Sunday, March 25, 2007

Still Water

Still water, Tucker Pond, Warner, NH, October 2006, HP Photosmart R817, Exposure 1/625 sec @ f3.4, ISO 100, no flash © Steven Crisp [Click on the photo to enlarge]

We are a generation, and a people, exposed to more information than at any time before in our brief human existence. And the rate of change has been absolutely fantastic. Truly unbelievable. Is it for good, or for ill? Well, of course, like everything in life, it is neither, and at the same time, it is both. That is, there is nothing intrinsically good or bad about this availability/onslaught (depending on your bias) of information. And of course, it can contribute to both significant good, or possible ill.

Take our mental health, for example. What is the effect of being bombarded by mass media messages of world-wide disasters, environmental peril, never-ending desire for more, juxtaposed with unimaginable poverty elsewhere in the world? It is hard for some to just turn this off -- or to consciously choose which information spigots they wish to open. But I would strongly encourage such control -- in this case, we are more in charge than we sometimes care to admit.

But what if the overhwelming message we get is one of despair? One of concern, about ourselves, our family, or our children's children? Well, if you haven't read this poem, perhaps you will find wisdom in its words. A balm for our overstimulated, overloaded psyches. Breathe deeply. Find peace and quiet. And if possible, let nature offer her suggestions:

The Peace of Wild Things
by Wendell Berry

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.

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