Reply To: A Favorite Description of a Soul by Wendell Berry

  • John Ehrenfeld

    January 2, 2023 at 4:09 pm


    I have focused on Berry’s essays, which are largely about the mess we are making on the Earth through development. He is so prolific that I hesitate to pick out anything, but The Art of the Commonplace ( a collection of some of his essays) is a good place to start. Here is one of his poems that resonates.

    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.


    I am also attaching a couple of other pieces I have used to raise consciousness of our connections to the spiritual world. The piece by Aldo Leopold is a classic. He was a professional forester who became an academic. This piece is a chapter from his Sand County Almanac. Also an inspiring read. Finally another essay about spirituality that also builds on our connectedness to nature/world. Enjoy. The website will only allow me to upload one file at a time (silly), so I will post the other essay in a second reply.

    ps. I have been involved in “sustainability” for several decades, but am very critical about how we think about it and act to deal with the mess we have created on Earth.