Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Peace of Wild Things

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair grows in me
and I wake in the middle of 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 presence 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, Collected Poems

A mysterious and pleasant smell greeted me as I made my way through the gate into the hayfield and journeyed to the stream. Sweet as a lady's perfume.

I wonder what it was? I couldn't find the source, but it gave me pleasure. The poplars are about the bloom. The dogwoods are almost finished, but a couple, tucked behind bigger trees along the stream were hanging on to their creamy white petals. A silvery-leafed tree/bush was blooming, teeny little white blossoms. Autumn olive?

Jonquils are but a memory. Dandelions are little old ladies with puffy white hair. I picked one. A perfect sphere. In the past, I would have immediately puffed to make my wish, but last night I observed.


The sphere was translucent. The silky little seeds appeared to be sewn together skillfully. I gazed through the sheer wall of the the sphere into the dark core. Amazing.

Then, in a puff, the silk threads unmade themselves and flew on the wind.

The sphere was completely gone. Only a dark center, no longer a center, remained.

It was beautiful in itself, that core, but not quite as amazing as it was when the sphere surrounded it.

I picked a teeny bouquet of one white violet, one purple violet, one other purple weed, a short scrubby one with purple flower that looks like a mini iris, or orchid or other fancy flower, I added a butter cup and another yellow flower picked from another beautiful weed.

The wildflowers are so tiny and lovely.

The stream gurgled. I walked and remembered how I had wanted to take more walks on the farm with Philip. We talked about it occasionally, but home was work, and the two of us would often divide to conquer; he would take on the firewood or home repairs, I would tackle the barn or the garden.

Not too long ago I told someone I didn't have any real regrets with my relationship with Philip.

That isn't true.

I regret that we neglected to take more walks by the stream.

I headed over to the pond. Even after all the rain we have had this past winter, it is starting to dry up around the edges, so it will be good if the storms come. I smelled moss and wet soil and it brought to mind the smell of our pond on the farm in my childhood. It took me back to swimming with my sisters and playing with the moss, making wigs, throwing it in moss fights, tossing it on the bank of the pond to dry out. It was a good smell.

The pasture is well-chomped down. Time to fix the fence and move the animals to give the field time to grow back. Pasture rotation and parasite management came to mind. I walked out to the barn and checked on the animals. Saw all the work that remains to be done and started to worry as soon as I headed back to the house.

I wish I could be like the wildflowers, or the blue heron who likes to hang out in the pond.

No stress.

Instead, I will remind myself that King Solomon, dressed in royal robes, was not as nicely dressed as the flowers of my field. That God has dressed them marvelously. I will try to remember that God has taken very good care of the little birds who hang out on our farm. I hear them singing his praises as I type right now. When I get worried about the monumental task of raising a family and running a farm on my own, I will try to remember that I am not alone. The last two months are proof of that.

This morning the dark grey clouds are lined with gold. Before the sun came up, the mist rolled into the valley. It was beautiful. Now it has completely burned off and the green of spring glows in the early sun. Time to do chores and get ready for church.

7 comments: said...

In reading another friend's blog, I realized what the mysterious sweet smell was. Locust trees blooming. I wish I could embed a link so you could smell. But I would have to post a warning for allergy-sufferers.

Anonymous said...

Ginger, I told you that you should write many years ago, you are and beautifully at that. What a gift.
I was seeing and smelling right along with you, have a blessed Sunday, love you, Mom

Debbie Millman said...

i don't even have words to describe what you've written. God is clearly moving in a place deep within you as you write. that's all i've got....

Chris said...

I've been bringing in armloads of autumn olive branches to perfume the house. Such a beautiful poem; Wendall Barry has long been my hero. More walks yes! I have three intact female dogs; they require me to walk daily for weeks at a time. Thanks dogs! Your writing is a gift to us all.

Anonymous said...

Locust trees blooming have long been a Florin favorite. Particularly lush this year. I think it's all for you.

morebutter said...

i've said this before - more often than not, your writing brings me to tears. thank you for sharing your gift. it makes me so glad that you are able to express your experience so beautifully and eloquently and fully.

Polly said...

Beautiful--both Wendell Berry's words and yours.