Reside in Gratitude

The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry

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 mywhite-crane-bird-635622-2
children’s 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 water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

I return to this poem to remind myself to rest in the grace of the world. We are all living through the fear, anger, and sadness of the coronavirus. Being separated from family, friends, and work has been difficult as we continue to practice social distancing and wearing masks. This past week has been the most tumultuous for me. Such grief and sadness abound as we marked the 100,000 death in our country due to Covid 19.

We also are witnessing the cultural wars that divide our country. First, clashes over something as simple as wearing a mask. Then this past week we are again confronted with the racial divide in our country. Another black man murdered by police in Minneapolis, MN. We are witnessing so many deep divides in our country. How can each of us begin to bridge the gap? It will begin by reaching out to one another with an open heart, compassion, and empathy, plus a deep desire to listen to each other.

I woke this morning and knew I had a choice. I could stay angry and grief-stricken or I could choose to reside in gratitude. Returning to gratitude, I felt my whole body unwind. I have so much to be grateful for.  My friends and family, my clients who entrust me with their stories, my garden filled with spring flowers, and the birds that grace my feeder. These are what bring me joy in life. When I reside in gratitude I am present to all that surrounds me.

I will not bury my head in the sand. I’ll continue to take action when I feel others are being unjustly treated, but I choose not to linger there. I choose to return to gratitude, joy, and hope. May you choose to reside in gratitude for your health and well-being as you move through these difficult times our country is facing.

This is a modified version of an earlier post.
Photo by David Dibert from Pexels

 

I Didn’t Know I couldn’t do it, so I did.

After being on a five month hiatus from my blog, I am pleased to share a guest blog from a good friend, Sandy Sarr.

Three nights ago, in my sleep, these words came to me:

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This is the tree I climbed 50 plus years ago.

I didn’t know I couldn’t do it, and I went forth and did it.

I often don’t remember dreams or words that come in the night, but these words insisted I remember them.

Today, seemingly unrelated to the dream words, I thought about climbing a hugh elm tree that became know as the “high spot” because no other kid in the neighborhood had climbed as high into the tree’s branches as I did when I was eight.  I climbed up and up and settled into a crook, where the branches cradled me, a perfect perch to look down at the ordinary world. My new friends marveled at my climbing skills.

I don’t know when I became afraid of sitting up there in the old leafy tree across the street from my grandmother’s house in Chaska Beach, Ohio. But I have a memory of my father standing beneath me, arms up stretched, saying “Jump! I’ll catch you!” And I felt more afraid of jumping toward him than I did sitting there and getting myself back down to the earth. I never jumped. I climbed back down from my sky haven to safety only to return to the high spot again and again.

That memory involving my father may be a childhood fantasy that took root in my imagination like the roots that held the tree and me aloft. I only saw my father three times growing up and never again as an adult. Perhaps It was a desire my father would be there for me, and that he would watch me and protect me from danger.

Whether he was there or not, I got myself to the high spot, and I got myself back down to the ground.

I didn’t know I couldn’t do it, and so I did.

And now something wants me to know that I can get to another kind of high spot yet again, if only by the mystery propelling each small movement forward to new vistas.

Sandra Sarr, is a writer and poet living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where she works at Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine telling the stories of animals and those who bring them for healing. With bachelor’s degrees in journalism and sociology and a Master of Fine Arts in fiction writing, she is revising her novel, The Road to Indigo. Her poem, Strange Currency, will be published in an anthology titled, Alone Together, in September.