One of the many reasons I love the writing of Wendell Berry…

…is paragraphs like this:

When he lets himself out through the lot gate and into the open, past the barn and the other buildings, he can see the country lying under the sun. Nearby, on his own ridges, the crops are young and growing, the pastures are lush, a field of hay has been raked into curving windrows. Inlets of the woods, in the perfect foliage of the early season, reach up the hollows between the ridges. Lower down, these various inlets join in the larger woods embayed in the little valley of Shade Branch. Beyond the ridges and hollows of the farm he can see the opening of the river valley, and beyond that the hills on the far side, blue in the distance.

Or how about this:

A water thrush moves down the rocks of the streambed ahead of him, teetering and singing. He stops and stands to watch while a striped woodpecker works its way up the trunk of a big sycamore, putting its eye close to peer under the loose scales of the bark. And then the bird flies to its nesting hole in a hollow snag still nearer by to feed its young, paying Mat no mind. He has become still as a tree, and now a hawk suddenly stands on a limb close over his head. The hawk loosens his feathers and shrugs, looking around him with his fierce eyes. And it comes to Mat that once more, by stillness, he has passed across into the wild inward presence of the place.

Yes, I think if I could write paragraphs like that, I would call myself a writer.

By the way, both of these paragraphs are taken from a story called ‘The Boundary’, found in the collection entitled ‘That Distant Land: The Collected Stories‘ (published in 2004 by Counterpoint).

More about Wendell Berry here.

Berry

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