E.B. White: On Hope
E.B. White received a letter from a man who had given up on the world. The letter below is White’s response.
North Brooklin, Maine,
30 March 1973
Dear Mr. Nadeau:
As long as there is one upright man, as long as there is one compassionate woman, the contagion may spread and the scene is not desolate. Hope is the thing that is left to us, in a bad time. I shall get up Sunday morning and wind the clock, as a contribution to order and steadfastness.
Sailors have an expression about the weather: they say, the weather is a great bluffer. I guess the same is true of our human society — things can look dark, then a break shows in the clouds, and all is changed, sometimes rather suddenly.
It is quite obvious that the human race has made a queer mess of life on this planet. But as a people we probably harbor seeds of goodness that have lain for a long time waiting to sprout when the conditions are right.
Man’s curiosity, his relentlessness, his inventiveness, his ingenuity have led him into deep trouble. We can only hope that these same traits will enable him to claw his way out.
Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day.
E. B. White
I am going to print this and frame it. Thank you.
Thanks Agnie. It’s so good. Simple, short, and it leads to action.
Powerful…and needed encouragement in times such as these. Thank you for sharing.
My pleasure, Sandy. E.B. White is a genius.
Happy Labor Day, Dan. I’m sharing this with our Hospice Team this morning. Thank you for your encouragement.
Dearest Dan, the majestic quote ~ the way that it touched
us ~ and the way it unleashed Amazing Grace ✨
Happy Labor Day, azchaplian. Good hearing from you. Be well!
This is so good – thank you for sharing. I love this part the best:
“It is quite obvious that the human race has made a queer mess of life on this planet. But as a people we probably harbor seeds of goodness that have lain for a long time waiting to sprout when the conditions are right.”
There is always hope!! Life can change on a dime…and sometimes we need to hear that when we are on top. You just never know when a virus might come out of nowhere or when the sun shines down your path and opens a beatiful and wonderful door.
Wilmington, North Carolina
Thanks for sharing your favorite part. 🙂 The simplicity of clock winding gets me.
I needed this today. Thank you.
Thanks Laura, I think I need it most days. 🙂
Or to quote a colleague: “You’ve got two hopes, and Bob Hope’s dead…”
Damn this is profound. Keeping this.