Mosaic by Margaret Almon and Wayne Stratz of Nutmeg Designs.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Hope Is the Thing with Feathers

At some intersection of blogging paths I no longer recall, Wayne Stratz and I encountered one another.  Over time, our conversation ranged across our blogs and in person to include Ignatian spirituality, birds, and stained glass.  Wayne and his wife, Margaret Almon, collaborate in the design and creation of mosaic artwork, some of which has made its way into my home, into the hands of friends, and onto the header of this blog.

Wayne has been a pesky and dogged purveyor of the word hope, in my life and pretty much everywhere he goes.  In spite of myself and my inability to envision hope anywhere at all after my son's death, his insistence has had an effect.  And so, when I began to play around with the idea of a new blog, the word hope was foremost in my mind.

I experimented with a host of titles.  The one on which I finally settled combines what I now always think of as "Wayne's word" with my own personal identification with the Biblical Woman at the Well.  Readers of my other blog know that Mary, the Mother of Jesus, has become prominent in my prayer during this season of Lent, but that Woman at the Well continues to exert a powerful pull.

Hope is not, of course, only Wayne's word.  It does put in an appearance or two in the great religions and great literature of the world.  For those unfamiliar with the post's title,  the poem by Emily Dickinson follows at the end of this post.

The image is a photograph of a prothonotary warbler, taken by Ed Schneider.  In a post yesterday, the Jesuit John Predmore reminded us that the "imagination can be a great peacemaker in times of chaos."  When this poem came to mind this morning, I closed my eyes and remembered a prothonotary warbler resting on a slender branch arcing over one of the dikes at the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, the early light setting those golden feathers aflame on a morning during a May migration ~ probably thirty years ago.  And so:

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

1 comment:

  1. I'll follow, too. Grateful for your example of listening to the movements within.