Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Wisdom of Wilderness and a Little RAP

Starting Monday, Oct. 5 over at The High Calling Blogs, author Laura Boggess will be leading an 11-week discussion of The Wisdom of Wilderness by Gerald May. First published in 2006, the year after May’s death from cancer, the book is about the idea of experiencing the healing power of nature – and seeing the wilderness and wildness that is in each of us. I decided to read the book and follow, possibly join in, the discussion. More details from Laura are here.

Boggess recalls visiting her father before she left for graduate school and, learning he wasn’t at home, went for a walk in the woods. And what she found in the stillness was the presence of God.

It’s been longer than I care to think since I went hiking at Shaw's Arboretum, a 2400-acre preserve some 35 miles west of St. Louis. (Okay, the Arboretum is the old name; it’s now officially "Shaw Nature Preserve" but we St. Louisans don’t give up familiar names that easily.) The arboretum has a number of trails, one of which takes you down to the Meramec River. There are some old, old trees there; the trunk of one is wider than three of us touching fingers to fingers could fit around.

The most remarkable thing about the place is, as Boggess found in her own stretch of woods, the stillness. There are many places to sit and think in the Arboretum, and many places just to sit. It’s where you can “empty out” and just listen.

I’m looking forward to the discussion, I know that nAncY over at the Just Say the Word blog is participating, too.

And I may have to find a way to take another hike. Soon.

A Little RAP

For L.L. Barkat's Random Act of Poetry this week, we've been asked to write a short poem based on something from a poet we've been reading. I've been reading Wendell Berry's A Timbered Choir, which, oddly enough, does relate to the themes and ideas of The Wisdom of Wilderness. So, here's my submission for the RAP:

Walking in Mr. Berry's Woods

I walk within woods,
At river's edge,
Seeking my talisman,
My trunked
And branched guide,
Pointing a way forward,
Signaling a way back,
Stopping time and
Enveloping my heart
In a sweet moment
Of solitude and
Sabbath stillness.


Maureen said...

Glynn (and LL, if you see this),

I'll post a comment on Our Cancer about this post and the HCB activity re The Wisdom of the Wilderness.

Glynn, lovely poem. Of course, your inspriation comes from one of my favorite poets, so how could your poem not be lovely? I like the sense of hesitation, of the not knowing, which then dissolves in the fullness of understanding that the "I" is not walking alone.

Anonymous said...

the book club is a wonderful place to me, mainly because of the kind of sharing and relating that is able to take place there combined with the reading of words from another person that has been thoughtfully chosen. i am glad that you are planning to take part.

i love the part of this poem where you write "pointing a way forward, signaling a way back, stopping time" i have been thinking about time and relationship lately and this speaks to me.
thank you.

L.L. Barkat said...

As with nAncY, I liked that part of the poem too. And this...

"At river's edge,
Seeking my talisman,
My trunked..."

Your poems are getting tighter. Loving your journey. :)

Laura said...


I found I was holding my breath as I read your poem.


And I do hope you will join us on MOnday for the book discussion. I am really enjoying this book. It is opening my eyes a bit. I find I need something to help me do that from time to time. Wish it wasn't so, but there it is.

Let's walk on the wild side!