Monday, April 29, 2013

The peace of wild things

One of the reasons that my posting has been so sporadic was directly related to my husband’s health, and the stress that goes with it all. Things are better now, and both he and I have adapted to the new changes but for a few months, I had begun to think that things were just going to keep going to hell in a hand basket.

For me, my job is often my respite. And I work with some of the most wonderful people. Some knew that things were tough and at times, I would find little gifts on my desk . . . cards, candy bars, little trinkets.

But it wasn’t until I opened a plain white envelope and slipped out a piece of paper on which was typed a beautiful poem by Wendell Berry that I burst into tears reading it.

Sunrise 5-6-08

I would not say I am one prone to tears.

But beauty often makes me cry.

As does kindness.


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. 
— Wendell Berry

"The Peace of Wild Things" is a poem by American poet, novelist, essayist, farmer, and environmentalist Wendell Berry. It was first published in Openings: Poems (1968), one of Berry's early collections of poetry, and was reprinted in 1985 in Berry's Collected Poems, 1957-1982. Written in the first-person, "The Peace of Wild Things" describes how the speaker finds a solution to the anxieties he feels during a sleepless night by going outside to a quiet, peaceful place in nature, near a body of water. In the presence of wildlife, water, and stars, he feels restored to equanimity, his troubles dissolving in the great peace he experiences in nature. "The Peace of Wild Things" is typical of Berry's work as a whole in that it attempts to find a balance between humans and nature; it shows how the natural world can play a vital role in healing the troubled human spirit. The poem belongs in the great tradition of nature writing in American literature, as embodied in the work of such classic authors as Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and John Muir, and modern writers such as Annie Dillard, Mary Oliver, Edward Abbey, Loren Eiseley, and many others.

This was given to me by the head of our English department at school. It was exactly what I needed and I plan to keep it with me always.

I am grateful for so much.

123 Signature[5]

Top photo taken in 2008 at Northview Stallion Station in Chesapeake City, MD. Second shot taken in 2011 at the property on which we live in Cecil County, MD.


Denise at Autumn Sky said...

What a thoughtful thing for someone to do. I find so much soulful connection to nature and understand these beautiful words. Nature is my church and it grounds me. Hugs to you:-)

Anonymous said...

It is in the peace and the silence that we can always find ourselves.

I've never felt your kind of stress, Kate, but I would imagine that at times it feels completely overwhelming and close to the the feeling of grief when you lose someone. At least that's my interpretation. I always wish you nothing but happiness in this world and I know that one day it will return to you seven fold. xox

DesertHen said...

A beautiful poem that really puts things in perspective! What a wonderful gift to find in a plain white envelope!

As always, your photos are lovely!

Low Tide High Style said...

Wow, such beautiful prose to accompany those gorgeous images! And what a thoughtful thing for someone to do.

Thinking of you, even if you don't always know it.


Tracey from Haiku.You.Do said...

A true friend always knows the balm to which will soothe the rawness of a rough time. So glad this person took the time to give you this treasure. And thank you for sharing it with us. I feel the same way, often...there is no peace, sometimes, as the peace found in the wild.

Love ya!

Donna S. said...

Been thinking of you. Lot going on with my mother's health so haven't been able to check in as often.

Candace said...

Beautiful poem and so fitting because you love nature so much. I've found peace in nature before, too, and those are beautiful words to remind one of it.

Gail said...

Sometimes what helps us most are the tiny thoughtful things.

No one knows for sure how your strengths are needed. You seem to have a wonderful supporting network around you.

I think of you often.

It is difficult to see our loved ones in pain and difficult to be a caregiver.

I don't want to force a poem on you but reading this one I wrote may help.

May blessings be yours.

Hilary said...

That poem keeps popping up lately. It's a beauty as are your photos.. that first one took my breath away.

Michelle at House of Lime posted it just a few days ago and I included it with one of my own posts a few months back. It speaks to many of us and I'm glad it gave you comfort. You have a good friend at school.. he/she knows you well.

Nellie said...

It is a blessing to have such caring friends! My thoughts and prayers are with you and your husband on this road you must travel.

beth said...

what an incredible are blessed to work with such amazing people !!

Nancy said...

We can learn so much from nature if only we will stop and listen and "just be"....Wonderful poem and beautifully seems you have a very special friend who is in tune with you...What a gift.....

Cloudia said...

Tears in my eyes too now. thank You

Friendly ALOHA
from Waikiki
Comfort Spiral
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Michelle said...

Wow. I just posted photos from a "healing walk" my husband and I took on Saturday, and then came here to read this. " shows how the natural world can play a vital role in healing the troubled human spirit;" how true! How true.

