“Its Hardship is Its Possibility”


[“Upheaval”: Arlington, MA sidewalk, 2016]

So many stories! There’s the story of an orange-haired, petulant racist we’re forced to hear again and again. And, oddly, there’s another story, the Feel the Bern story, notable for not being told—or gets “stealth-edited” within hours! (“Get me Rewrite!”) There’s an ancient, horrible story we lament this morning about innocents losing their lives in war, this time in Brussels. There’s another story many tell this week, the Holy Week story, that begins with strewn palms and hosannas and ends with betrayal and death.

I am trying to listen to another timeless story. It comes out of the earth. You can hear it in birdsong and the soughing of pine tree branches. (A wind chime will do.) It’s told every spring when the Northern Hemisphere tilts towards the sun. It demands we listen when a blizzard or hurricane or tsunami strike.

But because so many of us are not listening to this timeless story, it’s editing itself. And not by stealth, either, right? Superstorms, record-breaking temperatures, drought; undeniable plot twists.

Troubled by this edited story, fearful it is doomed to end tragically, grieving for Mother Earth and for my grandchildren’s future, I turn once again to Wendell Berry. (No, not “The Peace of Wild Things” this time.) This one:


If we will have the wisdom to survive,
To stand like slow growing trees on a ruined place,
Renewing, enriching it,
If we will make our seasons welcome here,
Asking not too much of earth or heaven,
Then a long time after we are dead
The lives our lives prepare will live here,
Their houses strongly placed upon the valley sides,
Fields and gardens rich in the windows.
The river will run clear as we never know it,
And over it the birdsong like a canopy.
On the levels of the hills will be green meadows,
Stock bells in noon shade
On the steeps where greed and ignorance cut down the old forest,
An old forest will stand, its rich leaf-fall drifting on its roots.
The veins of forgotten springs will have opened.
Families will be singing in the fields.
In their voices they will hear a music risen out of the ground.
They will take nothing out of the ground they will not return,
Whatever the grief at parting,
Memory, native to this valley, will spread over it like a grove,
And memory will grow into legend,
Legend into song, song into sacrament.
The abundance of this place, the songs of its people and its birds,
Will be health and wisdom and indwelling light.
This is no paradisal dream. Its hardship is its possibility.

Wendell Berry



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1 Comment

  1. Dear Patricia,

    Hi, there, Patricia, my so, so very For Always dearly special and dearly precious sister and friend who you are For Always so, so very much!!!!!!! Sister, I pray, wish, and hope with all of my very, very heart, and very, very heart, mind, soul, and spirit for a Very Nice, Special, Happy, and Very, Very Blessed Happy Easter to you and to you, Patricia, for your dearest and darling husband, David, for your Loved One in the long term care facility, for all of the rest of your very special, precious, and beloved family, and for your so, so very special blessedly holy and pure in heart friendsfamily at your supebly super Friends Meeting at Cambridge, Patricia, and for all of your other friends!!!!!!! Yay yay yay yay for YOU, Patricia, and for each and every one of you!!!!!!! Yay!!!!!! Sisterfriend, you must have received by now the Happy Easter card which I sent very especially to you and yours in the snail mail. I count YOU, my so, so very dearest friend, as my very, very Happy Easter joy and blessing, and my joy and blessing For Always, Patricia!!!!!! Yay!!!!!!

    Patricia, I so, so very much love and like this absolutely brilliant and beautiful blog post article of yours here! With the vile atrocities with the vicious terrorist attacks in Brussels, Belgium, and all of the other evil acts which occur in our very society, country, and world, sister, there is very much indeed another story juxtaposed to all of the harsh stories and realities of what is going on for certain. With this being precious Holy Week, Patricia, so, so very much Good came from our Sweet Jesus’s Act of Love and Passion which which so, so very lovingly in such a deeply ardent manner stands as our very Faith and Hope with the very Faith and Hope which is our So, So Very Dearest and Darling Spirit Jesus standing as a Shining and Guiding Light as opposed to all of the evils which are happening and that have happened in our very society, country, and world. Just like even how with all of the bad and evil with such pervasive negativity occurs in our so traumatized and stressed out society, country, and world, there is still so much good and beauty-so much loveliness to be found, sister. Climate change is very much indeed very real and undeniable as you so wisely shared and declared here, Patricia. Our Mother Earth is in such acute distress.

    Sisterfriend, I thank-you so, so much for the super links which you so, so very graciously and generously provided with this absolutely amazing, so, so very inspirational, insightful, and enlightening blog post article, my friend! The title of this wondrously wonderful blog post article is just brilliant here and put to such greatly applicable use with your very fine and excellent writing here, sister! The picture which you have featured here so, so very graciously and generously just adds to your very astounding blog post article to the very heights of perfection, Patricia! Yay! Thank-you so, so very much a whole bunch as well for featuring this so very perfect poem by Wendell Berry which perfectly complements your remarkable blog post article, Patricia! We are all passing down an important legacy to future humankind and to all other living creatures. We must take care to heal our Mother Earth, and all of our woes with the social ills of our society, country, and world so that the future is bright and safe very much indeed. All future creations are for sure counting on us to do so, sister. Its hardship is very much indeed its possibility for certain as you have said here with such astute and acute sagacity, Patricia!!!!!! Yay!!!!!! I am emboldened by you, sister, inspired, uplifted, and energized now from this so very empowering message which you have blessed all of us with as your very, very many grateful and appreciative readers, Patricia!!!!!! Yay!!!!!!!

    Sister, please for you and yours, and for each and every one of you have a Very, Very Happy Easter, Patricia!!!!!! I count YOU, Patricia, as my For Always very, very joy and blessing in continually praising Spirit for YOU, sisterfriend, and for our friendship and sisterhood at this time of Happy Easter and For Always, precious Patricia!!!!!! Yay for YOU, Patricia!!!!! Yay for our friendship and sisterhood, Patricia!!!!!! Yay yay yay yay!!!!!!!

    Very Warmly and Sincerely For Always, my so, so very dearly precious and dearly special sisterfriend Christian white woman, Patricia, who you are For Always so, so very much, with such Peace and Love To You For Always, my sister, and with such Blessings and Even More Blessings To You For Always, my so, so very dearest friend,

    Your sisterfriend Christian lesbian black woman For Always in the very spirit and solidarity, Sherry Gordon

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