Earth Day - Finding Peace in Wild Things, and Freedom on Earth

Happy Earth Day folks! Those who have found love in nature can find true freedom, and inspire others to be free. I believe poetry can be a powerful tool for self-expression and can help to alleviate feelings of despair by providing a means to process and understand difficult emotions. Even just reading poetry can  offer a sense of connection with others who have experienced similar feelings, and can serve as a source of inspiration and hope. This peace leads to freedom. On this earth day I am reminded of two poems that take you from grief to peace, and ultimately to freedom and lasting solace: One is by Wendell Berry and the other one by Guru Nanak: 


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.

Wendell Berry finds peace in observing the wood drake that rests in a lake, or a heron that feeds in it. Neither of them are taxed by the problems of the past or the future.  Its like the stillness of the water has been absorbed by them, and is transferred to Wendell Berry.  The stars patients wait for their time to shine at night.  This is a beautiful lesson in acceptance. 

It reminds me how in the novel "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee, the character Scout Finch finds peace and solace in the natural world, particularly in the Radley's garden which is known as a place of beauty and wonder to the children. The Radley's garden represents a place of refuge for Scout, a place where she can escape the racial tensions and prejudices of her community and find solace in the beauty of nature. 

I am also reminded of Guru Nanak's Pavan Guru Paani Pita:

Pavan Guru Paani Pita

Pavaṇ gurū pāṇī piṯā māṯā ḏẖaraṯ mahaṯ.
Ḏivas rāṯ ḏue ḏāī ḏāiā kẖelai sagal jagaṯ.

Cẖangāīā buriāīā vācẖai ḏẖaram haḏūr.
Karmī āpo āpṇī ke neṛai ke ḏūr.

Jinī nām ḏẖiāiā gae maskaṯ gẖāl.
Nānak ṯe mukẖ ujle keṯī cẖẖutī nāl. ||1||


Wind is Guru, Water is Father,
and Earth, the Great Mother.
Day and night are the two caretakers
In whose lap all the world is at play.

Good deeds and bad deeds
are spoken in presence of Dharma
Through one’s action,
one can be near or far

Those who remember Satnaam
through their hard work
They have radiant faces
And spread freedom to others