Esperanza & Dixieland Jazz

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Photographs — Alex Waterhouse-Hayward

Much has been written of late on how Edward Hopper’s art sort of defines our present state of affairs in the world. I will beat on my own drum to point out that back in 2008 I wrote this blog. I illustrated it with the photograph of the woman at the Vancouver General Hospital of which I have no memory on the circumstances on how I can to take the photograph.

Smokestacks and progress

But that photograph will serve me again. It has all to do with time in my hands particulary in bed with bouts of insomnia which lead me to think.

Since I am bilingual I go back and forth in my thoughts. I like to compare and constrast my English with my Spanish.


Del ár. hisp. law šá lláh ‘si Dios quiere’.

1. interj. Denota vivo deseo de que suceda algo.

Otra entrada que contiene la forma «ojalá»:


That second entry, ojalar, strangely for those who do not speak Spanish means to make button holes!

One of the most beautiful interjections (as my Real Academia Española points out) is ojalá which comes from the Arabic (Moorish) influence in Spain and it means if Allah wills.

To me the translation into English “I hope” is puny in comparison.

The reason has to do with the roots of language disappearing. That “I hope” translates to “Espero que…” Hope in Spanish comes from the Latin to wait. Esperar is to wait. Espero (I wait). That root forms one of the loveliest female names, “Esperanza” which means hope.

On the darker side is “desesperar” which would translate in my books to “unwait” and in Spanish it means to despair. But that root from Latin “spair” is lost to most who speak English.

That all boils down to my grandmother’s wonderful “El que espera desespera” which works on the the relationship of waiting and despairing.

Ojalá is a statement of uncertainty and so in Spanish it is followed by the use of the Subjunctive Mood, “Ojalá llueva,” translates to,”I hope it might rain.” In English, the subjunctive is all but gone and one of its few uses,”I wish I were in Dixie,” usually modified to ignore the subjunctive to, “I wish I was in Dixie”, will disappear in this present movement of erasing history. I wait in the hope (Ojalá) that the term Dixieland Jazz will survive.

I wonder what tonight’s thoughts will produce?

Link to: Esperanza & Dixieland Jazz



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Into Bunny Watson. I am a Vancouver-based magazine photographer/writer. I have a popular daily blog which can be found at: