Friday, March 9, 2007

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
And I wake in the night, at the least sound
In fear of what my life
And my childrens' lives may be
I go and lie down where the wood drake rests
In his beauty, on the water
And the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
Who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief.
I come into the presence of still waters.
I feel above me the day blind stars
Waiting, with their light.
And, for a time, I rest
In the grace of the world
And am free.

Wendell Berry

Who'd have thought that a poem about despair could be so inspiring. But, really, this poem is about a kind of release from despair.

When I was in High School, I wrote this:

How frustrated and helpless I am.
You ask why
And, so do I.
And, then, I go outside
For a walk
And Mother Nature's cold,
Cold wind
Blows all my cares
Right through me.

Wendell Berry was infinitely more articulate and, when I was introduced to "The Peace of Wild Things" it took me a while to see that he was expressing something that I had tried to express ten or 15 years earlier. I think that the common theme is nature's healing power and it's ability to help us transcend the tendency to "tax our lives with forethought of grief".

1 comment:

Bob Fisher said...

Thoreau's Journal: 29-Mar-1855

As reported by The Blog of Henry David Thoreau:

As I stand on Heywood’s Peak, looking over Walden, more than half its surface already sparkling blue water, I inhale with pleasure the cold but wholesome air like a draught of cold water, contrasting it in my memory with the wind of summer, which I do not thus eagerly swallow. This, which is a chilling wind to my fellow, is decidedly refreshing to me, and I swallow it with eagerness as a panacea. I feel an impulse, also, already, to jump into the half-melted pond. This cold wind is refreshing to my palate, as the warm air of summer is not, methinks. I love to stand there and be blown on as much as a horse in July.