Without a trace

In an age when the Tao is followed,
no one rewards the talented
or pays special attention
to the lovely,
the virtuous,
or the wise.

Those who govern are simply
the highest branches on the tree,
and the people wander in freedom,
like deer in the woods.

They are honest but think nothing of it,
they naturally do what is right,
they are kind without any conception of kindness,
and are trustworthy though they wouldn’t know what that means.
They keep no records of their good deeds,
because good deeds are so common.

That is why all their actions have vanished,
without a trace.

– Stephen Mitchell


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