Hope in the Dark

A backyard in San Francisco, September 10, 2020

“This morning was perhaps the most unnatural-feeling and unnerving of my life, with darkness rather than daytime rolling in. People around California reported that the birds that would normally be singing were silent. On some of the days, since the freak lightning storm in the heat wave of mid-August launched this explosive fire season, the sun has been red, and when the moon was full it was also red near the horizon, but this morning there was no sun to be seen through the murk. Ash was falling, the ash of trees, forests, homes, towns, dreams burning up. In the strange light, the world around us looked ghostly, otherworldly, unnatural, unnerving, disturbing.”

Rebecca Solnit, The Guardian, September 10, 2020

There are no words to describe my grief over the fires in Oregon, California, and Washington, so I’ll defer to Rebecca Solnit and her Hope in the Dark:

“I write to give aid and comfort to people who feel overwhelmed by the defeatist perspective, to encourage people to stand up and participate, to look forward at what we can do and back at what we have done. This book was always for them. And if you’ve read this far, for you.”

“….sometimes it’s the most unlikely people who rise up and take power, the housewives who are supposed to be nobody, the prisoners who organize from inside, the people who have an intimate sense of what’s at stake.”

“Hope is not a lottery ticket you can sit on the sofa and clutch, feeling lucky. It is an axe you break down doors with in an emergency. Hope should shove you out the door, because it will take everything you have to steer the future away from endless war, from the annihilation of the earth’s treasures and the grinding down of the poor and marginal…”

“To hope is to give yourself the future – and that commitment to the future is what makes the present inhabitable.” 

5 responses

  1. This is beautiful, as usual. As you know, we experienced a similar situation last summer when our country was devastated by wildfires. We weren’t directly affected this time around but many people lost their homes and their lives (and livelihoods) so I can imagine the grief and fear that many of you are experiencing. It’s easy to think that the world is just falling apart so it’s good to hear your hopeful words. My thoughts are with all those affected.
    Marg xxx

  2. Dear Val,
    Thank you for this…much needed.
    I never would’ve thought of it, but the image of hope as an axe in an emergency is such an apt one.
    Judy

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