THE WRITTEN WORD
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.
– Wendell Berry from “The Peace of Wild Things”
A few days ago, after reading one too many news stories, the ship of my soul sank to a depth it hadn’t visited in years. The view from where I sat was murky and bleak. The world seemed to be coming apart—more people dying every day from the coronavirus, other people filled with hatred and self-righteousness harming their neighbors, our leadership lackluster, at best, in attempts to curb the pandemic and bring unity. I wanted the world to be different than it is. I wanted us humans to be better than we are. And at the same time, I felt helpless to change anything.
Reality has a way of punching holes in our illusions and sinking our ideals, our fantasies about life and the world. And sometimes our soul goes down with our illusions. Energy and appetite had abandoned me. I could barely drag myself through the house to do the smallest of tasks.
Then I stepped outside. As a friend of mine said, “Nature doesn’t know this is a crazy time.” There, Black-eyed Susans shining their sunny faces to anyone willing to appreciate them. Against my skin, the lightest touch of breeze. Finches arguing at the feeder. Butterflies and bees seeking the nectar of Salvia. And at the end of the day, a blazing sunset that finally brought me fully up from the underworld to see the colors dancing on the water’s surface.