Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear
in the ancient faith: what we need
is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye,
clear. What we need is here.
by Wendell Berry
I’m surprising myself with landing on this poem as the final one for 2020. Like many people, it’s felt like a hard year in different ways for me, and it’s pretty clear that collectively, we’re not out of the woods yet (which strikes me as an expression that is pretty passé, surely these days the fact that most of us are far removed from woods is a sign of ‘still having difficulties or still being in danger’.)
I can’t promise I’ll feel like ‘what we need is here’ in all circumstances, and on so many levels there’s a looong list of things that are not yet here (like justice and fairness, to name but two), and as Barack Obama said back in 2009 when he first became president: “everywhere we look, there is work to be done.” But are these words from the prolific farmer, poet and activist Wendell Berry not also true? In between the chaos and scrambling of day to day living, there is that ‘ancient faith’ like a deep note in the chord, steadily present when I attune to it. And it comes with much gratitude… so if I have any intention for the new year, it includes this: to remember that what we need is here. May it be so!