Stay Home (by Wendell Berry)

I will wait here in the fields
to see how well the rain
brings on the grass.
In the labor of the fields
longer than a man’s life
I am at home. Don’t come with me.
You stay home too.

I will be standing in the woods
where the old trees
move only with the wind
and then with gravity.
In the stillness of the trees
I am at home. Don’t come with me.
You stay home too.

During this time of the Cornona virus a friend of mine posted this poem on Facebook with this comment: “By the powers invested in me (none), be it here decreed throughout the Great State of Illinois that this poem shall be entered into the record in support of COVID-19 Executive Order No. 8. Effective immediately and in perpetuity.”

I was struck by his comment and the poem.

To be alone, to walk alone in the fields, in the woods, is not to be lonely but to be and to come to be.

This is a season made for “germaphobes” and introverts. So, go out to the wild places. Walk awhile alone. Be. Think. Ponder. Find perspective. Be still and know. Be still and know yourself. Be still and know God. Be still and know while taking a look around that God is and all is well.

This also reminds me of Berry’s poem – “The Peace of Wild Things” which also seems to speak of what we can do when “despair” or “sadness” or “fear” grows within us and our longing and ache to find a remedy that leads us to be free and at peace.

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.

For in the field, in the forest, in the wild and by still water we find what we’re wondering about and perhaps what we’re looking for – ourselves, our hope, our peace, our God.

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