The Peace of Wild Things

It’s going to be a beautiful day here in Asheville. On a usual Thursday (my day off from work) I would be running endless errands, choosing a restaurant for coffee or lunch, or planning a hike. It’s not usual, of course. Our county’s wise two week “stay home, stay safe” order goes into effect at 8 pm. It’s more generous than a shelter-in-place order. It’s vastly more lenient than my sister’s state of lockdown in Jordan, where they can’t even go out to walk the dog or get groceries. I found this allowance in the order, as a reason to venture out the door:

 iii. For outdoor activity. To engage in outdoor activity, provided the individuals comply with social distancing requirements of six feet (for example, walking, biking, hiking, or running). 

I don’t know if Wendell Berry’s description below complies with “activity.” Does lying down and resting in the grace of the world equal activity? For the state of my soul, I’m going to say yes.

Read The Peace of Wild Things – aloud if you wish. Outside, if you can. Then see what comes out of your pen in response. You can share your writing in the comments if you wish.


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 might 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.

from The Peace of Wild Things: And Other Poems

Rest well,


One thought on “The Peace of Wild Things”

  1. I love Wendell Berry and your thoughts, Julie. In Chicago, the mayor just shut down the parks and public walkways and bike paths–the only outlet to nature that many urban dwellers have. What to do when there’s only a little sunlight coming through the window? I guess, read Wendell Berry and start writing!

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