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The On Being Project

Trusting in the Natural Order of Things

A few months ago, I posted Jane Kenyon’s “Otherwise”. In “Let Evening Come,” Kenyon offers yet another answer to the question of what it means to live a good life. Last time the word was “gratitude.” This time it’s “acceptance” — acceptance of the cycle of life, including the darkness that endlessly alternates with the light.

A younger friend once asked me how I felt about entering into my “sunset years.” It was evening and we could see the sun dropping below the horizon.

“Let me put it this way,” I said. “Given the hour, if that sun reversed course and began to rise, it would NOT be good news! In fact, it would be terrifying, a sign of The Apocalypse! As I enter my ‘sunset years,’ I’m glad for a chance to go along with the natural order of things.”

“Let Evening Come” reminds me that the sunset is not only natural. With it comes beauty in many forms — if we have eyes to see and ears to hear.

“Let Evening Come”
by Jane Kenyon

Let the light of late afternoon
shine through chinks in the barn, moving
up the bales as the sun moves down.

Let the cricket take up chafing
as a woman takes up her needles
and her yarn. Let evening come.

Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned
in long grass. Let the stars appear
and the moon disclose her silver horn.

Let the fox go back to its sandy den.
Let the wind die down. Let the shed
go black inside. Let evening come.

To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop
in the oats, to air in the lung
let evening come.

Let it come, as it will, and don’t
be afraid. God does not leave us
comfortless, so let evening come.

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