I have learned to love growing things.
Where once I plucked the blooms and tore the leaves,
Tossing them aside,
I have learned to meet them in their tenderness,
To care for them gently, to learn their names,
And speak to them with kindness.
Growing things are a blessing.
Vulnerable in their station,
They nourish the earth and replenish it.
They make their place a garden.
We were made to be gardeners.
I have learned to love the soil,
To reach my hands into its heart,
To find within its cool darkness
The source and sustenance of all things.
I love the creatures who dig and tunnel within it,
Who feed and nurture it, who contribute to it.
I used to say, “it’s just dirt,” but now I have
realized my commonness with the clay
And the loam.
We are made of this.
We will return to it.
I have learned to love the beasts,
Those which crawl, swim, run, and hop,
Which creep and fly and slither.
I have held all manner in my hands and
Felt their breath and looked in their eyes.
I have seen within them the force of life,
How they do what they are made to do,
How they seem to find joy in doing it.
I have learned to love the night,
To take comfort in the sounds of blue darkness,
The loud chirping of the frogs and crickets.
I have been to places of such blackness
That the dusk gives way to indescribable beauty,
The galaxy appears in inscrutable splendor.
I have learned to love the stars,
To feel their cold light and contemplate smallness,
To see in them the source of matter.
The planets are formed by their cycles.
I have learned to love the stones.
Creek pebbles and mountain boulders.
Shale and pumice, granite and sandstone,
Limestone and quartz.
Their story is measured in millennia and eras,
Billions of years.
I have learned to love the water.
Brackish and fresh, rivers and lakes,
Oceans and seas.
I have learned to love its clearness,
To love its freeness, its untamed drive
To break its bonds, to push out, to escape,
The “enlightened” look around to find
A world of full of resources and possessions.
They see supplies and assets to use
As they chase their own godhood—
As they strive to be “creators.”
I, however, am learning to find myself
A part of this place, to know myself
As a creature among creatures,
As a child of the dust and the stars,
Made of water and soil
And bound to this world.