Hunting for Hope by James Goldberg

I read a book about a man who flew out to the Rockies, who flew a thousand miles to hike near the bristlecone pines and to mourn the weight of man on a fragile earth. His son had told him: despair is the price of an ecologist’s education. But he told his son €”as the boy backpacked through Europe €”that in the many beauties of this wide and varied planet, we still hunt for hope.

And what I could I do but laugh, as I read, about the man who weeps for a warming world he soars across on a fossil-fueled jet, and who longs to protect the distant loveliness he likes to bring under his boot? What can I do but laugh for the men who say we nibble at every corner of a cake so we can find the drive to save it? Who see the herd growing thin and still hunt for hope?

When I want to show my daughter the richness of this earth, we walk. We look at a pill bug in the stairwell, watch for garter snakes in the grass. She chooses at each corner to turn right or left, and we see God’s own creations push their way through the sidewalks’ cracks. We come face to face with mystery in the dancing of a colony of ants.

Hope grows all around us. In a garden such as this, where’s the need to go and hunt?
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James Goldberg won the “most popular” award in WIZ’s Spring Runoff 2012 for “Since he was weaned.” He is an award-winning dramatist, and has published in Shofar, Drash, and Irreantum. He is also a founding editor at Everyday Mormon Writer.

“Seasonal Ritual” by Jon Ogden

On Sundays in rows of chaos,
Children shouting over a tinny piano,
Spring was popping popcorn €”
Week after week, we took it in armfuls.

As a teen, blooming was the last breath of winter.
The snow having seeped into roots of trees,
Pushing methodically to tips of limbs,
Bursting into blossom, then blowing off again in flaky grace.

And there’s still this youth €”an ever flourishing festival
At the fringe of a common Mormon town, thousands
Of curious celebrators reveling in a distant
Hindu ritual, still euphoric for the popping colors of spring.

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Jon Ogden is a graduate student studying rhetoric at BYU. He has published several poems in BYU’s creative writing journal, Inscape, and his poetic tastes favor Robert Frost’s Collected Works and Paul Simon’s Rhythm of the Saints. He recently won BYU’s Writer’s Portfolio contest and placed first in the Mayhew specialty short story section.

*Contest entry*