For the hopeful, the adage "hope springs eternal" is an artifact of faith--a principle that sustains optimism in the most dire on moments. For those wedded to this principle, when one happens to find oneself tossed on a dark and angry sea of despair, it constitutes the "driftwood" to which one might cling to save oneself and in so doing sustain hope. Hope promises a chance. Granny always admonished us, "Keep the faith." She was a warm and loving woman who had been embattled and tested by life--a teen during the Great Depression, her husband died at age 38; she raised 2 kids (one my mother) in a tiny cabin/house while working odd jobs in her hometown that never grew larger than 712; her son (my uncle) died of a brain aneurysm at age 31; her granddaughter (my sister) drowned at age 14 in the Maquoketa River; her hands were often red and swollen from peeling potatoes at the local cafe. She epitomized struggle but somehow managed to keep things together and endure. She was a battler. She was on medical leave from her job at WalMart when she died at age 68 of cancer after a botched radium pack procedure. Her final words whispered to me were "Keep the faith." It is worth noting that Granny never went to church. Objectively speaking, although worthy principles unlimited in potential, hope and optimism are ultimately subject to limitations in the existential realm of the individual; Some--like Granny--are much stronger than others. Although still clinging, I must concede that my hope and optimism are flagging. This season is testing my faith. Every post I read from surrounding state--MO, KS, IL--reinforces this. Local news points out that this April was, by far, the most deficient on record for moisture. Cracks worthy of August are already formed in the lawn. The ponds are so low that spawning routines are interrupted, altered. I wonder what it was like in the spring of 1936, prior to the awful summer in the midst of the Dust Bowl? Granny was 17 that year. She spoke of sleeping outside under stars. Perhaps that is what gave her faith and hope? So, come hell or high water, I keep the faith. It may seem like we are on the verge of a SHROOMPACALYPSE. Gotta keep the faith. Follow the rain. Hope stops short of promise. Come whatever may, as certain as the stars will shine, another season will refresh and inspire us in less than 365 sunrises. Hope tested but intact, I'm now heading to the woods. Good luck all.