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Posts tagged ‘wendell berry’

The Soil Connects Us

The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrector, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life.

– Wendell Berry

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You also have withdrawn belief in the present reality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)

Let Us Care for our Soil

The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrector, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life.

– Wendell Berry

The World Is Created by Love

I believe that the world was created and approved by love, that it subsists, coheres, and endures by love, and that, insofar as it is redeemable, it can be redeemed only by love.

– Wendell Berry

Wednesday of Hope – Wendell Berry’s Wisdom

When despair for the world grows in me,
And I wake in the night in fear . . .
I go and lie down where the wood drake
Rests in 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.
I rest in the grace of the world and am free.

– Wendell Berry

Wednesday of Hope – What Is Defeat?

What is defeat?…Nothing but the first step to something better.

– Wendell Berry

When I hiked Mount Whitney with my friends Abby and Carolyn, we did not make it all the way to the tippity-top. We made it to Trail Crest at 13, 600 feet, and according to some of the guidebooks, you can claim the mountain at this point because you made it up the 97 switchbacks (starting about 11,000 feet), and is arguably the most spectacular vantage point of the entire Mt Whitney Trail. Nonetheless, one can feel a bit disappointed in not making it all the way, rather than rejoicing in the accomplishment of this tremendous hike.

So let’s not be defeated by what we cannot do, but let us do what we can and not give up. Be steadfast.

Mt. Whitney still inspires me. It is a beautiful mountain.

The Spiritual Journey

And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles,
no matter how long,
but only by a spiritual journey,
a journey of one inch,
very arduous and humbling and joyful,
by which we arrive at the ground at our feet,
and learn to be at home.

– Wendell Berry