At first, the wild creatures were too busy
to explore their natural curiosity until
Turtle crawled up on land. He said:
What's missing is the ability
to find contentment in a slow-paced life.
As the oceans receded, fish sprouted whiskers.
Certain animals grew four legs and were able
to roam from shore to shore. Bear stood
upright and looked around. He said:
What's missing is devotion
to place, to give meaning to passing time.
Mountains grew from fiery heat, while
above them soared birds, the greatest
of which was Eagle, to whom penetrating
vision was given. He said: What's missing
is laughter so that arguments
can be resolved without rancor.
After darkness and light settled their
and the creatures paired up,
people appeared in all the corners of
They said: What's missing
They began to notice
the beauty hidden
in an ordinary stone,
the short lives of snowflakes,
the perfection of bird wings, and
the way a butterfly speaks
through its fragility.
When they realized they had something in common with animals,
people began saying the same things.
They defended the Earth together,
though it was the animals who insisted
on keeping their own names.
—From Sacred Fire, 1998, by Nancy Wood