This is what you shall do

I read Whitman’s poem last night. Really a worthwhile read.

This is what you shall do:
Love the earth and sun and the animals,
Despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks,
Stand up for the stupid and crazy,
Devote your income and labors to others,
Hate tyrants, argue not concerning God,
Have patience and indulgence toward the people,
Take off your hat to nothing known or unknown,
Or to any man or number of men,
Go freely with powerful uneducated persons,
And with the young and with the mothers of families,
Read these leaves in the open air,
Every season of every year of your life,
Reexamine all you have been told,
At school at church or in any book,
Dismiss whatever insults your own soul,
And your very flesh shall be a great poem,
And have the richest fluency not only in its words,
But in the silent lines of its lips and face,
And between the lashes of your eyes,
And in every motion and joint of your body.

Hunting Hawk

I posted before about seeing wild animals frequently, and how special and spiritual the experience is. Yesterday, on my way home, I saw a Red-Tailed Hawk scoop up a squirrel and fly with it into the trees. Not only was this a spectacular natural experience, but it also inspired some personal thinking.

I’m not sure I always believe a natural experience is a sign, but it the better story. So what could this be a sign of? My book Tao of Thoreau has really been selling lately. Perhaps it is a sign that I am capturing an audience? Or maybe not, since that squirrel would represent my readers, and I don’t want them to be eaten. Maybe it means the book is “killing” them?

Certainly, it could be a bad sign. I suppose I could be the squirrel, in the clutches of a predator. But I don’t like that story, so I think I’ll stick with the first one.

This is not the hawk in question. Please do not blame it for killing a squirrel. Though I’m sure it’s beak isn’t clean.