Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Hope, That Thing With Feathers

Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.

                                                                 Joseph Addison


I tried gambling once in my life.  I was on a cruise and for an obvious reason, you had to pass through part of the casino to get to the main dining room.  Enroute to have dinner one night, I decided to put a loonie in one of those pull down sort of machines (I think the kind that have given rise to the expression 'one armed bandit'). The speed at which I lost my money astounded me...mere nanoseconds.  I then understood how people managed to lose entire fortunes in casinos; at my rate of loss, the house could be gone in less than an hour.  It reinforced my notion that gambling to try to make money made about as much sense as people smoking cigarettes to cure their breathing problems like they actually did in the old days. 
I've always thought it was my unwillingness to part with my hard earned money that kept me from gambling.  But no, I now realize I am missing an essential ingredient to become a gambler. I am not a good hoper.  I know the house always wins and I would hold no hope that I could ever beat those odds.   A gambler, on the other hand, always has hope; he always believes his luck will change and he holds steady to the hope that the next minute will bring him better fortune.  Gamblers must be the best hopers in the world.  Seems a shame all that  hope couldn't be directed in a more positive direction somehow. 
Two of my birding friends are ancient symbols of hope...the dove and the swallow.  The swallow became so because it was often the first bird to be seen at the end of winter and the start of spring. We could sure use a swallow now...still wind chill warnings and no hope of spring in sight...yet.