When 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
“The despair of the world grows” in all of us these days. Though it seems there is more despair than ever in this world of ours, I’m convinced that it has always been so, and that we are just now more privy to it in all its vagaries and variations. Still, I admit to restless nights, fearful of what “my life and my children’s lives may be.” I think there is not one among us who hasn’t done the same on many a night.
At those times, we do well to remember the wild things, who “do not tax themselves with forethought of grief.” I can’t really lie down with the wood drake or great heron as Berry advises, but I lie down each night with two small wild things of my own, who live blessedly happy in the moment, their entire world consisting of this here, this now, their warm bodies curled safely against my side. So I “rest in the grace” of their little world, and free myself from worries of all the tomorrows.
And I am peaceful, and I am free.
Where do you find peace when the despair of the world grows around you?