I went for a hike in the Cuyamaca Mountains the other day. One part of the hike looked like this:
- a formerly green meadow, now looking considerably less vibrant, though still beautiful. Then, just ahead one sees this:
It made me wonder why these trees are able to continue looking so green and alive in their place with most of their immediate surroundings looking so dried out.
And then just up ahead, appeared the answer:
I came across (literally) Dyer Spring. It is very beautiful here, but it is quite small and doesn't seem like much of significance. But this spring, like springs in general, is just the small visible part of a long artesian system that is mostly underground. But the effects of underground springs are often far more visible. They make it possible for trees to grow in places that they otherwise would not. The trees then provide the context for birds, insects and various other aspects of the local ecosystem.
Often, the springs/aquifer/groundwater systems will eventually make their way to creeks and then on to rivers, lakes, or even the ocean. (In Hawaii, these artesian systems often end in the ocean and, in the process, also add to the ecosystem near to shore that might include coral, sea plants, fish and turtles.)
So, while it might seem small, it is not insignificant. It just does most of its work in ways that are largely hidden from view.
According to Rambam (Maimonides, 1135-1204), the highest level of charity is helping someone in a way that enables them to provide for themselves. The second highest is to give without knowing to whom you are giving and without the recipient knowing from whom he has received.
A spring seems to embody both of these. (Think not only of the tree, but also of the birds and insects - the tertiary beneficiaries of the "invisible" groundwater.)
Some people are like a spring: they give hope to others quietly, in a way that supports their own strength.
In this way, hope springs eternal.
May it be that all of us become a conduit of hope.