Lumber Quotes

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My kids are starting to notice I'm a little different from the other dads. "Why don't you have a straight job like everyone else?" they asked me the other day. I told them this story: In the forest, there was a crooked tree and a straight tree. Every day, the straight tree would say to the crooked tree, "Look at me...I'm tall, and I'm straight, and I'm handsome. Look at you...you're all crooked and bent over. No one wants to look at you." And they grew up in that forest together. And then one day the loggers came, and they saw the crooked tree and the straight tree, and they said, "Just cut the straight trees and leave the rest." So the loggers turned all the straight trees into lumber and toothpicks and paper. And the crooked tree is still there, growing stronger and stranger every day.
Tom Waits
When Great Trees Fall When great trees fall, rocks on distant hills shudder, lions hunker down in tall grasses, and even elephants lumber after safety. When great trees fall in forests, small things recoil into silence, their senses eroded beyond fear. When great souls die, the air around us becomes light, rare, sterile. We breathe, briefly. Our eyes, briefly, see with a hurtful clarity. Our memory, suddenly sharpened, examines, gnaws on kind words unsaid, promised walks never taken. Great souls die and our reality, bound to them, takes leave of us. Our souls, dependent upon their nurture, now shrink, wizened. Our minds, formed and informed by their radiance, fall away. We are not so much maddened as reduced to the unutterable ignorance of dark, cold caves. And when great souls die, after a period peace blooms, slowly and always irregularly. Spaces fill with a kind of soothing electric vibration. Our senses, restored, never to be the same, whisper to us. They existed. They existed. We can be. Be and be better. For they existed.
Maya Angelou
I consider that a man's brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things, so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it. Now the skillful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic. He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work, but of these he has a large assortment, and all in the most perfect order. It is a mistake to think that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend upon it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.
Arthur Conan Doyle (A Study in Scarlet (Sherlock Holmes, #1))
One farmer says to me, 'You cannot live on vegetable food solely, for it furnishes nothing to make bones with;' and so he religiously devotes a part of his day to supplying his system with the raw material of bones; walking all the while he talks behind his oxen, which, with vegetable-made bones, jerk him and his lumbering plow along in spite of every obstacle.
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
A man should keep his little brain attic stocked with all the furniture that he is likely to use, and the rest he can put away in the lumber room of his library, where he can get it if he wants it.
Arthur Conan Doyle
Most countries are static, all they need to do is keep having babies. But America's like this big old clanking smoking machine that just lumbers across the landscape scooping up and eating everything in sight.
Neal Stephenson (Snow Crash)
A horse loves freedom, and the weariest old work horse will roll on the ground or break into a lumbering gallop when he is turned loose into the open.
Gerald Raftery
There's a cough behind me, and I find Cheeseburger staring anxiously at my box. I glare at Amanda, the Arm-Toucher, and pull out an entire sleeve of Thin Mints. "Here you go, Cheeseburger." He looks at me in surprise, but then again, that's how he always looks. "Wow. Thanks Anna." Cheeseburger takes the cookies and lumbers toward the stairwell. Josh is horrified. "Whyareyougivingawaythecookies?
Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1))
The only really good place to buy lumber is at a store where the lumber has already been cut and attached together in the form of furniture finished and put inside boxes.
Dave Barry (The Taming of the Screw)
The end is near. I hear a noise at the door, as of some immense slippery body lumbering against it. It shall not find me. God, that hand! The window! The window!
H.P. Lovecraft (Dagon et autres nouvelles de terreur)
I built up these lumber piles of love, and with fourteen boards each I built little houses, so that your eyes, which I adore and sing to, might live in them. Now that I have declared the foundations of my love, I surrender this century to you: wooden sonnets that rise only because you gave them life.
Pablo Neruda (100 Love Sonnets)
Frank Zhang: lumbering klutz, child of Mars, part-time pachyderm.
Rick Riordan (The Son of Neptune (The Heroes of Olympus, #2))
Was the line between enemy and friend horizontal or vertical? Was it a great plain to lumber across or was it a high, high wall—either to be scaled or kicked down in one big blow?
Chloe Gong (These Violent Delights (These Violent Delights, #1))
There was a roar of delight from the forward bench, and then the bearlike figure of Nils Ropehander came lumbering down the deck, bellowing congratulations. "What's that? The General? Engaged? Well General, here's my hand in congratulations!" The expression here's my hand turned out to be a loose one. Nils scooped Horace up in a massive bear hug of delight. The hug, unlike the expression, was not a loose one. When he released Horace, the young groom-to-be crumpled, moaning breathlessly, to the deck.
