Tuesday, August 01, 2006

It was hot today. The National Weather Service reports that the heat index, that measure of discomfort which stirs together heat and humidity to explain why sweat is rolling off your brow from a stroll across the parking lot, got up to 109 degrees. After work I walked down to the little run that cuts across the pasture with camera in hand, to find it reduced to a trickle. Still, sitting there by water under the shade of trees made the day's end a little more bearable. Here is a poem from Wendell Berry's volume, A Timbered Choir: The Sabbath Poems 1979-1997 that finds hints of redemption in "the water flowing under the shadow of the trees":

After the slavery of the body, dumbfoundment
of the living flesh in the order of spending
and wasting, then comes the enslavement
of consciousness, the incarnation of mind
in machines. Once the mind is reduced
to the brain, then it falls within the grasp
of the machine. It is the mind incarnate
in the body, in community, and in the earth
that they cannot confine. The difference
is in love; the difference is in grief and joy.
Remember the body's pleasure and its sorrow.
Remember its grief at the loss of all it knew.
Remember its redemption in suffering
and in love. Remember its resurrection
on the last day, when all made things
that have not refused this passage
will return, clarified, each fully being
in the being of all. Remember the small
secret creases of the earth - the grassy,
the wooded, and the rocky - that the water
has made, finding its way. Remember
the voices of the water flowing. Remember
the water flowing under the shadows
of the trees, of the tall grasses, of the stones.
Remember the water striders walking over
the surface of the water as it flowed.
Remember the great sphere of the small
wren's song, through which the water flowed.
and the light fell. Remember, and come to rest
in light's ordinary miracle.

"Sabbath's - 1990"

1 comment:

Joshua Weresch said...

Thank you for the Berry poem. This morning, on the walk to the hospital, I saw a cardinal, crimson-breasted and in full, warbling swing; his whooooooo-whit-whit-whit-whit-whit was enough to carry me through the day. A similar experience, now closing my day, came when I read the poem you posted. So, in summary, thank you ever so much.