Two months before I moved to Austin, I stopped through the city on my way back to Massachusetts from California. I took a small room at the Hotel San Jose on South Congress, where I drank cold beer on the patio, stuck daisies in my hair and listened to Toni Price sing her heart out at the Continental from my private balcony across the street.
Pasted to the wall of the bathroom were the words of Wendell Berry, The Peace of Wild Things. They were serendipitous at the time, given the truckload of decisions swirling through my head. I scribbled them down and tucked them in my book. When I returned to Texas two months later, that piece of paper was the first thing to go on my wall. It followed me to three Austin homes, back to Massachusetts for one last quick dance, and all the way to Korea.
My head is not swirling with decisions, but it is full. Life is full. It is wonderfully full with sangria on porches, grilling on patios, guitars, ice cream, summer salads, fresh flowers, and friends within walking distance. It is also full with deadlines and Oh, Korea, you devil you and Oh, Korea, Rrrrrrr and Ok, no really you can’t say “Love in Family Days.” No really.
So this weekend I took Wendell Berry’s advice and got on a bus and took it to the ocean, to rice paddies and mountains and expansive farms and still water.
The Peace of Wild Things
by Wendell Berry
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 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.