Wendell Berry’s “Nature Consumers”

“It is maybe most of all … silence that they are so intent to guard themselves against. And there is indeed a potential terror in it. It raises, still, all the old answerless questions of origins and ends. It asks a man what is the use and the worth of his life.” — Wendell Berry

Updated 4.29.2019

It was probably ten years ago or so now when I first picked up a copy of Wendell Berry’s wendellberrybyguymendescollection of essays, The Long-Legged House at Powell’s Bookstore in Portland with a good friend, now deceased, who had introduced me to Berry’s work some years before. Cliché, but I was immediately captured by the timelessness of his concerns articulated in this 1965 publication—a theme that runs through much of his work. His essay found therein, titled ‘Nature Consumers,’ along with chapter two, book one of Thomas A. Kempis’ The Imitation of Christ, is among the few most influential pieces of literature I’ve ever read, having revisited each of these chapters dozens of times. It doesn’t have to be brilliant—it need only hit you at the right time and space.

They have each become so ingrained in my psyche that I find myself regularly quoting them and referencing them without actually referencing them—you know, when something becomes so familiar to you that it is less a reference than it is your own exhale. Many have heard me say, “We are all frail; consider none more frail than yourself,” which comes straight from that chapter in Kempis’ Imitation.

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Introverted Paradise

What has happened in my life in the last many years cannot go untold.

And for many reasons.

It is far too much to keep only in my head and my heart, for starters. Second, it doesn’t simply affect me, but affects many of the people I know and love who surround me—even those that I don’t know. And further, it could, just maybe, provide you not only a greater understanding of who I am, but could give you a greater understanding of yourself and the decisions you have made, might not wish to make, or have been made on your behalf.

It will come in time and it will come in full.

But, it will come in spits and spurts for the time being—as it has for a long time. Not only in words, but in pictures and quite often in metaphor and innuendo.

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The Nonsense of Life

boat-962791_640There are so many motifs that one can use to describe or explain their angst, anxiety, sin, etc.

Some point to pride.

Others to an inordinate desire to control anything else in life save our ‘response’ in any given situation.

For me, it is my desire for things and people and experiences to make sense; for life to make sense. To make sense to meContinue reading