Quote of the Day: Kentucky farmer and Forest Christian poet Wendell Berry once wrote, “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.”
Commentary: It seems that much (but not all) of the time, we need the wild world around and within us more than it needs us! Spending attentive time in wild nature not only brings us the tranquility that Berry speaks to; it washes away our stresses, heals our wounds, and invigorates our spirit. That’s why the Wild Church Network is taking its congregations back into nature to worship, rather than isolating our community gatherings inside the walls of human-constructed spaces. Saint Francis actually discouraged the early members of his order from “institutionalizing God” by building and containing their services inside cathedrals, encouraging them to worship in the wild instead. But wherever we worship, we need to find that presence of still water within our own souls, and carry it through the rest of the day with us.
Suggested Action #3: The amount of time that each of us have for contemplation in natural settings is nearly as endangered as the plants and animals in those settings. It is actually an act of resistance to make time for such contemplative thought every day! So try to find some time for deep stillness today, then journal about what you find of lasting value in what you experienced. Go to your calendar, and block out at least a half hour for such contemplative practice each day. I guarantee you that your friends and family will welcome your “still water” in your interactions with them, for it is far more needed by all of us that a turbulent flash flood roaring into our kitchens or workplaces!
Gary Paul Nabhan aka Brother Coyote is a professed member of the Ecumenical Order of Franciscans, a graduate of the Living School, a conservation biologist, orchard-keeper and story-teller.