Countryside Nature Quotes

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Bees blew like cake-crumbs through the golden air, white butterflies like sugared wafers, and when it wasn't raining a diamond dust took over which veiled and yet magnified all things
Laurie Lee (Cider with Rosie)
On the blue summer evenings, I will go along the paths, And walk over the short grass, as I am pricked by the wheat: Daydreaming I will feel the coolness on my feet. I will let the wind bathe my bare head. I will not speak, I will have no thoughts: But infinite love will mount in my soul; And I will go far, far off, like a gypsy, through the countryside - as happy as if I were with a woman. "Sensation
Arthur Rimbaud
He stood staring into the wood for a minute, then said: "What is it about the English countryside — why is the beauty so much more than visual? Why does it touch one so?" He sounded faintly sad. Perhaps he finds beauty saddening — I do myself sometimes. Once when I was quite little I asked father why this was and he explained that it was due to our knowledge of beauty's evanescence, which reminds us that we ourselves shall die. Then he said I was probably too young to understand him; but I understood perfectly.
Dodie Smith (I Capture the Castle)
Walking and talking are two very great pleasures, but it is a mistake to combine them. Our own noise blots out the sounds and silences of the outdoor world; and talking leads almost inevitably to smoking, and then farewell to nature as far as one of our senses is concerned. The only friend to walk with is one who so exactly shares your taste for each mood of the countryside that a glance, a halt, or at most a nudge, is enough to assure us that the pleasure is shared.
C.S. Lewis (Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life)
We didn't speak, just drove out of the city into the countryside on our way to absolutely nowhere, and when we found that perfect spot among the trees, we stopped and looked at each other. Swallows swooped through the red sky, back from their adventure, and we held each other underneath the ketchup clouds, willing time to stop and the world to forget us for a while.
Annabel Pitcher (Ketchup Clouds)
There are some delightful places in this world which have a sensual charm for the eyes. One loves them with a physical love. We people who are attracted by the countryside cherish fond memories of certain springs, certain woods, certain ponds, certain hills, which have become familiar sights and can touch our hearts like happy events. Sometimes indeed the memory goes back towards a forest glade, or a spot on a river bank or an orchard in blossom, glimpsed only once on a happy day, but preserved in our heart.
Guy de Maupassant (Selected Short Stories)
The real world, in my opinion, exists in the countryside, where Nature goes about her quiet business and brings us greatest pleasure.
Fennel Hudson (A Meaningful Life - Fennel's Journal - No. 1)
To his eyes all seemed beautiful, but to me a tinge of melancholy lay upon the countryside, which bore so clearly the mark of the waning year, Yellow leaves carpeted the lanes and fluttered down upon us as we passed, The rattle of our wheels died away as we drove through drifts of rotting vegetation--sad gifts, as it seemed to me, for Nature to throw before the carriage of the returning heir of the Baskervilles.
Arthur Conan Doyle (The Hound of the Baskervilles (Sherlock Holmes, #5))
High up on Monte Salvatore the window of some shepherd's hut opened a golden eye. The roses hung their heads and dreamed under the still September clouds, and the water plashed and murmured softly among the pebbles of the shore.
Ethel Lilian Voynich
There is something joyful about storms that interrupt routine. Snow or freezing rain suddenly releases you from expectations, performance demands, and the tyranny of appointments and schedules. And unlike illness, it is largely a corporate rather than individual experience. One can almost hear a unified sigh rise from the nearby city and surrounding countryside where Nature has intervened to give respite to the weary humans slogging it out within her purview. All those affected this way are united by a mutual excuse, and the heart is suddenly and unexpectedly a little giddy. There will be no apologies needed for not showing up to some commitment or other. Everyone understands and shares in this singular justification, and the sudden alleviation of the pressure to produce makes the heart merry.
William Paul Young (The Shack)
She was too honest, too natural for this frightened man; too remote from his tidy laws. She was, after all, a country girl; disordered, hysterical, loving. She was muddled and mischievous as a chimney-jackdaw, she made her nest of rags and jewels, was happy in the sunlight, squawked loudly at danger, pried and was insatiably curious, forgot when to eat or ate all day, and sang when sunsets were red.
Laurie Lee (Cider with Rosie)
One fine moonlit night, Mortain and his Wild Hunt were riding through the countryside when they spied two maids more beautiful than any they had ever seen before. They were picking evening primrose, which only blooms in the moonlight. “The two maids turned out to be Amourna and Arduinna, twin daughters of Dea Matrona. When Mortain saw the fair Amourna, he fell instantly in love, for she was not only beautiful but light of heart as well, and surely the god of death needs lightness in his world. “But the two sisters could not be more different. Amourna was happy and giving, but her sister, Arduinna, was fierce, jealous, and suspicious, for such is the dual nature of love. Arduinna had a ferocious and protective nature and did not care for the way Mortain was looking at her beloved sister. To warn him, she drew her bow and let fly with one of her silver arrows. She never misses, and she didn’t miss then. The arrow pierced Mortain’s heart, but no one, not even a goddess, can kill the god of death. “Mortain plucked the arrow from his chest and bowed to Arduinna. ‘Thank you,’ he said. ‘For reminding me that love never comes without cost
R.L. LaFevers (Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, #1))
How lucky country children are in these natural delights that lie ready to their hand! Every season and every plant offers changing joys. As they meander along the lane that leads to our school all kinds of natural toys present themselves for their diversion. The seedpods of stitchwort hang ready for delightful popping between thumb and finger, and later the bladder campion offers a larger, if less crisp, globe to burst. In the autumn, acorns, beechnuts, and conkers bedizen their path, with all their manifold possibilities of fun. In the summer, there is an assortment of honeys to be sucked from bindweed flowers, held fragile and fragrant to hungry lips, and the tiny funnels of honeysuckle and clover blossoms to taste.
Miss Read (Village Diary (Chronicles of Fairacre, #2))
This whole effort to rebuild and stabilize a countryside is not without its disappointments and mistakes... What matter though these temporary growing pains when one can cast his eye upon the hills and see hard-boiled farmers who have spent their lives destroying land now carrying water by hand to their new plantations
Aldo Leopold (For the Health of the Land: Previously Unpublished Essays And Other Writings)
For centuries, as pope and emperor tore each other apart in their quarrels over power, the excluded went on living on the fringe, like lepers, of whom true lepers are only the illustration ordained by God to make us understand this wondrous parable, so that in saying 'lepers' we would understand 'outcast, poor, simple, excluded, uprooted from the countryside, humiliated in the cities.' But we did not understand; the mystery of leprosy has continued to haunt us because we have not recognized the nature of the sign.
Umberto Eco (The Name of the Rose)
She grew up in the ordinary paradise of the English countryside. When she was five she walked to school, two miles, across meadows covered with cowslips, buttercups, daisies, vetch, rimmed by hedges full of blossom and then berries, blackthorn, hawthorn, dog-roses, the odd ash tree with its sooty buds.
A.S. Byatt (Ragnarok)
I've been actively engaged with mythic imagery ever since I picked up that Rackham book, but it really came into focus for me when I moved from London to the country. As I walked the extraordinary landscape of Dartmoor, I looked at the trees and the rocks and the hills and I could see the personality in those forms...then they metamorphosed under my pencil into faeries, goblins and trolls. After Alan and I published "Faeries", he moved on from the subject of faery folklore to illustrate Tolkien and other literary works...while I discovered that my own exploration of Faerieland had only just begun. In the countryside, the old stories seemed to come alive around me; the faeries were a tangible aspect of the landscape, pulses of spirit, emotion, and light. They "insisted" on taking form under my pencil, emerging on the page before me cloaked in archetypal shapes drawn from nature and myth. I'd attracted their attention, you see, and they hadn't finished with me yet.
Brian Froud
I found courage in the countryside, in nature. Being alone never frightened me, even at night, provided I was in contact with my surroundings - with the grass underfoot, with the dim shapes of trees and distant mountains. This was what I clung to.
Christopher Robin Winnie the Pooh
There is something joyful about storms that interrupt routine... One can almost hear a unified sigh rise from the nearby city and surrounding countryside where Nature has intervened to give respite to the weary humans slogging it out within her purview. All those affected this way are united by a mutual excuse, and the heart is suddenly and unexpectedly a little giddy.
William Paul Young (The Shack)
The only friend to walk with is one who so exactly shares your taste for each mood of the countryside that a glance, a halt, or at most a nudge, is enough to assure us that the pleasure is shared.
C.S. Lewis
These days I live in a magical little village on Dartmoor in Devon, England, and my "special spot" is a moss-covered rock in a circle of trees in the woods behind my house. I often go into the woods, or walk through the fields and hills nearby, when I need inspiration, or to work out a plot problem, or come up with an idea. I think better on my feet, particularly when there is beautiful countryside around me and a dog at my side. When I was younger and lived in big cities, I had special places there too. There's magic everywhere, if you look.
Terri Windling
In the garden, just we two, Look! I have a rose for you ...
Suzy Davies
Today we see the steady stream from the countryside to the city, deadly for the Volk. The cities swell ever larger, unnerving the Volk and destroying the threads which bind humanity to Nature; they attract adventurers and profiteers of all colours, thereby fostering racial chaos.
