The Peace of Wild Things

I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought or 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…

Wendell Berry from “The Peace Of Things.

6 responses to “The Peace of Wild Things

  1. This brings me a rush of memories. Some of Wendell Berry’s poems got me through 20 years of challenging times with my parents and other family who needed long-distance help and care. Some of his skinny little paperbacks fit into even a very small purse and went with me everywhere.

    When I had to make a very anxiety-provoking phone calI and didn’t trust my voice, I used to grab the book and read one or two out loud in a very firm voice and then immediately make the call using that momentum. Thanks!

  2. As David Solie’s site probably continues to grow and become more and more popular I want to make sure my address does not get eliminated!!!! I thrive and look forward to each of his posts and they have kept me “sane” for a long time. I continue to refer to “How to Say It to Seniors” (my mom is now approaching 100) for 71/2 years and his book has saved my life!
    I “need” to stay in the loop!! Keep me on the list.
    Thank you,
    pat jorgensen
    ketchum/sun valley, idaho

  3. I too have walked a similar path with Wendell Berry over the past 25 years, a settling voice for me in a deeply unsettling world, one that as you rightfully point out is best appreciated when spoken out loud. I also brought Van Morrison to provide his “I’m still a work in progress” music, songs like “Stranded” and “Days Like This,” for when the soundtrack of life just won’t cut it on its own.

    Thanks for the feedback…

  4. Re your note about music: I find that VOICE is important when I am wound too tight, or depleted – speaking or singing, or turning up music in the car and letting it vibrate through my body.

    In the part of my journey that required frequent drives to Nebraska, I played and replayed KD Lang’s “Hymns of the 49th Parallel” (covers of the greatest Canadian songwriters, sung with deep understanding by an Alberta girl). Her version of Neil Young’s “Helpless” is burned into my heart from that era.

    And Brandi Carlile’s “The Story” collection has the same mix of deep emotional power, tenderness, complexity in relationships, and humor both joyous and bitter. The cover song always energizes me, while also releasing tears. (“All of these lines across my face / tell you the story of who I am…” and it just builds and builds from there.)

    Years later, that set of Carlile’s songs was covered by a mix of older and younger stars as a benefit release, e.g. Dolly Parton did “The Story”; Kris Kristofferson, “Turpentine”; and Adele, “Hiding My Heart.”

    I suppose a bit of my love for those two collections has been something about the facets and depths that are present when one human writes and voices powerfully personal words and music – and then it is sung rather differently by a different human. Somehow it carries the wallop and finesse from a whole different life, and I feel the unique and the universal caught up together.

  5. KD Lang’s version of “Helpless” is a game changer. I saw her at a benefit concert two years ago in LA was once again taken back with power, depth and passion in her voice. I was also struck by how her pitch and vibrato reminded me so much of Roy Orbison.

    For me, covers of other artist songs only expands the impact and meaning of the original music. A good example of Is a wonderful album from the mid1990’s entitled “Tapestry Revisited” that had a full deck of great artists singing all of Carole King’s hits. Not surprisingly, the Bee Gees rendition of “Will you still love me tomorrow” was a harmonic masterpiece.

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