Persistence of Hope

I painted this a little less than a year ago. Shortly after the war in Ukraine started. Where it became clear that President Zalensky had the “it” ingredients. Grit. Leadership. The persistence of hope. And when, as usual, I needed to process the barrage of feelings I was experiencing and turned to art. 

And so I dragged my paints onto a block of concrete in the middle of a meadow and painted the undulating golden wheat of Ukraine. The orange fire of bombs. The brown of flattened cities. And the dot of blue shining the way forward to a brighter tomorrow. I named it The Persistence of Hope and hung it on my wall. I look at it every day, including today, the one-year anniversary of the first bombs. 

And what of hope here in the United States? I interviewed a feral female traveler I know yesterday morning and I road-tested the question I intend to ask people I meet while traveling cross-country via bikes, buses, trains and working on organic farms: 

Do you have hope? 

Her answer surprised me, and yet didn’t. I’ll feature her story soon on the blog

I then spoke with a small farmer last night in the Colorado Rockies, with whom I will be staying during my Round America with a Duck journey (here’s the route, if interested). In the course of our long and wonderful conversation, she recommended a book named Active Hope, originally published in 2012 (shortly after Food for My Daughters, in fact) and recently revised. So I just ordered it, and it will be among the books I bring when I depart for who-knows-what in just 24 days. 

We are at a crossroads in our country, in a world in crisis. And yet, we persist. We persist.

Do you have hope? Why, or why not? Please feel free to share your answer in the comments. 

Reminder: You are necessary. If you are feeling overwhelmed or hopeless, please reach out to loved ones and/or contact 988 if you live in the USA, which is a new national number where a trained professional will listen to you and connect you to resources that may save your life. You may also find my recent year-long project, Healthy You in 2022 — for which I served as the project leader and head writer under contract to the State of Alaska with the CDC Foundation — helpful, specifically the mental health tab and the suicide blog post.

These are dark times. But there is a dot of blue, of light, of hope. There is a way forward. And together, we will create it.

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