Alfred Rosenberg (The Myth of the Twentieth Century)
The Tuscan countryside whizzed by in a kaleidoscopic whirl of shapes and colors. Green grass and trees melded with blue sky, purple and yellow wildflowers, peachy-orange villas, brown-and-gray farmhouses, and the occasional red-and-white Autogrill, Italy's (delicious) answer to fast food.
Jenny Nelson (Georgia's Kitchen)
Dense urban environments may do away with nature altogether—there are many vibrantly healthy neighborhoods in Paris or Manhattan that lack even a single tree—but they also perform the crucial service of reducing mankind’s environmental footprint. Compare the sewage system of a midsized city like Portland, Oregon, with the kind of waste management resources that would be required to support the same population dispersed across the countryside. Portland’s 500,000 inhabitants require two sewage treatment plants, connected by 2,000 miles of pipes. A rural population would require more than 100,000 septic tanks, and 7,000 miles of pipe. The rural waste system would be several times more expensive than the urban version.
Steven Johnson (The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic--and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World)
Phoebe asked me, "Tell me, what do you think of the afterlife?" I was a bit nonplussed. I had no idea what she thought, but I knew that the question must be of greater interest to someone of her age than to me. But our conversation had been completely honest, and before I could speak, honesty and tact had joined hands in my answer. "I have no faith at all," I said, "but sometimes I have hope." I rather think," she replied, "that total annihilation is the most comfortable position." I was shaken. The horse clopped on. The children laughed behind us. When I die," she said, "I don't expect to see any of my loved ones again. I'll just become a part of all this." She waved her hand at the surrounding countryside. "That's all right with me.
Sena Jeter Naslund (Ahab's Wife, or The Star-Gazer)
This distinction between headspace and the emotion of happiness is an important one. For some reason we’ve come to believe that happiness should be the default setting in life and, therefore, anything different is somehow wrong. Based on this assumption we tend to resist the source of unhappiness – physically, mentally and emotionally. It’s usually at this stage that things get complicated. Life can begin to feel like a chore, and an endless struggle to chase and maintain that feeling of happiness. We get hooked on the temporary rush or pleasure of a new experience, whatever that is, and then need to feed it the whole time. It doesn’t matter whether we feed it with food, drink, drugs, clothes, cars, relationships, work, or even the peace and quiet of the countryside. If we become dependent on it for our happiness, then we’re trapped. What happens when we can’t have it any more? And what happens when the excitement wears off? For many, their entire life revolves around this pursuit of happiness. Yet how many people do you know who are truly happy? And by that I mean, how many people do you know who have that unshakeable sense of underlying headspace? Has this approach of chasing one thing after the next worked for you in terms of giving you headspace? It’s as if we rush around creating all this mental chatter in our pursuit of temporary happiness, without realising that all the noise is simply drowning out the natural headspace that is already there, just waiting to be acknowledged.
Andy Puddicombe (Get Some Headspace: 10 minutes can make all the difference)
Townsfolk have no conception of the peace that mother nature bestows, and as long as that peace is unfound the spirit must seek to quench its thirst with ephemeral novelties. And what is more natural that that of the townsman's feverish search for pleasure should mould people of unstable, hare-brained character, who think only of their personal appearance and their clothes and find momentary comfort in foolish fashions and other such worthless innovations? The countryman, on the other hand walks out into the verdant meadows, into an atmosphere clear and pure, and as he breaths it into his lungs some unknown power streams through his limbs, invigorating body and soul. The peace in nature fills his mind with calm and cheer, the bright green grass under his feet awakens a sense of beauty, almost of reverence. In the fragrance that is borne so sweetly to his nostrils, in the quietude that broods so blissfully around him, there is comfort and rest. The hillsides, the dingles, the waterfalls, and the mountains are all friends of his childhood, and never to be forgotten.
Halldór Laxness (Independent People)
Higher desire and prices to live in overcrowded pollution. Lesser desire and prices to live in serene nature. It doesn't make sense regardless of what you say about opportunities.
Torron-Lee Dewar
How irrevocably spoilt, down to its minutest detail, his world was now. Even the countryside was spoilt, the animals, the birds, the flowers. There was nowhere to run to.
Iris Murdoch (The Sacred and Profane Love Machine)
When you leave your old neighborhood for your land, the city streets and businesses will almost instantly fade from your mind. The chirping of birds will replace the yelling of people.
Norm Geddis (Off the Grid Financed Land Online: The Ultimate Guide to Seller Financed Land Ownership for Homes, Cabins, Hunting, and Investment.)
In this sense, a vacation home, a highway, a supermarket in the countryside are all part of the urban fabric. Of varying density, thickness, and activity, the only regions untouched by it are those that are stagnant or dying, those that are given over to “nature.” With the decline of the village life of days gone by, agricultural producers, “farmers,” are confronted with the agricultural town.
Henri Lefebvre (The Urban Revolution)
In the countryside where the communal pattern was least disturbed, the new religion found the ground less favorable. The villagers (pagani) and the heath-dwellers (heathen) clung longest to the ancient cults.
Eric Hoffer (The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements)
It is possible to regulate watercourses over any given distance without embankment works; to transport timber and other materials, even when heavier than water, for example ore, stones, etc., down the centre of such water-courses; to raise the height of the watertable in the surrounding countryside and to endow the water with all those elements necessary for the prevailing vegetation." "Furthermore it is possible in this way to render timber and other such materials non-inflammable and rot resistant; to produce drinking and spa-water for man, beast and soil of any desired composition and performance artificially, but in the way that it occurs in Nature; to raise water in a vertical pipe without pumping devices; to produce any amount of electricity and radiant energy almost without cost; to raise soil quality and to heal tuberculosis, cancer and a variety of physical disorders.
Viktor Schauberger
There was so much time that marvelous summer. Day after day, mist rose from the meadow as the sky lightened and hedges, barns and woods took shape until, at last, the long curving back of the hills lifted away from the Plain. It was a sort of stage-magic.
J.L. Carr (A Month in the Country)
Allow the beauty of creation to soak deep within our souls with eye candy such as mountain or lake or ocean or countryside or forest. It reminds us how small we are and how utterly magnificent God is, and that makes His love for us all the more breathtaking.
Laura Thomas
The part of the Lake District that Beatrix Potter chose as her own was not only physically beautiful, it was a place in which she felt emotionally rooted as a descendant of hard-working north-country folk. The predictable routines of farm life appealed to her. There was a realism in the countryside that nurtured a deep connection. The scale of the villages was manageable. Yet the vast desolateness of the surrounding fells was awe-inspiring. It was mysterious, but easily imbued with fantasy and tamed by imagination. The sheltered lakes and fertile valleys satisfied her love of the pastoral. The hill farms and the sheep on the high fells demanded accountability. There was a longing in Beatrix Potter for association with permanence: to find a place where time moved slowly, where places remained much as she remembered them from season to season and from year to year.
Linda Lear (Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature)
We live, all of us, in sprung rhythm. Even in cities, folk stir without knowing it to the surge in the blood that is the surge and urgency of season. In being born, we have taken seisin of the natural world, and as ever, it is the land which owns us, not we, the land. Even in the countryside, we dwell suspended between the rhythms of earth and season, weather and sky, and those imposed by metropolitan clocks, at home and abroad. When does the year begin? No; ask rather, When does it not? For us – all of us – as much as for Mr Eliot, midwinter spring is its own season; for all of us, if we but see it, our world is as full of time-coulisses as was Thomas Mann’s. Countrymen know this, with the instinct they share with their beasts. Writers want to know it also, and to articulate what the countryman knows and cannot, perhaps, express to those who sense but do not know, immured in sad conurbations, rootless amidst Betjeman’s frightful vision of soot and stone, worker’s flats and communal canteens, where it is the boast of pride that a man doesn’t let the grass grow under his feet. As both countryman and writer, I have a curious relationship to time.
G.M.W. Wemyss
Like true country people, they loved watching the countryside change with the seasons. They savored the trees turning green in the spring. They saw the summer flowers blossom, fade, and drop. They exclaimed over the autumn colors, gold and red and rust. They watched the leaves fall, and the fields turn sere, to be purified by winter. The wheel of the year turned once, twice, three times.
Louisa Morgan (A Secret History of Witches)
Back home, Huxley drew from this experience to compose a series of audacious attacks against the Romantic love of wilderness. The worship of nature, he wrote, is "a modern, artificial, and somewhat precarious invention of refined minds." Byron and Wordsworth could only rhapsodize about their love of nature because the English countryside had already been "enslaved to man." In the tropics, he observed, where forests dripped with venom and vines, Romantic poets were notably absent. Tropical peoples knew something Englishmen didn't. "Nature," Huxley wrote, "is always alien and inhuman, and occasionally diabolic." And he meant always: Even in the gentle woods of Westermain, the Romantics were naive in assuming that the environment was humane, that it would not callously snuff out their lives with a bolt of lightning or a sudden cold snap. After three days amid the Tuckamore, I was inclined to agree.
Robert Moor (On Trails: An Exploration)
For centuries, as pope and emperor tore each other apart in their quarrels over power, the excluded went on living on the fringe, like lepers, of whom true lepers are only the illustration ordained by God to make us understand this wondrous parable, so that in saying ‘lepers’ we would understand ‘outcast, poor, simple, excluded, uprooted from the countryside, humiliated in the cities.’ But we did not understand; the mystery of leprosy has continued to haunt us because we have not recognized the nature of the sign.
