I've been spending much of the last month reading a collection of poetry by Wendell Berry. I don't really know much about him and knew even less when I picked up this book. A prolific author if there ever was one, Berry turned his back on what many might have called a charmed life of in literary academia in New York and chose a simpler life of teaching in Kentucky while farming more than ten acres of land not far from his family's "home place."
His choice might have drawn him away from the seductive social proof of success, but it seems to enriched his life in deeply profound ways, given him the luxury of observing and living, working, and coexisting with the natural world, which lent him a clarity of vision and passion about what he valued: "peace, economic justice, ecological health, political honesty, family and community stability, good work."
I sense that as I circle around in my perspective to what is meaningful to me, the appeal of a simple life is undeniable. It has an uncanny ability to peal back those dear, thick layers of judgment, insecurity, and fear that I use to protect my fragile sense of self, and reveal a simple act of gratitude that overflows with love. And it's with this overflowing love that I came across Berry's "A Poem of Thanks" one night when I couldn't sleep: