Tuesday, October 8, 2013

the real work

The Real Work

by Wendell Berry

It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work,

and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.

The mind that is not baffled is not employed.

The impeded stream is the one that sings.

“To hold our tongues when everyone is gossiping, to smile without hostility at people and institutions, to compensate for the shortage of love in the world with more love in small, private matters; to be more faithful in our work, to show greater patience, to forgo the cheap revenge obtainable from mockery and criticism: all these are things we can do.”

- Hermann Hesse

And still, years into it, one questions what is one's 'real work' and how to be faithful to the work, how to show greater patience. How to be patient with one's life, with the lives of others.

And maybe, also, the further we delve into our 'real work' the more we are aware of its dimensions, which expand and contract at once.

In some strange way, I think part of my work is to walk through the suburbs, quietly, patiently, noticing. 

The rose bush hedges along the grey fences, for example. The way things decline, the way things bloom.


  1. Thank you, Shawna. Somehow your messages always seem to be just the ones I need, at just the right time.

    1. This makes me very glad to hear. Thank you, Patricia.

    2. I too believe this is your work Shawna. The grace and mercy, the calm, that comes through your walking and noticing, your photography and your prose, through your own and shared poetry, leavens the disquiet of our times.

  2. Oh yes, I feel that way too. Sometimes I feel like a failure when I have not "produced" a new project in a long while, but all the while I am still "quietly, patiently noticing" too.


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