Hope: there was a reason that it was put into the box by Prometheus; he knew that man cannot live without it.
It is a concept that I have been mulling over for the last few days.
Every generation has a sense of the ills of the world; history teaches us that we fear change, hanker after a past that often did not really exist (outside the imagining of nostalgia) and try to mould the world into our image of how it should be. Mankind that is! We are a clever species, manipulating tools to achieve our ends, altering nature to suit our needs; we create wonder and horror in equal measure. Scientists offer us double edged marvels; investigating journalists bring injustices to our notice, professional gossip mongers seek out scandal for guilty titillation. Our current news channels seem filled with death, despair and bigotry. All the ills of the world did indeed leave the box.
But...hope was also in the box, and although Pandora almost shut it out of the world, it managed to escape.
Hope This winter was hard, long and harsh; I lost many plants from the garden, including my beloved Bay tree. As the snows retreated and the warmer days gently soothed the ground so that the plants began to wake and grow. Eventually there was a profusion of greens all around, except for the brown and freeze burned Bay.
Finally I accepted defeat and cut the tree back to a small stump, intending to dig out the root. Then May baked the earth to rock and I couldn't have broken the ground enough to get to it. So I left the stump and forgot about it. 'Til recently! I noticed a small green shoot where the bay had been, a week later the shoots had multiplied and sprouted up and out. My Bay tree has grown up from the root and is again scenting both air and food. It made me think of how hope springs from the most dormant of places.
The river god Peneus transformed his daughter, Daphne, into a bay tree; he did this to save her from Apollo, whose amorous, rapacious advances filled her with horror. The bay offers the symbol of transformation and safety. I am beginning to see the bay as symbolic of hope. It is tenacious, not easily defeated and capable of renewal.
It has been prized through out history and has been a symbol of triumph and achievement, it is worn by Caesar, Dante and doctors. It is used to reduce blood pressure, aid the processing of insulin in the body, it is anti-inflammatory and has been used to sooth gastric ulcers. Once again the bay is a symbol of hope.
Hope, this simple concept, is what enables us to grow and change. Today I am going to pick and preserve a sprig from the bay in the garden, to remind me that there is always hope and the chance of renewal in the world, no matter how "dead" things seem to be.