I will go among the trees and sit still.

All my stirring becomes quiet

around me like circles on water. 

My tasks lie in their places

where I left them, asleep like cattle.

Then what is afraid of me comes 

and lives a while in my sight. 

What it fears in me leaves me, 

and the fear of me leaves it. 

It sings, and I hear its song.

Then what I am afraid of comes. 

I live for a while in its sight.

What I fear in it leaves it, 

and the fear of it leaves me.

It sings, and I hear its song. 

After days of labor, 

mute my consternations, 

I hear my song at last, 

and I sing it. As we sing, 

the day turns, the trees move.

    -Wendell Berry from This Day: Collected & New Sabbath Poems 

To shed your fear you must first sit with it and acknowledge it. I like to talk to my fears like a pestering child, calm and patient, I will say “thank you for alerting me to something that you are concerned about right now. You are right, that is scary. You are right, there is a lot unknown right now. I appreciate you, but you may not be in charge of my day or my heart.” This poem from Wendell Berry reminds me that I can sit with my fear and my fear can sit with me, but that I cannot lose the song of my own heart. That is the song that needs to steady and shape my days. I don’t have to be a farmer (like Berry) or live in the woods (although I would love to) to take a moment to sit and name my fears, to acknowledge their presences and weight and to listen quietly for what is true and steady. 

Be kind,


To Find a Steady Center is a daily poem and meditation to offer a short, good word to those who are anxious, fearful or lonely anh who might need a gentle word of hope, encouragement or perspective during social distancing. 


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