Finding peace in wild things (and be encouraged)
This summer, I had the opportunity to show out of state family members some of the beauty of Oregon and the Oregon coast. While swimming in the ocean with my brother, I realized how much I needed to feel the wildness of Earth and how much I have missed it, choosing instead to spend too much time with the artificial world of screens. This poem, “The Peace of Wild Things” from Wendell Berry has been on my mind:
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 might 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.
The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry (Counterpoint, 1999)
As the summer winds down and we make our way back to school and work with the inevitable siren summons of the screens, I am making the conscious choice to take time to be present to the wild things, even if just a walk in my neighborhood park. Perhaps you, like me, need a powerful antidote to the screens that so dominate our lives. Thus, may you, too, amidst it all, find the peace of wild things and be encouraged.
By John Shuck, Minister, Southminster Presbyterian Church, 12250 SW Denney Road, Beaverton. Please visit us at www.southmin.org