Dances with Wolves last scene…
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Dances with Wolves last scene…
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“Take someone who doesn’t keep score, who’s not looking to be richer, or afraid of losing, who has not the slightest interest even in his own personality: He’s free.” – Rumi
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“Remember only this one thing,” said Badger. “The stories people tell have a way of taking care of them. If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive.” -Barry Lopez
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“What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace.” – Agnes M. Pahro
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“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.” – Calvin Coolidge
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“Christmas Eve was a night of song that wrapped itself about you like a shawl. But it warmed more than your body. It warmed your heart… filled it, too, with a melody that would last forever. Even though you grew up and found you could never quite bring back the magic feeling of this night, the melody would stay in your heart always – a song for all the years.” – Beth Streeter Aldrich
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“Christmas is the keeping-place for memories of our innocence.” – Joan Mills
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“It’s been my experience that most folk who ride trains could care less where they’re going. For them it’s the journey itself and the people they meet along the way. You see, at every stop this train makes, a little bit of America, a little bit of your country, gets on and says hello. That’s why trains are so popular at Christmas. People get on to meet their country over the holidays. They’re looking for some friendship, a warm body to talk to. People don’t rush on a train, because that’s not what trains are for. How do you put a dollar value on that? What accounting line does that go on?” – David Baldacci, “The Christmas Train”
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“This Christmas mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a letter. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Manifest your loyalty in word and deed. Keep a promise. Forgo a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Apologize. Try to understand. Examine your demands on others. Think first of someone else. Be kind. Be gentle. Laugh a little more. Express your gratitude. Welcome a stranger. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your love, and then speak it again.” – Howard W. Hunter
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“…freshly cut Christmas trees smelling of stars and snow and pine resin – inhale deeply and fill your soul with wintry night…” – John Geddes
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“What is the spirit of Christmas, you ask? Let me give you the answer in a true story…
On a cold day in December, feeling especially warm in my heart for no other reason than it was the holiday season, I walked through the store sporting a big grin on my face. Though most people were far too busy going about their business to notice me, one elderly gentleman in a wheelchair brought his eyes up to meet mine as we neared each other traveling opposite directions. He slowed in passing just long enough to speak to me.
“Now that’s a Christmas smile if I ever saw one,” he said.
My lips stretched to their limit in response, and I thanked him for the compliment. Then we went our separate ways. But, as I thought about the man and how sweetly he’d touched me, I realized something simply wonderful! In that brief, passing interaction we’d exchanged heartfelt gifts!
And that, my friend, is the spirit of Christ~mas. ” – Richelle E. Goodrich
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The auction in Paris was set to move briskly, at about two items a minute; the room was hot and crowded, buzzing with reporters.
More than 100 American Indian artifacts were about to go on sale at the Drouot auction house, including 24 pieces, resembling masks, that are held sacred by the Hopi of Arizona. The tribe, United States officials and others had tried unsuccessfully to block the sale in a French court, arguing that the items were religious objects that had been stolen many years ago.
Now the Annenberg Foundation decided to get involved from its offices in Los Angeles. It hoped to buy all of the Hopi artifacts, plus three more sought by the San Carlos Apaches, at the Dec. 9 sale and return them to the tribes. To prevent prices from rising, the foundation kept its plan a secret, even from the Hopis, in part to protect the tribe from potential disappointment. Given the nine-hour time difference, the foundation put together a team that could work well into the night, bidding by phone in the auction in France.
The foundation had never done something like this before — a repatriation effort — and the logistics were tricky, to say the least.
Two staff members in Los Angeles, one a French speaker, were assigned to the job. The foundation also quietly arranged for a Paris lawyer, Pierre Servan-Schreiber, who had represented the Hopi pro bono in the court proceeding, to serve as lookout in the auction room.
He stood in the back, on the phone to the foundation. Whispering updates to him was Philip J. Breeden, a cultural attaché from the United States Embassy.
“It was intense, like a movie,” Mr. Servan-Schreiber said.
But camouflaging the role of the foundation was crucial.
“I knew nothing good would come out of it if the house knew there were people out to get the whole thing,” he said. “I was sure that would jack up the prices.”
The sale had been assembled by the auction house EVE with pieces from a variety of American tribes that were held by a number of French collectors, all of whom said they had owned the items for many years and had good title to them. Several collectors said they had been impressed by prices realized at an April auction of 70 Hopi artifacts.
