The Peace of Wild Things

The last few days I have been meditating on this Wendell Berry poem:

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair grows in me
and I wake in the middle of 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 for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

I have grown to love this oxymoronic thought of finding peace in something wild.  I love the idea that peace doesn’t have to be cultivated and that it isn’t tame.  I love that the God I serve is unbridled and unrestrained.  He isn’t a tame lion and he isn’t safe. The last few days I have been so overcome with life’s busyness and fear for the present and future.  I thought what I needed was to sit on my couch and veg-out.   But, no.  He beckons me to come to waters edge and dare to dream. 

I’m reminded of Jesus’ words regarding the lilies:

“And why do you worry about clothes?  See how the lilies of the field grow.  They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?  So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  Matthew 6:28-34

I want to join the lilies and the great heron who are not weighted down by grief and worry.  Rather, they are peacefully fulfilling their purpose on the Earth.  How small is my faith and how unbelieving am I of the Father’s heart for me?  I must learn to find eternity in every moment.  I must learn to see busyness as a choice: to either give up or give in to God’s wild heart.

So today I will imagine that my walls are trees, my floors are grass, and my ceiling a canopy of tree tops with bits of blue sky breaking through.  My sink is now a river and my chairs are trunks surrounded by wild flowers.  And in the words of Max- Let the wild rumpus start!


One thought on “The Peace of Wild Things

  1. Erin, this is simply beautiful. I love the poetry of Berry. But also makes me think of the book of Songs … the poet, the philosopher, and the lover of God find their streams deep within that one, true place in the heart from which we came and to which we are welcomed once again with beauty and laughter.

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