Friday, 2 September 2011

Lunch break ...

I have an unexpected extra half hour because someone wasn't at home ... just enough time to time to put up the turtle pictures for today.
It is a book that I was given in 1994 ... the date is inside the cover with Laura's signature ... so that's how I remember so clearly!  It won a couple of important awards in the previous year ... American "Book of the Year" and "Children's Book Award" from an international organisation.  It is easy to see why this very high quality production received such acclaim.  The author, Douglas Ward, had it illustrated in watercolours by Cheng-Khee Chee and both of them dedicate the book to their children.
 This is the story:

Once, long long ago ...
yet somehow, not so very long ...
when all the animals and rocks and winds and waters and trees ...
and birds and fish and all the beings of the world could speak ...
and understand one another ...
There began ... an argument.

It began softly at first ...
Quiet as the first breeze that whispered, "He is the wind who is never still."
Quiet as the stone that answered, "He is the great rock that never moves."
Gentle as the mountain that rumbled, "God is a snowy peak, high above the clouds."
And the fish in the ocean that answered, "God is a swimmer, in the dark blue depths of the sea."

"No," said the star, "God is a twinkling and a shining, far, far away."
"No," replied the ant, "God is a sound and a smell and a feeling, who is very, very close."
"God," insisted the antelope, "is a runner, swift and free, who loves to leap and race with the wind."

"She is a great tree," murmured the willow, "a part of the world, always growing and always giving."
"You are wrong," argued the island, "God is separate and apart."
"No, he is a river, who flows through the very heart of things," thundered the waterfall.
"She is a hunter," roared the lion.
"God is gentle," chirped the robin.
"He is powerful," growled the bear.

And the argument grew louder, and louder and louder ...

until ...


A new voice spoke.
It rumbled loudly, like thunder.
And it whispered softly, like butterfly sneezes.
The voice seemed to come from ...
why it seemed to come from ...
... Old Turtle!

Old Turtle hardly ever said anything, and certainly never argued about God.
But now Old Turtle began to speak.
 And so the story continues ...
...reminding the world that God will send "a new family of beings" ...
But then, history repeats itself and the people forget God and "hurt the earth."
Once again Old Turtle calls out, "Please Stop!"
He helps people to see beauty all around them and in each other.
And so did God.

This story might just find its way into the next Parish Magazine!

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