I am spending this post-Thanksgiving dawn with Wendell Berry, via the newly published Art of Loading Brush. As always, there is a sense of stillness when reading Berry’s words, which is not to be confused with a sense of complacency, or even peace. It’s the kind of stillness that comes from deep rooting in a place, deep contemplation, deep connection.
This volume ends with a poem – What Passes, What Remains, and a phrase leaped off the page to greet me this morning:
Eternal in its passing
The full verse continues:
Eternal in its passing, Life
came to them, offering its gifts,
making its demands, and they
answered by their work, their pleasure,
their enduring, knowing at times
a timelessness in which
they woke as living souls.
It’s hard not to mourn what is passing – even before it has passed – but this is exactly what is so precious. As Emily Dickinson wrote, “That it will never come again/Is what makes life so sweet.” It’s the passing itself that links to eternity.
Dear Honeybees, in this season of Thanksgiving, let’s notice life, eternal in its passing, and rejoice in it. Let’s aim for a moment of that timelessness.
To wake our living souls.