What is hope? Hope in a hopeless situation is what LWOP is. Emily Dickinson spoke of Hope being a bird perched in the soul. Hope is a thing that reveals itself on lockdown, hole time, Death Row or Life Without Parole. Here all hope seems gone.
The bird pops up and you have no idea where it comes from or why it’s even there in such hopeless situations. How hope found you and keeps you alive and keeps the wonder and awe alive is a mystery. When death seems more inviting and more logical.
The California prison system does everything it can to kill hope, to shoot the condor in the heart or blast the ravens, sparrows, rock doves from the trees.
Yet, where there are birds of any kind, even wounded ones, there is always hope. Even though you cannot touch it or know how hope works. Why hope when it seems like quicksand that sinks all that you are, were or long to be? I don’t know where that bird of hope comes from. I only know it keeps you alive when hope is hopeless.
Every prison I’ve been in I’ve always found out where the birds are and commune with them on some level. Sometimes when on lockdown, with no access to the birds, hope vanishes. I still have it, but won’t know it because hope has become hopeless. I know sometimes things like hope can be hard to grasp, when you have no way to be in that place or state of survival to experience it.
Can you imagine having a rope around your neck or a ton of bricks chained around your ankle and still having hope? How does a seed that has no eyes and no ears know which way is up? How does a root that has no nose know which way the water flows.