A Love Letter

Dear small-town Michigan America,

For years, I didn’t know you
For years, I ignored you
I thought you were comparable to Ann Arbor
when you were always in a class of your own
I thought that you were no good for me
and I no good for you
I thought you would suffocate me
the lack of human energy piercing my painfully extroverted heart
Forgive me
I didn’t know you
I didn’t know that the air you exhale is the gift of living forms high and low
I didn’t know the feeling of being cradled in your rolling meadows
of contemplating the heavens above as if nothing separated us
of wading through the serenity that is utter darkness.

I am sad for those who do not know you
Whose only contact with you are the fleeting minutes of their daily drive
leaving behind an unceremonious trail of roadkill
Who have long lost the innate love for you
slowly breeding it out of their blood
Who fear you so much that they resort to destroying you.

One does not know you by studying your creatures
by identifying family, genus, species
One does not know you by wintering in a log cabin by the seashore
overlooking the lighthouse
One knows you by sharing a life with you
by caring for you as you have cared for us
by giving back as you’ve given to us
By looking at you and whispering Alhamdulillah, thanks be to God.

There is nothing religious about you.

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