Thursday, February 23, 2012
The Peace of Wild Things
The other night, we were getting ready for dinner. It is one of my favorite times of day when everyone pitches in as a team. The kids were helping set the table in their careful way. I peeked over and saw the concentration in Eli's face as he placed the silverware just so at each place. And I thought, 'this is just the best'.
I tend to get overwhelmed sometimes. I think a lot of us creative folk do, given our busy interior lives (often on top of our busy exterior lives). I get overwhelmed when I try to figure out how exactly I am going to be able to learn how to play the upright bass and guitar, paint, glaze pottery, visit France, become a yoga instructor, knit something with cables, develop of meditation practice, become a writer, make all the quilts I want to make, and on and on in my lifetime. When I put all the things I want to learn and do and the places I want to go in a list, it overwhelms me. And this doesn't even include the wish list for our family. It's probably a little too much for one lifetime. I know that. I guess it's probably best not to think of these things in terms of a giant to-do list. Because there's a lot of life that needs to go and will go on whether or not these things get done. Spring will come after winter. Summer will come after spring. And so on.
So on this night, with the music playing in the background and my daughter praising her brother on his table setting skills, I forgot about it for a while. We laughed over the dinner table. We were silly. After dinner, we made popcorn in the air popper much to the kids' delight, and I let them watch a movie. The list would have to wait for another time.
I find so much comfort in nature when I feel overwhelmed. And this poem I ran across illustrates it just perfectly.
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.
— Wendell Berry