by John Muir
rugged old Norsemen spoke of death
as "heimgang" or homegoing.
So the snow-flowers go home when they
melt and flow to the sea,
and the rock-ferns, after unrolling their
fronds to the light
and beautifying the rocks, roll them up
and close again
and blend with the soil.
Myriads of rejoicing living creatures,
daily, hourly, perhaps every moment sink
into death's arms,
dust to dust, spirit to spirit --
waited on, watched on, noticed only by
each arriving at its own Heaven-dealt
All the merry dwellers of the trees and
and the myriad swarms of the air,
called into life by the sunbeam of a summer
go home through death,
wings folded perhaps in the last rays
of the day they were first tried.
Trees towering in the sky, braving storms
flowers turning faces to the light for
a single day or hour,
having enjoyed their share of Life's feast
all alike pass on and away under the law
of death and love.
Yet all are our brothers and they enjoy
life as we do,
share Heaven's blessings with us,
die and are buried in hallowed ground,
come with us out of eternity
and return into eternity.
lives are rounded with
Excerpted from John
of the Mountains:
The Unpublished Journals
of John Muir,
edited by Linnie Marsh