American Naturalist Quotes
Palaeontology is the Aladdin's lamp of the most deserted and lifeless regions of the earth; it touches the rocks and there spring forth in orderly succession the monarchs of the past and the ancient river streams and savannahs wherein they flourished. The rocks usually hide their story in the most difficult and inaccessible places.
Sometime afterward, a terrible misfortune occurred which was in no way calculated to allay the superstitious fears of the ignorant. As some eight or ten citizens were returning with the ferry-boat which had crossed the last Mormons over the Missouri river, into Clay county, the district selected for their new home, the craft filled with water and sunk in the middle of the current; by which accident three or four men were drowned! It was owing perhaps to the craziness of the boat, yet some persons suspected the Mormons of having scuttled it by secretly boring auger-holes in the bottom just before they had left it.
Of all the astronomical events, the fall of a meteorite is the most unnerving and yet the most reassuring. Reassuring because it proves to us that the depths of space are inhabited by bodies made of the same elements we have here on earth, that, at rock bottom, a man and a star are built of the same stuff.
The vast ice-engine that we call a glacier is almost as silent as the slumbering rocks, and, to all but the eye of science, nearly as immobile, save where it discharges into the sea. It is noisy in its dying, but in the height of its power it is as still as the falling snow of which it is made.
The whole concept of 'wild' was decidedly European, one not shared by the original inhabitants of this continent. What we called 'wilderness' was to the Indian a homeland, 'abiding loveliness' in Salish or Piegan. The land was not something to be feared or conquered, and 'wildlife' were neither wild nor alien; they were relatives.