The long, cold, COVID winter is giving way to the renewal of spring, and Easter was a great opportunity to remember the promise of resurrection in both the spiritual and metaphorical sense. But as with so much that has unfolded over the last 14 months now, this promise of rebirth comes with dark clouds. More and more people are getting vaccinated even as new cases and hospitalizations skyrocket.
The finish line feels simultaneously close and impossibly far off in the distance. Frankly, these times remain troubled and troubling. Now that the weather is improving we can leave our sealed and insulated homes again and experience the outdoors once again. But will we find peace in nature?
I was thinking about this question after coming across Wendell Berry’s poem “The Peace of Wild Things,” at the website brainpickings. In it, Berry suggests that in the midst of widespread death and despair, we can find peace in the wilds around us. Here’s his poem:
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.
We’re going to talk about our relationship to nature and wild things and whether we are able to, as Berry writes, rest in the grace of the world and be free. And consider this question: If you could spend a day in nature, unscheduled and alone, where would you go, and what would you hope to find? Join us for the conversation tomorrow evening, April 6 starting at 7pm. Click on the link below to be a part of the virtual discussion.