For the past 40 years, September 21 has been designated International Day of Peace by the United Nations, a call for 24 hours of non-violence and cease fire – a "sustained humanitarian pause to local conflicts."
As I read that headline this morning, my first reaction was gratitude for living in a part of the world where there is no need for a cease fire, and where the only physical violence I personally see is filtered through the nightly news.
But that doesn't mean that I don't worry, often agonize over the inequalities in the world. While all my basic needs – plus more – are met, millions of people starve, are homeless, live in fear of their lives, are marginalized, discriminated against, suffer from addiction/ illness/disability with no medical care or insurance. The list goes on.
Then there's Covid; deaths topping 675,000 yesterday. Health care workers overworked, Hospitals overrun, mostly with unvaccinated patients. Masks vs no masks. I worry for my grandchildren who aren't old enough to receive the vaccine, for my 92-year-old mother who is vaccinated but receiving services from some caregivers who choose not to get vaccinated.
Peace can be elusive, even on a sunny day in Maine. So I turn to the one thing that brings me peace, without fail, each time worry overtakes hope. I step out my front door.
Drew and I find a trail minutes away from our Portland condo, park the car and walk into Nature.
With each step, "The Peace of Wild Things" calms my spirit. I send Wendell Berry's poem to you along with the wish that as we individually become more peaceful, we will pass that peace on to others, and on... and on.
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.
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.
Drew and I send you peace.