Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Despair for the World

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 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
We sprawl, and unfurl concrete like a carpet behind us, and slice through the hearts of ancient trees for the few boards they can yield us, and despair grows in me.

We squint, and hate, and reach out to thwart the lives and bodies and choices we disapprove, and despair grows in me.

We maim, and kill, and destroy, dress our cold arrogance in frills and send it marching relentlessly across the world, and despair grows in me.

As Berry so eloquently describes, the peace of wild things is often a comfort to those who despair.

What will we do, I wonder, when we have finally trampled through all the peace of the wild things?