The buds on shrubs and bushes, which, as we know, form in the fall but remain dormant all through the winter, and embody the power of possibilities, the possibility of new growth and renewal. Of course there is no guarantee that a bud will actually bloom, or that a seed will sprout, but there is hopeful certainty. Last year we had an unexpected late season ice storm that froze the buds of our red bush - no beautiful purple flowers that year. Although it is still cold and damp and dull I know, I hope, that spring is here and that our red bush will bloom this year.
Hope is just a notch below knowing. It is a more cautious feeling, but still positive, expectant, promising, and encouraging. When we're not quite certain, but still optimistic, we resort to hope. Buds represent hope to me, and hope is the source of endless possibilities. Hope is an inner resource of resilience that permits us to traverse arid or bleak terrain - it may simply be winter, it may be something deeper, more personal, or even something big, like our cultural and environmental turmoil. Buds are the signposts along the way for something that will almost certainly happen, something bigger and better - the flower that will grow a fruit that will bear seeds.
We can't always know, but we can always remain hopeful. When the buds of our red bush finally burst open in a few weeks they become hope fulfilled.