Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Nature is a Force Which Restores Our Awe

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Obere Firstalm, Spitzingsee (18 May 2007

Chris Hedges, one of our most moving reporters today, expanded for me in a recent reflection piece why we humans can't live without nature and how it's fury can become healing.

(From) Freedom in the Grace of the World:

...Year after year I returned to these forbidding peaks from conflicts in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. I had a house in Maine on an 800-foot hill with no television, cell phone or Internet service. The phone number was unlisted. It rarely rang. I refused to give the number to my employer, The New York Times. I brought with me the stench of death, the cries of the wounded, the bloated bodies on the side of the road, the fear, the paranoia, the alienation, the insomnia, the anger and the despair and threw it at these mountains. I strapped my pack on in the pounding rain at trailheads and drove myself, and later my son, up mountains. I rarely stopped. Once, in a bitter rain, I crested the peak of Mount Madison in August and was immediately thrown backward by howling winds whipping across the ridge and pelting hailstones. It was impossible to reach the summit. On a hike in the remote Pemigewasset Wilderness I made a wrong turn and, fearing hypothermia, walked all night. By the time the sun rose my blisters had turned to open sores. I wrung the blood out of my socks. I go to the mountains to at once spend this fury and seek renewal, to be reminded of my tiny, insignificant place in the universe and to confront mystery.

Berry writes in "The Peace of Wild Things":

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.

Wendell Berry is one of my favorite poets, writers, farmers and people. I recently was with a cousin who wrote his dissertation on Berry. He, his wife and children live daily a Wendell Berry sort of awe in partnership with nature in the middle of town...

Read the whole of this unusual and strangely refreshing piece by Hedges - I do believe you'll be more than glad you did... GO here

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4 comments:

Connie L. Nash said...

...toward end of the comments at Common Dreams:

"Freedom in the Grace of the World"

- What a beautiful story as complementary to Hedges' biting social criticism.

Now I understand better where he's coming from. I do the same, deliberately - replenish in Nature when the madniss of Culture feels oppressive.

Nature nurtures where Culture kills.

In the midst of all cultural destruction, it's still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful. Strive to be happy. Get the natural rhythm: walk in nature till you tire, sit the spine against a solid tree-trunk and be at peace.

Connie L. Nash said...

I must add, however, that there are MANY OTHER concerns we must ADD to the refreshment and reminders of NATURE if we are to involve JUSTICE, goodwill to others near and far - and PEACE to our work...

Akhtar Wasim Dar said...

Hedges account with Berry’s poetry just made it look so alluring and beautiful that I read it again and again and with each reading felt peace and relaxation filling into the veins. Nature is our lost self and when we find it in its glorious and majestic form we find our self small and tiny because after losing our self we have become dwarf and insignificant. Once we recognize our lost self this insignificance will recede and inner and outer dichotomy will vanish.

Connie L. Nash said...

Well, I am sure I will read the iridescent statements you've made here also again and again:

"Nature is our lost self and when we find it in its glorious and majestic form we find our self small and tiny because after losing our self we have become dwarf and insignificant. Once we recognize our lost self this insignificance will recede and inner and outer dichotomy will vanish."

I couldn't help but quote the whole perfect and shimmering piece of work. You must turn this into a larger work because like many creative expressions of yours, this one is like no other I've ever read!