The Peace of the Wild Things – Weldell Berry

A friend has sent me this poem and it has spoken to my soul.  This world has never really made much sense to me.  I live much of my life travelling in opposite direction of where I want to be.

“Where do you want to be?” you may ask.

Far away from cities and tarmac and roads and concrete and lights.  Far away ….where the skies are clear and the noise of the day and night is rushing water and birdsong.

Once I lived in the middle of a city,  suffocating.  I would head off to the hills and mountains, to gaze at the estuary, the rolling hills, the farmlands, the forest climbing up nearby hills.

Now I live out of town, walking distance of local farms.  Once it was marshlands and so the fields have waterways cut into them, reens, that channel overflow water to the nearby sea.  I walk there at all times of the day and in all weather….and I notice.

I notice the songs of the birds, the swish of wind through the oak trees, the splash of water through the sluice.  The plop of the frogs, the shadowy outline of the resting pike, the swarming of minnows.  The elegant flight of the gentleman heron, the leaping chase of the young fox cubs, the high tree runways of erratic squirrels.  The lone sentinel daffodils, the cheerful crowd of violets, the emerald green moss creeping on a stump.

But mostly I notice the light.  It crowns this sacred  place.  The oak leaning over the reen like a wise old fishing man has a golden silhouette.  The clear skin of the gentle waters sparkle with diamonds.  The feathery seed plumes simple reeds sway like the ostrich feather fascinators of the flapper dancers.

It is my ‘go to’ place for peace, but it is not mine.  I do not and will not call it mine.  It is more than me.  It is ‘farther up and farther in’ and can never be contained.  It’s gift to me is as gentle and fluid as the passing of sand through my fingers.  So I hide this place in my heart.  And when I cannot be there, I still my heart…. and ‘come into the peace of the wild things’.


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