Thank you! A thoughtful reader sent me the link to a terrific website, CityofWordsDC, that tracks quotations in Washington, D.C.
He pointed out this post, which shows that my favorite quotation from Dr. Johnson, which I used as an epigraph and theme in both Happier at Home and The Happiness Project, is inscribed over the main face of Union Station in Washington, D.C. (Such an inscription is also called an “epigraph,” by the way.)
“He that would bring home the wealth of the Indies must carry the wealth of the Indies with him.”
I lived in Washington during two periods of my life. The first time, I lived in a group house on Capitol Hill. The second time, I worked at the Supreme Court, which is on Capitol Hill. So I went through Union Station constantly, but somehow never noticed this quotation.
Or maybe I did, and that’s why it resonates so deeply with me now; perhaps it has been brewing in my subconscious for years.
I continue to find this line is very powerful, mysterious, and thought-provoking. It’s one of my personal koans. (For a list of more koans, and a definition if you’re thinking, “Huh? What’s a koan?” look here.)