No Matter What They Tell You

I'm having a hard time with hope this week. I feel, deeply, that it is my responsibility to hold and share whatever hope I can find, but this week, it's been very, very hard. Most of what I've got is trying desperately to put itself toward next week, toward the election, toward hoping things will come out alright. I don't have much to spare. So instead of my own words, I'll leave you with a poem from Wendell Berry:

It is hard to have hope. It is harder as you grow old,

For hope must not depend on feeling good 
And there is the dream of loneliness at absolute midnight. 
You also have withdrawn belief in the present reality 
Of the future, which surely will surprise us, 
…And hope is harder when it cannot come by prediction 
Any more than by wishing. But stop dithering. 
The young ask the old to hope. What will you tell them? 
Tell them at least what you say to yourself.

Because we have not made our lives to fit 
Our places, the forests are ruined, the fields eroded, 
The streams polluted, the mountains overturned. Hope 
Then to belong to your place by your own knowledge 
Of what it is that no other place is, and by 
Your caring for it as you care for no other place, this 
Place that you belong to though it is not yours, 
For it was from the beginning and will be to the end

Belong to your place by knowledge of the others who are 
Your neighbors in it: the old man, sick and poor, 
Who comes like a heron to fish in the creek, 
And the fish in the creek, and the heron who manlike 
Fishes for the fish in the creek, and the birds who sing 
In the trees in the silence of the fisherman 
And the heron, and the trees that keep the land 
They stand upon as we too must keep it, or die.

This knowledge cannot be taken from you by power 
Or by wealth. It will stop your ears to the powerful 
when they ask for your faith, and to the wealthy 
when they ask for your land and your work. 
Answer with knowledge of the others who are here 
And how to be here with them. By this knowledge 
Make the sense you need to make. By it stand 
In the dignity of good sense, whatever may follow. 
Speak to your fellow humans as your place 
Has taught you to speak, as it has spoken to you. 
Speak its dialect as your old compatriots spoke it 
Before they had heard a radio. Speak 
Publicly what cannot be taught or learned in public.

Listen privately, silently to the voices that rise up 
From the pages of books and from your own heart. 
Be still and listen to the voices that belong 
To the streambanks and the trees and the open fields. 
There are songs and sayings that belong to this place, 
By which it speaks for itself and no other.

Found your hope, then, on the ground under your feet. 
Your hope of Heaven, let it rest on the ground 
Underfoot. Be it lighted by the light that falls 
Freely upon it after the darkness of the nights 
And the darkness of our ignorance and madness. 
Let it be lighted also by the light that is within you, 
Which is the light of imagination. By it you see 
The likeness of people in other places to yourself 
In your place. It lights invariably the need for care 
Toward other people, other creatures, in other places 
As you would ask them for care toward your place and you.

No place at last is better than the world. The world 
Is no better than its places. Its places at last 
Are no better than their people while their people 
Continue in them. When the people make 
Dark the light within them, the world darkens.

Hold Your Courage, Pumpkin Dear

Carry It Outside, With a Careful Hand