Umberto Eco (The Name of the Rose)
The excluded when on living on the fringe, like lepers, of whom true leper are only the illustration ordained by god to make us understand this wondrous parable, so that in saying “lepers” we would understand “outcast, poor, simple, excluded, uprooted from the countryside, humiliated in the cities” but we did not understand; the mystery of leprosy has continued to haunt us because we have not recognized the nature of the sign. Excluded as they were from the flock, all of them were ready to hear, or to produce, every sermon that, harking back to the words of Christ, would condemn the behaviour of the dogs and shepherds and would promise their punishment one day. The powerful have always realised this. The recovery of the outcasts demanded a reduction of the privileges of the powerful, so the excluded who became aware of their exclusion had to be branded as heretics, whatever their doctrine. This is the illusion of heresy. Everyone is heretical, everyone is orthodox. The faith a movement proclaims doesn’t count: what counts is the hope it offers.
Umberto Eco
When does the year begin? Well: that rather depends: on who you are, and where. The Church kalendar – like the academic, which is hewn of the ecclesiastical – begins after the harvest-tide, with Advent, a time of preparation, light kindling and shining forth even as darkness gathers. The countryman’s calendar is governed by the rhythms of the earth, of sowing and of harvest. The angler’s year, the shooting man’s, the hunter’s, all these are in the disposition of God – or Nature, if you fancy yourself allergic to God – even as is the countryman’s.
G.M.W. Wemyss
To protect them from Hitler’s bombers, the curators secreted Wallace’s and Darwin’s bird skins in unmarked lorries to manors and mansions throughout the English countryside. Among the safe houses was a private museum in the tiny town of Tring, built by one of the richest men in history as a twenty-first-birthday present for his son. Lionel Walter Rothschild would grow up to earn many distinctions: the Right Honorable Lord, Baron de Rothschild, member of Parliament, adulterer, blackmail victim, and one of the most tragically obsessive bird collectors ever to roam the earth.
Kirk Wallace Johnson (The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century)
Everyday forms of resistance make no headlines.18 Just as millions of anthozoan polyps create, willy-nilly, a coral reef, so do thousands upon thousands of individual acts of insubordination and evasion create a political or economic barrier reef of their own. There is rarely any dramatic confrontation, any moment that is particularly newsworthy. And whenever, to pursue the simile, the ship of state runs aground on such a reef, attention is typically directed to the shipwreck itself and not to the vast aggregation of petty acts that made it possible. It is only rarely that the perpetrators of these petty acts seek to call attention to themselves. Their safety lies in their anonymity. It is also extremely rarely that officials of the state wish to publicize the insubordination. To do so would be to admit that their policy is unpopular, and, above all, to expose the tenuousness of their authority in the countryside—neither of which the sovereign state finds in its interest.19 The nature of the acts themselves and the self-interested muteness of the antagonists thus conspire to create a kind of complicitous silence that all but expunges everyday forms of resistance from the historical record.
James C. Scott (Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance)
t is possible to regulate watercourses over any given distance without embankment works; to transport timber and other materials, even when heavier than water, for example ore, stones, etc., down the centre of such water-courses; to raise the height of the watertable in the surrounding countryside and to endow the water with all those elements necessary for the prevailing vegetation." "Furthermore it is possible in this way to render timber and other such materials non-inflammable and rot resistant; to produce drinking and spa-water for man, beast and soil of any desired composition and performance artificially, but in the way that it occurs in Nature; to raise water in a vertical pipe without pumping devices; to produce any amount of electricity and radiant energy almost without cost; to raise soil quality and to heal tuberculosis, cancer and a variety of physical disorders.
Viktor Schauberger
Dusk settled over our shoulders like a damp purple blanket. The river- the churn and clank of boat traffic, the shush of water, and the tangy smell of catfish and mud- was slowly beaten back by honeysuckle and cicadas and some bird that cooed the same three syllables in a lilting circle. It was all so familiar and so foreign. I pictured a young girl in a blue cotton dress running down this same road on cinnamon-stick legs. Then I pictured another girl, white and square-jawed, running before her. Adelaide. Mother. I would've missed it if I hadn't been looking: a narrow dirt drive crowded on either side by briars and untrimmed boughs. Even once I'd followed the track to its end I was uncertain- who would live in such a huddled, bent-back cabin, half-eaten by ivy and some sort of feral climbing rose? The wooden-shake shingles were green with moss; the barn had collapsed entirely.
Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
Growing up where she did, Beatrix had developed a romantic and adventurous nature, and she had no outlet for it any more. The happiest times I can remember spending with them were when we drove out - twice, I think - to the Long Mynd for a picnic. Roger had long since traded in his motorbike and scraped together enough money to buy a second-hand Morris Minor. Somehow we all squeezed into this (I seem to recall sitting in the front passenger seat, Beatrix sitting behind me with the baby on her lap) and drove out for the afternoon to those wonderful Shropshire hills. I wonder if you have ever walked on them yourself, Imogen. They are part of your story, you know. So many things have changed, changed beyond recognition, in the almost sixty years since the time I'm now recalling, but the Long Mynd is not one of them. In the last few months I have been too ill to walk there, but I did manage to visit in the last spring, to offer what I already sensed would be my final farewells. Places like this are important to me - to all of us - because they exist outside the normal timespan. You can stand on the backbone of the Long Mynd and not know if you are in the 1940s, the 2000s, the tenth or eleventh century... It is all immaterial, all irrelevant. The gorse and the purple heather are unchanging, and so are the sheeptracks which cut through them and criss-cross them, the twisted rocky outcrops which surprise you at every turn, the warm browns of the bracken, the distant greys of the conifer plantations, tucked far away down in secretive valleys. You cannot put a price on the sense of freedom and timelessness that is granted to you there, as you stand on the high ridge beneath a flawless sky of April blue and look across at the tame beauties of the English countryside, to the east, and to the west a hint of something stranger - the beginnings of the Welsh mountains
Jonathan Coe (The Rain Before it Falls)
The Sentinel of Rain I am a creature who cooks on roofs, sleeps on roofs, livess on roofs. The unenlightened call me homeless; my inner circle know me as 'The Sentinel of Rain'. I know all there is to know about roofs: copper roofing, itchy; aluminium sheeting, noisy; precast concrete; dusty; ceramic tiles; slippery. I haven't had the pleasure of crashing on banana leave or straw roofs but I imagine them to be quite comfy, though pitched a bit steep to saunter about, and as for cooking dinner on, fuhgeddaboudit! Those roofs are as flammable as a cellulose nitrate print of The Blue Angel. Thank God I wasn't born in Southeast Asia or in the backward English countryside with their thatch roof cottages. It's good to be homeless in America. There are so many roof choices, the streets are virtually paved with dumpsters, stocked to the gills like the shelves of Walmart, and when it rains ~ and I'm the first to know, there's never an overpass too far to shelter me from nature's whims.
Beryl Dov
Let's look at one more quick example of modern evolution at work. In the early 1800s, light-colored lichens covered many of the trees in the English countryside. The peppered moth was a light-colored insect that blended in unnoticeably with the lichens. Predators had great difficulty distinguishing the peppered moth from its background environment, so the moths easily survived and reproduced. Then the Industrial Revolution came to the English country- side. Coal-burning factories turned the lichens a sooty black. The light-colored peppered moth became clearly visible. Most of them were eaten. But because of genetic variation and mutation, a few peppered moths displayed a slightly darker color. These darker moths were better able to blend in with the sooty lichens, and so lived to produce other darker-colored moths. In little over a hun- dred years, successive generations of peppered moths evolved from almost completely white to completely black. Natural selec- tion, rather than "random accident," guided the moth's evolution- ary progress.
David Mills (Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person's Answer to Christian Fundamentalism)
She gazed out at the seductive vista. The countryside was dressed in its prettiest May garb- everything budding or blooming or bursting out in the exuberance of late spring. For Laura, the landscape at thirteen hundred feet up a Welsh mountain was the perfect mix of reassuringly tamed and excitingly wild. In front of the house were lush, high meadows filled with sheep, the lambs plump from their mother's grass-rich milk. Their creamy little shapes bright and clean against the background of pea green. A stream tumbled down the hillside, disappearing into the dense oak woods at the far end of the fields, the ocher trunks fuzzy with moss. On either side of the narrow valley, the land rose steeply to meet the open mountain on the other side of the fence. Here young bracken was springing up sharp and tough to claim the hills for another season. Beyond, in the distance, more mountains rose and fell as far as the eye could see. Laura undid the latch and pushed open the window. She closed her eyes. A warm sigh of the wind carried the scent of hawthorn blossom from the hedgerow.
Paula Brackston (Lamp Black, Wolf Grey)
There is something joyful about storms, that interrupt routine. Snow or freezing rain suddenly releases you from expectations, performance demands, and the tyranny of appointments and schedules. And unlike illness, it is largely a corporate, rather than individual experience. One could almost hear a unified sigh rise from the nearby city and surrounding countryside, where nature has intervened to give respite to the weary humans slogging it out within her purview. All those affected this way are united by a mutual excuse, and the heart is suddenly, and unexpectedly, a little giddy. There will be no apologies needed for not showing up to some commitment or other. Everyone understands and shares in this singular justification, and the sudden alleviation of the pressure to produce makes the heart merry. ... Even if it's hardly more than a day or two, somehow each person feels like the master of his or her own world, simply because those little droplets of water freeze as they hit the ground. Even commonplace activities become extraordinary. Routine choices become adventures and are often experienced with a sense of heightened clarity.