John Flanagan (The Emperor of Nihon-Ja (Ranger's Apprentice, #10))
I agreed. By this time the drink was beginning to cut the acid and my hallucinations were down to a tolerable level. The room service waiter had a vaguely reptilian cast to his features, but I was no longer seeing huge pterodactyls lumbering around the corridors in pools of fresh blood. The only problem now was a gigantic neon sign outside the window, blocking our view of the mountains -- millions of colored balls running around a very complicated track, strange symbols & filigree, giving off a loud hum.... "Look outside," I said. "Why?" "There's a big ... machine in the sky, ... some kind of electric snake ... coming straight at us." "Shoot it," said my attorney. "Not yet," I said. "I want to study its habits.
Hunter S. Thompson (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas)
The italian nanny was attempting to answer the teachers latest question when the moroccan student interupted, shouting "Excuse me, What is an easter?" it would seem that depsite having grown up in a muslim country, she would have heard it mentioned once or twice, but no. "I mean it," She said. " I have no idea what you people are talking about." The teacher called upon the rest of us to explain. The poles led the charge to the best of their ability. It is," said one, "a party for the little boy of god who call his self jesus and... oh shit." She faltered and her fellow country man came to her aid. He call his self Jesus and then he die one day on two... morsels of... lumber." The rest of the class jumped in, offering bits of information that would have given the pope an aneurysm. he die one day and then he go above of my head to live with your father." he weared of himself the long hair and after he die. the first day he come back here for to say hello to the peoples." he Nice the jesus." he make the good things, and on the easter we be sad because somebody makes him dead today.
David Sedaris (Me Talk Pretty One Day)
One might fancy that day, the London day, was just beginning. Like a woman who had slipped off her print dress and white apron to array herself in blue and pearls, the day changed, put off stuff, took gauze, changed to evening, and with the same sigh of exhilaration that a woman breathes, tumbling petticoats on the floor, it too shed dust, heat, colour; the traffic thinned; motor cars, tinkling, darting, succeeded the lumber of vans; and here and there among the thick foliage of the squares an intense light hung. I resign, the evening seemed to say, as it paled and faded above the battlements and prominences, moulded, pointed, of hotel, flat, and block of shops, I fade, she was beginning. I disappear, but London would have none of it, and rushed her bayonets into the sky, pinioned her, constrained her to partnership in her revelry.
Virginia Woolf (Mrs. Dalloway)
Watching him lumber back toward the apartment building, I got so mad I did something I can't explain. As Gabe reached the doorway, I made the hand gesture I'd seen Grover make on the bus, a sort of warding-off-evil gesture, a clawed hand over my heart, then a shoving movement toward Gabe. The screen door slammed shut so hard it whacked him in the butt and sent him flying up the stair case as if he'd been shot from a cannon. Maybe it was just the wind, or some freak accident with the hinges, but I didn't stay long enough to find out. I got in the Camaro and told my mom to step on it.
Rick Riordan (The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1))
Well," he said, "I say, now, as I said then, that a man should keep his little brain-attic stocked with all the furniture that he is likely to use, and the rest he can put away in the lumber-room of this library, where he can get it if he wants it.
Arthur Conan Doyle (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock Holmes, #3))
The Duke [John Wayne] was a massive figure. He looked like a heavy piece of hauled lumber, and it didn't seem like any man could stand shoulder to shoulder with him.
Bob Dylan
The tree of our family was parted - branches here, roots there - parted for their lumber.
Ta-Nehisi Coates (The Water Dancer)
Besides being blind to lots of good things, the GDP also benefits from all manner of human suffering. Gridlock, drug abuse, adultery? Goldmines for gas stations, rehab centers, and divorce attorneys. If you were the GDP, your ideal citizen would be a compulsive gambler with cancer who’s going through a drawn-out divorce that he copes with by popping fistfuls of Prozac and going berserk on Black Friday. Environmental pollution even does double duty: One company makes a mint by cutting corners while another is paid to clean up the mess. By contrast, a centuries-old tree doesn’t count until you chop it down and sell it as lumber.
Rutger Bregman (Utopia for Realists: And How We Can Get There)
That any civilized human being in this nineteenth century should not be aware that the earth traveled round the sun appeared to me to be such an extraordinary fact that I could hardly realize it. ‘You appear to be astonished,’ he said, smiling at my expression of surprise. ‘Now that I do know it I shall do my best to forget it.’ ‘To forget it!’ ‘You see,’ he explained, ‘I consider that a man’s brain is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things, so that he has difficulty in laying his hands upon it. Now the skilful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic. He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work, but of these he has a large assortment, and all in most perfect order. It is a mistake to think that that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend upon it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.’ ‘But the Solar System!’ I protested. ‘What the deuce is it to me?’ he interrupted impatiently: ‘you say that we go round the sun. If we went round the moon it would not make a pennyworth of difference to me or to my work.
