Every once in a while, I run across a bit of text that captures a thought in an inspiring way. This quote is from The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell with Bill Moyers. It is from a letter to Washington, DC from Chief Seattle responding to the government's request to buy their land. I had to stop and read it twice, finally writing it down.
I hope it gives you a sense of awe as well.
“The President in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy our land. But how can you buy or sell the sky? The land? The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them?
Every part of this earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every Sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every meadow, every humming insect. All are holy in the memory and experience of my people.
We know the sap which courses through the trees as we know the blood that courses through our veins. We are part of the earth and it is part of us. The perfumed flowers are our sisters. The bear, the deer, the great Eagle, these are our brothers. The Rocky crest, the juices in the meadow, the body heat of the pony, and man, all belong to the same family.
The shining water that flows in the streams in the rivers is not just water, but the blood of our ancestors. If we sell you our land, you must remember that it is sacred.
The rivers are our brothers. They quench our thirst. They carry our canoes hand feed our children. So you must give to the rivers the kindness you would give any brother.
. . . One thing we know: our God is also your god. The earth is precious to him and to harm the earth is to heap contempt on its creator.
Preserve the land for all children and love it, as God loves us all."
Letter to Washington, DC from Chief Seattle, 1852
I'm in the middle of reading a very good novel, "A Conspiracy of Paper" by David Liss. This engaging story is set in England in the 1700's and I'm enjoying the language and word choice that add to the authenticity of the historical setting.
For instance, he referred to a minor character as a sycophant. That's not a word I've heard often, but it describes a person who uses flattery to win favor from individuals wielding influence. This type of character is not unique to the 1700's -- they are still around. In fact, Sophia is tries to work with a sycophant in Book 3, but more about that later.
For more definitions of sycophant, click this link to the Free Dictionary
Insights on writing, characters, humor and other tidbits from the author of the "Scoops and Schemes" series of novels.
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