William Paul Young
There once was a female snake that roamed around a small village in the countryside of Egypt. She was commonly seen by villagers with her small baby as they grazed around the trees. One day, several men noticed the mother snake was searching back and forth throughout the village in a frenzy — without her young. Apparently, her baby had slithered off on its own to play while she was out looking for food. Yet the mother snake went on looking for her baby for days because it still hadn't returned back to her. So one day, one of the elder women in the village caught sight of the big snake climbing on top of their water supply — an open clay jug harvesting all the village's water. The snake latched its teeth on the big jug's opening and sprayed its venom into it. The woman who witnessed the event was mentally handicapped, so when she went to warn the other villagers, nobody really understood what she was saying. And when she approached the jug to try to knock it over, she was reprimanded by her two brothers and they locked her away in her room. Then early the next day, the mother snake returned to the village after a long evening searching for her baby. The children villagers quickly surrounded her while clapping and singing because she had finally found her baby. And as the mother snake watched the children rejoice in the reunion with her child, she suddenly took off straight for the water supply — leaving behind her baby with the villagers' children. Before an old man could gather some water to make some tea, she hissed in his direction, forcing him to step back as she immediately wrapped herself around the jug and squeezed it super hard. When the jug broke burst into a hundred fragments, she slithered away to gather her child and return to the safety of her hole. Many people reading this true story may not understand that the same feelings we are capable of having, snakes have too. Thinking the villagers killed her baby, the mother snake sought out revenge by poisoning the water to destroy those she thought had hurt her child. But when she found her baby and saw the villagers' children, her guilt and protective instincts urged her to save them before other mothers would be forced to experience the pain and grief of losing a child. Animals have hearts and minds too. They are capable of love, hatred, jealousy, revenge, hunger, fear, joy, and caring for their own and others. We look at animals as if they are inferior because they are savage and not civilized, but in truth, we are the ones who are not being civil by drawing a thick line between us and them — us and nature. A wild animal's life is very straightforward. They spend their time searching and gathering food, mating, building homes, and meditating and playing with their loved ones. They enjoy the simplicity of life without any of our technological gadgetry, materialism, mass consumption, wastefulness, superficiality, mindless wars, excessive greed and hatred. While we get excited by the vibrations coming from our TV sets, headphones and car stereos, they get stimulated by the vibrations of nature. So, just because animals may lack the sophisticated minds to create the technology we do or make brick homes and highways like us, does not mean their connections to the etheric world isn't more sophisticated than anything we could ever imagine. That means they are more spiritual, reflective, cosmic, and tuned into alternate universes beyond what our eyes can see. So in other words, animals are more advanced than us. They have the simple beauty we lack and the spiritual contentment we may never achieve.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
His home was a part of him, an externalized expression of his will, for upon his inherited Dutch Manor house he had superimposed the Gothic magnificence which he desired. He had been attracted by the formulations of Andrew Downing, the young landscape architect who lived on the river at Newburgh and whose directions for building "romantic and picturesque villas" were changing the countryside; but it was not in Nicholas to accept another's ideas, and when five years ago he had remodeled the old Van Ryn homestead, he had used Downing simply as a guide. To the original ten rooms he had added twenty more, the gables and turrets, and the one high tower. The result, though reminiscent of a German Schloss on the Rhine, crossed with Tudor English and interwoven with pure fantasy, was nevertheless Hudson River American and not unsuited to its setting. The Dragonwyck gardens were as much as an expression of Nicholas' personality as was the mansion, for here, he had subdued Nature to a stylized ornateness. Between the untouched grove of hemlocks to the south and the slope of a rocky hill half a mile to the north he had created along the river an artificial and exotic beauty. To Miranda it was overpowering, and she felt dazed as they mounted marble steps from the landing. She was but vaguely conscious of the rose gardens and their pervasive scent, of small Greek temples set beneath weeping willows, of rock pavilions, violet-bordered fountains, and waterfalls.
Anya Seton (Dragonwyck)
Between 2003 and 2008, Iceland’s three main banks, Glitnir, Kaupthing and Landsbanki, borrowed over $140 billion, a figure equal to ten times the country’s GDP, dwarfing its central bank’s $2.5 billion reserves. A handful of entrepreneurs, egged on by their then government, embarked on an unprecedented international spending binge, buying everything from Danish department stores to West Ham Football Club, while a sizeable proportion of the rest of the adult population enthusiastically embraced the kind of cockamamie financial strategies usually only mooted in Nigerian spam emails – taking out loans in Japanese Yen, for example, or mortgaging their houses in Swiss francs. One minute the Icelanders were up to their waists in fish guts, the next they they were weighing up the options lists on their new Porsche Cayennes. The tales of un-Nordic excess are legion: Elton John was flown in to sing one song at a birthday party; private jets were booked like they were taxis; people thought nothing of spending £5,000 on bottles of single malt whisky, or £100,000 on hunting weekends in the English countryside. The chief executive of the London arm of Kaupthing hired the Natural History Museum for a party, with Tom Jones providing the entertainment, and, by all accounts, Reykjavik’s actual snow was augmented by a blizzard of the Colombian variety. The collapse of Lehman Brothers in late 2008 exposed Iceland’s debts which, at one point, were said to be around 850 per cent of GDP (compared with the US’s 350 per cent), and set off a chain reaction which resulted in the krona plummeting to almost half its value. By this stage Iceland’s banks were lending money to their own shareholders so that they could buy shares in . . . those very same Icelandic banks. I am no Paul Krugman, but even I can see that this was hardly a sustainable business model. The government didn’t have the money to cover its banks’ debts. It was forced to withdraw the krona from currency markets and accept loans totalling £4 billion from the IMF, and from other countries. Even the little Faroe Islands forked out £33 million, which must have been especially humiliating for the Icelanders. Interest rates peaked at 18 per cent. The stock market dropped 77 per cent; inflation hit 20 per cent; and the krona dropped 80 per cent. Depending who you listen to, the country’s total debt ended up somewhere between £13 billion and £63 billion, or, to put it another way, anything from £38,000 to £210,000 for each and every Icelander.
Michael Booth (The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia)
Land and Sea The brilliant colors are the first thing that strike a visitor to the Greek Isles. From the stunning azure waters and blindingly white houses to the deep green-black of cypresses and the sky-blue domes of a thousand churches, saturated hues dominate the landscape. A strong, constant sun brings out all of nature’s colors with great intensity. Basking in sunshine, the Greek Isles enjoy a year-round temperate climate. Lemons grow to the size of grapefruits and grapes hang in heavy clusters from the vines of arbors that shade tables outside the tavernas. The silver leaves of olive trees shiver in the least sea breezes. The Greek Isles boast some of the most spectacular and diverse geography on Earth. From natural hot springs to arcs of soft-sand beaches and secret valleys, the scenery is characterized by dramatic beauty. Volcanic formations send craggy cliffsides plummeting to the sea, cause lone rock formations to emerge from blue waters, and carve beaches of black pebbles. In the Valley of the Butterflies on Rhodes, thousands of radiant winged creatures blanket the sky in summer. Crete’s Samaria Gorge is the longest in Europe, a magnificent natural wonder rife with local flora and fauna. Corfu bursts with lush greenery and wildflowers, nurtured by heavy rainfall and a sultry sun. The mountain ranges, gorges, and riverbeds on Andros recall the mainland more than the islands. Both golden beaches and rocky countrysides make Mykonos distinctive. Around Mount Olympus, in central Cyprus, timeless villages emerge from the morning mist of craggy peaks and scrub vegetation. On Evia and Ikaria, natural hot springs draw those seeking the therapeutic power of healing waters. Caves abound in the Greek Isles; there are some three thousand on Crete alone. The Minoans gathered to worship their gods in the shallow caves that pepper the remotest hilltops and mountain ranges. A cave near the town of Amnissos, a shrine to Eileithyia, goddess of childbirth, once revealed a treasure trove of small idols dedicated to her. Some caves were later transformed into monasteries. On the islands of Halki and Cyprus, wall paintings on the interiors of such natural monasteries survive from the Middle Ages. Above ground, trees and other flora abound on the islands in a stunning variety. ON Crete, a veritable forest of palm trees shades the beaches at Vai and Preveli, while the high, desolate plateaus of the interior gleam in the sunlight. Forest meets sea on the island of Poros, and on Thasos, many species of pine coexist. Cedars, cypress, oak, and chestnut trees blanket the mountainous interiors of Crete, Cyprus, and other large islands. Rhodes overflows with wildflowers during the summer months. Even a single island can be home to disparate natural wonders. Amorgos’ steep, rocky coastline gives way to tranquil bays. The scenery of Crete--the largest of the Greek Isles--ranges from majestic mountains and barren plateaus to expansive coves, fertile valleys, and wooded thickets.
Laura Brooks (Greek Isles (Timeless Places))
During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries a practical knowledge of the construction of small lakes was part of the equipment of most countrymen. Many of the holes they dug and dams they built still hold water and are now often regarded as 'natural.' They are of immeasurable value in the landscape.
Elisabeth Beazley (Designed For Recreation: A Practical Handbook For All Concerned With Providing Leisure Facilities In The Countryside)
Training need not be an all-or-nothing battle, involving punishing track practice, grueling calisthenics, and wrenching interval sessions every afternoon. It could be a fun and easy cruise through the gorgeous New England countryside. It could be an act of freedom by which I could step outside myself and my racing mind. A long run in nature could even be a way to connect my physical body with the unseen spirit of the universe.