Arthur Conan Doyle (A Study in Scarlet (Sherlock Holmes, #1))
Through this feeling of helplessness suddenly burst a piercing nostalgia for the lost world of childhood. The way it came right up against the heart, that world, and against the face. No indoors or outdoors, only everything touching us, and the grown-ups lumbering past overhead like constellations.
Denis Johnson (Already Dead: A California Gothic)
I do not see how it is possible for a man to die worth fifty million of dollars, or ten million of dollars, in a city full of want, when he meets almost every day the withered hand of beggary and the white lips of famine. How a man can withstand all that, and hold in the clutch of his greed twenty or thirty million of dollars, is past my comprehension. I do not see how he can do it. I should not think he could do it any more than he could keep a pile of lumber on the beach, where hundreds and thousands of men were drowning in the sea.
Robert G. Ingersoll (The Liberty Of Man, Woman And Child)
The Chair I’m writing to you, who made the archaic wooden chair look like a throne while you sat on it. Amidst your absence, I choose to sit on the floor, which is dusty as a dry Kansas day. I am stoic as a statue of Buddha, not wanting to bother the old wooden chair, which has been silent now for months. In this sunlit moment I think of you. I can still picture you sitting there-- your forehead wrinkled like an un-ironed shirt, the light splashed on your face, like holy water from St. Joseph’s. The chair, with rounded curves like that of a full-figured woman, seems as mellow as a monk in prayer. The breeze blows from beyond the curtains, as if your spirit has come back to rest. Now a cloud passes overhead, and I hush, waiting to hear what rests so heavily on the chair’s lumbering mind. Do not interrupt, even if the wind offers to carry your raspy voice like a wispy cloud.
Jarod Kintz (A Letter to Andre Breton, Originally Composed on a Leaf of Lettuce With an Ink-dipped Carrot)
And blue-lung'd combers lumbered to the kill.
Robert Lowell (Lord Weary's Castle)
Was there to be any end to the gradual improvement in the techniques and artifices used by the replicators to ensure their own continuation in the world? There would be plenty of time for improvement. What weird engines of self-preservation would the millennia bring forth? Four thousand million years on, what was to be the fate of the ancient replicators? They did not die out, for they are past masters of the survival arts. But do not look for them floating loose in the sea; they gave up that cavalier freedom long ago. Now they swarm in huge colonies, safe inside gigantic lumbering robots, sealed off from the outside world, communicating with it by tortuous indirect routes, manipulating it by remote control. They are in you and in me; they created us, body and mind; and their preservation is the ultimate rationale for our existence. They have come a long way, those replicators. Now they go by the name of genes, and we are their survival machines.
Richard Dawkins (The Selfish Gene)
...you'd be surprised how many people violate this simple principle every day of their lives and try to fit square pegs into round holes, ignoring the clear reality that Things Are As They Are. We will let a selection from the writings of Chuang-tse illustrate: Hui-tse said to Chuang-tse, "I have a large tree which no carpenter can cut into lumber. Its branches and trunk are crooked and tough, covered with bumps and depressions. No builder would turn his head to look at it. Your teachings are the same - useless, without value. Therefore, no one pays attention to them." ... "You complain that your tree is not valuable as lumber. But you could make use of the shade it provides, rest under its sheltering branches, and stroll beneath it, admiring its character and appearance. Since it would not be endangered by an axe, what could threaten its existence? It is useless to you only because you want to make it into something else and do not use it in its proper way.
Benjamin Hoff (The Tao of Pooh)
It lumbered slobberingly into sight and gropingly squeezed Its gelatinous green immensity through the black doorway into the tainted outside air of that poison city of madness. … The Thing cannot be described—there is no language for such abysms of shrieking and immemorial lunacy, such eldritch contradictions of all matter, force, and cosmic order.
H.P. Lovecraft (The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories)
I made these sonnets out of wood; I gave them the sound of that opaque pure substance, and that is how they should reach your ears. Walking in forests or on beaches, along hidden lakes, in latitudes sprinkled with ashes, you and I have picked up pieces of pure bark, pieces of wood subject to the comings and goings of water and the weather. Out of such softened relics, then, with hatchet and machete and pocketknife, I built up these lumber piles of love, and with fourteen boards each I built little houses, so that your eyes, which I adore and sing to, might live in them. Now that I have declared the foundations of my love, I surrender this century to you: wooden sonnets that rise only because you gave them life.
Pablo Neruda (100 Love Sonnets)
Mr. Haverbink bowed deeply, muscles rippling all up and down his back, and lumbered from the room. Miss Hisselpenny sighed and fluttered her fan. "Ah, for the countryside, what scenery there abides..., " quoth she. Miss Tarabotti giggled. "Ivy, what a positively wicked thing to say. Bravo.
