Hope in Inches

I love AA, even after decades sober I’m still discovering new cliches. I attended a new Zoom meeting this morning, for example, and heard one man say, “Inch by inch, life’s a cinch; yard by yard, life is hard.” I’ve never heard that one. I love it.

I guess put another way it speaks to other AA cliches, Easy Does It or take life One Day at a Time. Life, most the time, happens an inch at a time. The calamitous, fast changing moments are few. I look at the natural world around me and the same law, not surprisingly, applies: time and nature move slowly most the time, in small, imperceptible increments.

When I accept the incremental nature of life, my hurried primate mind must then, if it wants to stay sane, accept the fact I will have to wait a bit, in most cases, for the good thing to come. In a word, I must have hope. Hope is always a valuable commodity, but it is really needed during a winter pandemic when so many folks are struggling, including me.

But there is hope, especially today for on this day the long, cold, dark month of January is finally over. Native people spoke in terms of moons to delineate a month’s time. Some called January the ‘hard moon.’ I’m very glad the hard moon has passed. In many European cultures, February 1st is celebrated as the first day of the spring to come. If I look around, its true: the eagles and great horned owls are nesting (check out the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Eagle Cam); the chickadees are doing their territorial songs in the backyard in preparation for nesting and we’ve gained a full HOUR of daylight since the Winter Solstice December 21 (the shortest day and longest night of the year).

Spring is coming “inch by inch” and hope has us tightly in its arms.

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