The gentle fall of a leaf back and forth, held by the air, dropped inch by inch, down the sky, into a sort of cosmic landing, as if by doing so the world is suddenly different. The early snow, its cold straight fingers, melt back underneath the tree shade loosening its wintery grip…for now. Across the way a maple planted 28 years ago, shoots her branches skyward, exploding up like a firework explosion in celebration. Birds languish around the feeder, in hope of fresh nourishment and forest residents wander through the crunch of the leaves releasing the fragrance of autumn. The sway of nature moves me, a bit of wind, a bit of still – it is like a perfect recipe for what ails me.
For as much as I try to stay tethered to peace, there are days fear creeps in and I worry about those I hold dear, about my neighbors, my colleagues, my family, our democracy and how we function in the world. I can fret, or as Wendell Berry reminds me in his poem, The Peace of Wild Things I can go lay down in nature’s healing presence.
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.
There is a divine vein that runs through nature, whether I am looking out the window, or snuggled in my jacket, boots and mitts donned, sauntering under the pines; it heals my soul like no other. It is where you will find me over the next days. I hope I see you there. We will heal our souls together.