Recovered

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The songs of small birds fade away
into the bushes after sundown,
the air dry, sweet with goldenrod.
Beside the path, suddenly, bright asters
flare in the dusk. The aged voices
of a few crickets thread the silence.
It is a quiet I love, though my life
too often drives me through it deaf.
Busy with costs and losses, I waste
the time I have to be here—a time
blessed beyond my deserts, as I know,
if only I would keep aware. The leaves
rest in the air, perfectly still.
I would like them to rest in my mind
as still, as simply spaced. As I approach,
the sorrel filly looks up from her grazing,
poised there, light on the slope
as a young apple tree. A week ago
I took her away to sell, and failed
to get my price, and brought her home
again. Now in the quiet I stand
and look at her a long time, glad
to have recovered what is lost
in the exchange of something for money.

Wendell Berry
The Sorrel Filly, Collected Poems: 1957-1982

What is to be done after a reading of Wendell Berry? A walk outdoors as soon as possible. And if the poem has been feasted upon in early evening then a sunset walk will probably be necessary – with a camera close to expectant hearts.

And so it was … and tonight we did ‘stand / … glad to have recovered what is lost.’ And though these images are written well enough upon the aforementioned hearts, still the photographs, the written record, will remind us, over time, to stand … glad, again and again and again. Awed.

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The western sky

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Photo at Pixabay

Matthew Brycea rescued surfer told his family he had ‘made himself at peace’ with not surviving after 32 hours adrift at sea, but – thankfully – of the crew of a Search & Rescue Helicopter, ‘these guys were the most beautiful sight I’ve ever seen.  I owe them my life.’ – BBC News

I’m filled with gratitude for rescuers and the rescued as Matthew tells of how he’d at first thought the crew had missed him, but hadn’t. And I am deeply moved by his account of watching the sunset over the sea, ‘because I was sure I would never see it again.’

Thank you, Matthew. Thank you for reminding me to be extra glad I’m alive and safe tonight. I am so glad you are – and something in me reaches out, as I’m sure it does from you, and from your loving family, towards any and all who feel – or know – they’re watching the western sky for the last time. Thank you for reminding me of the heroism of the world’s willing rescuers and medical teams, the courage of countless people who find themselves in extremis, and of what it means for humankind to be able to watch sunset. And sunrise. Keep well, Matthew.