In this animation by Charlotte Ager and Katy Wang, the poet and novelist Wendell Berry narrates his poem The Peace of Wild Things, a Walden-esque ode to the wisdom, calming influence, and restorative qualities of the natural world. The written piece was first published in Openings: Poems (1968).
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.
Berry is well-known for centering his days around nature, farming, family, and community while staunchly avoiding many technologies and conveniences of modern life.
The animation, created in 2020, is one in a series of poetry-driven videos created for On Being, a nonprofit media project that’s exploring “the intersection of spiritual inquiry, science, social healing, community, poetry, and the arts.”
Discussion Questions: The Peace of Wild Things
Previously from Katy Wang: Forests. Plus:
• The Importance of Staring Out Of The Window
• Square Roots, an animated short about information overload
• Japan’s 72 Micro-Seasons of Impermanence
• The Genius of Play: Vital benefits of playtime in 9 animations
• How can nature be used as a tool to restore ecosystems?
This Webby award-winning video collection exists to help teachers, librarians, and families spark kid wonder and curiosity. TKSST features smarter, more meaningful content than what's usually served up by YouTube's algorithms, and amplifies the creators who make that content.
Curated, kid-friendly, independently-published. Support this mission by becoming a sustaining member today.