Stay Brave Enough To Keep Going In

Sometimes our life reminds me of a forest in which there is a graceful clearing and in that opening a house, an orchard and garden, comfortable shades, and flowers red and yellow in the sun, a pattern made in the light for the light to return to. The forest is mostly dark, its ways to be made anew day after day, the dark richer than the light and more blessed, provided we stay brave enough to keep on going in.
-This is from the 3rd stanza of “The Country Of Marriage” a poem by Wendell Berry

Wendell Berry wrote this poem about marriage but I believe this stanza of the poem has implications for all areas of life, not just marriage.

In the image than Mr. Berry gives us we can imagine walking through a forest in which the canopy is thick and blocking out much of the sunlight, and as we walk into this unknown and dark place we are faced with different emotions.

At first we may face fear and perhaps anxiety about the unknown, the darkness, the lack of clarity of what is further in past where we can see. However the thing that causes us to persevere, to pursue, to keep going is in Berry’s words the “graceful clearing” and “its ways

to be made anew day after day, the dark richer than the light and more blessed.”

He points out that the clearly lit openings certainly have their joys and pleasures but just as attractive is the unknown, the darkness, the adventure of a new day in which anything can happen if only in Berry’s words “we stay brave enough to keep on going in.”

To view this in the perspective of the homesteading life, I would say that to persevere in a lifestyle that makes you happy, that provides you with the necessities of life but is also filled with things anew and many unknowns day by day is truly a grand adventure and a blessed life. It is a lifestyle that can fulfil a deep desire and give a grand satisfaction to the soul “if only we are brave enough to keep going in.”

So find joy in both the known (the graceful clearing within the forest) and the dark unknown mysteries of what lies ahead, for both have something to offer us in this life.

The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry


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