Gail Carriger (Soulless (Parasol Protectorate, #1))
Gmorning November You lurch & you lumber From bonfire to ember From waking to slumber You deaden the grass & you piss in the pot The birds all haul ass And the pumpkins all rot Remember, November: Momentous elections Ignite us, divide us, Divine new directions November— Chill. Gnight, November Come in from the cold We're making hot cocoa with WHOLE milk: we're bold. CHILL, November. CHILL.
Lin-Manuel Miranda
All that reading took. It became as basic as any other need. To be lost in a novel meant you were not lost in your own life, the drafty, disorganized, lumbering bus of a house, the disinterested parents.
Meg Wolitzer (The Female Persuasion)
In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible. Things like the continuance of British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, the dropping of atom bombs on Japan, can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of political parties. Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness. Defenseless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: this is called pacification. Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: this is called transfer of population or rectification of frontiers. People are imprisoned for years without trial, or shot in the back of the neck or sent to die of scurvy in Arctic lumber camps: this is called elimination of unreliable elements.
George Orwell (A Collection of Essays)
I consider that a man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things, so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it.
Arthur Conan Doyle (The Complete Sherlock Holmes)
Golden head by golden head, Like two pigeons in one nest Folded in each other's wings, They lay down in their curtained bed: Like two blossoms on one stem, Like two flakes of new-fall'n snow, Like two wands of ivory Tipped with gold for awful kings. Moon and stars gazed in at them, Wind sang to them lullaby, Lumbering owls forbore to fly, Not a bat flapped to and fro Round their rest: Cheek to cheek and breast to breast Locked together in one nest.
Christina Rossetti (Goblin Market: A Tale of Two Sisters)
Home was something besides so much lumber and plaster. You built your thoughts into the frame work. You planted a little of your heart with the trees and the shrubbery.
Bess Streeter Aldrich (A Lantern in Her Hand)
A lumbering soul but trying to fly...
John Steinbeck
I find a grin spreading across my face. I don't know what I'm doing, how I'm doing it, or what will happen when it's done, but at the very bottom of this rising siege-ladder, I at least know I'm going to see Julie again. I know I'm not going to say goodbye. And if these staggering refugees want to help, if they think they see something bigger here than a boy chasing a girl, then they can help, and we'll see what happens when we say Yes while this rigor mortis world screams No. We start lumbering north on the southbound freeway, and the thunder drifts away towards the mountains as if it's scared of us. Here we are on the road. We must be going somewhere.
Isaac Marion (Warm Bodies (Warm Bodies, #1))
One minute it was Ohio winter, with doors closed, windows locked, the panes blind with frost, icicles fringing every roof, children skiing on slopes, housewives lumbering like great black bears in their furs along the icy streets. And then a long wave of warmth crossed the small town. A flooding sea of hot air; it seemed as if someone had left a bakery door open. The heat pulsed among the cottages and bushes and children. The icicles dropped, shattering, to melt. The doors flew open. The windows flew up. The children worked off their wool clothes. The housewives shed their bear disguises. The snow dissolved and showed last summer's ancient green lawns. Rocket summer. The words passed among the people in the open, airing houses. Rocket summer. The warm desert air changing the frost patterns on the windows, erasing the art work. The skis and sleds suddenly useless. The snow, falling from the cold sky upon the town, turned to a hot rain before it touched the ground. Rocket summer. People leaned from their dripping porches and watched the reddening sky. The rocket lay on the launching field, blowing out pink clouds of fire and oven heat. The rocket stood in the cold winter morning, making summer with every breath of its mighty exhausts. The rocket made climates, and summer lay for a brief moment upon the land....
Ray Bradbury (The Martian Chronicles)
I would have stolen it for you, had I known you were interested." His voice was muffled by the door to the lumber room down the hallway, and I heard thumps and a crash. I raised my voice a trifle more than mere volume required. "I'm interested because she was. Both of them, come to that--Damian's art is infused with mystic symbols and traditions." Holmes' voice answered two inches away from my ear, making me jerk and spray a handful of maps across the floor. "Religion can be a dangerous thing, it is true," he remarked darkly, and went out again.
Laurie R. King (The Language of Bees (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes, #9))
The I-Remember-Whensters lumbered in with their musty catalogues of the bygone, dragging IVs of distilled nostalgia behind them on creaky wheels,
Colson Whitehead (Sag Harbor)
I'd been to the island on most weekends up until I got shot, and Thomas had often come with me. We'd used some fresh lumber, some material salvaged from the ruined town, and some pontoons made from plastic sheathing and old tractor-tire inner tubes to construct a floating walkway to serve as a dock, anchored to the old pilings that had once supported a much larger structure. Upon completion, I had dubbed it the Whatsup Dock, and Thomas had chucked me twenty feet out into the lake, thus proving his utter lack of appreciation for reference-orientated humour. (And then I'd thrown him forty feet out with magic, once I got dry. Because come on, he's my brother. It was the only thing to do.)
