I have posted Wendell Berry's poem before. Many times actually. I think of it most days, and the fact that it speaks to me so probably is one of the main reasons I have landed in such a rural, scenic area, despite the lack of things open after 8pm and the tendency for the population to wear socks with sandals.
The Peace of Wild ThingsWhen 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
Today I ran with my eldest on a trail along the Elk River (or stream, really, as it is in this drought). My foot hurt. What if I cannot run?
What if I never actually learn all of the preludes and fugues at once, and the Beethoven Sonatas? What if I never properly learn how to groom my standard poodle?
What if I chose the wrong profession? What if we go back to war in Iraq? What if my kids never call or write after they leave home?
First world worries, for the most part. I was thinking today about how much I like water. I mean a good, cold glass of water from the tap. It is miraculous, and even though I take things for granted almost every waking second of my life, I almost always say a little prayer of thanks for having clean, cold water, right here in my home, my workplace, wherever really. I don't have to walk 5 miles to get it while being shot at or threatened with rape and kidnapping. I don't have to then build a fire to boil it so my kids don't die of some diarrheal illness that will turn their guts inside out. Sometimes I worry of course, like, what if the "big one" hits? We have not set up a garage full of water supply for this purpose as we probably should. Despite being a worrier, I am not the type to build a bomb shelter or seriously plan for the next quake.
What if my hens don't lay eggs after my husband has so diligently built them a fortress? I mean a fortress. A bear might be able to get those girls, but every other critter will be thwarted. Even the poodle.
I worry about my patients. I worry about my friends. I worry about my family. I worry about that raggedy guy on the corner who looks like he needs a bath and 3 squares, stat. I have been having some dreams with whales lately, and that usually happens right before something big happens. WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN????
But I digress. This is about running, and redwoods. Today, I ran in the woods, by the anemic but still lovely river, with my daughter. For a time, I rested in the grace of the world, and was free.