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Essay: Invisible Stars

During the past year of pandemic upheaval and political unrest, we have all struggled to keep going and make sense of things.

One source of comfort for me has been Wendell Berry’s poem, “The Peace of Wild Things.” He begins by saying,

“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.”

Many of us have probably been awake in the night with similar fears.

When this happens to Berry, he seeks refuge in the out-of-doors, in the company of the wood drake and the great heron.

“I come into the peace of wild things,” he says. Then adds, “And I feel above me the day-blind stars, waiting with their light.”

I am grateful for his reminder that the stars are always there—even if we can’t see them. Always shining and circling in their familiar patterns.

Many years ago, a good friend lost his son in a tragic accident. I sent him a card with Emerson’s quote, “There is no road has not a star above it.” My friend said it helped him more than anything else.

It has helped me, too, more than once.