Bill Rodgers (Marathon Man: My 26.2-Mile Journey from Unknown Grad Student to the Top of the Running World)
In times of strife, taliban have usually mobilized in defense of tradition. British documents from as early as 1901 decry taliban opposition to colonialism in present-day Pakistan. However, as with so much else, it was the Soviet invasion and the US response that sent the transformative shock. In the 1980s, as guns and money coursed through the ranks of the Kandahar mujahedeen, squabbling over resources grew so frequent that many increasingly turned to religious law to settle their disputes. Small, informal bands of taliban, who were also battling against the Russians, established religious courts that heard cases from feuding fighters from across the south. Seemingly impervious to the lure of foreign riches, the taliban courts were in many eyes the last refuge of tradition in a world in upheaval. ... Thousands of talibs rallied to the cause, and an informal, centuries-old phenomenon of the Pashtun countryside morphed into a formal political and military movement, the Taliban. As a group of judges and legal-minded students, the Taliban applied themselves to the problem of anarchy with an unforgiving platform of law and order. The mujahedeen had lost their way, abandoned their religious principles, and dragged society into a lawless pit. So unlike most revolutionary movements, Islamic or otherwise, the Taliban did not seek to overthrow an existing state and substitute it with one to their liking. Rather, they sought to build a new state where none existed. This called for “eliminating the arbitrary rule of the gun and replacing it with the rule of law—and for countryside judges who had arisen as an alternative to a broken tribal system, this could only mean religious law. Jurisprudence is thus part of the Taliban’s DNA, but its single-minded pursuit was carried out to the exclusion of all other aspects of basic governance. It was an approach that flirted dangerously with the wrong kind of innovation: in the countryside, the choice was traditionally yours whether to seek justice in religious or in tribal courts, yet now the Taliban mandated religious law as the compulsory law of the land. It is true that, given the nature of the civil war, any law was better than none at all—but as soon as things settled down, fresh problems arose. The Taliban’s jurisprudence was syncretic, mixing elements from disparate schools of Islam along with heavy doses of traditional countryside Pashtun practice that had little to do with religion. As a result, once the Taliban marched beyond the rural Pashtun belt and into cities like Kabul or the ethnic minority regions of northern Afghanistan, they encountered a resentment that rapidly bred opposition.
Anand Gopal (No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War through Afghan Eyes)
Celtic Christianity developed in Wales, Cumbria and Cornwall, and in two areas where Roman influence had been marginal, at best – Ireland and Scotland. It was a rural faith that shunned the urbanism that was in the process of collapsing, and its adherents viewed that collapse as God’s judgement on a corrupt society.16 It was also monastic and quite closely mirrored the Benedictine model, as it stressed dedication to the spiritual life and the importance of restoring a proper relationship with the natural world.
Martin Palmer (Sacred Land: Decoding Britain's extraordinary past through its towns, villages and countryside)
Utilitarianism is a deliberately unsentimental, unspiritual, pragmatic movement that values everything purely on the basis of its usefulness to humanity. It is the reason why we measure a country’s level of development in terms of Gross Domestic Product rather than quality of life, the degree to which industrial production is damaging the natural environment or whether what is being produced is beneficial to the rest of the world. Utilitarianism sees no virtue in adornment, in beauty for beauty’s sake, or in setting aside space for anything non-productive.
Martin Palmer (Sacred Land: Decoding Britain's extraordinary past through its towns, villages and countryside)
Magic is all around us. You just have to know what to look for. Sunsets, a beautiful horse in a field, the captivating view after climbing a mountain, happy children, the first sip of coffee in the morning, the scent of old book pages, keeping your house plants alive, watching your adopted hens flourish or simply being in good company. The best things in life are not material things. They’re feelings, experiences and mindful moments. That is my idea of magic.
Labhandar Rós
In any case, to experience the countryside on fair days and never foul is to understand only half its story. To watch rain pock the surface of a chalk stream, feel mizzle on the chill skin of your face or smell petrichor rising from summer-dry soil is to be baptised into a fuller, older, and more deeply felt relationship with the natural world.
Melissa Harrison
We all enjoy leaving the city and going to the countryside. The trees are so beautiful; the air is so fresh. For me, this is one of the great pleasures of life. In the countryside, I like to walk slowly in the woods, look deeply at the trees and flowers, and, when I have to pee, I can do so right in the open air. The fresh air is so much more pleasant than any bathroom in the city, especially some very smelly public restrooms. But I have to confess that for years I was uneasy about peeing in the woods. The moment I approached a tree, I felt so much respect for its beauty and grandeur that I couldn’t bring myself to pee right in front of it. It seemed impolite, even disrespectful. So I would walk somewhere else, but there was always another tree or bush, and I felt equally disrespectful there. We usually think of our bathroom at home, made of wood, tile, or cement, as inanimate and we have no problem peeing there. But after I studied the Diamond Sutra and I saw that wood, tile, and cement are also marvelous and animate, I began to even feel uncomfortable using my own bathroom. Then I had a realization. I realized that peeing is also a marvelous and wondrous reality, our gift to the universe. We only have to pee mindfully, with great respect for ourselves and whatever surroundings we are in. So now I can pee in nature, fully respectful of the trees, the bushes, and myself. Through studying the Diamond Sutra, I solved this dilemma, and I enjoy being in the countryside now more than ever.
Thich Nhat Hanh (The Diamond That Cuts Through Illusion: Commentaries on the Prajnaparamita Diamond Sutra)
Patterns of urban wildlife seem to lend credence to the antiurbanism of many environmentalists. Yet cities occupy just 3 percent of the world’s surface and house half of the human population. This intensification is efficient. The average citizen of New York releases less than one third of the US national average amount of carbon dioxide. Unlike those sprawling cities like Atlanta or Phoenix, New York’s carbon emissions from transportation have not risen in the last 30 years. Denver, despite its profligate lawns, water one quarter of Colorado’s population with 2 percent of the state’s water supply. Therefore, the high biodiversity of the countryside exists only because of the city. If all the world’s urban dwellers were to move to the country, native birds and plants would not fare well. Forests would fall, streams would become silted, and carbon dioxide concentrations would spike. This is no thought experiment. These outcomes are manifest in the cleared forests and such from suburban peripheries. Instead of lamenting a worldwide pattern of biological diminishment in urban areas, we might view statistics on bird and plant diversity as signs of augmented rural biological diversity, made possible by the compact city.
David George Haskell (The Songs of Trees: Stories from Nature's Great Connectors)
...I want to exist from my own force, like the sun which gives light and does not suck light. That belongs to the earth. I recall my solar nature and would like to rush to my rising. But ruins stand in my way They say: "With regard to men you should be this or that." My chameleonesque skin shudders. They obtrude upon me and want to color me. But that should no longer be. Neither good nor evil shall be my masters. I push them aside, the laughable survivors, and go on my way again, which leads me to the East. The quarreling powers that for so long stood between me and myself lie behind me. Henceforth I'm completely alone. I can no longer say to you: "Listen!" or "you should," or "you could," but now I talk only with myself Now no one else can do anything more for me, nothing whatsoever. I no longer have a duty toward you, and you no longer have duties toward me, since I vanish and you vanish from me. I no longer hear requests and no longer make requests of you. I no longer fight and reconcile myself with you, but place silence between you and me. Your call dies away in the distance, and you cannot find my footprints. Together with the west wind, which comes from the plains of the ocean, I journey across the green countryside, I roam through the forests, and bend the young grass. I talk with trees and the forest wildlife, and the stones show me the way. When I thirst and the source does not come to me, I go to the source. When I starve and the bread does not come to me, I seek my bread and take it where I find it. I provide no help and need no help. If at any time necessity confronts me, I do not look around to see whether there is a helper nearby, but I accept the necessity and bend and writhe and struggle. I laugh, I weep,I swear, but I do not look around me. On this way, no one walks behind me, and I cross no one's path. I am alone, but I fill my solitariness with my life. I am man enough, I am noise, conversation, comfort, and help enough unto myself And so I wander to the far East. Not that I know any-thing about what my distant goal might be. I see blue horizons before me: they suffice as a goal. I hurry toward the East and my rising- I will my rising.
C.G. Jung (The Red Book: Liber Novus)
The museum’s staff resiliently worked throughout the night to sweep away the damage, but it was clear that their specimens were imperiled. To protect them from Hitler’s bombers, the curators secreted Wallace’s and Darwin’s bird skins in unmarked lorries to manors and mansions throughout the English countryside. Among the safe houses was a private museum in the tiny town of Tring, built by one of the richest men in history as a twenty-first-birthday present for his son. Lionel Walter Rothschild would grow up to earn many distinctions: the Right Honorable Lord, Baron de Rothschild, member of Parliament, adulterer, blackmail victim, and one of the most tragically obsessive bird collectors ever to roam the earth.
Kirk Wallace Johnson (The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century)
The dangers of exploring Mosquitia go beyond the natural deterrents. Honduras has one of the highest murder rates in the world. Eighty percent of the cocaine from South America destined for the United States is shipped through Honduras, most of it via Mosquitia. Drug cartels rule much of the surrounding countryside and towns.
