The Peace of Wild Things

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Male Wood Duck, Aix sponsa.
Image: John Del Rio [larger view].

This has been a difficult and frightening week, and I admit I was especially terrified to learn that my bank failed and was seized by the SEC last night — how am I going to pay rent this month?? — and I’ve wondered if we all would make it to Friday without the entire nation ending up hungry and homeless. But I am deplaning in Seattle at this moment, and getting ready to spend the weekend with my bird pals and my university pals, as well as my colleagues and friends from ScienceBlogs, eating good food and drinking microbrewery beers. So I wanted to leave you with this poem to think about while I find free wifi to write more for you this afternoon and evening.

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.
From The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry (Washington, D.C.: Counterpoint; 1998)


About GrrlScientist

grrlscientist is the pseudonym of an evolutionary biologist and ornithologist who writes about evolution, ethology, and ecology, especially in birds. After earning a degree in microbiology (thesis focus: virology) and working at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, she earned her PhD in zoology from the University of Washington in Seattle, where she studied the molecular correlates of testosterone and behaviour in white-crowned sparrows. She then worked a Chapman Postdoctoral Fellow at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, where she studied the speciation and distribution of lories and other parrots throughout the South Pacific Islands. A discarded scientist, she returned to her roots: writing. Formerly hosted by The Guardian (UK), she now writes about science for Forbes and for the non-profit think tank, the Evolution Institute and she writes podcasts for BirdNote Radio. An avid lifelong birder and aviculturist, she lives with a flock of songbirds and parrots somewhere in Germany.
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0 Responses to The Peace of Wild Things

  1. shecky says:

    I’ve read this poem in the distant past, but had long forgotten about it. Very nice piece to head into the weekend with, especially after THIS momentous week.

  2. GrayGaffer says:

    You’re in Seattle this weekend? Any group get-together in the offing?
    Free wi-fi: in the Library, 4th & Madison. Several coffee shops along 1st, like the Book? (with coffee). The coffee shops on 4th and 5th just S of the Space needle. But if you’re reading this, you probably already found a nice place.

  3. i am in seattle this weekend, and am currently preparing to attend the ScienceBlogs millionth comment party today at Ozzie’s Roadhouse [105 west mercer, at the foot of Queen Anne] and i hope you join me!

  4. biosparite says:

    Concerning WaMu, your checking account is a demand account, and the money is there. JP Morgan Chase stepped in, so unless you are a shareholder or have over $100 K at WaMu, you should be fine.