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Posts tagged ‘fish’

Wednesday of Hope – Indomitable Expectation

At the bottom of the heart of every human being there is something that goes on indomitably expecting, in the teeth of all experience of crimes committed, suffered and witnessed, that is good and not evil will be done to her. It is this above all that is sacred in every being.

– Simone Weil

Wednesday of Hope – How Hard Is It to have Hope?

Blue heron with fish

It is hard to have hope. It is harder as you grow old,

for hope must not depend on feeling good

and there is the dream of loneliness at absolute midnight.

You also have withdrawn belief in the present reality

of the future, which surely will surprise us,

and hope is harder when it cannot come by prediction

any more than by wishing. But stop dithering.

The young ask the old to hope. What will you tell them?

Tell them at least what you say to yourself. 

Because we have not made our lives to fit

our places, the forests are ruined, the fields eroded,

the streams polluted, the mountains overturned. Hope

then to belong to your place by your own knowledge

of what it is that no other place is, and by

your caring for it as you care for no other place, this

place that you belong to though it is not yours,

for it was from the beginning and will be to the end. 

Belong to your place by knowledge of the others who are

your neighbors in it: the old man, sick and poor,

who comes like a heron to fish in the creek,

and the fish in the creek, and the heron who manlike

fishes for the fish in the creek, and the birds who sing

in the trees in the silence of the fisherman

and the heron, and the trees that keep the land

they stand upon as we too must keep it, or die. 

This knowledge cannot be taken from you by power

or by wealth. It will stop your ears to the powerful

when they ask for your faith, and to the wealthy

when they ask for your land and your work.

Answer with knowledge of the others who are here

and how to be here with them. By this knowledge

make the sense you need to make. By it stand

in the dignity of good sense, whatever may follow.

Speak to your fellow humans as your place

has taught you to speak, as it has spoken to you.

Speak its dialect as your old compatriots spoke it

before they had heard a radio. Speak

publicly what cannot be taught or learned in public. 

Listen privately, silently to the voices that rise up

from the pages of books and from your own heart.

Be still and listen to the voices that belong

to the stream banks and the trees and the open fields.

There are songs and sayings that belong to this place,

by which it speaks for itself and no other. 

Found your hope, then, on the ground under your feet.

Your hope of Heaven, let it rest on the ground

underfoot. Be it lighted by the light that falls

freely upon it after the darkness of the nights

and the darkness of our ignorance and madness.

Let it be lighted also by the light that is within you,

which is the light of imagination. By it you see

the likeness of people in other places to yourself

in your place. It lights invariably the need for care

toward other people, other creatures, in other places

as you would ask them for care toward your place and you. 

No place at last is better than the world. The world

is no better than its places. Its places at last

are no better than their people while their people

continue in them. When the people make

dark the light within them, the world darkens.

 

~ Wendell Berry ~

(This Day: New and Collected Sabbath Poems)

Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflection

My Thirsty Fish

My Thirsty Fish and Ambient Reflections in a Pool

In Lent, as in any season, a poem from Rumi is a welcome reflection

From “A Thirsty Fish” by Rumi

I don’t get tired of you. Don’t grow weary
of being compassionate toward me!

All this thirst equipment
must surely be tired of me,
the waterjar, the water carrier.

I have a thirsty fish in me
that can never find enough
of what it’s thirsty for!

Show me the way to the ocean!
Break these half-measures,
these small containers.

All this fantasy
and grief.

The Slip

What is it that is stirring beneath the surface of the water?

What is it that is stirring beneath the surface of the water?

I love Wendell Berry’s poetry, so I was delighted to find this in the Advent collection on Education for Justice.

The river takes the land, and leaves nothing.
Where the great slip gave way in the bank
and an acre disappeared, all human plans
dissolve. An awful clarification occurs
where a place was. Its memory breaks
from what is known now, begins to drift.
Where cattle grazed and trees stood, emptiness
widens the air for birdflight, wind, and rain.
As before the beginning, nothing is there.
Human wrong is in the cause, human
ruin in the effect–but no matter;
all will be lost, no matter the reason.
Nothing, having arrived, will stay.
The earth, even, is like a flower, so soon
passeth it away. And yet this nothing
is the seed of all–the clear eye
of Heaven, where all the worlds appear.
Where the imperfect has departed, the perfect
begins its struggle to return. The good gift
begins again its descent. The maker moves
in the unmade, stirring the water until
it clouds, dark beneath the surface,
stirring and darkening the soul until pain
perceives new possibility. There is nothing
to do but learn and wait, return to work
on what remains. Seed will sprout in the scar.
Though death is in the healing, it will heal
Source: The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry, by Wendell Berry. Washington,D.C.: Counterpoint, 1999.

Those Who Fish, Rise Early

It is a New Year . . . has been for ten days now. Our Christmas Season ended on Sunday, the Feast of the Epiphany . . . yesterday we celebrated the Baptism of the Lord . . . and today Jesus calls his followers and invites them to go fishing.

Jesus said to them,
“Come after me, and I will make you fishers of people.”
Then they left their nets and followed him.

Fishing boat leaving the Bolinas Lagoon

This shot of a boat going out to fish was taken in the early morning, just as the sun was rising. Those who fish, must start early. Photographers rise early for the good shots. So must we who are are also called to fish. My friends who are not early risers would argue with me about the rising early. And they are right . . . they see an earlier morning than I do, for they stay up sometimes till the morning. Reminds me of a Rumi poem, “Sometime, stay up all night.”

Late or early, let us find our God in the silence of that time, and may it speed us on our way to where each one of us is called to “fish.”