I am grateful to a friend of the river who shared this message in response to the heartrending events in Newtown, CT. May the holiday season and time in the wild places bring some peace to you and the world.

We give of ourselves to the cause of Nature for many reasons. But when the world turns dark, this poem by Wendell Berry reminds that we preserve wild places because of the solace that we can find there:

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.
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, “The Peace of Wild Things” from The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry. Copyright © 1998.