On my yearly break from insane living, I read poetry and sacred focused writings regarding nature. My two favorite authors are Laurie Kehler and Beldon Lane. Laurie writes in “This Outside Life, p. 148”, “Why? Keeps us looking at God’s hand, going in circles. What’s next? Directs our gaze upward to God’s face opening the door to the future.” For me, “what’s next?” is heard less in the insane frenetic pace of city life. But here, in a small town, my speed slowed down. Contemplative. Seeing nature. Listening.
Mary Oliver and Wendell Berry speak to my heart in poetry in ways that I never heard before. The power of descriptive words is undeniable and makes me stop and ponder. Here are two examples – but be mindful that you may have to have a cup of tea and ponder these words. Not scrolling to the next thing is the gift you give yourself.
|…And what we see is a world that cannot cherish us,|
but which we cherish.
And what we see is our life moving like that
along the dark edges of everything,
headlights sweeping the blackness,
believing in a thousand fragile and unprovable things.
Looking out for sorrow,
slowing down for happiness,
making all the right turns
right down to the thumping barriers to the sea,
the swirling waves,
the narrow streets, the houses,
the past, the future,
the doorway that belongs
to you and me.
~Mary Oliver, excerpt ‘Coming Home’
“When despair 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 for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.”
Wendell Berry, The Peace of Wild Things
Beldon Lane author of “Backpacking with the Saints and The Solace of Wild Landscapes” has stretched my mind and filled my journal with quotes and new knowledge. Who knew Missouri forests could be so enchanting? Who could describe the desolation of Northern New Mexico wilderness? Enjoy, observe and be inclined to take off for the wilderness. Even if it is just the park down the street.
“One’s most effective work can grow out of first learning to do nothing.” Beldon Lane, p 215 “Backpacking with the Saints”
“Laughing at oneself may be the surest sign of growth in the light of the Spirit.” Beldon Lane, p 197 “Backpacking with the Saints”
“Love, Fear, and Righteous anger are sisters that walk side by side in the hallows of the night. Fear says, ‘This can kill you.’ Love replies, ‘But we’re in this together. Anger holds both hands and says , ‘Bring it on.'” Beldon Lane, p 124 “Backpacking with the Saints”
“The world is full of natural wonders that we notice only when we take time to attend to details.” Beldon Lane p 101 “Backpacking with the Saints”
“Having once faced death, with all its terrors, one cannot die again…. There is a healing that is only possible in the darkest hour of the night, when death and loveliness walk hand in hand.” Beldon Lane, p.213-214 The Solace of Fierce Landscapes
Practice “Lectio Divini”, the repetitive reading of scripture in the woods, and you will see newness in all. Whether this is the trail you have hiked multiple times or a new one…slow down. Breathe. Look at the wonder of it all. Have the courage to try reading or listening to something you have never done before. Life is a wondrous adventure.