The tribe had been angered by the earlier sale as well, which like this auction featured vibrantly decorated Hopi headdresses, known as Katsinam. The tribe, which had gone to court to block both sales, believes the items are not simply religious, but living entities with divine spirits.
Gregory Annenberg Weingarten, vice president and director of the foundation who lives in Paris, had followed the legal battle in the French news media. After the Hopi lost in court on Dec. 6, he went to the auction house to preview the artifacts, all of which are more than a century old.
“These are not trophies to have on one’s mantel,” Mr. Weingarten would say later. “They are truly sacred works for the Native Americans. They do not belong in auction houses or private collections.”
Mr. Weingarten had his California staff tally the presale estimates from the auction catalog and confirm that the objects were authentic. The staff members also became familiar with the Hopi belief system and built a database that would allow them to follow online the bidding on the objects they wanted. Mr. Weingarten approved a budget of $500,000 to $1 million to buy all 27 disputed Native American lots — the 24 masklike Hopi artifacts and three items of divine significance to the San Carlos Apache, also in Arizona. To do so he tapped into a discretionary fund set aside for individual projects.
“It was a leap-of-faith kind of moment for us,” said Leonard J. Aube, executive director of the foundation, which was founded by Walter H. Annenberg, the publisher, philanthropist and diplomat. “Not a lot of foundations are geared up for this kind of clandestine, late-night activity.”
At one point, the owner of the EVE auction house, Alain Leroy, said he had noticed that one phone bidder was grabbing up the disputed Hopi objects and told an employee to check into it. Reassured that the buyer had wired money ahead of time and was legitimate, he says he nonetheless grew frustrated and even muttered aloud that he hoped the secret bidder would “leave some for the others.”
Members of the Hopi tribe were also watching the sale online from Arizona. Unaware of the forces at work on their behalf, they said they became dispirited as item after item sold. Sam Tenakhongva, a cultural director for the Hopi, said when he turned off his lights at 2 a.m., he felt he was saying goodbye to the spirits embodied in the headdresses.
The foundation, however, had enjoyed marked success in the bidding. By the end of the auction, it had spent $530,695 and bought all but three of the 24 Hopi objects and the three other Apache artifacts that the foundation had sought.
And one of the three, a Hopi headdress featuring antelope antlers, had been bought by Mr. Servan-Schreiber on behalf of a couple, Marshall W. Parke, of the private equity firm Lexington Partners, and his wife, Véronique, who had instructed him to obtain what he could as a gift to the Hopis.
Mr. Servan-Schreiber said when it was his turn to bid, he took care to inform the foundation people, “so we wouldn’t start bidding against each other.”
The foundation lost out on only two items, both times, participants said, because of miscommunication. But they secured the auction’s priciest lot, a Hopi Crow Mother headdress that sold for $130,000. The event, which was over in a quick hour, generated $1.6 million in sales.
“It’s a good outcome for the Hopi but not the collectors, I suppose,” Mr. Leroy, the auction house owner, said of the foundation’s tally. The Hopi did not learn of their tribe’s good fortune until several hours later when the foundation sent an email alerting them to its clandestine purchases. Mr. Aube said the Annenberg Foundation, which focuses on civic and community projects, is consulting with the Hopi on how best to return the Katsinam.
The objects, surreal faces made from wood, leather, horsehair and feathers and painted in vivid reds, blues, yellows and oranges, cannot be encased in Bubble Wrap, for example, because it would be seen as suffocating the divine spirits. The Hopi have not identified their plans for these artifacts on their return, but they are not viewed as art objects or housed in museums. Typically, Katsinam are still used in spiritual ceremonies or are retired and left to disintegrate naturally.
For Mr. Tenakhongva, the fact that the Katsinam had to be bought and paid for, even by benefactors, was a bittersweet nod to the reality that some American Indian artifacts have become highly sought, expensive commodities.
“No one should have to buy back their sacred property,” he said. “But now at least they will be at home with us and they will go to rest.”
