Monday, February 6, 2023

we arrive here



We arrive here in this world having forgotten where we came from, 
though something of a memory seems to remain: a whisper, a distant shine
like that of a house window at night on the far side of the valley, perhaps
what some have called "the inner light," to guide us when finally we have been
jolted awake.  And so we don't come from nothing. But once here we 
don't know where we are. At first I learned the world as a book written,
completed the day before my birth, not to be changed by another penstroke.
And then I saw that some I know were departing from it, never to return,and new
 strangers were arriving. The newcomers, if they stayed, would learn
more or less of where they were. And then, in time, they too would depart, 
taking with them the sum of all they had learned, leaving behind them
maybe a few who would remember them, and then the rememberers too 
would go and be gone. I see in this the order of things, nothing to complain
about. I have been here long enough to watch the whole turn of the wheel.
I see that we are passing through this world like a river of water flowing
 through a river of earth. A far cry from a written book, the world - to
extend my desperate metaphor - is a book ceaselessly being written,
and not in a human language. This too has not been submitted to our
judgment, and it is not for us to regret. To give thanks seems truly to be
the right response, for as we come and go we learn something of love,
the gift and the giving of it, if we accept it, to give us standing hereafter.
That is the heart speaking in the heart's language, and out of a mystery 
so vast that order and chance may be reconciled within it. Because,
 for all we surely know, we come into our times and places as much at 
random as leaves falling,...
~ Wendell Berry
from How it Went - Thirteen more stories of
the Port William membership