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Wendell Berry and The Given Life

I’ve been a fan of Wendell Berry for quite a few years now since one of my daughters gave me a copy of his novel Jayber Crow for Father’s Day.

Actually, I first learned of Berry before I received that gift because I stumbled upon an interview of him in which the questioner was none other than former President Jimmy Carter.

But, I digress.

Berry is a poet and novelist, whose prose is so spare and beautiful it ripples like leafy dewdrops onto the glassy surface of a small pond.

I am reading a work about Berry, the one pictured above, and in an early chapter about humility, the author, Ragan Sutterfield, quotes Berry’s poem, “The Peace of Wild Things.” Just clear your mind and listen.

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.


And there, in the soft beauty of a few words, we see, feel, and taste the power of language, and even more so, we experience healing of our souls, a healing born slowly of a quietness incapable of hurrying.

If it is proper for a human to aspire to anything, would that I could write such a collection of words.

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