For the ground beneath our feet. The slip of paper in my cookie tells me there is nothing down there: look up! As if there were anything of consequence above our heads! Unbroken blue, on a good day. Light too strong to look at. Clouds, which we imagine into shapes of things down here. Stars, which we imagine into shapes of things down here. Look up, indeed! We ought to look down in the first place: at the mosaic of stones, the softly shooting grass, the gentle riot of wildflowers, the skittering of beetles, the slithering of infant snakes, the ripples of a strider’s feet on a mud puddle. Look up? What do expect to see? God? But there’s God now, taking off his socks, sinking his toes into the the cool mud, sniffing the tiny golden flower atop the stalk that looks like grass, the one you didn’t even notice with your head in the clouds. It’s why he made the place, you know, so don’t go thinking you’re too good for it. Look down, friend! It’s where the action is.
For mud, that dank cacophony of death and life from which all life and death comes new. All the leavings of forgotten seasons, entombed as one, consumed and voided, long returned to elements. Carcasses of spiders. Beetles, grubs. Wings of moths. Eggshells, snake skins, apple cores. Fallen limbs and mottled leaves. Lichen, moss, and petals. The body of a sparrow, broken. The blood of a squirrel. A wine-dark stew of humus, rot, decay, detritus, death. And now into this sacred ooze, this primal muck of first creation, the ancient oak tree, dead the winter, sinks his toes. Drinks in the warmth, accepts the blessing of the earth. Tomorrow he’ll unfurl his limbs, turn his face towards the sun: and live again.