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 my
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
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