ZielonaMila said...

Great post, fantastic photos:) Greetings

Em Parkinson said...

That made me cry too. My thoughts are with you as ever Kate. x

The Weaver of Grass said...

I intend to type it out and keep it with me too - golly, just reading it makes me feel calmer. Thank you for posting it. Love comes over to you from here in the UK.

Hartwood Roses said...

What a thoughtful, simple gift ... and such a wonderful thought for so many situations.

Count me among the online peeps who think of you often, hoping that most of your days are uneventful.

growing wild on waverly lane said...

Words resonating with my soul and the very reason I love where I live. Peace in the company of animals is a personal and lifelong definition of who I am. Beautiful and perfectly written.

We think of you and wish peace and love for you.

Deltaville Jamie said...

Thank you for sharing that today. It was something I very much needed to read.

Gone Country said...

What a lovely poem and a very thoughtful gesture. It's nice to be surrounded by people that care.

I do know a bit of what you're going through and it's definitely tough. Extremely tough. My hubby, as well, has serious health issues concerning his heart and there is nothing that can be done. He's young. I'm young. I get scared. I get strong then I get scared again. Just know you're not alone.

My thoughts & prayers to you & your hubby.

Beautiful photos!

Christine said...

This has been a favorite of mine for years. So glad it brought you peace.

Daryl said...


Live with Flair said...

I love this poem. I believe in the truth of this poem. Today, I thanked God that he "richly provides all things for our enjoyment," and for me, that was nature today. I don't have photos yet, but I'm watching a mother robin build her nest today.

thecatalanway said...

Thank you so much for sharing the poem with us and, perhaps even more so, for sharing how you are. It's all such a delicate and precarious balance isn't it? What a special and profound risk it is to share something, like a poem or an image or even a dream, and find it touches the other deeply. I'm glad your colleague took the risk and that you then took the risk and that we all keep doing this so-human thing of reaching out. Sending you lots of love Kate x

Woman Seeking Center said...

Kate thank you for sharing. Not only the beautiful poem, the kindness and the comfort it gave you. But also for sharing your worries, your heart-heaviness.

Trusting us gives we here the chance to tell you, to remind you that there are many who care for you. Many who stand emotional guard alongside the path you're walking ~ setting out offerings of strength, hope, caring, admiration, respect for you to gather up as you may. Draw upon it. Feel the warmth of the care we each hold outward for you on the difficult days... Feel the joy we share with you on the good days.

Know the respect we have for the graceful way you walk thru these days, both the good ones and the bad ones.

I've no doubt every reader is SO glad you're surrounded at work by those who care for and nourish your heart.

The rest of us cyberly-have-your-back kiddo.


Hilary said...

That made me cry.

Jeanne Walker said...


At Mary and Paul's Place said...

"There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief…and unspeakable love."
~ Washington Irving ~

At Mary and Paul's Place said...'s George??

Just love BC's.....and Aussies.....and Beardies.....and German Shorthaired Pointers.....and Irish.....and.....wellllllll, just about all of them.....and don't forget the felines!!!

Ramona JapaneseRedneck said...

I really hate to hear that he was having health issues. I know that's hard on a family.

I love the poem. How sweet of your co-workers.

Carolynn Anctil said...

Oh, that is really beautiful. Thank you for sharing. It sounds like you have a rare workplace filled with truly caring people. I absolutely love that first image.

A Glowing Ember

Sarah said...

The Wendell Berry poem is almost breathtaking. Thank you for sharing; I have since shared this poem to spread the thoughts of peace.

Mary said...

What a beautiful gift! I can't imagine how difficult things can get for you at times, Kate. You are stronger than you think, but sometimes you just have to let the tears come.

Gorgeous photos, my friend. xoxo

BUSH BABE said...

There are such good people in the world, aren't there? Great poem, gorgeous pics. And big hugs from me!

Kerri said...

WOW! That poem gave me goose bumps....what a treasure!

Reena Walkling said...

Kate! That poem brought tears to my eyes. So beautiful!! You are so fortunate to have those who care about you. Hold onto that. It is priceless. Xoxo

Ellen Reed said...

Oh so very lovely.....smiles

mrs mediocrity said...

What a lovely gift. What a lovely poem. Definitely one worth keeping.

His Song to Sing said...

I'm not often moved by poetry but that is possibly my all-time favorite. I'm obviously very behind in reading your posts but thankful that this jewel was quietly waiting for me. I'm thankful that even when you don't feel like writing that you have hung in there, Kate. Saying a prayer for you and yours this early morning.