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
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’ve been thinking a lot about this poem these last few weeks. This summer has been filled with big change for our family. We moved our business out of the office space that it has resided in for the past twenty years. We’ve said our goodbyes and we’ve rooted into new spaces. Our kids joyfully went off to summer camp and left behind a very quiet house. They’ve been adventuring on their own more this year. We’ve seemingly outgrown a few old traditions (for now) and we’ve created some new ones. We’ve struggled to find closure and we’ve tried hard to be brave. Summer is zipping past in a blur; our kids go back to school in three weeks. I’m not ready. And so, into the peace of wild things I quietly go….
I’m giving succulents another try this summer. I failed magnificently last summer, but decided to rally this season. This little beauty greets me every morning on our screened porch. Sometimes I whisper, “please don’t die.” She seems to be holding her own and I’m grateful.
As I was walking thru the garden last week, my Lensbaby lens came to mind and I decided to play. I’ve been feeling such deep anxiety this summer. My head and heart have been filled with all of the things beyond my control and I’ve worried. Spending a few minutes with my camera and the Lensbaby macro lens has quieted my mind. A few minutes considering the curves and contrast of the hosta is time well spent…
The Lensbaby macro lens has been a lovely meditation for me as you really have to be still to find the manual focus of the sweet spot. It requires me to slow down and to look. After the sprinkler finishes, you sometimes stumble upon magic.
I’ve been lamenting the weeds and how quickly they grow. The thistle this year has been intense and I’ve been cursing it daily. This past week I decided to make peace with the weeds and to look for beauty among those prickly thistle stems.
When I wasn’t looking, the Japanese beetles ravaged my roses. I’ve been holding a grudge, but then saw that the rose has continued to grow and bloom anyway. She remains undaunted. If you’re very quiet, you hear the bees, crickets, grasshoppers, and birds singing to one another. A garden party unfolding before you at all hours.
I come into the peace of wild things and I notice the delicate details full of beauty. My heart is still and my mind is quiet.
I set my worry aside. I breath deeply. Inhale. Exhale. I see all of the buds tightly closed and waiting to emerge. I’m filled with hope.
I rest in this space, my mind quiets, and I feel free. Where do you go to quiet your mind and feel free? I’d love to hear your story!