By Patti Weaver
    In these trying times when no one knows how bad the coronavirus will get, I think we need a heavy dose of hope.
    Many years ago when I was stricken with chronic fatigue, possibly by having a fiddleback spider bite and serious dental infection at the same time, I felt I had nothing to look forward to.
    I was then writing for the Tulsa World and covering truly horrible court cases in several counties. They were the worst of the worse — murders, sexual abuse, child pornography  — awful haunting tragedies.
    I don’t know how it came to me, perhaps when I was praying, but it came to me that I needed more beauty in my life.
    I became a flower gardener at age 51. I didn’t know what I was doing, but I started by planting flower bulbs one fall as I was slowly coming out of intense chronic fatigue.
    It was wonderful in the spring to see daffodils and crocus come up. I was disappointed a little, because I didn’t know if you plant a small bulb, the flower will likely be small.
    But I gradually learned by reading newspaper articles about gardening and of course by trial and error.
    One of the most wonderful things about gardening is that you always have something to look forward to — you have hope.
    Before I became a gardener, I thought that some people were born with a green thumb and some weren’t. That’s not true.
    A friend once called me a master gardener, which is hilariously wrong. Sometimes I get lucky and a plant thrives remarkably — sometimes, it doesn’t at all.
    But I always have hope.
    Right now the lilac bush has flower buds. I didn’t plant it. It was here 39 years ago when my husband and I moved to this country property.
    I have hope that soon the peony I did plant (the one that gophers didn’t take out) will bloom in May.
    I have so much hope that at least one of the columbines I planted in the shade bed a couple of years ago will bloom beautifully.
    As I walk on this property, I see lovely daffodils and hundreds of grape hyacinths.
    They’re all miraculous gifts from God.
    Become a gardener.
    Take it slowly.
    But if you happen to go into Walmart to get groceries, take a look at the plants and seeds.
    Give it a try.
    Gardening builds hope.
    And remember, the day will come when this coronavirus crisis has passed.
    Meanwhile, it’s good to plant and pray.