The peace of wild things has been so very much needed over the past weeks and months. Years.
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 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.
It can be hard to chisel those precious nuggets of joy from the daunting and somewhat featureless rock face of pandemic living —and there’s certainly no shortage of things to wake us, clammy and panic stricken, in the night. In those sleepless hours, poetry and quiet prose is a wonderful solace (along with a cat on the lap, some medium-complicated knitting and a cup of Ovaltine.)
Going to lie down where the wood drake rests, however, remains less of an option for us city dwellers.
Luckily, nature is really is everywhere — even in the the cacophonous concrete city.
It’s so easy to miss it all among all the stresses and distractions of urban life —but this is where the crow rescue squad can help. Just pay them a little attention, and they will drag your attention (kicking and screaming, if necessary) to the Peace of Wild Things. Dammit.
Crows are wild things, but something … something … about them — their tight family units, that look in the eye, that tilt of the head — makes them feel like quite close relations.
It really doesn’t seem like that much of a stretch (trust me) to start having conversations with them.
Again, I ask myself quietly, am I spending too much time with birds … ?
And I conclude: not possible. I’d happily spend a lot MORE time with birds!
In fact, every time a see any bird — crow, sparrow, hawk or bushtit, I feel a thrill.
Perhaps it’s because where I grew up, on the Quayside of the industrial Tyne River in Newcastle in 50’s and 60’s Britain, the only birds I saw were rooftop pigeons and distant gulls. (See: Birth Of An Urban Nature Enthusiast)
It seemed to me then that things like birds and trees and squirrels and grass were just for rich people — so that’s what makes spending time with crows and all the other birds lurking in my part of the city, feel like such luxury.
And why it feels as if having a crow rescue committee for darker days is wealth beyond compare, even if I don’t have anywhere to lie down with them.
Probably not such a good idea in any case, when it comes to crows …
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