hand writing on paper on a white table with pencils and a pink flower in a small vase

This is my second year in Pennsylvania, and I have to say, spring sprang faster last year. One day, it seemed, green burst out of the bare trees like fireworks: BOOM!

During a lockdown, the explosion of green seems to be going in slow motion. The forest is still pretty much brown and gray. The machinery of life is going full tilt, but I don’t see much to celebrate yet.


The pandemic has thrown a shadow over Earth. For those of us stuck at home or fighting the virus or both, it can feel very cold up in here. When I think about the human suffering, the loss, the economic upheaval, my blood literally feels like ice. It feels like a Game of Thrones winter—we have no way to know when it will end.

Yesterday, staring out at the gray trees, I thought about what T. S. Eliot said in The Waste Land:

April is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
…the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter.

That old T.S.! He was such a fun guy.

Anyway, as I brooded, my eye caught a flash color—not green, but red. A tree had put out little scarlet buds. The next day, just behind the red, I saw the first green leaves.

Checking for lurking mail carriers who might possibly come within six feet of me, I went outside approached the tree. When I asked if I could have a sprig of its new leaves, it generously did not say no.

I brought the sprig inside and put it in water, to remind me that spring comes. Life finds ways to survive cold and darkness, gather itself up, and put out tender shoots of hope. Always, always, always.

Today I decided to draw my little hope-sprig. That way its image will last, and not just on paper. When I draw something, focusing hard on it for a longish time, it seems to wire the subject into my brain, for keeps.

So this little drawing is my visual ode to hope, and I wanted to share it with you.

Today, make something—anything—that gives you hope. The moment you start creating it you’ll join forces with Creation itself. That Life is what you are, beyond all form, beyond all destruction. However long and cold this winter may be, it can never defeat that.

Come join me in my new course specifically created to help you through this time. PRACTICAL WAYFINDING: HOW TO THRIVE WHEN EVERYTHING’S FALLING APART. https://marthabeck.com/practical-wayfinding/