Sometimes, I feel so tender about the world. I mean about the mayflies, and the rockfish babies, and the fox with her kits, and the butterflies in British forests, and the woodpecker hunting for her young, even when what she hunts are baby birds in other nests.
Yes, yes, it’s absolutely true that, like the estimable Mr. Berry:
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.
But I mean something more than that. I mean the sense in which nature exists in and of Herself, and not as a salve for human cares. I feel tender about that. I am in love with that.
One thing fascism is designed to do to us is to destroy our sensate knowledge of the world. All our emotions are to be that toxic mixture of militancy, and fear, and macho pride, and self-abnegation that the fascists leader demands. To — completely separate from that –ruffle the hair of a sleeping child, inhale the scent of freshly-leafed sage, feel love for women who go out and count birds in their tiny bit of Earth for no reason beyond adding that count to the counts of other groups, love the way that dirt feels when you shake it off the roots of a weed, adore rain when it perfumes the air by striking the leaves of mint, revel in the feel of silk sliding over skin or the sensation of heavy blankets on a cool night, savor salt on tomatoes or scotch on the back of your throat — to do that is to exist separately from the fascist state and, as a result, is an act of deep rebellion.
Slip away when you need to. Slip away when you can. Don’t let them get you. Don’t let them get the children or the ones you love. The men who love frosted grass in Winter will always be here for us. Be like the storehouses of seed buried deep beneath the Arctic Circle. Guard the mysteries; constantly reveal them.
I shan’t be gone long. You come, too.