“Michaelangelo was asked how he sculpted the magnificent classic statue of David. “I looked into the stone and saw David. Then I simply cleared away everything that wasn’t David.” Our work is exactly the same. We do not have to create who we are……we just need to discover what about our life is not who we are, and let it go.” – Alan Cohen
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“Who am I?”….sincere, consistent inquiry into this most important question will eventually reveal that many of the things we identify with, are not who we are. When all of our illusions are peeled away, only divinity remains.”- Alan Cohen
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“Who are you? You are not your name, which could change. Your identity goes far beyond your relationships. You are not your bank account, which rises and falls. You are not your house, from which you come and go. You are not your job, which is temporary. You are not your emotions, which wax and wane. You are not your religion, which is a mutable belief system. You are not your body…You are not even your thoughts, which vacillate and turn in all directions. If you are not any of these things that you commonly identify with, who are you? We are spiritual beings, and any other identity detracts from the majesty of our true essence. Let go of false beliefs about yourself, that the true you may shine in all its splendor.” – Alan Cohen
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“Everything that ever happened to me that was important happened in the desert.” – Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient
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“He’d always had a quickening of the heart when he crossed into Arizona and beheld the cactus country. This was as the desert should be, this was the desert of the picture books, with the land unrolled to the farthest distant horizon hills, with saguaro standing sentinel in their strange chessboard pattern, towering supinely above the fans of ocotillo and brushy mesquite.” – Dorothy B. Hughes
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“The fire. The odor of burning juniper is the sweetest fragrance on the face of the earth, in my honest judgment; I doubt if all the smoking censers of Dante’s paradise could equal it. One breath of juniper smoke, like the perfume of sagebrush after rain, evokes in magical catalysis, like certain music, the space and light and clarity and piercing strangeness of the American West. Long may it burn.” – Edward Abbey
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National Parks: Shutting Down America’s Best Idea
The parks are essential to the country’s well-being.
A U.S. Park Police officer watches at left as a National Park Service
employee posts a sign on a barricade closing access to the Lincoln
Memorial in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday.
Published October 2, 2013
Yesterday, as the U.S. government shut down, all 401 of our national
parks closed their gates. The campers and visitors inside were given
two days to leave. It was no great surprise.
We had gone to sleep the night before knowing that time had run out;
there would be no last-minute return to sanity in Congress, no daring
White House maneuver that might avert the shutdown. The sequester of
last March, with its closing of selected parks, national monuments,
and historical sites, had given us a preview and some degree of
preparation for bigger hits this time. Yet one word in my morning
paper stopped me in mid-paragraph and made me bristle: “nonessential.”
Of all federal endeavors deemed nonessential by the government, I
learned, the national parks are at the top of the list. Really? I
found myself questioning priorities. Many of the choices made in the
present crisis do make some sense: The military will not be
furloughed, nor will Social Security workers or air traffic
controllers. Some of the shutdowns are even to be celebrated, if you
happen to share my values: No new oil or gas leases will be contracted
on lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management, and IRS
offices are closing here and there around the country.
Mark Weekley, superintendent at the National Park Service’s Lewis and
Clark National Historical Trail, affixes the edges of a sign
proclaiming the facility closed due to the federal government
shutdown, in Omaha, Neb., on Tuesday.
There are gray areas in between, of course. Just now, in writing this,
I heard the postal van and walked down, as usual, to meet my mail
carrier on the driveway. I was glad to see her unfurloughed and losing
no pay. And yet. It was one of those junk-mail days, with not one
piece of actual correspondence, not a single letter addressed to me. I
walked the envelope of coupons from Valpak.com and the sales fliers
from Lucky, Safeway, Subway, and ADT Home Security straight to the
recycling bin. Was this sheaf of cheap print really more essential
than Yosemite, Yellowstone, Zion, Acadia, and Glacier Bay?
“The best idea we’ve ever had,” Wallace Stegner wrote of the park
system. Ken Burns, in making his documentary on the national parks,
recast the phrase as”America’s Best Idea.” Stegner, in his famous
“Wilderness Letter,” went on to make the best case for the wild
terrain that is the quintessential core of many of our national parks
and forests. “We simply need that wild country available to us,” he
concluded, “even if we never do more than drive to its edge and look
in. For it can be a means of reassuring ourselves of our sanity as
creatures, a part of the geography of hope.”
The national parks hold the landscapes that formed us as Americans.
The long vistas, the possibilities over the horizon, the purple
mountains’ majesty, distinguished our experience from that of the
Africans, Europeans, Asians, and islanders that we were before we
came. The national parks are where we go to renew contact with that
experience. Can there be a connection between the partisan hostility
of the moment, the governmental paralysis, and our loss of contact
with those roots? Is it possible we were not meant to live like canned
It was in wilderness that we became Homo sapiens. Our evolution was
not in the Information Age, or the Space Age, or the Atomic, or the
Industrial. It came long before the invention of agriculture or fire.
