Gardeners are Optimists

It is often said that gardeners are the most optimistic of people. Most readers are probably familiar with the famous Audrey Hepburn quote “ To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow”.  There are many other observations remarking on how anyone who puts a seed in the ground and expects it to grow into a mighty oak is a true optimist and believer in miracles.

I generally agree that gardeners are optimistic believers in miracles, and I know that gardeners are hard workers who persevere against the odds and the elements to create the outcome they imagine. Until recently I had thought these beliefs of mine were confined to the garden. However, a week ago my 22 month old, 7 lb Maltese dog, Poppy, ran away. She was lost for 4 days and nights, in a neighborhood with coyotes and Fishers, through temperatures that went to 0 F and a severe winter storm that dumped inches of snow and paralyzed the Northeast.

Spot were Poppy was hiding

I found her on Valentine’s Day.  After 4 days and nights of constant search, in the end I looked around a bunch of hemlocks in a yard that had been searched three times before in the previous two days, and there she was,  just standing there, dirty, wet, tired and scared but looking at me straight in the eye with an expression that was half “I’m so glad to see you” and half  “where have you been”. I bent down, held out a piece of hot dog and she came right into my arms.

Like a garden, Poppy survived the odds; the harsh weather, carnivorous predators, unusually cold temperatures, lack of food, shelter or care and the poor statistics of lost animals being reunited with their owners (about 16% I read on one recovery website). But like the mighty oak that grows from a tiny seed, Poppy sits here on my lap in defiance of the odds to remind me, and you, I hope, never to give up, to believe in and to persevere to create the outcome you seek to achieve. It’s fitting Poppy is named after a flower.

Poppy, me and the Animal Control Officer minutes after Poppy was found

22 thoughts on “Gardeners are Optimists

  1. Oh, what good fortune and good karma for both of you! That makes me very happy, being a dog lover and an optimistic gardener-:))


  2. Great story and I love the way you related it to the optimism of a gardener. This is the winter when many gardeners in North America need a healthy dose of optimism to see them through the recurring storms.


    1. Through all these storms I like to see the beauty of the snow on the trees,and think of how well insulated my garden is. Here’s too hoping there won’t be too much heaving in the garden come spring.


  3. Inspiring story, that brightened my day today when I needed an extra reminder on how to persevere and create the long term goals I want to achieve when they seem far away some times. Thanks for sharing! Poppy is proof of miracles and cute as a peach. And to find her again on Valentine’s Day, how special. I had a similar experience with my dog growing up. She finally came back home and smelled like a sewer and I couldn’t have smelled anything better. Glad she is safe and sound.


    1. I am glad Poppy’s story can be a bit of an inspiration. She smelled really bad when I first found her – she smells better now after a bath and a few days indoors. She lost a lot of weight and I am hopelessly spoiling her with all types of edible delicacies.


  4. And a birthday present for you Poppy is!
    Lovely story, especially in the cold days of winter, it’s important to remember to always be hopeful!


  5. Thank you for sharing a truly heartwarming story – so glad Poppy is OK! Your writing gifts grow like a garden too. Beautiful.
    I think Russell Page said that of all artists, the gardener is the most generous because he/she will never live long enough to see the complete realization of his/her vision. ( I am paraphrasing)
    Looking forward to seeing you soon. xox, P


  6. What a happy ending.

    So the cold dog came out of hiding for….the hot dog (sorry, couldn’t resist it).

    As the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War is almost upon us, the Poppy, symbol of the dead and the MIA, is so pertinent.
    Unlike so many then – and in all wars since – your Poppy is back home, safe and sound.

    Dulce et Decorum est
    Pro patria mori.


  7. What a very touching story! And gardeners definitely are optimists – we watch the soil until it comes to life and toil throughout all the weather difficulties to achieve a good harvest.


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