexts, such as Romans 8:24-25. It’s akin to your second definition, but with more assurance of success.

    Blessings to you and Jim!

  2. greywolf Says:

    Thanks for that definition of hope. I needed that.

  3. Harried Harry Says:

    Having HOPE is one way to ensure a person doesn’t drown in sorrow. Too many times people lose Hope, which them allows them to “drown”. Having Hope must be encouraged by all of us. Planting a garden or trees is one measure of Hope. My neighbor just planted some of his fields with new, young pecan trees; these trees won’t produce for another ten years. This is Hope for the future.

    Staying inside can lead to a loss of Hope if people just watch the news. Going outside, taking a walk, watching the birds, will encourage Hope in your life.

    I HOPE everyone encourages others to have Hope in the outcome for our culture and society. The last pandemic went for two years, 1918-1919, but eventually it died away as more people became immune to that particular virus. This one too will run its course.

    I think we needed it so we could take time to ponder the what and why of our lives. I think we will be better for it in the long run. Just look at the efforts of people to help others. I have Hope for all of us, especially for those who write and share their visions for the future.

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