The Gift of Hope


All month long I’m going to be hosting the posts of other people as part of my 2015 Giftmas Blog Tour. All the guest bloggers are welcome to write about anything they’d like so long as their post touched on a December holiday in some way, no matter how tangentially. The blog tour extends beyond my blog as well, and I will do my best to link to each external post from the here and share them on social media using the hashtag #GiftmasTour.

But wait! There’s more!

We’re also giving away a whole whack of prizes (check out the list here) which you can enter to win using the Rafflecoper code below. Whatever December holiday you celebrate (or don’t) winning a stack of books will make it better!

The Gift of Hopeapple

by Jennifer Crow

“Hope,” said Emily Dickinson, “is the thing with feathers.” Fragile is the first thing that comes to mind after that. Maybe you’ve held a bird’s slight weight in your hands, felt the fast, faint beat of its heart against your fingertips, the grip of its tiny feet. I fill the feeder outside my kitchen window and watch the birds flit and dance on the wing, and I wonder how something so tiny can survive a Buffalo winter.

Hope seems like that sometimes: beautiful, but too easily startled. Too delicate to endure the rough handling of time and fate. At times, I’ve felt like I was holding nothing but a lifeless bundle of feathers, the world’s small and large disasters too much for hope. And yet somehow, when ruins-excavation-coverI’ve reached the point of despairing, it always stirs, lifts its wings, and hops a little to show me it’s too soon to give up just yet.

This month I’m blogging about gifts, in particular things that make my life better which I can’t stick a bow on. And having struggled with depression for the better (or maybe worse) part of the past decade, it seems to me that hope is one of those things that none of us—especially the creative types—can live without. That sensation beating like wings in my chest, that flutter where it seemed life had been extinguished, makes the cold, shadowy times bearable.

It seemed appropriate to talk about the gift of hope right after the longest night of the year. It gets dark so early in western New York. On the gray days, it hardly seems as though the sun’s come up at all. From this point on, though, it gets brighter. The cold will still seep down to my bones for a few more months, but the worst will pass. I’ll bundle up, fill the bird feeder, and the chickadees and nuthatches will keep me company.

Last year a four-day storm dumped more than 80 inches of snow in my yard. The year before that, temperatures dipped below -20 Fahrenheit for what seemed an eternity. Through all that, the little birds fluffed up their feathers and found a way. Just like hope.

Check out Jennifer’s work in The First Bite of the Apple and Ruins Excavation.

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