Friday, August 24, 2012

quiet in heart, and in eye clear, take 2

This was one of my first posts on camera-obscura, and I was thinking about it today and decided to repost:

the wise eye of zen-master Keil Bay, with quiet-hearted Salina in the background.. a horseback ride in our back field, picking wild grapes from vines hung low, the persimmon tree down the lane, geese honking overhead, and this poem, which came to reside on my little altar last autumn when we moved here, and has this year come true:

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.

Wendell Berry

I do so love this poem. This year, right now, I see signs that this long, hot, difficult summer are coming to an end. Salina is shedding, some leaves are changing color while others turn brown and fall, squirrels are starting to gather the first acorns. This week the wild muscadines are coming to ripeness and although in many ways this summer season has been bleak and hard, we have had much rain and the garden has been bountiful. Now we are having the finest crop of wild muscadines I've ever seen since living here on November Hill. I can stand beneath the vines and eat until I'm full. I'm finding them everywhere, even in the arena, lying on the ground.

We have twin fawns living with us this year, a gray fox, a hoot owl close by, and it occurs to me that things do seem to find a balance. When one part of life feels chaotic and out of control, other parts exhibit abundance.

Today I look at that wise eye of the Big Bay and feel very lucky that I still have the chance to look into it. I rejoice that the quiet-hearted Salina is still here, whinnying and grazing and keeping her wise eye on everything.

Tonight as dusk fell I was in the back field, looking up toward the barn, which was fully lit and shining with golden light. Cody was by the hay tent with Rafer Johnson, Salina and Redford were in the front field, Keil Bay was in the grass paddock, and the pony, whose Apache Moon was in fact hanging low in the sky overhead, was taking advantage of all the open gates to meander between all the members of his herd.

Behind the barn the windows of our house shone gold as well. I stopped mucking to look and soak all this treasure in, seeing it all at once because I had stepped back far enough to take it all in.

Quiet in heart, and in eye clear.

What we need is here.


Victoria Cummings said...

I love this and I also love that it's all still true as time goes by.

Grey Horse Matters said...

Beautiful images in your writing as always.

Dougie Donk said...

Never read this poem before, but I like it.

While I'd give a lot to have the flexibility and energy of my 18 month old niece, I wouldn't give up the feeling of being happy in my own skin for anything.

Middle age has it's benefits after all.

billie said...

Thanks, V, I thought you might enjoy seeing this poem again!

billie said...

Thank you, A - so appreciate your kind words!

billie said...

D, agreed - there is a lot to be said for reflection based on life experience.

Matthew said...

This is such thoughtful writing, and a thoughtful picture!

billie said...

Thanks, Matthew. I love this photo and remember quite clearly the day I took it.

Máire said...

Oh my goodness, I have so much catching up to do! What a reward of a post as I turn to your blog again. Just beautiful.

billie said...

Thanks, Maire - I think the approach of autumn is bringing on the need to ponder here on the blog. I'm so glad it spoke to you.