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The Real Work

I was laid up for the last few days. I have allergies and this time of the year is always a challenge. I think I picked up a bug to give me a double-whammy. I slept a good part of Friday and Saturday and, on Sunday, was upright for most of the day.

I am not sure if I will post later. While sitting upright and not doing much else on Sunday, this Wendell Berry poem kept poking at me.

Living is paradoxical. Parker Palmer described how this creates tension in living. Just as we think everything is as it should be, something pokes at us and unsettles us, calling on us to begin our real work and commencing the real journey. Being mindful and attentive remind us to be still and look below the surface of what is happening.

It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come 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.

This is Athabasca Falls. The river upstream is quite wide and as it comes around the corner suddenly narrows. In Wendell Berry’s poem, it is impeded and creates a great force that carves out solid granite.

About ivonprefontaine

I completed a PhD at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA. Previously, I taught for 20 years and taught for 15 years in a wonderful hybrid school. My dissertation topic and research were how certain teachers experience becoming who teachers. In teaching and leanring, I am a boundary-crosser who understands moving ahead is a leap of faith. Teaching is a calling and vocation to express who I am as a person. Currently, I am waiting and listening to what calls me next. I am an educator, phenomenologist, scholar, boundary-crosser, published poet, author, parent, grandparent, and spouse.

18 responses »

  1. Very impressive photo. Hope you will feel better soon.

    • It is an interesting place. The power of water has carved out a new route and we walked in the old river bed. It is only about 10 feet wide. The river around the bend is probably 75-100 feet wide.

  2. quite excellent, glad you’re feeling better

  3. Best wishes also from me/ us. Thanks for the nice posting! 😉 Michael

  4. Sometimes our lives get so busy, we have to get set down to let our minds create.

  5. Ivon, I hope you continue to improve. Thank for posting, even as you recover. Both Parker Palmer and Wendell Barry offer us so much. I have learned that when we slow down – either by conscious choice or by being forced to – we begin to see what we have long missed, outside of ourselves and if we do our work, inside of ourselves as well.

  6. I so like this thank you. And this poem is reassuring too.

  7. Feel better, Ivon. Allergies suck. 😉 xoxoM


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