Wendell Berry, “The Peace of Wild Things” from The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry. Copyright © 1998.
Last week as I traveled across the state of Wisconsin, I took a few wrong turns and ended up on Hwy 21, a 2-lane stretch of road between Osh Kosh and La Crosse. I know it was God’s journey for me because I stumbled up on the entry to Necedah Wildlife Preserve. In spite of the government shutdown, I was able to drive along the 2-mile stretch of entry road then head down a few of the open rocky trails. I happened to arrive as the sun was slowly making her way to bed so I captured some of the beautiful, lazy moments of late afternoon and the arrival of a brilliant sunset.
I was at peace.
It was such an overwhelming feeling of pure simplicity that I decided to stop in on my way back across the state. I just happened to arrive at close to the same time again and felt as if I were returning to meet an old friend. I traveled back down the country road to the large pond. There I found a frisky otter diving for his dinner. He played like a three-year-old who has the spotlight until the sun streaked the navy sky with tangerine and peach.
Before my departure, I returned to the main building to give one last glance at the marsh that reminded me of coastal South Carolina. As I stood there photographing the landscape, I sensed a visitor. I turned to find a beautiful doe standing about 10 feet from me. We stared at each other before she turned to saunter away. In that moment, we were just two of God’s creatures sharing the same trail and resting in grace.