courage (New Scholars)

Antonella “Bird” Anderson

Plan II/Psychology

This summer, I’ve been attempting to memorize more poetry (with moderate success). The Peace of Wild Things, by Wendell Berry, was first on my list, as these past couple months have been adding layers of truth to Berry’s opening lines: When despair for the world grows in me/ and I wake in the night at the least sound/ in fear of what my life and children’s lives may be. As a Plan II and Psychology double major, with a double minor in Spanish and Social Work, a large portion of my academic studies emphasizes being aware of problems: societal problems, mental and physical health problems, systemic problems in national government, localized problems in my surrounding community, and so on and on. It can be difficult, especially after only a single year of university, to not feel overwhelmed with the same general sense of growing despair at the world that Berry expresses. But the poem does not end with despair. Berry finds solace in nature, among wild things/ who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. And in the presence of still water, he is able to rest in the grace of the world, to feel free. And that is what I have begun to learn over the course of my freshman year, to find my own places to rest and feel free. To find the places that the world has a little more grace for me. Whether through my community of recording artists and musicians at UTalent Records, my fellow creatives at TEDxUTAustin, the joyous children I meet through SCORE and Reading Aces, or the relationships I build through working with Casa Marianella, I am developing the skills I need to combat the despair that is increasing around us, and learning how to bring my peers alongside me. I am so thankful to the Dedman family for giving me the opportunity to continue seeking and creating solutions to the problems before me.