Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Squash Blossoms and Hope

It's been close to two years since I first watched the documentary, "Escape From Suburbia." A friend had recommended it as a way to see past the gloom and doom and offered it up as a bit of hope for tomorrow, if not today. I watched with intense interest in what this film had to say. It talked about creating change in a world that sometimes appears to be heading for the brink of disaster. Appears, being the key word. I try not to subscribe to the Chicken Little theory. I do not think the sky is falling. I do not expect bad things to happen. I do not want to side with trouble and grief.

As I watched this film a second time, I made notes on those things that I felt I would want to remember and remind myself of as often as necessary until I had made hope my daily companion. Here are some of the notes I took, individual statements made by folks they interviewed for the film:

Action encourages optimism.

We should be running toward the light, rather than running away from the darkness.

Stay where you are. Dig in and make it better.

We in the Garden of Eden and we intend to stay. (Two elderly gentlemen sitting in a neighborhood created garden plot in east L.A.)

Hope is something you must generate yourself.

These are folks just like us, who have adopted a positive attitude, who are approaching life from a clear and illumined path, a path they have created for themselves, as a way to navigate through all the underbrush of negativity that the media would have us embrace. They are making the choice for peace, for expectation of good. Every day we are faced with choices, every moment, actually. I can't say I always choose peace. I let myself get down and feel despair. But, I don't allow myself to stay there, and despite those days, there is always, underneath the feelings of sadness, a deep well of hope from which to draw.

We live in a country that has, for far too long, sat in front of the television and allowed it to dictate our world for us. It offers up one sad, awful bit of information or image after another. It feeds our fears and instills, in those who allow it, the belief that we are going to hell in a hand basket, that we're all just here waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I'm not buying it.  Let me tell you why.

I live three miles from a town of approximately 800 people. Every Friday afternoon at least fifteen people, couples, or even families, set up their canopied tables and set out the bounty from their lives, lives spent growing and creating their own hope. There are farm-fresh eggs, vegetables from numerous gardens, a variety of produce. There are those who grow strawberries, raspberries and blueberries, those who create salsa from their own tomatoes, honey from the bees they keep, along with syrups and jams from their fruit trees. There is homemade goat cheese, from the goats they raise, homemade breads that are better than candy. I have fallen in love with the wild rice bread baked by someone named Barb, who includes "peace and healing" in her ingredients, and labels her breads, "Peaced Goods."  She also makes a four cheese bread and a wonderful whole wheat with kalamata olives. I know nothing, however, about her rhubarb-orange coffee bread. Nothing.

And, that's all I'm going to say about the bread.

I will tell you, though, about the teen-age girl who has a table where she sells her own homemade individual cheesecakes with caramelized crust, adorned with fruit and berries. Or the young man who operates out of the bed of his pickup truck, selling vegetables with a smile and a manner that can only be described as disarmingly charming. One young girl was selling jewelry she was creating there on the spot. There are other teen-agers, some side-by-side with their parents, as well as several individuals and couples. I met a couple who make sweet mustard. They offered a sample, served with pretzels. Positively scrumptious. That's in the little jar, down in front.

This is a scene played out in small town after small town throughout the summer. Big cities, too. Good people, all selling hope, homemade.

Every day we make choices for how we're going to view the world, thus how we're going to feel about our lives. Some pretty great minds have known this. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Remember, your thoughts create your world."  Don't wait for the world to change. You know the drill. Think hope. Talk hope.  And while you're thinking about it, and talking about it, realize you're creating it.

My garden has produced not just these beautiful squash blossoms, soon to be followed by fresh squash, but also cucumbers, beans, beets, carrots, onions and potatoes, all from this morning's visit to that small plot of ground. It's not a lot, but it's a place for me to start.


  1. Teresa, this is my very favorite of all of your posts (well, so far). You've made my spirit soar with these wonderful words. Your photos are beautiful and add to the sweetness of your thoughts. Thank you. You are "right on"!!

  2. Teresa! This great post of yours is for keeps. I'll read it again and again. I was down in a dark hole this morning and your words have helped me to go on. Thank you so much.

  3. I too need to keep these thoughts in my mind, thanks for a great post and reminder.

  4. Things grown and made by our own hands = bliss.

  5. Cheryl: Wow! Thank you. So glad you like it.

    Grethe: I have been in that dark hole and it's not a good place to be. I am grateful beyond words that my words could help in any way. You are very dear and offer so many interesting posts to our little global community.

    Linda: As a potter you know all about home-made. Love your Bed of Roses.

    Leezra: You are the Queen of Home-made. I love how you create such cool things out of this and that.

  6. This is beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing...I must get that movie !

  7. Teresa this is incredibly sweet. I don't watch the news and haven't for ages. The picture they paint is not an accurate depiction of the world, and I don't find it entertaining. So why watch. I'd rather manifest my own impression of the world based on the sources which fill me with hope, rather than despair. You're one of those sources. And I'm so thankful for that.

  8. Lynn: I think you would like the film. For me, it's all about creating the world we wish for.

    Kristy: "I'd rather manifest my own impression of the world..." Exactly so.

  9. Hope. A relationship with your land and with your neighbors. Awesome!

  10. Hi Linda! Yes, it's a good life. It sounds like you're having a great time in Alaska. I hope you got to see the Northern Lights. I tried here, to no avail.

  11. Thanks for the crafty praise. I don't hate hearing it.

  12. Another beautiful post!
    My hope is that people are starting to realize the 'media' gives us a flawed picture of what is going on on our planet. and that people are making up their own mind about the world instead of simply following what is said on the news and in the papers.
    I have been without a tv for years now and it has improved my life! I'm not influenced anymore by the media who only seems to want to focus on the 'negative'.
    There is so much beauty in the world and you don't have to travel very far or try very hard to look for it! It's right around the corner.

  13. The Friday market sounds wonderful! I think we drove through the town you mean, just today. Didn't see anything so wonderful, but it was a Saturday morning and we were just on the highway, headed home. What a beautiful part of the country!

  14. Monique, I really appreciate your comments. A flawed picture of our planet from the media, supplanted by the beauty around every corner. Yes.

    Nancy, I trust you had a good week. It is beautiful here. I love the lush greenery of Minnesota and lake country.

  15. Beautiful post! Yes let us dwell on hope and see the beauty around us. I have an old peach tree who is producing an abundance of fruit this year...what a treasure this is!
    Congrats on your POTW award

  16. Wow! What a surprise. I had no idea I had received this, at CherylK's suggestion, from The Smitten Image. Thank you to Hillary and to Cheryl and a very big thank you to you as well, Slommler, for your kind words. Mmmm, peaches. Sounds divine. :)

  17. hope always.
    such truth.

    love this.

  18. excellent are and eye opener...and see beyond what the world panders...lots of smiles with this one...

  19. Deb
    and Brian: Thank you, so much, for visiting my blog. I've enjoyed checking out both of yours as well. Homemade hope..the best kind.

  20. Big congratulations on the POTW, Teresa. I've just re-read the post and I love it just as much this time. "Hope springs eternal..."

  21. Thank you, again, Cheryl, for your kind thoughts around this post. I do appreciate it, very much.