Keep Encouraged


“I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow
     from the grass I love,
If you want me again look for me
     under your boot-soles.



(Photo credit: Donna Tippy)

“You will hardly know who I am
     or what I mean,
But I shall be good health to you
     nevertheless,
And filter and fibre your blood.

(Photo credit: Donna Tippy)

“Failing to fetch me at first keep
     encouraged,
Missing me one place search another,
I stop somewhere waiting for you.”

          -Walt Whitman
          “Song of Myself (52)”


I’m not sure what it was about a muddy dog exploring the side of a remote lake high up in the Green Mountains that made me think of Whitman’s poem. There’s a sense to it that long after we die, we may be found, in this important, real, fundamental way, in the earth we have returned to.

And something about this beautiful, silly dog, plunging his face into the rich mud, made me think that mingling ourselves with these open spaces isn’t all that different from the mingling that will take place when we die. After all, aren’t we dying all the time, even when we’re most alive, flinging mud and rot and life around us in a circle?

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