I saw a new penny today. The back of it looked like this:
I really like this image of the American hero, sitting on a log, reading a book. It speaks to me about the best qualities of this country.
The image reminds me of something I learned a few years ago from a professor of literature who had translated Conrad's Heart of Darkness into Italian. He pointed out that Italians have no word that is the equivalent to "wilderness".
"It is," he said (and to do him justice, please envision this being said in a lovely Italian accent), "an American English word. In Italy, we haven't had truly wild places for thousands of years."
That's cool to think about. We in America still have wilderness... and we even have federally protected wilderness areas. I grew up presuming wilderness is a part of everyone's life, but wilderness is American.
Speaking of Pioneers and wilderness and America, have you seen those new ads for Levi's jeans? I don't want to get emotionally affected by someone's ad campaigns - and I'd feel weird providing a link for an advertisement, but they're just beautiful. And very, very American.