Standing in our place, we need each other
Allowing our actual needs to clarify our places of nourishment--feeding and being fed upon, native and maker in one of the many wonderful phrases in Wendell Berry's poem "The Sycamore"...see my full post in context on the "dharma child" stream through this link...(or just read the copy and paste below.)
Villages popping up in cities –so people can grow older at home
It can be hard to accept how much we need each other. It can be hard to distinguish neediness, or addictions, or whims, from needs. Actual needs can feel shameful in a culture of the individual hero.
I love Wendell Berry’s poem, “The Sycamore,” to help us find our roots, our “strange perfection,” an “indwelling principle” and a place–inner and outer–where we can “stand” and feed and be fed…See below, the whole glorious poem.
Coming to terms with how much we need each other–finding ways to feed each other and be fed–sounds like a good beginning towards great ideas and sane culture. Wendell Berry’s tree “gathers all accidents into its purpose”–a wonderfully woven phrase where the messiness of life, and our vulnerability and needs, are not an insult or dead end. Where flourishing and harm are not measurements nor opposites, and all happenings are in a life of welcome and the creativity of getting on with it.
A couple in their 60s– thinking in advance about how they would want to live as they aged and potentially needed more help, more regularly–came up with an idea that is spreading. “Village” networks– of services like grocery shopping or rides– help aging people stay in their home-communities…instead of getting “serviced” in a (retirement) “home” or “assisted living community.”
One rural community in California plans to grow a “village,” soon too. (Find the link to the story from npr.org below.)
May we all enjoy our needs for inwardness, strange perfection, a nourishing place to stand, and each other…not only other human beings but all of us in this life, in this place called earth that shapes us.
In the place that is my own place, whose earth I am shaped in and must bear, there is an old tree growing, a great sycamore that is a wondrous healer of itself. Fences have been tied to it, nails driven into it, hacks and whittles cut in it, the lightning has burned it. There is no year it has flourished in that has not harmed it. There is a hollow in it that is its death, though its living brims whitely at the lip of the darkness and flows outward. Over all its scars has come the seamless white of the bark. It bears the gnarls of its history healed over. It has risen to a strange perfection in the warp and bending of its long growth. it has gathered all accidents into its purpose I recognize in it a principle, an indwelling the same as itself, and greater, that I would be ruled by. I see that it stands in its place, and feeds upon it, and is fed upon, and is native, and maker. ~Wendell Berry