Jim Butcher (Cold Days (The Dresden Files, #14))
The world rides through space on the back of a turtle. This is one of the great ancient world myths, found wherever men and turtles were gathered together; the four elephants were an Indo-European sophistication. The idea has been lying in the lumber rooms of legend for centuries. All I had to do was grab it and run away before the alarms went off. There are no maps. You can't map a sense of humour. Anyway, what is a fantasy map but a space beyond which There Be Dragons? On the Discworld we know There Be Dragons Everywhere. They might not all have scales and forked tongues, but they Be Here all right, grinning and jostling and trying to sell you souvenirs.
Terry Pratchett
And then Holt, the Queen's Guard, placed his maps on the desk, neatly so they would not fall, tipped Thiel over one shoulder, tipped Death over the other, and stood under his load. In the astonished silence that followed, Holt lumbered toward Runnemood, who, understanding, let out a snort and stalked from the room of his own accord. Then Holt carried his outraged burdens away on either shoulder, just as they got their voices back. Bitterblue could hear them screaming their indignation all the way down the stairs.
Kristin Cashore (Bitterblue (Graceling Realm, #3))
He was silent. Well! Now she knew how right she had been. He was not in the least in love with her, and very happy she was to know it. All she wanted was a suitable retreat, such as a lumber-room, or a coal-cellar, in which to enjoy her happiness to the full.
Georgette Heyer (Sylvester or The Wicked Uncle)
There’s a beat, and then Garrett surprises me by hauling me in for a hug. Not a macho side hug or quick chest bump, but a real hug, with both his arms around me, gripping me tight. I hug him back. “I’m sorry, man. About the house. The drinking. Just everything.” “I know,” he says for the third time. A door creaks open. “Is this a private homoerotic moment? Or can anyone join in?” I laugh weakly as Logan lumbers toward us. Garrett releases me, and Logan takes his place. His hug is briefer, but no less comforting.
Elle Kennedy (The Score (Off-Campus, #3))
Was her whole life going to be like this now, avoiding certain songs or music that reminded her of her mistakes? Billie Holiday made her think of Eric Dalton; Iron & Wine was Jeremiah; and if things didn’t work out with Kara, she’d never be able to listen to Bob Dylan again. By the time she reached her twenties, she’d be a huge, lumbering mass of musical baggage.
Cecily von Ziegesar (Lucky (It Girl, #5))
I'm sitting on the lumbering late bus, thinking about the way I'm going to start my Monday: by filling out an unexcused absence form for the cranky secretary. The last time the bus was late she actually told me, "Don't tell me the bus was late. That excuse won't work anymore today. About ten kids ahead of you said that their bus was late, too." I tried to explain that we all took the same bus, but there was no pulling the wool over her eyes. She wasn't born yesterday.
Daniel Handler (The Basic Eight)
Everything I've done today could have been done by a bear. The long seasoned sleep. The lumbering out of bed. Tearing at a hard roll dipped in honey. And then sprawling lazily in the grass when the sun hit.
Bill Callahan (Letters to Emma Bowlcut)
I consider that a man’s brain is originally like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge that might be useful to him gets crowded out.
Arthur Conan Doyle (A Study in Scarlet (Sherlock Holmes, #1))
pet. Now, a big black bear who liked listening to the music that insects make in the early evening couldn’t hear their song because Lulu’s was louder. Plus, a lot of the insects were deader because Lulu kept on spraying them with her spray. This made him mad. Then madder. Then madder than that. He growled a thunderous growl, and then he lumbered heavily down the forest path and stood on his two hind legs in front of Lulu. Waving a big claw-y paw in her face, he said, “You’re interrupting my favorite program.” (Please don’t give me an argument. In my story, bears are allowed to have favorite programs.) “So I’m going to scratch you to pieces with my claws.
Judith Viorst (Lulu and the Brontosaurus)
Ah, snug lie those that slumber beneath conviction's roof. Their floors are sturdy lumber, their windows weatherproof. But I sleep cold forever, and cold sleep all my kind, For I was born to shiver in the draft from an open mind. Born nakedly to shiver in the draft of an open mind.
Phyllis McGinley
It may look as though I do not know how to start. Funny sight, the elderly gentleman who comes lumbering by, jowl flesh flopping, in a valiant dash for the last bus, which he eventually overtakes but is afraid to board in motion and so, with a sheepish smile, drops back, still going at a trot. Is it that I dare not make the leap? It roars, gathers speed, will presently vanish irrevocably around the corner, the bus, the motorbus, the mighty montibus of my tale. Rather bulky imagery, this. I am still running.
