Reflection and Inspiration

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.

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

New Year Instructions from the Dalai Lama

Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.

Follow the three R’s: Respect for self, Respect for others, and

Responsibility for all your actions.

Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.

Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.

Don’t let a little dispute injure a great friendship.

When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.

Spend some time alone every day.

Open your arms to change but don’t let go of your values.

Live a good, honorable life, then when you get older and think back, you’ll be able to enjoy it a second time.

A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.

In disagreements with a loved one, deal only with the current situation.

Don’t bring up the past.

Share your knowledge, it’s a way to achieve immortality.

Be gentle with the earth.

Once a year go some place new.

Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.

Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.

Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.

Weathering

My face catches the wind from the snowline and flushes with a flush that will never wholly settle.

Well, that was a metrolpolitan vanity, to look young forever, to pass.

I was never a pre-Raphelite beauty, and only pretty enough for men who wanted to be seen with passable women.

But now I am in love with a place that doesn’t care how I look or if I am happy, happy is how I look and that is all.

My hair will grow gray in any case, my nails chip and flake, my waist thickens and the years work all their usual changes.

If my face is to get weather-beaten as well, it’s little enough lost for a year among lakes and fells,

Where merely to look out of my window at the high pass makes me indefferent to mirrors or to what my soul may weat over its new complexion.

Fleur Adcock ‘Weathering”, in Poems 1960-2000 (London: Bloodaxe Books, 2000)