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Finding a Quiet Place

Last Saturday, September 11, our church held a memorial service that featured this poem;

When despair for the world grows in me

and I wake in the night at the least sound

in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,

I go and lie down where the wood drake

rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things

who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief.

I come into the presence of still water.

And I feel above me the day-blind stars

waiting with their light. For a time

I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Wendell Berry


That reminded me of this drawing, from years ago in my teaching days. A wood duck and a Mandarin duck.

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And my Great Blue Heron.



Do you have a place like the one Wendell Berry wrote about? Where you rest in the grace of the world? It doesn't have to be an actual place. My grandmother's home in Sag Harbor is like that for me; in my mind I walk across the lawn and down the hill to the bay.

Another place is the backyard of my friends, Bill and Ellen Entriken. Their next door neighbor had an enormous willow that made beautiful rustling music in the breeze. I have frequently tried to capture the peace that lovely tree brought to me.



In my search for the old ducks I also found these Proscenium stages.



This was one of my first etchings, titled Path through the Woods. I then drew a frame for it. At the top are two dates, in Latin numerals--1971, when I made the etching, and 1988, when I did the drawing. In 1988 I was teaching and my kids were nine and seven. With everything else I was doing, I never gave up my drawing.

Here's another, with my beloved Rhinos. the quote on the pediment is Latin for

"Should this work please, a larger one I plan, fully adorned through many pages span."

To me that's a reminder that the ideas come when the hand is moving and there's always more where that came from.



I guess my happy place is any place where I can be drawing.




September 16, 2021

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