A look at how hope can be recovered when lost.
The Path from Hopelessness to Hope
by Errol Strider
Along one side of a steep canyon,
I long for the rise,
The view from the top;
To see terraced hillsides
As they descend onto green vineyards.
The wall, so high,
Seems like a block of stone,
Only a short ascent from the thorns of my abode,
But as I step back, and my view widens
So it also darkens.
For the un-scalable height is revealed
And I stand inadequate for the task.
Hope ranges far beyond the summit,
Mocking me from beyond my reach
Though breathing down through the winds,
The inescapable breath of its presence.
But still, the mountainous walls,
Broken only by precipices
And chasms in my own beliefs
That cheat me of the knowing taste of vistas.
I wish that a giant ladder were dropped
That I might climb easily to the crest.
Or that a mammoth crane would descend
To hoist me above the ruins of my own thinking.
But my desires, heaved up at the hillsides
Fall back to land, listless,
Awaiting yet another vain attempt
Until I gather them to burn
In the fire of my frustration
The winds are waning
And hope seems but a shadow.
As the walls rise on all sides,
So does my depression seem to climb.
As yellow, dry grass dies on the hillsides,
I tire of the unsatisfied look upward
Which only pains my neck,
Until I can no more sustain.
Finally, the wind itself dies.
Not even the feel of hope comforts me,
The fire is lit
But only the smoke of discarded wishes ascends.
As the ashes thicken,
I look upon the earth
And step into its wet, soggy surface.
Having given up the cry for the hilltop,
Despair moves my footsteps to nowhere.
I trudge for distances
Aware of my feet on the soft cushion,
Dotted with thickets, rocks and logs
And, ironically, note my adjustment
To the place of no ideals.
A few new blades of grass
Charm my journey, somewhat
And I content myself with knowledge
Of their pending profusion.
Until one very special step
Leads me onto a mound…
My first change of height.
Dare I look up to see where I am?
I chance the pain in my neck,
And find it has been pacified by the walk.
I see that I have found a path
That leads upward toward the mountain top.
As I round a bend, I notice familiar breezes…
And my heart lifts.
The gentle breath of hope approaches once again.
Is it possible that this is the path to the top?
That having taken one step at a time,
Eyes to the ground,
I could have started up the mountain?
Around another turn, confirmation.
As I see the source of the wind…
Not so far off, friendly.
Hope seems to be within my grasp,
So near after so long a separation.
I climb with less effort now,
As the welcome view and breath of hope paves the way,
Making all efforts promising
And then I see…
Hope did not mock me,
But waited only for my willingness
To scale the mountainous ideals
By the step-by-step strength of earthly determinations.
The breeze seems to lift me now,
As I waft ever upward on light steps
And the buoyant winds of the future.
The summit, though still distant
Seems already attained
And even reaches out to greet me.
I now sense the vision that will abound
And even dare to imagine the panorama
Of light reflections in the wind
Which bring glistening sights
Of mountains scaled…
By the bold attempts of the hopeful.