Loch Skene is less than two miles from our door, and year on year it's the roosting and resting place for thousands of geese. A couple of hundred of them honked happily flying over our house just before it was finally dark. Something in the wildness held to nature's rhythm gets to me every time I hear that, and see them, in an informal but efficient formation, driving along their own motorway to the Loch Skene Service Station.
Wendell Berry's poem about Wild Geese is a gentle articulation of that humane common-sense that encourages us to be content, and to enjoy what is here and what is now. The last four lines of this poem always make me aware of what we lose through discontent, what we miss by looking for more, what we might gain if we too followed the ancient trails of community caring, contented kindness and a sense of home. Quietness of heart and clarity of vision are the gifts that reveal the richer deeper giftedness of life.
So tonight, after all is said and done, I'm content to have heard the glad honking of geese pleased to be nearly home. And Wendell Berry's definition of contentment, "...all we need is here".
Photo by Planetstillalive.com
The Wild Geese
Horseback on Sunday morning,
harvest over, we taste persimmon
and wild grape, sharp sweet
of summer's end. In time's maze
over fall fields, we name names
that went west from here, names
that rest on graves. We open
a persimmon seed to find the tree
that stands in promise,
pale, in the seed's marrow.
Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear,
in the ancient faith: what we need
is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye
clear. What we need is here.