My grandfather was a self-educated, blue collar guy.  He loved the outdoors and took me with him on many long walks through the woods and across the fields of rural Indiana and Michigan where I grew up.  He knew the names of plants and the habits of animals.  As we walked, he pointed things out and helped me understand them.  He told me that everything I need to know about life can be learned from nature.  But he cautioned me that nature shares her wisdom only with those who are worthy of receiving it.  He also cautioned me that nature is a subtle teacher and that it takes careful observation and a sense of reverence to learn her secrets.  Many people, he said, draw the wrong conclusions because they do not observe carefully.  Grandpa was also a poet.  I think he would have approved of this offering.

Make the Earth Your Companion
by J. Patrick Lewis

Make the Earth your companion.
Walk lightly on it, as other creatures do.
Let the Sky paint her beauty—she is always
watching over you.
Learn from the Sea how to face harsh forces.
Let the River remind you that everything will pass.
Let the Lake instruct you in stillness.
Let the Mountain teach you grandeur.
Make the Woodland your house of peace.
Make the Rainforest your house of hope.
Meet the Wetland on twilight ground.
Save some small piece of Grassland for a red kite
on a windy day.
Watch the Icecaps glisten with crystal majesty.
Hear the Desert whisper hush to eternity.
Let the Town weave a small basket of togetherness.
Make the Earth your companion.
Walk lightly on it, as other creatures do.

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