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The Peace of Wild Things

Early this morning, in that space between darkness and dawn, I awoke from a fitful dream. While I don't remember the particulars of the dream, I woke with a sense of unsettledness, worry. Our dreams reflect that which we carry, often our deep seated hopes, dreams and yes, our fears.

That we live in a fearful time is an understatement. The horrific images of a senseless war in Ukraine meet us daily, as does the fear that a distant war may spill over and perhaps engulf the world. I spoke with a young mom a few days ago. She voiced her fear, that our proximity to major cities on the east coast, could be a target for the nuclear weapon of a psychopath in a distant land. Such are the fears that find their way into our dreams. What fears do you carry? What awakens you in those moments between darkness and dawn?

In the Bible, 1 John 4: 18, the writer offers a promise: 'Perfect love casts out fear'. Faith invites us to trust in the Presence of a Divine love that transcends the uncertainty of any given moment in history. Where do you turn for solace during the fearful moments in your life?

I turn to Nature, to the natural world, to quiet my fearful spirit. For me, Nature is a place of meeting. To remember that the Creator of all that is good, lasting and true is with me. To rest in creation is to listen for the eternal voice of the Creator, in the infinite sounds of creation. In listening, in being present, I remember that I belong to all that is and forever will be.

Wendell Berry, the Kentucky farmer, poet, prophet, mystic, speaks to this wisdom in his 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 from New Collected Poems (Counterpoint, 2012)

I invite you to join me on a Pray and Paddle this Spring, Summer, Fall on Lake Cochichewick. To paddle and sometimes drift we me, as we 'come into the peace of wild things' and allow the Creator's grace to restore us and in time, 'to set us free'.

With you on the journey. ~ Kent Harrop

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