Vladimir Nabokov (Despair)
A beetle lumbered up onto her arm, and she stilled herself, enjoying the tickling feeling of its thread-thin feet. It was deep green with shimmers of blue and turquoise, with pitch-black legs. She kissed it very softly. If happiness were a color, it would be the color of this beetle, thought Wil.
Katherine Rundell (Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms)
What you must remember is that the magic itself is neither good nor bad, no more so than this ship might be used for right or wrong. It might be used by a fisherman to feed a village, for example. Or, the same vessel might be sailed by pirates to murder and pillage...the lumber, rope, nails, cotton, and everything that goes into it-is created by the True One. Humans decide how it is to be put together and how it is used.
Derek Donais (MetalMagic: Talisman)
Before that summer, I had many times heard long-winded Baptist preachers take ten minutes to pray over card tables of potato salad and fried chicken at church picnics, but the way those sweating, red-faced men sat around on stacked pallets of lumber gulping oysters taught me most of what I knew about simple gladness.
Mary Karr (The Liars' Club)
I am the wind and the wind is invisible, all the leaves tremble but I am invisible, blackbird over the dark field but I am invisible, what fills the balloon and what it moves through, knot without rope, bloom without flower, galloping without the horse, the spirit of the thing without the thing, location without dimension, without a within, song without throat, word without ink, wingless flight, dark boat in the dark night, shine without light, pure velocity, as the hammer is a hammer when it hits the nail and the nail is a nail when it meets the wood and the invisible table begins to appear out of mind, pure mind, out of nothing, pure thinking, hand of the mind, hand of the emperor, arm of the empire, void and vessel, sheath and shear, and wider, and deeper, more vast, more sure, through silence, through darkness, a vector, a violence, and even farther, and even worse, between, before, behind, and under, and even stronger, and even further, beyond form, beyond number, I labor, I lumber, I fumble forward through the valley as winter, as water, a shift in the river, I mist and frost, flexible and elastic to the task, a fountain of gravity, space curves around me, I thirst, I hunger, I spark, I burn, force and field, force and counterforce, agent and agency, push to your pull, parabola of will, massless mass and formless form, dreamless dream and nameless name, intent and rapturous, rare and inevitable, I am the thing that is hurtling towards you…
Richard Siken
The United States is a society in which people not only can get by without knowing much about the wider world but are systematically encouraged not to think independently or critically, and instead to accept the mythology of the United States as a benevolent, misunderstood giant as it lumbers around the world trying to do good.
Robert Jensen
The country was lumbering towards election day. Strike turned in early on Sunday and watched the day's gaffes, counterclaims and promises being tabulated on his portable TV. There was an air of joylessness in every news report he watched. The national debt was so huge that it was diffcult to comprehend. Cuts were coming, whoever won; deep, painful cuts; and sometimes, with their weasel words, the party leaders reminded Strike of the surgeons who had told him cautiously that he might experience a degree of discomfort; they who would never personally feel the pain that was about to be inflicted.
Robert Galbraith (The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike, #1))
Foot speed was a profoundly different way of moving through the world than my normal modes of travel. Miles weren’t things that blazed dully past. They were long, intimate straggles of weeds and clumps of dirt, blades of grass and flowers that bent in the wind, trees that lumbered and screeched. They were the sound of my breath and my feet hitting the trail one step at a time and the click of my ski pole. The PCT had taught me what a mile was. I was humble before each and every one.
Cheryl Strayed (Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail)
The future wafts in and out of my world like a ghost - like a lumbering beast, begging to be tamed. For so long it sat locked in mystery, surrounding me, fickle as the wind. I see it now for the noose it is, the game that never satisfies, the warrior that always kills. The past proved to be set in stone, the immovable rock of my existence that cast its shadow into the valley of death. But it is the future’s bright light that draws me in, the blinding rays that pull me forward with bionic, magnetic, force. They row me towards my destiny with indescribable power, to a fate questionably determined - washed in the patina of hope.
Addison Moore (Burn (Celestra, #3))
After Death nothing is, and nothing, death, The utmost limit of a gasp of breath. Let the ambitious zealot lay aside His hopes of heaven, whose faith is but his pride; Let slavish souls lay by their fear Nor be concerned which way nor where After this life they shall be hurled. Dead, we become the lumber of the world, And to that mass of matter shall be swept Where things destroyed with things unborn are kept. Devouring time swallows us whole. Impartial death confounds body and soul. For Hell and the foul fiend that rules God's everlasting fiery jails (Devised by rogues, dreaded by fools), With his grim, grisly dog that keeps the door, Are senseless stories, idle tales, Dreams, whimseys, and no more.
John Wilmot
Make no mistake, our economic system can do no other than destroy everything it encounters. That’s what happens when you convert living beings to cash. That conversion, from living trees to lumber, schools of cod to fish sticks, and onward to numbers on a ledger, is the central process of our economic system. Psychologically, it is the central process of our enculturation; we are most handsomely rewarded in direct relation to the manner in which we can help increase the Gross National Product.
