Ah, the New Year, 2016. For most, the New Year represents new beginnings full of hope. Nature confirms this. The winter solstice has passed bringing us minutes more light each day. The trees are resting buds waiting to bring new life and fruit. Very soon we will hear the first songbirds in the icy air and the joyous first sighting of a robin.
Nature does not limit its message of hope to the New Year but speaks to us daily. One of its most dramatic messages came to me in April 2011. The Tohoku earthquake and tsunami slammed Japan March 11, 2011. It was the most powerful earthquake to ever hit Japan and the fourth most powerful in the world.
The quake damaged many cities and towns the town of Shiwa in the Iwate Prefecture among them. Shiwa is the home of one of my dearest friends Kozue, her family, extended family, and many of my acquaintances. Many, including my Kozue, temporarily moved out of their homes to safer grounds. I could hardly bare to think of her home and beautiful gardens covered in ash and trembling from the many after shocks. I kept in touch.
Kozue returned many times to check on her home. On one of her trips she found a lone crocus in the backyard pushing its way up through the ash reaching for the sun. Knowing its value she took a picture. It was a true sign of hope….life has and will continue to return. After some time Kozue’s family returned to live in their home.
For the last four years the treasured picture of the crocus has had a prominent place on my desktop. For me it is a symbol of hope for today and many days to come.