Homegoing

As Richard often hiked in the back hills of John Muir's explorations of Briones Park, this passage is very fitting to his personal experiences of nature and was included in the Memorial Service as a gift read by dear friend and spiritual mentor Sheila Krystal.

Homegoing
by John Muir
          

The 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 their Maker,
each arriving at its own Heaven-dealt destiny.            
All the merry dwellers of the trees and streams,
and the myriad swarms of the air,
called into life by the sunbeam of a summer morning,
go home through death,
wings folded perhaps in the last rays of sunset
of the day they were first tried.
Trees towering in the sky, braving storms of centuries,
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.

"Our lives are rounded with a sleep."

Excerpted from John of the Mountains:
The Unpublished Journals of John Muir
,
edited by Linnie Marsh Wolfe (1938)
pp.439-440