Douglas Preston (The Lost City of the Monkey God)
Finnish agriculture is so dully over-mechanised that it defies all statistics and diagrams. Every village in Finland, far from being an embodiment of farming and the rural way of life, reminds one of a technological exposition, whereas serenity and the values of tradition are still visible in the countryside of all other European countries. Finland — at least a few years ago — was the world leader of electronic financial transfers. Ideas about electronic systems and computers enter our silly heads like knives cut through butter. Personally, those who feel so important and busy that they couldn’t survive without mobile phones in their cars, I would send to the mountains for a year, or rather five years, for them to reflect on the values of life. But perhaps that wouldn’t help either: if a mind is dull, it’ll stay dull.
Pentti Linkola (Can Life Prevail?)
Buenos Aires was also a modern commercial city that served as the hub of Argentina’s vast agricultural and natural resources, as well as its industrial center. Highways and great railway lines radiated out in every direction, bringing in goods from the countryside, and the port, one of South America’s largest, sent those goods abroad.
Neal Bascomb (Hunting Eichmann: Chasing Down the World's Most Notorious Nazi)
This movement towards enclosure rose with other stories that were being created and advanced at the time, such as the myth that humanity is separate from Nature. Such beliefs mean that, today, the countryside is for Nature – the cows, the sheep, the birds and the bees – and not humanity, as if we were less natural than a blade of grass or a gust of wind.
Mark Boyle (The Moneyless Manifesto)
the characters aren’t the only ones stranded in their country retreat: Huysmans is stranded there, too. It would almost seem that he was trying to go back to Naturalism—the sordid Naturalism of the countryside, where the peasants turn out to be more abject and greedy even than Parisians—if not for the dream sequences, which interrupt and ultimately hobble the story, and make it so impossible to classify.
Michel Houellebecq (Submission)
I do not like war, because war happens in the countryside, and the countryside bores me.
Louis-Ferdinand Céline
The night was as perfect as she could possibly have hoped. Only on nights like this did Wharton Park rival the beauty of her childhood home in Provence. The softness of an English country evening, when land and sky seemed to melt into each other, the smell of freshly mown grass, mingling with the scent of roses, had its own special magic.
Lucinda Riley (The Orchid House)
Carrying their flints and torches, Native Americans were living in balance with Nature—but they had their thumbs on the scale. Shaped for their comfort and convenience, the American landscape had come to fit their lives like comfortable clothing. It was a highly successful and stable system, if “stable” is the appropriate word for a regime that involves routinely enshrouding miles of countryside in smoke and ash. And
Charles C. Mann (1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus)
Perhaps there’s something inside her we haven’t seen yet.” The delicate comb clinked on the stone, and she started to pull Evie’s hair into loose strands. “That’s the way it is with people, you know. When I was a girl, my mother died quite unexpectedly. She meant the world to me. To my father as well. But in his grief, he consented to marry another. She was a dreadful woman, and her dreadful daughters became my stepsisters. They lived to torment me. Each morning I’d wake and wonder what I’d done to make them hate me so. Eventually I came to see that I hadn’t done anything at all. Something somewhere in their lives had hurt them—I could see that even if they couldn’t—and I made up my mind to treat them decently, as others so clearly hadn’t.” Evie studied her in the mirror. She could live to be a thousand years old and she’d never be as kind as Hazelbranch. It seemed to come naturally, as though it was a part of her, like hair or skin. “Each of us is blessed with the ability to control our own decisions,” she continued, “but cursed with the inability to control the decisions of others. I couldn’t do a thing about the way they treated me, but I got to choose the way I treated them. And do you know what happened? As we grew into adulthood, one of those wicked stepsisters became the best friend I’ve ever had.” Evie scowled and looked to the floor. She had no interest in being the bigger person. She despised Malora, and was comfortable in her anger. “It isn’t fair. Of all the people here . . .” “Life isn’t fair, Evie. It never has been and it never will be. You can sit back and moan about its unfairness while the witches roll across the countryside, or you can pick yourself up and get on with it.
M.A. Larson (Pennyroyal Academy (Pennyroyal Academy, #1))
When human beings give their heartfelt allegiance to and worship that which is not God, they progressively cease to reflect the image of God. One of the primary laws of human life is that you become like what you worship; what’s more, you reflect what you worship not only back to the object itself but also outward to the world around. Those who worship money increasingly define themselves in terms of it and increasingly treat other people as creditors, debtors, partners, or customers rather than as human beings. Those who worship sex define themselves in terms of it (their preferences, their practices, their past histories) and increasingly treat other people as actual or potential sexual objects. Those who worship power define themselves in terms of it and treat other people as either collaborators, competitors, or pawns. These and many other forms of idolatry combine in a thousand ways, all of them damaging to the image-bearing quality of the people concerned and of those whose lives they touch. My suggestion is that it is possible for human beings so to continue down this road, so to refuse all whisperings of good news, all glimmers of the true light, all promptings to turn and go the other way, all signposts to the love of God, that after death they become at last, by their own effective choice, beings that once were human but now are not, creatures that have ceased to bear the divine image at all. With the death of that body in which they inhabited God’s good world, in which the flickering flame of goodness had not been completely snuffed out, they pass simultaneously not only beyond hope but also beyond pity. There is no concentration camp in the beautiful countryside, no torture chamber in the palace of delight. Those creatures that still exist in an ex-human state, no longer reflecting their maker in any meaningful sense, can no longer excite in themselves or others the natural sympathy some feel even for the hardened criminal. I
N.T. Wright (Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church)
Starting with a puppy Starting this recall training programme with a young puppy provides you with a unique opportunity to avoid the mistakes that so many people make with managing their first dog. Especially when it comes to exercising a dog out in the countryside. Achieving an excellent recall from scratch requires a structured approach to training. And that is what Part Two of this book is for. But before you begin training, do think about how you plan to supervise and manage your puppy outdoors, as he grows and becomes more confident. Find out as much as you can about the natural characteristics of your puppy’s breed. If he belongs to one of the more challenging breeds, it is very important that you pay extra attention to building a strong relationship with your dog. Make sure you are interesting to your puppy. One very simple way to be more interesting to your dog during your walks together is to be unpredictable, so when you first start taking your puppy out on walks try to avoid endlessly plodding along the same old path – change direction often. By that I mean literally turn around on the spot and start walking back the way you came. You cannot do this too much. Puppies less than six months old lack the confidence to lead the way and are inclined to follow you. Make the most of this to establish a firm habit in your dog, of watching you to see where you go next. This helps your dog to see you as the person who leads rather than the person who follows. Remember that pups do not need long walks, just five minutes or so per day for each month of their age. Half an hour a day is enough for a six-month-old dog. Make sure that you review your assessment of your puppy as he matures. Try to be objective and to take avoiding action if you start to feel out of control at any point.
Pippa Mattinson (TOTAL RECALL: PERFECT RESPONSE TRAINING FOR PUPPIES AND ADULT DOGS)
Gian Pero Frau, one of the most important characters in the supporting cast surrounding S'Apposentu, runs an experimental farm down the road from the restaurant. His vegetable garden looks like nature's version of a teenager's bedroom, a rebellious mess of branches and leaves and twisted barnyard wire. A low, droning buzz fills the air. "Sorry about the bugs," he says, a cartoonish cloud orbiting his head. But beneath the chaos a bloom of biodynamic order sprouts from the earth. He uses nothing but dirt and water and careful observation to sustain life here. Every leaf and branch has its place in this garden; nothing is random. Pockets of lettuce, cabbage, fennel, and flowers grow in dense clusters together; on the other end, summer squash, carrots, and eggplant do their leafy dance. "This garden is built on synergy. You plant four or five plants in a close space, and they support each other. It might take thirty or forty days instead of twenty to get it right, but the flavor is deeper." (There's a metaphor in here somewhere, about his new life Roberto is forging in the Sardinian countryside.) "He's my hero," says Roberto about Gian Piero. "He listens, quietly processes what I'm asking for, then brings it to life. Which doesn't happen in places like Siddi." Together, they're creating a new expression of Sardinian terreno, crossing genetic material, drying vegetables and legumes under a variety of conditions, and experimenting with harvesting times that give Roberto a whole new tool kit back in the kitchen. We stand in the center of the garden, crunching on celery and lettuce leaves, biting into zucchini and popping peas from their shells- an improvised salad, a biodynamic breakfast that tastes of some future slowly forming in the tangle of roots and leaves around us.
Matt Goulding (Pasta, Pane, Vino: Deep Travels Through Italy's Food Culture)
The Theft of the Countryside
Michael McCarthy (The Moth Snowstorm: Nature and Joy)
The same rule of self-destructive financial calculation governs every walk of life. We destroy the beauty of the countryside because the un-appropriated splendors of nature have no economic value. We are capable of shutting off the sun and the stars because they do not pay a dividend.
