Our family lost a treasure this week, our cousin Tommy Elliott. Tommy was an adventurer in every sense of the word, living life with a passion and childlike joy that made you want to breathe deeper, go further and see the wild places of this world. To say he will be missed, especially when we gather around a campfire at Mac County, our family camp, is a great understatement. But Tommy will be there, in the bright blue of the flames shining like his brilliant blue eyes, in the cry of coyotes at night telling stories to one another, in the clear innumerable stars that refuse to be dimmed or counted. Tommy will be there. He taught us all how to seize this precious life with unbridled curiosity, exploring all its depths and heights until freedom was not just a word, but a reality. Tommy always was free, in his abiding faith and unwavering sense of self, in his charm and deep love for his family. Now he knows a freedom that is even greater, an adventure that has only begun and will never end. We love you, Tommy. We’ll see you again.
“The Summer Day”
by Mary Oliver
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?