Wendell Berry Wednesdays: Be Present #Poetry #Vacation #Present #WendellBerry

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Wendell Berry never ceases to amaze me. Here, I am reminded of the hours my father spent behind one of those old clunky VHS camcorders of the late 1980s. Rather than taking part in our family vacations, he served as video historian and ended up watching us and everything we experienced through a small lens, earning little more than a sore shoulder. I can count on one hand the number of times we’ve returned to those old tapes, especially now in our digital era. How much life have we missed because we’ve been wooed away from the moment by our insane need to chronicle rather than live life?

The Vacation by Wendell Berry

Once there was a man who filmed his vacation.
He went flying down the river in his boat
with his video camera to his eye, making
a moving picture of the moving river
upon which his sleek boat moved swiftly
toward the end of his vacation. He showed
his vacation to his camera, which pictured it,
preserving it forever: the river, the trees,
the sky, the light, the bow of his rushing boat
behind which he stood with his camera
preserving his vacation even as he was having it
so that after he had had it he would still
have it. It would be there. With a flick
of a switch, there it would be. But he
would not be in it. He would never be in it.

From The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry, published by Counterpoint, Washington, 1998: pg. 157.

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