Yesterday, I used small rocks to write the phrase “my soul where you stand” on a span of concrete at a local park. It’s a type of graffiti, I suppose, but one that doesn’t leave a trace as soon as someone brushes or kicks the rocks away.
The phrase is from a poem by Walt Whitman titled “A Noiseless Patient Spider,” which we discussed at LiTFUSE last weekend as part of the revision session led by Holly Hughes. Whitman is addressing his own soul (i.e., “you”) in the lines from this poem, not someone or something outside himself, but I like the idea of the soul existing without rather than within — inside the “you” of the world — so I’ve adopted the phrase in this context.
I have been invoking these words repeatedly, a mantra, so I might come to see my soul in the “you” of the beloved, the friend, the stranger, the enemy, the tree, the rock, the sky, the soil, the water, the animal, the microbe — inside the big fat “you” of it all.
I believe that, if I come to see the world in this way, I will take better care of it. I will move with more purpose and tenderness — and perhaps, now and again, with grace.