We evolved as hunter-gatherers in the wild landscape of Mother Africa.
It is in wilderness that we meet ourselves face to face.
It is easy to take for granted what a remarkable creation the national
parks are, and what a great slice of Creation they contain. The
National Park System spans 82° of latitude, from Gates of the Arctic
National Park at 70° N, to American Samoa National Park at 12° S. It
spans 90° of longitude, from Katmai National Park on the Gulf of
Alaska (and American Samoa National Park 7,500 miles south on the same
meridian) to Virgin Islands National Park in the Caribbean. The
highest point in North America is the summit of Mount McKinley, at
20,320 feet in Denali National Park. The lowest is Badwater Basin, at
282 feet below sea level in Death Valley National Park. The coldest is
Mount McKinley, where in 2003 the wind chill reached minus 118.1
degrees Fahrenheit (47.8 degrees Celsius), a North American record.
The hottest is Death Valley, where at Furnace Creek, on July 10, 1913,
the temperature reached 134 degrees Fahrenheit (56.6 degrees Celsius).
Death Valley, no surprise, also scores as the driest, with just 1.8
inches (45.7 millimeters) of annual rainfall.
The tallest tree on Earth, the coastal redwood Sequoia sempervirens,
grows in Redwood National Park in California. The biggest, the
redwood’s inland cousin, the giant sequoia Sequoiadendron
giganteum—the most massive organism ever to live—grows in Kings
Canyon, Sequoia, and Yosemite National Parks. The longest cave system
on Earth lies in, or under, Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky.
The deepest lake in the United States, at 1,943 feet (592 meters),
fills the caldera of Crater Lake National Park. The tallest dunes in
North America, 750 feet (228.6 meters) from base to crest, march
across Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado.
The National Park System, expansive in space, also spans great gulfs
of time. A mile deep in Grand Canyon National Park, in the inner gorge
of the Colorado, the river has cut into a basement layer of rock 1.75
billion years old. A river-runner floats by walls of metavolcanic
Brahma Schist laid down when the highest form of life on Earth was
In Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, the rock is brand-new. Kilauea
Volcano, in the middle of the park, has been in continuous eruption
for the past 30 years. Shield your face against the heat of one of
Kilauea’s molten streams, dip the point of your geological hammer in,
and you will come away with a glowing gob of lava at the tip. In
seconds the glow fades. The gob blackens. In a minute it is cool
enough to touch. Newborn basalt.
The last of the tallgrass prairie, which once covered 140 million
acres of North America, is preserved at Tallgrass Prairie National
Preserve in Kansas. The largest stands of saguaro cactus are protected
at Organ Pipe National Monument and Saguaro National Park. The last
wild bison herds roam Yellowstone, Theodore Roosevelt, and Badlands
National Parks. Florida panthers, the last cougars in the eastern
United States, take refuge in Everglades National Park and two nearby
reserves. Big Bend National Park in Texas, Grand Canyon in Arizona,
and Noatak Natural Preserve in Alaska preserve the beauty and
integrity of the nation’s finest stream courses.
Manassas National Battlefield Park, Gettysburg National Park, Little
Bighorn National Monument, and dozens of National Historical Sites
(Jamestown, Andrew Johnson, Fort Bowie, Harpers Ferry, John Muir,
Truman, Martin Luther King Jr., Brown vs. Board of Education) preserve
Casa Grande Ruins National Monument (from the Archaic period of Pueblo
civilization), Chaco Culture Natural Historical Park (from the Pueblo
II period), Mesa Verde National Park (Pueblo III), and Pecos Natural
History Park (Pueblo IV), preserve American prehistory, as do
Petroglyph, Aztec Ruins, Montezumas Castle, Bandelier, Wupatki, Walnut
Camp, Navajo, Hovenweep, and assorted other national monuments.
Dinosaur National Monument in Utah, with its fossils of
Allosaurus,Apatosaurus, Diplodocus, and Stegosaurus, along with
Badlands National Park in South Dakota, with its fossils of rhinos,
horses, and saber-toothed cats, and Petrified Forest National Park in
Arizona, with its fossil cycads, extinct conifers, phytosaurs, and
crocodylomorphs, all preserve American pre-prehistory, the
paleontological record of our land.
The National Park System is, in so many ways, the measure of our place
and of ourselves. If anything good comes of the shutdown, it may be
that it gives us the opportunity to see how we like it without our
parks, and to see what they mean to us.