Stepping Out with Hope


January is a month that is punctuated with sadness in my personal life and for that reason I seriously considered taking the month off from blogging ~ something I did last year.

I suspect that many personal bloggers feel like I do and don’t want to be either dumping their sadness on others, or blogging away pretending that everything is great ~ causing a major dose of cognitive dissonance.

The decision to blog on has proved to be a quite a revelation on a number of fronts. Firstly, the support from fellow bloggers when I have poured out my soul has been very comforting and healing and I thank you all very much for your comments.

Secondly, even though January is punctuated with sadnesses for me, the very act of blogging, especially around my words for the year, Stepping Out, has made me look at the present and also beyond just me.

Thus far, January has been fraught with many horrors on a global level and the events in Paris last week seem to call for a collective response, unity and connection of some sort.

And while all this has been unfolding, the snowdrops that grow under the Monkey Puzzle tree which looks in at me as I type here in the study in this little corner of Ireland, have been pushing their way up to the light in the bravest of brave ways.

They greeted me this morning, showing white. These are the flowers that my mother adored and which will forever be associated with her in my mind.

But they are also symbols of the bravery and hope that we all need as we navigate our way through January and beyond.

How I wish the world could/would stand arm in arm beneath the Monkey Puzzle and read William Wordsworth’s profound words in unison:


Lone Flower, hemmed in with snows and white as they
But hardier far, once more I see thee bend
Thy forehead, as if fearful to offend,
Like an unbidden guest. Though day by day,
Storms, sallying from the mountain-tops, waylay
The rising sun, and on the plains descend;
Yet art thou welcome, welcome as a friend
Whose zeal outruns his promise! Blue-eyed May
Shall soon behold this border thickly set
With bright jonquils, their odours lavishing
On the soft west-wind and his frolic peers;
Nor will I then thy modest grace forget,
Chaste Snowdrop, venturous harbinger of Spring,
And pensive monitor of fleeting years!

(William Wordsworth 1819)