When I awoke this morning to the news that Donald Trump was going to be the USA's president, my heart sank. I felt the same earlier this year when the news came that the UK had voted to leave the EU. Actually, it is a feeling I regularly experience when I connect with the troubled world we live in. It is easy for me to feel despair, sadness and anger in the face of all the challenges, difficulties and inequalities affecting the human race and all the animosity, hatred and aggression that ensue. The language in the media has been violent, toxic and damaging, full of judgements, mockery and attacks and I wonder when we will realise how much brainwashing we are subjected to.
It is at times like these, when the world seems a crazy place, that I - dare I include everyone in this and say 'we'? - really need to find a peaceful place within myself/ourselves where I/we can retreat to, a place of strength to keep my/our soul alive when the whole world appears intent on destroying it and a place of compassion and love to keep sane! Personally, I reach that place by being out in Nature. I am lucky that I can just step out of the front door and have access to Nature's beauty, wonder, magic and simplicity which I find so healing and restorative. Our little bit of Welsh countryside, remote, quiet and unspoilt, helps me connect with the remote, quiet and unspoilt in me. The perfect antidote to a noisy, nasty and ugly world!
Today, when political events have probably changed the world forever, I share here one of my favourite poems by American poet, writer, farmer and environmentalist Wendell Berry. A poem that I cherish as it echoes my own experience of the role Nature plays in my own life.
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.