River to River

AnacostiaNorthwest Branch of the Anacostia River, Maryland

Jayi CanyonJayi Canyon, Navajo Nation

“The world as men have made it is an ungainly
hardship that comes of forgetting
there is other life than men have made.
While the summer’s growth kept me
anxious in planted rows, I forgot the river
where it flowed, faithful to its way,
beneath the slope where my household
has taken its laborious stand.
I could not reach it even in dreams.

HoneysuckleHoneysuckle, Northwest Branch

DaisiesDesert daisies, Marble Gorge

But one morning at the summer’s end
I remember it again, as though its being
lifts into mind in undeniable flood,
and I carry my boat down through the fog,
over the rocks, and set out.
I go easy and silent, and the warblers
appear among the leaves of the willows,
their flight like gold thread
quick in the live tapestry of the leaves.

PignutPignut Hickory, Northwest Branch

ArchNatural arch, Jayi Canyon

And I go on until I see crouched
on a dead branch sticking out of the water
a heron- so still that I believe
he is a bit of drift hung dead above the water.
And then I see the articulation of feather
and living form, a brilliance I receive
beyond my power to make, as he
receives in his great patience
the river’s providence.  And then I see
that I am seen, admitted, my silence
accepted in his silence.  Still as I keep,
I might be a tree for all the fear he shows.
Suddenly I know I have passed across
to a shore where I do not live.”

–  The Heron, Wendell Berry

NacostanAnacostia River

Navajo CreekNavajo Creek


2 Responses to “River to River”

  1. What a beautiful post, Ben! I’m going to share it at FB.

  2. It’s almost heartbreaking, isn’t it? The beauty in the nature you photographed, the poem.

    I came by way of your mom, a blog friend.

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