As I continue to reflect on ways Christ is experienced cosmically through meditation, I can’t but help think of a poem by Wendell Berry. Much of his poetry flows from a meditation upon nature and upon his own life’s history, which are places in our meditations we encounter the cosmic Christ calling us to see our full selves, our full histories, and the full world of nature.
In this poem, “the Dream”, Berry is drawn into such a place, seeing himself, seeing our way of life as a society, and seeing nature in ways we often fail to see. He is brought into see his braided selves more fully and our own.
I hope these words call you to deeper reflection on our interconnectedness in the web of life that Christ’s presence in all people and all living things makes possible.
Your progressive redneck preacher,
I dream an inescapable dream
in which I take away from the country
the bridges and roads, the fences, the strung wires,
ourselves, all we have built and dug and hollowed out,
our flocks and herds, our droves of machines.
I restore then the wide-branching trees.
I see growing over the land and shading it
the great trunks and crowns of the first forest.
I am aware of the rattling of their branches,
the lichened channels of their bark, the saps
of the ground flowing upward to their darkness.
Like the afterimage of a light that only by not
looking can be seen, I glimpse the country as it was.
All its beings belong wholly to it. They flourish
in dying as in being born. It is the life of its deaths.
I must end, always, by replacing
our beginning there, ourselves and our blades,
the flowing in of history, putting back what I took away,
trying always with the same pain of foreknowledge
to build all that we have built, but destroy nothing.
My hands weakening, I feel on all sides blindness
growing in the land on its peering bulbous stalks.
I see that my mind is not good enough.
I see that I am eager to own the earth and to own men.
I find in my mouth a bitter taste of money,
a gaping syllable I can neither swallow nor spit out.
I see all that we have ruined in order to have, all
that was owned for a lifetime to be destroyed forever.
Where are the sleeps that escape such dreams?