John Maynard Keynes
L'unico esercizio fisico che Tess si concedeva a quell'epoca aveva luogo dopo il tramonto; solo allora, fuori nei boschi, le sembrava d'essere meno sola, sapeva come cogliere con precisione quell'attimo della sera, quando la luce e l'oscurità si compensano così equamente che le certezze del giorno e i dubbi della notte si neutralizzano, lasciando un'assoluta libertà mentale. È allora che il difficile impegno d'essere vivi si riduce al minimo. Non temeva le ombre, il suo unico pensiero sembrava quello di evitare l'umanità, o meglio, quella fredda sostanza in aumento chiamata mondo, che, così terribile nella massa, è così meschina, anzi penosa, nelle sue unità. Il suo incedere silenzioso su queste colline e valli solitarie si accordava perfettamente con l'elemento in mezzo a cui si muoveva. La sua figurina flessuosa e furtiva diveniva parte insostituibile della scena. A volte una stravagante fantasia la portava a rendere più intensi i processi della natura intorno a lei, fino a che sembravano partecipare alla sua stessa storia, anzi erano una parte della sua storia, perché il mondo è soltanto un fenomeno psicologico e tutto quello che sembra, in realtà esiste. Il vento improvviso e la brezza di mezzanotte, gemendo tra i germogli strettamente avviluppati e attraverso la corteccia dei ramoscelli invernali, erano forme di un amaro rimprovero. Un giorno piovoso era espressione di inconsolabile dolore per la sua debolezza da parte di un vago essere etico che lei non riusciva a classificare con precisione né come il Dio della sua fanciullezza, né come alcun altro essere. Ma questo essere circondata da elementi caratterizzati, basati su frammenti di convenzione, popolati da fantasmi e da voci avverse, era una triste ed errata creazione della fantasia di Tess: una nube di folletti maligni che la terrorizzava senza ragione. Erano loro, non lei, ad essere esclusi dall'armonia del mondo reale. Camminando tra gli uccelli addormentati nelle siepi, osservando i conigli saltare leggeri nelle conigliere illuminate dalla luna, o fermandosi sotto a un ramo carico di fagiani, Tess si sentiva come un'immagine della Colpa introdottasi nel rifugio dell'Innocenza. Voleva fare una distinzione dove non esisteva nessuna differenza. Si sentiva in antagonismo quando invece c'era un accordo perfetto. Aveva violato una legge sociale universalmente accettata, una legge sconosciuta al mondo che la circondava e dove supponeva di rappresentare una così grande anomalia.
Thomas Hardy (Tess of the d'Urbervilles)
Every mathematical idea presents itself to us with the character of a construction after the fact, a reconquest. Cultural constructions never have the solidity of natural objects. They are never there in the same way. Each morning, after night has intervened, we must make contact with them again. They remain impalpable; they float in the air of the village but the countryside does contain them. If, nevertheless, in the fullness of thought, the truths of culture seem to us the measure of being, and if so many philosophies posit the world upon them, it is because knowledge continues upon the thrust of perception. It is because knowledge uses the world-thesis which is its fundamental sound. We believe truth is eternal because truth expresses the perceived world and perception implies a world which was functioning before it and according to principles which it discovers and does not posit. In one and the same movement knowledge roots itself in perception and distinguishes itself from perception. Knowledge is an effort to recapture, to internalize, truly to possess a meaning that escapes perception at the very moment that it takes shape there, because it is interested only in the echo that being draws from itself, not in this resonator, its own other which makes the echo possible. Perception opens us to a world already constituted and can only reconstitute it.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty (The Prose of the World)
Evans believes that designers can create effects that seem magical by pushing against the same natural laws that magicians play with. For example, when the Japanese company Seibu asked architect Kazuyo Sejima to design a new express train, she imagined an invisible train speeding through the countryside.
Ingrid Fetell Lee (Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness)
My aunt's life was now practically confined to two adjoining rooms, in one of which she would rest in the afternoon while they, aired the other. They were rooms of that country order which (just as in certain climes whole tracts of air or ocean are illuminated or scented by myriads of protozoa which we cannot see) fascinate our sense of smell with the countless odours springing from their own special virtues, wisdom, habits, a whole secret system of life, invisible, superabundant and profoundly moral, which their atmosphere holds in solution; smells natural enough indeed, and coloured by circumstances as are those of the neighbouring countryside, but already humanised, domesticated, confined, an exquisite, skilful, limpid jelly, blending all the fruits of the season which have left the orchard for the store-room, smells changing with the year, but plenishing, domestic smells, which compensate for the sharpness of hoar frost with the sweet savour of warm bread, smells lazy and punctual as a village clock, roving smells, pious smells; rejoicing in a peace which brings only an increase of anxiety, and in a prosiness which serves as a deep source of poetry to the stranger who passes through their midst without having lived amongst them. The air of those rooms was saturated with the fine bouquet of a silence so nourishing, so succulent that I could not enter them without a sort of greedy enjoyment, particularly on those first mornings, chilly still, of the Easter holidays, when I could taste it more fully, because I had just arrived then at Combray: before I went in to wish my aunt good day I would be kept waiting a little time in the outer room, where the sun, a wintry sun still, had crept in to warm itself before the fire, lighted already between its two brick sides and plastering all the room and everything in it with a smell of soot, making the room like one of those great open hearths which one finds in the country, or one of the canopied mantelpieces in old castles under which one sits hoping that in the world outside it is raining or snowing, hoping almost for a catastrophic deluge to add the romance of shelter and security to the comfort of a snug retreat; I would turn to and fro between the prayer-desk and the stamped velvet armchairs, each one always draped in its crocheted antimacassar, while the fire, baking like a pie the appetising smells with which the air of the room, was thickly clotted, which the dewy and sunny freshness of the morning had already 'raised' and started to 'set,' puffed them and glazed them and fluted them and swelled them into an invisible though not impalpable country cake, an immense puff-pastry, in which, barely waiting to savour the crustier, more delicate, more respectable, but also drier smells of the cupboard, the chest-of-drawers, and the patterned wall-paper I always returned with an unconfessed gluttony to bury myself in the nondescript, resinous, dull, indigestible, and fruity smell of the flowered quilt.
Marcel Proust (Swann's Way)
And just wait until you see how soft and green the countryside is in summer! How gentle and floral, filled with honeysuckles and primroses, narrow laneways and hedgerows... These foreign words, spoken with a romantic longing that Ada could not understand and did not trust, she had turned over with the dispassionate interest of an archaeologist building a picture of a distant civilization. She had been born in Bombay, and India was as much a part of her as the nose on her face and the freckles that covered it. She didn't recognize words like "soft" and "gentle" and "narrow": her world was vast and sudden and blazing. It was a place of unspeakable beauty- of brilliant flowers on the terrace and sweet swooning fragrance in the dead of night- but also of mercurial cruelty. It was her home.
Kate Morton (The Clockmaker's Daughter)
The term "tomason" was coined by Genpei Akasegawa to describe a purposeless object found on a city street/ He has tracked and tagged hundreds of them in Japan and other parts of the world. A tomason is a thing that has become detached from its original purpose. Sometimes this detachment may be so complete that the object is turned into an enigmatic puzzle; alternatively, the original purpose of the object may be quite apparent and its current uselessness touching or amusing. It may be a remnant of a larger fixture that has been taken away, or it may be a thing complete in itself, whose purpose has been forgotten. Perhaps the people who put it there, who used it and needed it, have moved away or died. Perhaps the trade it was meant to serve is no longer practiced. The natural habitat of the tomason is the city street. Thisis not to say that the tomasons cannot be found in the countryside, but they are so scare there that hunting for them would be tedious. Tomasons thrive in the man-made world, in spaces that are constantly being remade and redesigned for other purposes, where the function of a thing that was useful and necessary may be swept away in a tide of change or washed off like a label. They are creatures of the boundary, they gravitate to walls and fences, to entrances and exits. You will find them attached to facades or jutting out of pavements.
Ivan Vladislavić (Portrait with Keys: The City of Johannesburg Unlocked)
We get so used to the gregarious nature of our towns and villages that we forget how crowded our existence has become.
Fennel Hudson (Wild Carp - Fennel's Journal - No. 4)
on a bike ride through the Surrey Lanes, pedalling in my cotton dress through the hot fields blushing with poppies, freewheeling down a sudden dip into a cool wooded sanctum.
Chris Cleave (Little Bee)
Nothing – and I mean, really, absolutely nothing – is more extraordinary in Britain than the beauty of the countryside. Nowhere in the world is there a landscape that has been more intensively utilized – more mined, farmed, quarried, covered with cities and clanging factories, threaded with motorways and railway lines – and yet remains so comprehensively and reliably lovely over most of its extent. It is the happiest accident in history. In terms of natural wonders, you know, Britain is a pretty unspectacular place. It has no alpine peaks or broad rift valleys, no mighty gorges or thundering cataracts. It is built to really quite a modest scale. And yet with a few unassuming natural endowments, a great deal of time and an unfailing instinct for improvement, the makers of Britain created the most superlatively park-like landscapes, the most orderly cities, the handsomest provincial towns, the jauntiest seaside resorts, the stateliest homes, the most dreamily spired, cathedral-rich, castle-strewn, abbey-bedecked, folly-scattered, green-wooded, winding-laned, sheep-dotted, plumply hedgerowed, well-tended, sublimely decorated 88,386 square miles the world has ever known – almost none of it undertaken with aesthetics in mind, but all of it adding up to something that is, quite often, perfect. What an achievement that is. And
Bill Bryson (The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain)
Blending into the tinctures and textures of the countryside. The tree which falls without any human hearing still falls, as the creatures who die without being found by a human still die.
