Footprints

We envied the bats their flight.
We forced ourselves into their skies with fuel and steel.
And now they fall from trees,
Lie in dark and heavy clumps,
Forever grounded.

We envied the horses their speed.
We built machines to beat their power with gas and spark.
And now they fade from thirst,
Drop down beside a dried-out water hole,
Forever still.

Ours was once the foot fall,
The pace of one after another,
Eyes level with the horizon.
The sky not to conquer but to wonder at,
To write stories from clouds and stars.
The earth not to speed past, but to wander in,
To learn the shapes of leaves and the taste of fruits.

Now, hands on the wheels of our cars,
Many of us are still the ones driven
Between the twin pressures of rent and paycheck.
Alone, few of us could afford
To stop our car in a curve of gravel
Open the door
Climb over the guardrail
And strike out into the nearest field, hands brushing the dandelions.

But the pace of wandering
Is also the pace of the march,
The picket line.
Together, we can walk off our jobs,
Crowd out the cars from the streets,
Restore the sky to the bats
And the water to the horses
And to ourselves a way of moving through the earth
That doesn’t force us,
Every day,
To leave a little more of life and soul behind.

Image Leonardo da Vinci 

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