Posts Tagged ‘peace’

Woodland garden

…life is hard,
at times as hard as crucible steel.
It has its bleak and difficult moments.
Like the ever-flowing waters of the river,
life has its moments of drought and its moments of flood.
Like the ever-changing cycle of the seasons,
life has the soothing warmth of its summers
and the piercing chill of its winters.
But if one will hold on,
he will discover that God walks with him,
and that God is able to lift you from the fatigue of despair
to the buoyancy of hope,
and transform dark and desolate valleys
into sunlit paths of inner peace.

Martin Luther King Jr. – Birmingham, 1963
Eulogy for the Martyred Children

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Wahoo Day

Overwhelmedness has been in my thoughts of late: folk being overwhelmed by life going too fast, by family or financial difficulties, by too much e-mail in their in-box. … I guess if Quakers are overwhelmed, then nearly everybody is overwhelmed. – Wendy Clarissa Geiger

I met Wendy when I attended Quaker meeting in Jacksonville, and I still receive her semi-weekly e-newsletter on life and poetry. This morning, when the news was filled with an overabundance of nonpeaceful things, she sent the message I quoted above, and added a snippet of information that I found fascinating. The Burmese, Wendy told us, “have Wahoo Day—an imaginary day falling between Wednesday and Thursday when one can get done what otherwise cannot get done during a given week.”

Today is my own Wahoo Day. My summer work schedule alternated a normal  work week with a week of four 10-hour days and Friday off. I used my free Fridays to read, write, sneak up on the laundry, poke around in the garden, and have lunch with Ernesto. Sadly, as the University cranks up for the start of a new academic year, today is my last Wahoo Day of the summer.

I believe that if we had the will, we could figure out a way to insert a worldwide Wahoo Day into the calendar. Ernesto was talking this very morning about how Leap Years are calculated, and other interesting problems that plague modern day-keeping. Time is fluid, after all, and what a source of peace it would be!

But until Ernesto can apply his mathematics and computer programming skills to devise a Wahoo Day without it requiring an act of Congress, I bring you Wendy’s poem about overwhelmedness: “The Want of Peace,” by poet-farmer Wendell Berry of Lane’s Landing, Kentucky.

The Want of Peace

All goes back to the earth,
and so I do not desire
pride of excess or power,
but the contentments made
by men who have had little:
the fisherman’s silence
receiving the river’s grace,
the gardener’s musing on rows.

I lack the peace of simple things.
I am never wholly in place.
I find no peace or grace.
We sell the world to buy fire,
our way lighted by burning men,
and that has bent my mind
and made me think of darkness
and wish for the dumb life of roots.

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