An Invasion of Hope

An Invasion of Hope

The first time I went out to try to remove the invasive honeysuckle in Moorhaven woods, I entered the forest with a warrior’s heart. I barely took a breath and certainly allowed no rest. For a whole day, I yanked and chopped and poisoned, hoping I could clear some space and restore the forest to health. I did not look around me. I couldn’t face how much there was to be done, and I expended myself, returning to the house dirty and sweaty with two black thorns in my hand that ached for months.

This spring day, I try again after having left it for a whole year. The first of the wildflowers are starting to pop, and I’m simultaneously overwhelmed by the hope of Spring, and the hopelessness of the task before me. For the first time in my life, I truly allow myself to feel the bigness of it. I don’t tell myself lies. I imagine it will never be done, this task of cleaning and weeding and laundry and invasive species removal. The job of living, so beautiful and so exhausting.

This time I go slowly with lots of breaks. I look up often at how much work there is to be done. I cry liberally for a world that’s so beautiful and whole and hurting so much, our only saving grace a continual death and rebirth. It makes no sense that someone perfect came to teach us to love the wondrous mess of imperfection, I think. Only being human can teach us that.

I put down my weapons, lost. Am I meant to go on toiling day after endless day? Instead, I lie on the floor of the forest and surrender, tears watering the wildflowers and earth in a prayer that something unimaginable will arrive through me in service to the world I love so dearly.

Maybe the good is born from that messy love.

Then I feel it. Somewhere deep inside, an unshakable, immortal belief in magic—hope. Rooted deep and strong like the honeysuckle. It shouts at me, “you are not alone!” It will not go away no matter how much I beat it down. So why does it feel like a crown of thorns? Could I only accept the world as it is, maybe I’d understand contentment. But I’ve only caught glimpses, unwilling to stand by and do nothing. And who am I to know what to do except to love and hope and pray that is enough? Maybe the good is born from that messy love, not from knowing what’s right or wrong at all. Maybe all real healing of the forest is a choice to lay down our weapons and water the earth with our love.

We can hasten its arrival, this invasion of hope.

I start a fire to burn the little I’ve managed to remove. Today, I will love the woods just as it is. Let my love breath life into all the empty spaces. Invasive honeysuckle or not, the Bluebells still begin, Trillium emerge through the dried dead leaves, and Harbinger-of Spring flowers spread like a snowy carpet on the moss, beckoning me forward. Spring comes anyway. New life cannot be stopped no matter how we try to get in its way. Perhaps, perfect love has nothing to do with being perfect but with aligning with loves unstoppable path. Like hell fire and holy water, nothing we do could ever really get in its way. Nonetheless, we can sing of its existence even in our smallness. We can hasten its arrival, this invasion of hope. We can do what little we can with the wisdom we have, play our part, and trust that it matters.