The Peace of Wild Things

After waving my youngest off to school on the bus yesterday morning, I found my feet continuing on past the turning back to the house, my office, and the work waiting for me, on along the walking path that runs past the housing development, down along the waterside loop of the trail.

My mind had been unsettled and restless all the previous night. A lot of my friends seem to be suffering right now, the news has been filled with stories of loss and disaster, and I’m increasingly aware that the ideal-ruled life I strive to live and am raising my children to aspire to is one at odds with the world they are growing up in.

I feel a sympathy for the dandelion, so often out of place where it finds itself growing.

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Except that the dandelion has no choice but to be a dandelion. The telos of the dents de lion is no mystery. It exists to grow and flower and puff into little, lightly tethered stars of aerial seed-carrying fluff, spinning off into the breeze to land and begin anew.

Humans have more choices to make.

***

I was thrilled to have this fatty lumpkin hop across my path, though he was less impressed by my efforts to get a good picture.

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In the fall of leaves–September wasting no time this year–a squat brown toad comes close to blending right in when still. Given another month, he’ll be well camouflaged, with the option of shuffling under the leaf cover to escape prying eyes. Sitting still was insufficient cover yesterday though, so he responded to my discomfiting attention by hurrying across the path to the tall grass on the other side.

I also saw a lot of these fellows, hurrying about from flower to flower. They must know there’s limited time left for the harvest.

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I remember being fascinated–though a little shy–of these hovering, buzzing, fuzzy-vested nectar-gatherers when I was a girl. I’m less shy of them now, but no less fascinated by the way they move and by that luscious-looking buttery-yellow fuzz. Yellow and black is a daring look, but the honey bee pulls it off with élan.

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I don’t want to ever live out of easy reach of water. There are few things that bring as much calm when my spirit is in turmoil. Like Wendell Berry,

“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. “

And there, in the peace of the water and the wild, I find that I am content to be cousin to the dandelion, striving to grow into what God always intended I should be.

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Let the earth bless the Lord;
Praise and exalt him above all forever.
Mountains and hills, bless the Lord
Everything growing from the earth, bless the Lord.
You springs, bless the Lord;
Seas and rivers, bless the Lord.
You dolphins and all water creatures, bless the Lord;

All you birds of the air, bless the Lord.
All you beasts, wild and tame, bless the Lord;
Praise and exalt him above all forever.
You sons of men, bless the Lord;
O Israel, bless the Lord.

Praise and exalt him above all forever. 

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