Torture, Arson, Flood, War: Some Vitamins for the Soul
On mission to post-trauma sites, I drag along a raggedy old journal I’ve handwrit over the decades. Inside the old moleskine, well, it’s overheavy with quotes from Heschel, Berry, Lorca, Mechtilde, and others. Freeze-dried nourishment for the climb.
Tonight, here in the Rockies with snow hanging heavy in the white night sky, the big wood owls land on the roof with such a thud that it sounds like a whole man has been dropped from the sky…
I’ve been thinking somewhat wearily, I must get to bed earlier, last night it was just after 5a.m., the night before 4 a.m…. trying to stay up late to write… trying to read and think and write in the interstices left from all other commitments to twenty-nine elses.
But, I’m see once again, from cruising many blogs and their comments tonight, that there are many souls who have need for rest this night that has nothing to do with lack of sleep… for anyone who registers the world with accuracy, these are times, as Wordsworth put it, “The World is too much with us; late and soon, Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers: Little we see in Nature that is ours…”
I’d prescribe for that condition, this to start; From the raggedy notebook, here, take this with water. Tonight, I’ll meet you there:
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.
by Wendell Berry