Derrick Jensen (A Language Older Than Words)
Ser Cleos raised a shout. When Jaime looked up, Brienne was lumbering along the clifftop well ahead of them, having cut across a finger of land while they were following the bend in the river. She threw herself off the rock, and looked almost graceful as she folded into a dive. It would have been ungracious to hope that she would smash her head on a stone.
George R.R. Martin (A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire, #3))
Granma said that when your body died, the body-living mind died with it, and if that’s the way you had thought all your life there you was, stuck with a hickor’nut spirit, as the spirit mind was all that lived when everything else died. Then, Granma said, when you was born back—as you was bound to be—then, there you was, born with a hickor’nut spirit mind that had practical no understanding of anything. Then it might shrink up to the size of a pea and could disappear, if the body-living mind took over total. In such case, you lost your spirit complete. That’s how you become dead people. Granma said you could easy spot dead people. She said dead people when they looked at a woman saw nothing but dirty; when they looked at other people they saw nothing but bad; when they looked at a tree they saw nothing but lumber and profit; never beauty. Granma said they was dead people walking around. Granma
Forrest Carter (The Education of Little Tree)
weren’t things that blazed dully past. They were long, intimate straggles of weeds and clumps of dirt, blades of grass and flowers that bent in the wind, trees that lumbered and screeched. They were the sound of my breath and my feet hitting the trail one step at a time and the click of my ski pole. The PCT had taught me what a mile was. I was humble before each and every one.
Cheryl Strayed (Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail)
When he [Colin] reached the center of the field, he paused to catch his breath and scan the area for telltale tufts of wool. When the lamb failed to appear, he cupped his hands around his mouth and tried again. "Dinner!" This time, his call earned an answer. Several answers. In fact, the ground shook with the collective bestial response. He spied several large, dark forms lumbering toward him through the twilight dusk. He blinked, trying to make them out. These weren't sheep. No, they were... Cows. Large cows. Remarkably fast and menacing cows. A small herd of them, all thundering straight for him where he stood in the center of the field. Colin took a few steps backward. "Wait," he said, holding up his hands. "I didn't mean you.
Tessa Dare (A Night to Surrender (Spindle Cove, #1))
I met him in the language lab. In a lull between lab sections, I was editing tapes for freshman German when this shuffling man of hair came in. Possibly twenty, or forty; possibly student, or faculty, Trotskyite or Amish farmer, human or animal; a theif lumbering out of a camera shop, laden with lenses and light meters; a bear who after a terrible and violent struggle ate a photographer. This beast approached me.
John Irving (The Water-Method Man (Ballantine Reader's Circle))
Like the librarians of Babel in Borges’s story, who are looking for the book that will provide them with the key to all the others, we oscillate between the illusion of perfection and the vertigo of the unattainable. In the name of completeness, we would like to believe that a unique order exists that would enable us to accede in knowledge all in one go; in the name of the unattainable, we would like to think that order and disorder are in fact the same word, denoting pure chance. It’s possible also that both are decoys, illusions intended to disguise the erosion of both books and systems. It is no bad thing in any case that between the two our bookshelves should serve from time to time as joggers of the memory, as cat-rests and as lumber-rooms.
Georges Perec (Species of Spaces and Other Pieces)
The wafts in and out of my world like a ghost- like a lumbering beast, begging to be tamed. For so long it sat locked in mystery, surrounding me, fickle as the wind. I see it now for the noose it is, the game that never satisfies, the warrior that always kills. The past proved to be set in stone, the immovable rock of my existence that cast its shadow into the valley of death. But it is the future’s bright light that draws me in, the blinding rays that pull me forward with bionic, magnetic, force. They row me towards my destiny with indescribable power, to a fate questionably determined-washed in the patina of hope.
Addison Moore (Burn (Celestra, #3))
Suddenly William loomed over him, scowling, snarling and bloody, his suit dirt-stained and ripped. “Do you know. How many strands. Of hair I lost. On my way down?” Whatever. “Math was never my thing, but I’m gonna say you lost…a lot.” Electric-blues glittered with menace. “You are a cruel, sadistic bastard. My hair needs TLC and you…you… Damn you! I’ve gutted men for less.” “I know. I’ve watched you.” Paris lumbered to his feet and scanned the rocky bank they stood upon, the crimson ocean lapping and bubbling in every direction. The drawbridge was only a fifty-yard dash away. “Don’t kill the messenger, but I’m thinking you should change your dating profile to balding.” Masculine cheeks went scarlet as the big bad warrior struggled for a comeback. … “One of these days you’re going to wake up,” William finally said, “and I will have shaved you. Everywhere.” “Won’t make a difference. Women will still want me. But you know what else? What I did to you wasn’t cruel, Willy.” He offered the warrior a white-flag grin. A trick. A lie. “This, however, is.” He grabbed William by the wrist, swung the man around and around before at last releasing him and hurling his body directly onto the bridge.
