Clearing blue sky,
A promise in bare branches.
In winter, there are sunny days.
In adulthood, childhood can return.

In winter, all things appear dead or dormant. The rain and snow seem incessant, the nights long. Then one day, the sky clears to a brilliant blue. The air warms. A mist rises from the earth and the perfume of water, clay and moss drifts through the air. Gardeners are seen preparing new stock, though they are only bare branches and a gray root ball. The people are optimistic: They know that there will be an end to the cold.

In adulthood, we often see responsibilities as something dreadful. Why should we dig the ground when the weather is disagreeable? We see activities only as obligations, and we strain against our fate. But there is a joy to working in harmony with the proper time. When we do things at just the right occasion and those efforts bear fruit later, the gratification is tremendous.

There was an old man who began an orchard upon his retirement. Everyone laughed at him. Why plant trees? They told him that he would never live to see a mature crop. Undaunted, he planted anyway, and he has seen them blossom and has eaten their fruit. We all need that type of optimism. That is the innocence and hope of childhood.

Deng Ming-Dao, 365 Tao

I find it more difficult to be optimistic these days, with the current state of affairs in this country. But I find a lot of hope in the kids, the garden, and even the rains – there will be a beautiful spring ahead, with so many blooms and so much growth. I guess I hope for the same for the country as a whole.

It’s difficult to live through times when there is so much happening that you don’t agree with. You wonder if people will ever become sane again. We seem so taken in by the charlatans and liars, so quick to accept the excuses of an incompetent leadership that cannot be trusted. But where are the alternatives? So we wait for new leaders, great leaders to emerge once again.

But I sense a sea change coming underneath it all. There are more people speaking out, more people working to try and change the course of events. And so many of us are begininning to find each other, to work together, to create new ways of building a better world and work with each other to bring about positive change. So, I am optimistic, even when things seem so dark at times.

So we labor, and plant our seeds, and wait for spring. The bulbs starts to emerge, the dark starts to reced, the air becomes warmer and the skies clearer. There will be an end to the cold, dark season of this country’s heart.