The planet Venus, named after the Greek Goddess, is a symbol of love, harmony and peace. Gustav Holst, in his orchestral work, "The Planets" entitles one of his sections, "Venus, the bringer of peace." (You can hear the Chicago Symphony Orchestra playing Holst at the bottom of the blog.) It was the desire for more peace, more harmony in the world, the longing for and yearning to partner with an outpouring of love which caused groups all over the world to stop and mark this event.
Love, harmony and peace are gifts that are eternally important. They make us human, and more than human. Mystics from many traditions find that the underlying energies of the world are love. Those who have near death experiences often describe a sense of peace and unity with a powerful love. But the discordant noise that makes up much of our days, our busyness and worry, wars against our living out of these gifts of grace. It is true that we catch glimpses of it in our interactions, but many times the most sure way to connect with this deep reality is to head into nature itself.
This is the path that Wendell Berry, the renowned writer, poet and essayist describes in his poem below. Throughout his life, Berry has been encouraging living in harmony with nature, including deep connections with the land, local sustainable farming, and intentional community. In this poem, he offers his personal remedy for those times he is caught in despair. Leaving his anxious thoughts, he wraps himself in the beauty of nature, comes into the peace of wild things, receives the light from the day-blind stars, and rests in the grace of the world.
The Peace of Wild Things
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.