A long time ago, I killed a mouse in the kitchen by dropping it into a bucket of water. Thinking that would drown him. But it kept swimming back up to the surface. The mouse eventually drowned. At the moment of death a white mist came out of its mouth into the water. That was the mouse’s last breath - as if “seeing” his life spirit leave the body. One of the most memorable experiences in my life.
Wonderful lines from Walt Whitman's preface to his 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass.
This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body. . . . The poet shall not spend his time in unneeded work. He shall know that the ground is always ready ploughed and manured. . . . others may not know it but he shall. He shall go directly to the creation.