Let’s celebrate another writer who loved nature and all things wild — Wendell Berry. Born on a Kentucky farm in 1934, Berry never lost his affinity for the land and for many decades has been a passionate advocate for the environment as well as a promotor of the rural life. He’s lived on his 125-acre homestead in Kentucky since 1965, and was once an editor/writer for Organic Gardening magazine. (Here’s a more recent article he wrote for OG on the importance of knowing where your food comes from.)
You literary types out there might be interested to know that Berry studied creative writing at Stanford with Wallace Stegner in a seminar that included Edward Abbey, Larry McMurtry, Ernest Gaines, and Ken Kesey. How would you like to be in a writing workshop with that group? Sheesh! Anyway, enjoy the poem!
The Peace of Wild Things
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