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Hope by George Frederic Watts, 1886
This image shows a lone blindfolded female figure sitting on a globe, playing a lyre that has only a single string remaining.

"This relentless siphon started defying simple gravity long ago …"

My hop vine, grown seven feet in a few short weeks, sparked my insight. I've come to think of it as my Hope Vine. I'd been reveling in spring, the great respite from winter's ravages, and wondering what I was witnessing, for this fresh season's beneficence seemed … what? … oh yea, Relentless. There has been no stopping it. A crashing hail storm pock-marked a few of the more delicate leaves and blossoms, but the expansion continued in earnest the following morning. The seeds I sowed without really knowing what they might become quickly sprouted and not even the neighbor cat using their planter for his bathroom discouraged their attempted dominion. Even the chokecherry, blighted as it seems, threw out fresh branches and suckers. Not even the endless-seeming setbacks through winter seem like barriers now, for I know how their progression turned out, or at least how it's turned out so far. A clear expansion relentlessly continues, with seemingly ever greater passion, no obvious end in sight.

We inhabit a tenaciously positive feedback loop where nothing seems capable of slowing or turning forward momentum.
Get something started and a certain inexorability seems to take control. Even those initiatives apparently stalled seem persistent, as if their future could not help but attract them. I imagine some natural form of moderation, but I see little evidence of such presence. Rust seems relentless, never knowing when enough turns into enough, dissatisfied until it's consumed every ounce of its source supper, such that it disappears. It appears that everything here would come to dominate were it not for competitive barricades blunting trajectories. The dance continues, whomever comes to dominate, whatever goes extinct along the way. Time moves exclusively in one inexorable direction and everything, everything rides it.

I caught myself thinking that maybe we'd get lucky and the Covid-19 virus might not prove to be Relentless, but when have I ever witnessed anything in nature exhibit any but Relentless behavior, taking full advantage when conditions favoring expansion present themselves? We have not yet come to understand what favors its expansion, so we dance to a mix of myth and science, hoping to somehow blunt its reasonably presumed relentlessness, for we can be Relentless, too, it also representing our truest nature, though we're also fully capable of abandoning Hope, which seems to fuel our relentlessness. Just as long as hope persists, so do we. Dante had it backwards. It was never "abandon all hope, ye who enter here," but "abandon hope and ye will undoubtedly, relentlessly, enter there," a hopeless Hell.

So this relentless springtime and my Hope Vine appears to remind me that everything, every being and every entity here, engages exclusively relentlessly. I could not possibly be any different, not in my native state. But I've long been engaged in domesticating my native state, thinking I might somehow thereby improve my fate. I remain no different from my kittens in this respect. I might deny them access outside, but their inner wildness will never relent to let them feel true contentment simply staying inside. No creature comforts I might provide overrides their feral imperative and they gratefully remain relentless in their pursuit of a freedom which might buy them a seminal encounter with a silent night owl, also relentless in her search for supper for her equally relentless owlets. I need not walk around with a knife in my teeth to survive, but I do seem to require some driving notion to override my decades of genteel acculturation.

I feel as though denial served as my first instinct when encountering this pandemic, but I had been beaten down by months of relentless winter. It's taken a few weeks, several of them seemingly dog weeks, for me to slip beyond my initial rather stunned state. Spring has been trying to remind me that I, too, know how to lean in, and that I also possess a certain native relentlessness, however genteel and couth I might have otherwise become. I possess a patch as well as a path, and it might most probably be that I was born to defend and expand that patch and relentlessly pursue that path, however unlikely that particular destiny might seem. This relentless siphon started defying simple gravity long ago, long before I appeared here. The siphon continues in increasing earnest, Relentless.

©2020 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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