When last La Salle passed here, all was solicitude, but now the scene was changed. The boundless waste was thronged with life. He beheld that wondrous spectacle, still to be seen at times on the plains of the remotest West, and the memory of which can quicken the pulse and stir the blood after the lapse of years. Far and near, the prairie was alive with buffalo, now like black specks dotting the distant swells, now trampling by in thunderous columns, or filing in long lines, morning, noon, and night to drink at the river, – wading, plunging, and snorting in the water; climbing the muddy shores, and staring with wild eyes at the passing canoes.

    Francis Parkman (La Salle and the Discovery of the Great West, 1869) describes the land of the Illinois people, 1681, at confluence of the Kankakee and Illinois Rivers.

    “Yesterday I walked through a neighborhood of shabby apartment buildings on shabby streets, and I ate lunch in a lousy restaurant. The bread was hard, the lettuce was rather stiff as well. But to tell you the truth, the experience wasn’t so bad. I could survive some lousiness, some uncomfortableness, some decline. Back on the street, I kept walking and wondered what would happen if we allowed some of the fossils to simply lie there under the sand, if we decided not to try to dominate the world. We’d have no control over what would happen. We’d let go and fall. How far would we sink? How far? How far? Sure, it’s been great, the life of comfort, good lunches, predictability. But imagine how it would feel if we could be on a path of increasing compassion, diminishing brutality, diminishing greed - I think it might actually feel wonderful to be alive.”

    -Wallace Shawn, Essays

    "If the ironic exclamation point was the signature punctuational flourish of Generation X, the emoji—that attempt to bridge the difficult gap between what we feel and what we intend and what we say and what we text—is the signature punctuational flourish of the millennials." -NYMag