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Golden Moments: Hope


It was August, 2019. The sun was rising above the horizon when my husband and I rounded a point and entered this bay on Mashagama Lake, Ontario.

I snapped a picture with my cell phone, positioning the lit-up rock within the frame like a huge diamond pendant. I knew immediately that I had to make a woodblock print of this image, and even thought of a name for it. Hope, like the diamond.

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Woodblock Print 2020
10.25” x 14”
floating world series

Photographers call this time of day, and before sunset too, the golden hour. In actuality, to witness a flash of light so utterly illuminating, times like these might better be called ‘golden moments’. Afterall, everything is constantly in motion and always changing – the weather, the angle of the sun, our circumstances and relationships. Except for that very moment, I may never see this again.

Life can be rich with all kinds of wonderful moments like this, however, if you pay enough attention. They happen when you are undistracted and in the here and now.

Recently, in a conversation with a dear friend, I spoke about this image and the meaning of the title. The word ‘hope’ is usually defined as desiring a certain outcome. But for me, despite the fact that I named this print after a luminous diamond, the title had further meaning that I couldn’t find in the dictionary. I asked for her input.

She referenced the writings of Václav Havel and Emily Dickinson about hope.

And then she said, “Putting yourself into something you value and love – it is that action that is hope. Hope isn’t about believing something will succeed, or being attached to a special outcome. It isn’t about anticipating something in the future – it is the courage to act in accordance with your heart, here and now.”

“Oh my,” I said. I felt slightly cracked open, recognized, verified. And in a rush, fell re-in love with this whole spinning planet. It was a golden moment in our friendship.

It is October, 2020 now. A lot has happened this past year with the COVID-19 pandemic, social unrest, the continuing climate crisis, etc., etc. It can, at times, feel overwhelming. Yet one can still have hope and even experience joy.

Here are 5 takeaways to my investigation of the meaning of hope, and of how to be hopeful:

  • have courage
  • take action
  • be engaged in the moment
  • appreciate beauty
  • and above all else . . . remember to love.

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Hope (above) is on display at Good Goods, Saugatuck, Michigan.

7 responses to “Golden Moments: Hope”

  1. Mary,
    What a beautiful way to express the meaning of Hope, and so wonderfully written. You have touched my soul.

  2. Thanks so much, Valli! Hope your art is going well : )

  3. Holly says:

    Lovely image, meaningful thoughts and the audacity to dance with hope! Thanks for reminding me to live in the here and now. Looking forward to attending one of your workshops someday…

  4. Jean Stevens says:

    Just as you were surprised to find such beauty rounding the point that day, I was surprised to find it in my email. Thanks, Mary, for the inspiring image and words, so needed these days.

  5. Thank you, Jean! Trust YOUR art is going well : )

  6. Susan Lyon says:

    Loving the latest work.
    Absolutely stunning. How many blocks to do Golden and Floating?
    Hoping someday you will get out west to the central coast to do a workshop with my buddies and I.
    Maybe at my ranch in Cayucos in conjunction with another one?
    Thanks for sending me your work

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