in my dreams . . .


new growth in the shell of the old

a tree grows in the barn’s skeleton

In my dreams, I envision a place. . . A place where the new grows inside the shell of the old – by design and by intention. A place where we can acknowledge that not all we have built in fact – or still – serves us as initially intended. Or remains necessary. Or, as in the case of this old barn, can or should be resurrected.

We have used so much of our natural resources in service to overcoming or harnessing nature to our own ends. But what could we learn from the return to what was here in the beginning? Trees, like barns, can offer shelter. Like barns, they can house a variety of life. Unlike barns, they do not require human intervention to serve those functions. And in addition, they provide us with life-giving oxygen in exchange for the CO2 we exhale.

With a win-win-win like that, who needs more buildings? Or, to extend the metaphor to a broader systems thought: is bigger, more, and continuing on a pre-established trajectory necessarily best, right or healthy for us, for the planet?

In my dreams, I envision a place. A place where we have the vision to let what no longer serves, disintegrate. Where we allow what is natural and original to flourish. Where we can distinguish between what we need and what human ego pushes us toward just because we can. A place that honors the wisdom of earth and living with mutual respect. Because we need to support that place before our entire beautiful earth becomes lost to human greed, manipulation and myopic vision.

In my dream, we recognize, as poet Wendell Berry so eloquently states in ‘The Wild Geese,’            And we pray, not
                        for new earth or heaven, but to be
                        quiet in heart, and in eye
                        clear. What we need is here.



Thoughts in the Presence of Fear | Wendell Berry | Orion Magazine

One of the most thoughtful writers of our time offers a compelling essay. In one of the most compelling magazines out there. Written in 2001. So critical today.

We citizens of the industrial countries must continue the labor of self-criticism and self-correction. We must recognize our mistakes…
This is why the substitution of rhetoric for thought, always a temptation in a national crisis, must be resisted by officials and citizens alike…
The aim and result of war necessarily is not peace but victory, and any victory won by violence necessarily justifies the violence that won it and leads to further violence…
What leads to peace is not violence but peaceableness, which is not passivity, but an alert, informed, practiced, and active state of being… The key to peaceableness is continuous practice…

Read on, contemplate, and join in the conversation. How do you fare in the face of fear?  Why are we so reluctant to practice peace? Where do you stand on these issues?

Thoughts in the Presence of Fear | Wendell Berry | Orion Magazine.