I first discovered Wendell Berry’s poem “The Peace of Wild Things” in 1996 and have never doubted Berry since. I still remember reading it for the first time. Having grown up in one city or another, always near rural corn and soy covered fields, but never really that close, this peace and grace discovered “where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds” was something as foreign and mysterious as it could be to someone who spent his life around brick and concrete and steel.
It was the thought, even at 20 years of age, that there were creatures “who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief” that played in my mind. Surely at that point I had lost two grandfathers, friends, whole cities (as I grew up moving around a lot as a pastor’s kid) and at some future point I would lose two grandmothers, a brother in-law and a son, but the very idea of coming “into the presence of still water” intrigued me.
Reconnecting with my holiness heritage in the Church of the Nazarene after spending years in pastoral ministry, systematic theology, and development work, I now realize the imperative that God’s holiness holds on our lives and the actualization and implication that holiness makes in how we connect to others, including soil, water, and the peace of wild things.
It is time for us to explore more deeply what it means to take part in responsible animal husbandry, dig our fingers into rich soil, and share what we have with others. I have realized recently there is something inextricably linked to the holiness to which God calls us and living sustainably as a part (not separate from) of creation.
Join with me in this journey. I think it will prove most fun.