Connecting to the Silence

After the winds that drove the firestorm through Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino counties,  I woke up in the night to the sound of no wind, utter silence. I felt something sacred had
occurred and this experience prompted me to write the following poem/prayer for the invocation at the Taste of Capay event, held on October 29th at Full Belly Farm in Guinda, Cal.


Connecting to the Silence

 

I would like to welcome everyone here today to celebrate agriculture and community.

Let us take a moment of silence

 

When the wind stops blowing,

When the fires cease to burn,

When the flood waters recede,

When the blue sky appears,

When the dust settles,

What remains is Silence.

 

In the beginning was the Silence.

All life as we know it, was birthed by this Silence

 

Our meal here today is actually in celebration of this Silence.

This Eternal stillness.

This Silence exists in the heartbeat of our all living creatures,

And it binds us together in ways we don’t fully understand,

 

It exits in the food upon our plates grown in living soils,

It exists in the community of neighbors we share,

It exists in the songs that we sing and in the stories we tell,

in the memories we carry inside.

The Silence was present in the beginning and it resides in us.

 

So today, as we partake of this life giving food and water,

Let us remain mindful of those whose lives have been touched by tragedy,

Let us be mindful of those without homes,

those without food,

those without family,

those without community,  

those without peace.

 

And let us be mindful and thankful for all the rescuers in life,

the healers, who have reached out with compassion and selflessness,

extending hands to the refugees from boats in the oceans,

and wars in the deserts,.

Those knocking on doors in the middle of the night with warnings of danger.

Those putting their lives in harms way to protect the innocent.

Those caring for the sick, the infirmed,  and the elderly.

Let us also be rescuers,

for by extending the hand of compassion and sharing,

we ourselves are healed.

 

And let us not forget of our earth companions,

those creatures that share this time and space with us.

They also are our brothers and sisters.

Let us continue to make a home for them in the oceans,

and the mountains, and the cities,

and the forests, and on the farms and in the soils.

There is room in the Garden for all of life’s creatures.

For they too were born of the Silence.

They too are nourished by the heartbeat.

They too are connected to us.

 

And finally, let us be the ones who blaze new trails of restoration and renewal on this planet.

For we have experienced the frailty of life, 

Let us all be the farmers who sow seeds of hope in the barren lands of nations around this world.

Let us all till the soil of peace and reconciliation.

Let us water the plants of equality and justice.

And let us harvest the abundance of the garden with gratitude and humility.

And let us share that abundance with all.

For it is the gift of creation.

 

Poet and songwriter Gordon Lightfoot talks about the Silence this way,

“there was a time in this fair land when the railroad did not run,

when the wild majestic mountains stood alone against the sun,

long before the white man and long before the wheel,

when the green dark forest was too Silent to be real”

 

In the beginning was the Silence.

The Silence has given us this food

The Silence has given us this land.

The Silence has brought this community together.

This Silence is the sacred reality that calls us to enjoy and share and celebrate

For this we are thankful.

 

Let us enjoy this meal together,

today, in this place.

With grateful hearts.

 

Please enjoy your meal. Thank you 

-Jim Durst

 

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