Come away all by yourselves to a wild place and rest a while.
Where do you find reclamation, the welcome of the wilds?
Whether in the woods or by the water,
among the hills or on the rolling plains,
in desert, parkland, garden, or field,
there is no greater urgency
for us and all earth’s children
than to seek reclamation in the wilds.
The ancients who fled chocking cities
sought sanctuary in deserted places,
and in wildness found hermitage.
Here they listened
to living land and re-sourced themselves
in the deeper drift of wild time.
Here too, friendship they found,
solidarity in solitude,
communion in creaturehood.
And in the classroom of Creation,
Only by going alone in silence, without baggage,John Muir
can one truly get into the heart of the wilderness.
Contemplating untamed wonders and spacious sky,
poets, artists, mystics, and primal communities
affirm nature as our native sanctuary,
holy ground whereupon we commune
with multiple mysterious and apparent
dimensions of being.
Here we find hermitage
not in the remote ‘holy house’ or shelter,
but in the wide-open that welcomes us home.
Everybody needs beauty as well as bread,John Muir
places to play in and pray in,
where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.
Our wayfaring ancestors
covered continents, navigated oceans,
scanned skies in search of self-understanding,
restlessly reaching for connection,
hoping to come into our own
in blessed, beautiful belonging.
I now inhabit an overcrowded world,Joe Grant, Scratchings
where solitude is rarely found,
and loneliness abounds.
So, when shades of separation
seep through the screen,
I steal myself beyond
the reach of restlessness
to the enchanted green.
Here, in wholesome communion,
aloneness is transfigured as isolation
melds into congregation.
In constant communion with sacred ground
attests that nature-deprived cultures
who colonize to “civilize”
with otherworldly spiritualities
that widen the wedge,
by desecrating and debasing our essential earthiness.
has spawned a self-alienation
that threatens our very existence.
We cannot save Earth.Joe Grant, Scratchings
We can let the land reclaim
and welcome us home.
Still hermitage is calling us home,
ever ready to re-wild, body, spirit, soul,
waiting to re-enchant, wanting to make whole.
Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside youDavid Wagoner
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
May you make your way
to the quiet solitude of hermitage
and as you tread the sacred turf, let it lead you home.
Joe Grant is a seer and a sayer, a prophet and a poet. He divines the divine in the everyday stuff of life and speaks the essential truth that every place can be a thin place, every time Kairos time. Scratchings is Joe at his alliterative best, offering us a beautiful sacramental vision in which Spirit weaves us into a great, timeless community with each other and with the more-than-human world. This quiet, gentle, but powerful book is absolutely necessary medicine for our troubled times.
- Kyle Kramer, Executive Director of the Passionist Earth & Spirit Center,
author of Making Room: Soul-Deep Satisfaction Through Simple Living
(Franciscan Media, 2021)