One time I was walking through a deep cut valley behind our house in Calgary - trudging in my own private deep cut valley of soul - iron sky above me, gravel under my feet and dead scraggly bushes scratching my coat - not even one bird singing. I saw the black shriveled berries on the branches of the bushes and thought, These are dead like me. I am just a black shriveled berry. I plucked a couple off and they broke off easily from the frozen dead branches. I rolled them in my hand - they were hard and dry.
So I threw them to the ground and crushed them under my foot. But when I removed my foot I saw a smear of the most brilliant florescent lime green on the ground. The only color in the entire landscape. It shone. The inside of the berry was totally alive with brightness. Not just life - brightness. I started to cry and collected a stem of berries, cupped it in my hand and nursed it home... and taped it to the front of my journal. I told my daughter (then 16) about what I had found. A moment of hope. A crocus moment.
A day or two later I realized the berries had been knocked off my journal. All that was left was the brown stem. I said to my daughter, fatalistically, See... these berries were my hope. My hope is gone. All that is left is the stem. This means I am as dead as I feel.
She said back to me .... No mom. That is not what it means. It means that you have to learn to secure the important parts. The stem is left because you secured it. But you didn't secure the berries.
From the mouths of babes, huh?