Sara Baume (A Line Made by Walking)
When we first went to Provence, I assumed I would be observing a different culture. With attachment in mind, it became obvious to me that it is much more than a different culture — I was witnessing a culture at work and a culture that worked. Children greeted adults and adults greeted children. Socializing involved whole families, not adults with adults and children with children. There was only one village activity at a time, so families were not pulled in several directions. Sunday afternoon was for family walks in the countryside. Even at the village fountain, the local hangout, teens mixed with seniors. Festivals and celebrations, of which there were many, were all family affairs. The music and dancing brought the generations together instead of separating them. Culture took precedence over materialism. One could not even buy a baguette without first engaging in the appropriate greeting rituals. Village stores were closed for three hours at midday while schools emptied and families reconvened. Lunch was eaten in a congenial manner as multigenerational groupings sat around tables, sharing conversation and a meal. The attachment customs around the village primary school were equally impressive. Children were personally escorted to school and picked up by their parents or grandparents. The school was gated and the grounds could be entered only by a single entrance. At the gate were the teachers, waiting for their students to be handed over to them. Again, culture dictated that connection be established with appropriate greetings between the adult escorts and the teachers as well as the teachers and the students. Sometimes when the class had been collected but the school bell had not yet rung, the teacher would lead the class through the playground, like a mother goose followed by her goslings. While to North American eyes this may appear to be a preschool ritual, even absurd, in Provence it was selfevidently part of the natural order of things. When children were released from school, it was always one class at a time, the teacher in the lead. The teacher would wait with the students at the gate until all had been collected by their adult escort. Their teachers were their teachers whether on the grounds or in the village market or at the village festival. There weren't many cracks to fall through. Provençal culture was keeping attachment voids to a minimum.
Gabor Maté (Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers)
Carrying their flints and torches, Native Americans were living in balance with Nature—but they had their thumbs on the scale. Shaped for their comfort and convenience, the American landscape had come to fit their lives like comfortable clothing. It was a highly successful and stable system, if “stable” is the appropriate word for a regime that involves routinely enshrouding miles of countryside in smoke and ash. And it was a system that Indians were abandoning in ever-rising numbers at the time when Europeans came.
Charles C. Mann (1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus)
Nothing—and I mean really, absolutely nothing—is more extraordinary in Britain than the beauty of the countryside. Nowhere in the world is there a landscape that has been more intensively utilized—more mined, farmed, quarried, covered with cities and clanging factories, threaded with motorways and railroad tracks—and yet remains so comprehensively and reliably lovely over most of its extent. It is the happiest accident in history. In terms of natural wonders, you know, Britain is a pretty unspectacular place. It has no alpine peaks or broad rift valleys, no mighty gorges or thundering cataracts. It is built to really quite a modest scale. And yet with a few unassuming natural endowments, a great deal of time, and an unfailing instinct for improvement, the makers of Britain created the most superlatively park-like landscapes, the most orderly cities, the handsomest provincial towns, the jauntiest seaside resorts, the stateliest homes, the most dreamily-spired, cathedral-rich, castle-strewn, abbey-bedecked, folly-scattered, green-wooded, winding-laned, sheep-dotted, plumply-hedgerowed, well-tended, sublimely decorated 88,386 square miles the world has ever known—almost none of it undertaken with aesthetics
Bill Bryson (The Road to Little Dribbling: More Notes from a Small Island)
You know (to adopt the easy or conversational style) that you and I belong to a happy minority. We are the sons of the hunters and the wandering singers, and from our boyhood nothing ever gave us greater pleasure than to stand under lonely skies in forest clearings, or to find a beach looking westward at evening over unfrequented seas. But the great mass of men love companionship so much that nothing seems of any worth compared with it. Human communion is their meat and drink, and so they use the railways to make bigger and bigger hives for themselves.
Hilaire Belloc (On Nothing and Kindred Subjects)
she says something nasty.’ ‘Well, not nasty, exactly,’ Gertie said. ‘More sly, isn’t it?’ Celeste nodded. ‘Like the time she said that you were looking well.’ Evie gave a mad sort of laugh. ‘Yes!’ she cried. ‘She said I suited the extra weight I’d put on.’ ‘And the time she admired my dress,’ Gertie said, ‘and then went on to say that she wished they’d come in petite so that she could have one too.’ Celeste gave a knowing smile. ‘I don’t think it’s natural to be as skinny as Simone,’ she said. ‘No,’ Evie said. ‘Didn’t she once say that she hated chocolate? How can you trust anyone who doesn’t like chocolate? It’s not natural, is it?’ ‘It certainly isn’t,’ Celeste said, enjoying the jovial mood between them and wishing it could be like this more often. ‘And if she says my fingernails look like a man’s one more time, I swear I’m going to scream,’ Gertie said. The sisters laughed together before getting out of the car. Oak House was on the edge of a pretty village in what was known as ‘High Suffolk’ – the area to the north-west of the county famous for its rolling countryside. The house itself wasn’t attractive. Or at least it wasn’t attractive to Celeste, who was suspicious of any architecture that came after the Arts and Crafts movement – which this one certainly had. She still found it hard to understand how her father could have bought a mock-Tudor house when he had lived in a bona fide medieval home for so many years. She looked up at its black and white gable and couldn’t help wincing at such modernity. It was the same inside, too, with neatly plastered walls and floors that neither sloped nor squeaked. But, then again, Oak House had never known damp or deathwatch beetle and there was never the slightest chance of being cold in the fully insulated rooms with their central heating. ‘God, I’d rather spend an afternoon with Esther Martin,’ Gertie said as they approached the front door, which sheltered in a neat little porch where Simone had placed a pot of begonias. Celeste didn’t like begonias. Mainly because they weren’t roses. ‘I popped my head in to see if Esther was all right this morning and she nearly bit it off,’ Celeste said. ‘I’ve given up on her,’ Gertie said. ‘I’ve tried – I’ve really tried to be nice, but she is the rudest person I’ve ever met.’ Evie sighed. ‘You can’t blame her
Victoria Connelly (The Rose Girls)
Carrying their flints and torches, Native Americans were living in balance with Nature—but they had their thumbs on the scale. Shaped for their comfort and convenience, the American landscape had come to fit their lives like comfortable clothing. It was a highly successful and stable system, if “stable” is the appropriate word for a regime that involves routinely enshrouding miles of countryside in smoke and ash.
Charles C. Mann (1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus)
The perfect symmetry between the dismantling of the wall of shame and the end of limitless Nature is invisible only to the rich Western democracies. The various manifestations of socialism destroyed both their peoples and their ecosystems, whereas the powers of the North and the West have been able to save their peoples and some of their countrysides by destroying the rest of the world and reducing its peoples to abject poverty. Hence a double tragedy: the former socialist societies think they can solve both their problems by imitating the West; the West thinks it has escaped both problems and believes it has lessons for others even as it leaves the Earth and its people to die. The West thinks it is the sole possessor of the clever trick that will allow it to keep on winning indefinitely, whereas it has perhaps already lost everything.
Anonymous
The eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and skin sense the world around us, and in some cases perform preliminary information processing on the incoming data. But by and large, we do not experience sensation — we experience the outcome of perception — the total package that the brain puts together from the pieces that it receives through our senses and that the brain creates for us to experience. When we look out of the window at a view of countryside, or when we look at the face of a beautiful woman, we don’t just see a mess of colors and shapes — we see, instead, an image of a countryside or an image of a woman. The importance of a science is that it describes and explains each phenomenon in natural and rational way, if it can do this, and never attempts to use impossible illusion and irrationality, if it cannot. When science cannot clarify, religion covers empty space for a while. For instance, most of the mystical hallucinations of vision is the result of a so-called synesthesia — an experience in which one sensation (e.g. hearing a sound) creates experiences in another (e.g. vision). Most people do not experience synesthesia, but those who experience this phenomenon associate varoious perceptions in unusual ways, for instance, when they taste a particular food they can also percieve some colors or when they see certain objects they can clearly hear some sounds. Not knowing what is going on in the brain and sense organs, religion can easily connect this phenomenon with divine intervention, employing incredible myths around it for its benefit. It's true that science cannot explain everything and there is a high probability that it cannot do this forever, but it will never allow someone to wash human brain and keep it under control.
Elmar Hussein
I was well on the way to tacking together a sort of nature religion to make up fro Grandpa's defection, an apotheosis of the back of beyond, in which I was just another thinking thing, neuter, drab, camouflaged. There'd be sermons in stones, and books to read in the haybarn, for ever and ever. Amen.
Lorna Sage (Bad Blood)
It was on the second Tuesday in January - WI night - that winter became a serious and dramatic matter, a cold, tiring, but exhilarating time, at least for the young, and a companionable time for all, when we were stranded, snowbound and sealed off in place and, it seemed, in time too, for the usual pattern of the day’s coming and going was halted. We had been in the town all day, and I had scarcely noticed the weather. But, by the time I put the car up the last, steep bit of hill, past Cuckoo Farm and Foxley Spinney, towards the village, the sky had gathered like a boil, and had an odd, sulphurous yellow gleam over iron grey. It was achingly cold, the wind coming north-east off the Fen made us cry. We ran down the steps and indoors, switched on the lamps and opened up the stove, made tea, shut out the weather, though we could still hear it; the wind made a thin, steely noise under doors and through all the cracks and crevices of the old house. But by six o’clock there had been one of those sudden changes. I opened the door to let in Hastings, the tabby cat, and sensed it at once. The wind dropped and died, everything was still and dark as coal, no moonlight, not a star showed through the cloud cover, and it was just a degree wamer. I could smell the approching snow. Everything waited.
Susan Hill (The Magic Apple Tree: A Country Year)