for Casey

Those of us who have wild woven into our souls—

     we who are pulled toward mountains,

     growing stronger as we get closer,

     we who ache to smell and touch trees,

     desiring the touch of the sun, the tickle of the wind

     as much as we do any flesh and blood lover,

     we who nestle into beds of leaves and grass,

     cradled and comforted into deep, dreamful sleep,

     we who carry the river, feeling it rush and flow

     through the caverns and banks of our own bodies,

     we who can decipher the alphabet of the stars,

     delighting in the poetry we read in each night sky,

     we who feel honored by the presence of animals,

     grateful for all they teach and tell,

     we who need regular doses of fresh, outside air

     to sustain us during time in buildings and cities,

     we whose spirits recognize their reflections

     in the forest’s eyes, the desert’s mirror,

     we who learn our truths by listening

     to birdsong and thunder, by paying attention to lessons

     taught by clouds and rocks, raindrops and feathers,

     we who cannot and will not stop exploring,

     curiosity propelling us farther and farther,

     we who speak the language of wonder

     and sing songs of discovery—

we must take care of each other,

using our feel-everything-wide-open hearts

to find each other and nurture the longings

for freedom and wilderness in our daily lives.

We must seek opportunities to commune,

to celebrate, and collaborate, igniting

and sustaining flames of passion and purpose.

We must share the abundant lessons and gifts

from the natural world with those who need them,

using our ease, our skills in the woods

to guide others’ journeys toward discovery.

We must protect those places and all

that inhabit them, balancing our knowledge

with responsibility, modeling respect and reverence.

We must commit to staying wise and alive,

staying aware and connected, carving time

out of our tame lives to get out and simply be

in those spaces and with those spirits

that remind us who we really are,

how wild we have always been,

how wild we must remain.

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