Wendell Berry’s The Peace of Wild Things

I believe I have posted this poem before as it is one of my favorites.  As I was searching for a prayer about nature this morning, I came across this poem on another blogpost, literary lew.  (read the post here.)  Some mornings, the blogger should be less concerned with crafting words and rather, just enjoy the craft of others.  What a gift this morning.

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least soundmarshland
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.

 

the long way ’round

Recently, I have been savoring the book In the Sanctuary of Women by Jan Richardson.  If you do not know her work, please visit her website.  You will not be disappointed!

During my time away in Wisconsin, I spent several snowy evenings sitting in a comfy chair, watching the sun set, and reading my way through this book.  In this time of quiet discernment, I focused on the chapter she writes about Harriett Powers, an African-America slave, folk artist and quilt maker.  The theme of this chapter focused on the artist within and the connection between our creative selves and our faith journeys. [You can learn more about Mrs. Powers and her famous Bible quilts here.]

There are times in my life when God finds me through the written word, and I must say, God was spot on with this chapter.  Thankfully, Ms. Richardson took the time to capture these spiritual lessons in her book, and for that time and commitment, I am grateful.

One phrase that has settled into my soul is “the long way around,” or as we Southerners might say, “the long way ’round.”  “The long way ’round” is the time it takes to accomplish a task without the help of technology or shortcuts.  It affords us the opportunity to just be in the moment of the artistry or the skill or the journey.  It encourages our bodies, minds, and spirits to slow down and focus on the process, not the product.

When I read those words, my heart cheered, “Yes!”  It seems that my homesteading, my gardening, and my desire to live minimally and sustainably can all be summed up by this phrase.  I want to live the long way ’round.

Now that I have returned to my hometown after two weeks away, however, it seems as if the “long way ’round” has taken a back to seat to “playing catch up” and “welcome back to reality.”  While “the long way ’round” competes for my attention, I honor the stability and peace she brings to my spirit and do not deny her my time.

Even in the midst of life, it is possible to invite “the long way ’round” in, hug her, love on her and invite her to stay awhile.  My preferred time is in the evening as my daughter retreats to her new room downstairs, and my kitchen table invites me to enjoy the quiet with her.  Even if but for 10 minutes, as I practice a new hobby, write a new blog post or sew a couple of  cozy caps, I am regaining a sense of balance and reconnecting with my Creator within.  What a gift~

lessons learned: finding my voice

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

~Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Almost 7 years ago, I sent an email to a friend.  She was in the midst of many challenges, and I wanted to be of support to her.  I didn’t know exactly what to say, but as a lover of quotes, I found someone else’s words that seemed to fit, and I sent them to her.  That continued for several days until I received word from her that she’d shared the emails with another friend who asked if I’d mind including her.

Time passed, and the quotes grew into personal meditations, and one friend grew into a list of followers.  By the time I started this blog, the words I’d found, both others and my own, had touched the lives of many.

Now while this may not seem so miraculous to you, especially if you are a blogger, what you need to know is that in college, I had a professor who told me that I would never be a writer.  And along the way, I’ve had other folks suggest that I should just keep quiet rather than beg the questions related to social injustice.

From that first email until this blog post, I have been been searching to find my voice and express it so that my words could draw attention to things that matter–environmental sustainability, spiritual formation, community service, and so on.

On this day, Americans celebrate a man revered for the power of his words–words that challenged a nation and comforted a people.  Words filled will passion while spoken with compassion.

And so, as I continue my journey to share my voice, I am grateful to have the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a reminder that we we must not be silent.  Regardless of how few or small our voices, what we say matters.  Whether it be to one, some or many, we make a difference.

In closing, I’d like to express my gratitude for those who have stopped by growing grace farm to read about what we are doing here and how our lives our changed by this place.  You have offered me a forum to explore what environmentalism and spirituality mean to my soul, and in that sense, you have given me a gift every day.  Thank you.