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Richard Hague’s The Spirit Of Hague

1248 words - 5 pages

Richard Hague’s The Spirit of Hague

“We’re all angels and heaven is right here,” writes author Richard Hague (24). This sentiment from “Heaven, 1957,” a beautiful piece of prose poetry written about one of Hague’s first spiritual experiences, leads me to this question: What is spirituality? Many people equate it with religion, but in my opinion that is a serious mistake because it greatly limits and eliminates many other possible realms of spirituality. On the one hand, religion is a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things, which is highly organized and structured, mostly through various denominations of church (Shepard 388). On the other hand, spirituality is an insightful journey into self discovery and the path one takes to open the soul. Being a spiritual person involves having a strong sense of inner peace and acceptance that comes from “making connections.” I am particularly fond of the definition of spirituality given in a book entitled Conversations With God: An Uncommon Dialogue, by Neale Donald Walsch. Walsch is very confused about religion and the meaning of life, so he has a “question and answer” session with God. To his astonishment, God started answering his questions. When Walsch asked God about religion and spirituality, God suggested to him that “religion encourages you to explore the thoughts of others and accept them as your own, and spirituality invites you to toss away the thoughts of others and come up with your own” (61). While one can find spirituality through connecting with a higher power (God, Buddha, Allah, etc.), nature, the universe, and other people, Richard Hague used nature as his primary source of spirituality. Richard Hague learned a tremendous amount about himself and his spirituality throughout his life, and he accomplished this by passionately connecting with the world of nature.

From reading Milltown Natural, it is clearly apparent to me that nature had a very prominent place in Richard Hague’s life. He developed this love of nature fairly early in life. As a child, Hague was always exploring the river, collecting a wide assortment of animals, studying the intricate biology of insects, and leisurely fishing with his grandpa. In “Menagerie,” Hague started “collecting all sorts of diversified animals: an alligator, several different kinds of snakes, beetles, turtles, dogs, numerous insects, and parakeets.” He learned from these animals “that there were alternatives, other ways of being and living” (35). Unfortunately, Hague’s wild curiosity and exploration of these animals caused their untimely demise. At the end of the story, when the alligator dies, Hague finally realizes the unfairness in taking an animal out of its own environment and expecting it to conform with ours. He understands that all animals need to be respected for their own unique qualities. Hague recognizes how imperative it is for each animal to occupy it’s own special place in the universe, because to...

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