The Task is to Respect Our Creature-ness, 'No More and No Less'.

July 24, 2017

 

 

 

 

Wendell Berry's poem, We have walked so many times, my boy, from his book of poems Sabbath (1987), beautifully speak to the power of nature's ability to heal regardless of humans' intentions to be part of that healing.

 

"Wrong was easy; gravity helped it.

Right is difficult and long.

In choosing what is difficult,

we are free, the mind too

making its little flight

out from the shadow into the clear

in time between work and sleep.

 

There are two healings: Nature's,

and ours and nature's.

Nature's will come in spite of us,

after us,

over the graves of its wasters,

as it comes to the forsaken fields.

The healing that is ours and nature's

will come if we are willing,

if we are patient,

if we know the way,

if we will do the work."

 

In choosing what is right, and difficult and long, we have the opportunity to join with nature and heal ourselves and nature. Regardless of our choices and actions (or inactions), nature is patient and powerful and will have the final say. It is only by joining with Nature that we can participate in the healing...'If we are patient, if we know the way, if we do the work'.

 

In another of Berry's poems on healing, named Healing (The Antaeus Anthology, 1986), he appeals to his readers to join the larger circle of creatures – and to not identify with the specialness and separateness of being human. It is only by embracing our creature-ness that we can be at rest, and free of striving.

 

"And there is no escaping that return.

 

From the order of nature we return to the order – and the disorder – of humanity.

 

From the larger circle we must go back to the smaller, the smaller within the larger

and dependent on it.

 

One enters the larger circle by willingness to be a creature, the smaller by choosing

to be a human.

 

And having returned from the woods, we remember with regret its restfulness. For all

creatures there are in place, hence at rest. 

 

In their most strenuous striving, they are at rest. 

 

Sleeping and waking, dead and living, they are at rest. 

 

In the circle of the human we are weary with striving, and are without rest."

 

.........

 

By engaging with life in a creative way, as a creature without our primary desire being the search for novelty or standing apart from others, we can align with all of creation and be truly creative. We can be authentic and purposeful, and at rest. 

 

 

 

 

 

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© 2020 by Dr. Lisa Kentgen. 

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