Sunday Best – March 15, 2020

Oh, dear friends, what a time.

This week I set up a home office and argued with a lady in CVS who was taking the whole shelf of hand sanitizer and watched the stock market plummet and read so many scary headlines and it was all perseverance and planning and analysis and determination and fine, okay, fine, and then on Friday night I watched the video of those people singing across the empty streets of Italy and burst into tears.


On Saturday, I read some Wendell Berry and took a long walk in the woods and found a long-ago stone wall running through the trees, one that I’d seen on an old property map but never been able to find.

Dear ones, this tumult, like all tumult, reminds us of how fragile we are. It also reminds us of what is essential, and what we can do. We can work together. We can help one another. We can seek solace. We can look for the new questions that are emerging. We can recognize the insights that arise.

We can consult the old maps.

We can find the markers through the woods that were set down for us long ago.

Let us be safe. Let us be well. Let us be one.


Here are some gifts from Wendell Berry, greater than anything I can offer. I invite you to support the Berry Center, in thanks:


It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come our real work,and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.

The mind that is not baffled is not employed.

The impeded stream is the one that sings

Say that the leaves are harvested when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion–put your ear close,
and hear the faint chattering of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world.
Laugh. Laughter is immeasurable.
Be joyful though you have considered all the facts.
Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear
in the ancient faith: what we need
is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye,
clear. What we need is here. 
When despair 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 for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free. 
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