The Peace of Wild Things

BY Doug Jones

July 26, 2012


The title of this post comes from a poem by the wonderful poet Wendell Berry. The poem is below:

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 Peace of Wild Things” from The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry. Copyright © 1998.

The poem reminds us of our connection to nature and our need to enter into that connection and find peace, refreshment, acceptance, and belonging. I wonder how often we get out of our insulated offices, air-conditioned vehicles, and bubble-wrapped existences to find the peace creation offers us, in the midst of wild things. I too often am cocooned away from the temperatures, elements, and effects of nature.

Before summer gets away from us and we are swept into the activity and new beginnings of the school year, would you consider getting away and going back to nature? Take some time to walk a trail or sit by a pond or lie in the grass in your backyard. There is a rest and freedom that comes from remembering we are created, we are but dust, and we are part of an order that is an interdependent and intricately connected web of life. Read the poem again, and try and remember the last time you experienced such awareness. I hope you will schedule time to enter the peace of wild things very soon.

Where is your favorite spot to find the peace of wild things?


[Photo Credit: the_farnsworths]

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3 comments on “The Peace of Wild Things

  1. Doug. Seriously, getting kind of crazy for me. You are a Berry fan too? I had this poem along with an original series of pictures taken for my wife this past Christmas.

    I find peace when I see the great heron in the stream for my morning runs, the chickens that wander into our yard, the bright moon, the smiles on my kids faces. Those places/people help me to navigate the great noise that pervades my life, and help me hear God and see God all around me.

    Thanks for your great thoughts Doug!

  2. I grew up in the country where hunting, camping, and farming were my main activities. Now, I live in the city but my family intentionally chose to move into a house at the end of a cul-de-sac that sits on the edge of a little 20 acre woods and horse farm. This is my only spot where I can retreat to a tree stump and reconnect with the sites and sounds of creation that were an essential part of my youth.

  3. I find “the peace of wild things” when there’s a thunderstorm in the middle of the night, and I can’t sleep, but am safe in my bed… I remember that God is awesome and big and powerful and noisy and loud… but that he also totally adores each of us.

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