Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Peace of Wild Things...

This has been a sad week.  A dear friend, who has had three strokes in ten days, is now paralyzed down her left side and is fighting valiantly against pneumonia. I grieve for her many losses and I grieve for her family and friends who can no longer communicate with her in familiar ways. I grieve for the possibility of life without her.

Normally, I would go and walk by the Lake to ease the sadness, knowing that Nature would draw me from my grief into her quiet embrace. Unfortunately, I have developed either a bone contusion or stress fracture in my right foot so I won't be walking at the Lake for a while. I yearn for the exercise, for calming scenes of beauty and for the healing peace of water and trees.

Thankfully, there is more than one way to connect with Nature. I have just finished reading one of my favourite poems, one that sustained me again and again as my husband was dying. Let me share it with you:

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 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 no 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.

Wendell Berry

For me, this is a poem of trust - trust that, regardless the complexities and pains of human existence, the peace of wild things is always available to soothe us, either in actuality or in memory. Trust that the day-blind stars are waiting with their light even, or perhaps especially, when we cannot see them in the daylight sky. Trust that even in our busiest, most grief-stricken days, if we breathe, and breathe again, we can return to rest in the grace of the world, and be free. 


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