Wednesday, June 09, 2010

On a Walk with Wendell Berry

“…If I just want to walk, and especially if I need to be consoled, I go down the lane in front of the house and through the gate and into the woods. What I like about the woods, what is consoling is that usually nobody is working there, unless you would say that God is…

“My path through the woods would hardly show itself to anybody but me, but I use it often enough to keep it followable… I go along slowly, watching for whatever may present itself.

“One of the happiest moments of my walks is when I get to where I can hear the [stream]. The water comes down in a hurry, tossing itself this way and that as it tumbles among the broken pieces of old sea bottom. The stream seems to be talking, saying any number of things as it goes along. Sometimes, at a certain distance, it can sound like several people talking and laughing. But you listen and you realize it is talking absolutely to itself. If our place has a voice, this is it. And it is not talking to you. You can’t understand a thing it is saying. You walk up and stand beside it, loving it, and you know it doesn’t care whether you love it or not. The stream and the woods don’t care if you love them. The place doesn’t care if you love it. But for your own sake you had better love it. For the sake of all else you love, you had better love it.”

From the novel Hannah Coulter, p. 85

Photo: South Platte River, Chatfield State Park


paula gamble said...

ah, made me want to take a stroll...unfortunately our woods are mucky as all get out from record setting rainfall. Ugh. On another note, just listened to a gal on re-entry from 3 months in Ivory Coast and she talked about how helpful your book was! Made me so proud of all you are doing friend. Thank you!

Marti said...

Sometimes I miss mud puddles, banana slugs, rain forest!

Glad to hear your friend liked Through Her Eyes. I just heard Women of the Harvest was asking people helping with their retreats to read it as well! Easiest project of that size I've ever done. Keep hoping something else as coherent and helpful will come along... though, ah, yes, it was not nearly as beautiful before my editor got her hands on it. Yay for editors!