It’s New Year’s Eve and I’m on a long-distance bus from Montreal to Toronto. Our bus just passed the salt truck so I’m hopeful there’s another one close ahead.  There’s some sort of ice mist, freezing rain, sloppy snow, general grimy Eastern Canada winter weather making the driver earn his money up front.  This bus is equipped with seat belts and mine is firmly attached.  We are waltzing over the highway now and then and I can only hope there’s no cosmic death march in four-four time humming in the motor of this vehicle. Toronto is not the end of my trip so….even more hope is hanging on the following two and a half hour drive straight North of the the city to my final destination in Muskoka.

New Year’s Eve is full of hope.  Even though we deride or scorn the Old Year, as if that were the root of our misfortunes , we get excited about turning the page, starting a new era of the time that we try so hard to divide up into some sort of sense.   Can we divide up time? Grief that seems so endless or ecstacy that lifts up beyond clocks and calendars show us that our hours, our agendas, our schedules are devices to help us deal with the finite and the infinite.

The driver just passed a transport truck on this road and that’s about as close to the finite ( and infinite) as you can get.

Still, I retain hope that we will get safe to Toronto in spite of my total ignorance of the driver’s skill, of my ignorance of road conditions ahead, of my ignorance of the statistics  on transport trucks that fishtail and nudge an overloaded bus into the ditch on New Year’s Eve.  In the face of ignorance and fear, hope is the oxygen that keeps the flame alive.  Without hope all is darkness.


Hope is a hard taskmaster


Or or perhaps I should say task mistress.  There is something feminine about this business of constantly returning to see if life can triumph over death, love over callous indifference.  No it is not acceptable to keep on inviting, to keep on approaching something or someone who offers no encouragement.  Why keep on submitting those poems.  How laughable.  Have you ever had one published?  Why keep suggesting meetings, lunches, outings?  Had she ever shown the slightest interest?  Why keep on applying for jobs you never get or practicing the violin?  How many times can you play ” twinkle twinkle”?  Many, many times it would appear.  Like an annoying cat that keeps on sidling up in spite of your allergies, or like this little leaf emerging late from what looked like a dead branch, sometimes hope gives us a little surprise.  Random rewards the psychologists call them.  The most effective way of making one keep up these silly and hopeless hopeful things.  This much for today