I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands one nation, diverse and indivisible, created and preserved by the love and labor of indigenous people, slaves and immigrants for their children and their children’s children as one nation with freedom to worship, to love, to marry and to seek the truth and insist on its telling and to preserve this fragile earth with respect, liberty and justice for all.
As I walk the old railroad bed away from town violets and periwinkles peer from bright green ground cover and the funky protozoan scent of the Raritan fills my nostrils. A cardinal’s scarlet flashes from a Sycamore overhead and two gold finches,like acrobatic dandelions, frolic through the green haze of trees. The path is lined with skunk cabbage, daffodils and buttercups, their mix of intention and happenstance so like life’s. High above, almost out of range, a hawk circles. The hum of the nearby Interstate hardly matters here. Its slinky spasms and urgencies are no longer my problem. I’ve traded those for the white flowers of May Apples, emerald velvet of moss and the disappearing tail of a red fox trotting into the trees. The world of commerce and its stresses computers, paperwork, clocks and what they count roll off me in a grateful sigh. I have lost my job and gained the world.