Chapter 1

The First Miracle

Nature is incomprehensible at first,Be not discouraged, keep on,There are divine things well envelop’d,I swear to you there are divine beingsMore beautiful than words can tell.

—WALT WHITMAN1

American Indian lore speaks of three miracles. The first miracle is that anything exists at all. The second miracle is that living things exist. The third miracle is that living things exist that know they exist. As human beings conscious of ourselves, we represent the third miracle.2

In celebrating ourselves, it is important that we not overlook the first miracle: the natural world which is our home. When we overlook the first miracle and do not feel at home within the larger universe it is impossible for us to feel at home within ...

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