Today is a grey cold miserable January day, a rain mixed with snow day. I don't know about you, but January has to be the worst month of the year. It's cold, it's a long month, you're broke after Christmas and surrounded by adverts promoting diets and new keep fit regimes. Then to make things even worse, you're encouraged to do things like Dry January and Veganuary! Oh -and as today is 21st January most of us have probably given up on those New Year's Resolutions – assuming we bothered to make them that is.
All of this set me thinking about the snowdrop, the flower of the month for January.
Those of you who signed up for my newsletter (and if not why not?) will have read a few of the facts and fables linked to the snowdrop. Today though, I was thinking about it's traditional meaning, hope.
The snowdrop has this message because it is one of the earliest flowers to bloom and so brings a message that spring is on its way and that even though it may still be way off winter and particularly the dreary month of January is coming to an end. Snowdrops are small, delicate flowers but a glimpse of them in bloom, perhaps forcing their way through snow is a sight that can really lift the heart and make us feel that perhaps January isn't quite so bad after all, bestowing on us their gift of hopefulness.
Hope is an overlooked virtue but is the one that helps us to keep going when things around are looking dark. I know myself how hard it is when I loose sight of it and instead feel suffocated by a hopelessness that drags me down into depression.
You may remember the Greek myth of Pandora's box, how after Pandora had opened it and let out all the bad and evil things into the world such as pain, war and disease there was one thing left in the box. Hope, hope to help us keep going whatever life throws at us.
So perhaps on days like today when feeling a bit down, because of the weather, because we are fed up of dieting or for ever reason, we need to remember the message of the snowdrop, that spring is coming, to hope for better days and try to remember that...
However long the night, the dawn will break.
African Proverb - Hausa Tribe