Some time ago I stumbled across these words by children's book writer Cornelia Funke (author of The Thief Lord, Inkheart, etc.), and they've been pinned to the wall above my desk ever since:
"I pledge to use books as doors to other minds, old and young, girl and boy, man and animal.
"I pledge to use books to open windows to a thousand different worlds and to the thousand different faces of my own world.
"I pledge to use books to make my universe spread much wider than the world I live in every day.
"I pledge to treat my books like friends, visiting them all from time to time and keeping them close."
"In America lately," writes Scott Russell Sanders, "we have been carrying on two parallel conversations: one about respecting human diversity, the other about preserving natural diversity. Unless we merge those conversations, both will be futile. Our efforts to honor human differences cannot succeed apart from our effort to honor the buzzing, blooming, bewildering variety of life of earth. All life rises from the same source, and so does all fellow feeling, whether the fellow moves on two legs or four, on scaly bellies or feathered wings. If we care only for human needs, we betray the land; if we care only for the earth and its wild offspring, we betray our own kind. The profusion of creatures and cultures is the most remarkable fact about our planet, and the study and stewardship of that profusion seems to me our fundamental task."
Words to live by.
The art today is by Tricia Cline, a sculptor from northern California who works primarily in porcelain. The pieces here are from her extensive "Exiles from Lower Utopia" series, created as an ode to the Animal.
Cline says: "This is the ode: to reconnect with our own animal perception is to clarify and heighten our perception of who and what we are in the moment…to go beyond the limited mental concepts of who we think we are to an awareness of ourselves that is infinitely more vast. The Exiles migrate between the human world and the animal world and carry this awareness on their backs. They are the silent embodiment of this Quest. They understand the language of animals and are self-appointed ambassadors from that world."
The Scott Russell Sanders quote is from his essay collection Writing from the Center (Indiana University Press, 1997). I'm afraid I have no idea where the Cornelia Funke quote originally appeared. All rights to the text and art above reserved by the authors and artist.