Gena Showalter (The Darkest Seduction (Lords of the Underworld, #9))
The Hand roused. It lumbered to its feet, reeking of ionized air and dry metallic bones, revealing a level of functionality Alif had not detected. He reeled backward, recalibrating. Breaching the confines of the State intranet, the Hand began to attack the base of Alif's tower, slicing away layers of code through a mirroring protocol of a kind Alif had never seen before.
G. Willow Wilson (Alif the Unseen)
I consider that a man's brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things, so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it.
George Bernard Shaw
You're not going to be bear bait," he promised, turning her so that she was behind him. "Not today anyway." She grabbed a fistful of the back of his uniform shirt and pressed up against his back. "How do you know?" "Well, you're behind me, for one thing. So if anyone's going to be bear bait, it'll be me. And brown bears are extremely passive. If we take a step toward him, he'll take off." She let go of him, presumably so he could do just that, even giving him a little nudge that was actually more like a push. With a laugh, Matt obliged and stepped toward the bear, waving his arms. With a look of reproof, the bear lumbered to his feet and vanished into the bush.
Jill Shalvis (At Last (Lucky Harbor, #5))
Speak of the daimon: Leo burst through the door next to the pantry, holding a loft a wheel of cheese like a victor's laurel crown. "BEHOLD THE CHEDDAR!" he announced. "ALL HAIL THE CHEESE CONQUERORS!" Josephine, chuckling good-naturedly, lumbered in behind him with a metal pail. "The cows seemed to like Leo." "Hey, abuelita," Leo said. "All da cows love Leo." He grinned at me. "And these cows are red man. Like... bright red." That definitely made me want to weep. Red cows were my favourite. For centuries I had a herd of sacred scarlet cattle before cow-collecting went out of fashion.
Rick Riordan (The Dark Prophecy (The Trials of Apollo, #2))
She's a woman. Like a chameleon does, a woman quietly blends into all the parts of her life. Sometimes you can hardly tell she's there, she's so quiet going on about her business. Feed the baby. Muck the stables. Make soup from stones. Make a sheet into a dress. She doesn't count on destiny for anything. She knows its her own hands, her own arms, her own thighs and breasts that have to do the work. Destiny is bigger in men's lives. Destiny is a welcome guest in a man's house. She barely knocks and he's there to open the door. "Yes, yes. You do it," he says to destiny and lumbers back to his chair.
Marlena de Blasi (That Summer in Sicily: A Love Story)
Progress and success are always relative. When the land was unoccupied by animals, the first amphibian to emerge from the sea could get away with being slow, lumbering, and fish-like, for it had no enemies and no competitors. But if a fish were to take to the land today, it would be gobbled up by a passing fox as surely as a Mongol horde would be wiped out by machine guns. In history and in evolution, progress is always a futile, Sisyphean struggle to stay in the same relative place by getting ever better at things.
Matt Ridley (The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature)
What troubled her so, she thinks, is the dream's effect of nullifying the present. For she is passionately attached to her present; nothing in the world would induce her to trade it for the past or the future. That is why she dislikes dreams: they impose an unacceptable equivalence among the various periods of the same life, a leveling contemporaneity of everything a person has ever experienced; they discredit the present by denying it its priviledged status. As in that night's dream: it obliterated a whole chunk of her life; in its place the past came lumbering in.
Milan Kundera
His ignorance was as remarkable as his knowledge. Of contemporary literature, philosophy and politics he appeared to know next to nothing. Upon my quoting Thomas Carlyle, he inquired in the naivest way who he might be and what he had done. My surprise reached a climax, however, when I found incidentally that he was ignorant of the Copernican Theory and of the composition of the Solar System. That any civilized human being in this nineteenth century should not be aware that the earth travelled round the sun appeared to be to me such an extraordinary fact that I could hardly realize it. "You appear to be astonished," he said, smiling at my expression of surprise. "Now that I do know it I shall do my best to forget it." "To forget it!" "You see," he explained, "I consider that a man's brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it. Now the skillful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic. He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work, but of these he has a large assortment, and all in the most perfect order. It is a mistake to think that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend upon it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones." "But the Solar System!" I protested. "What the deuce is it to me?" he interrupted impatiently; "you say that we go round the sun. If we went round the moon it would not make a pennyworth of difference to me or to my work.
Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes: The Ultimate Collection)
Uncouth, clannish, lumbering about the confines of Space and Time with a puzzled expression on his face and a handful of things scavenged on the way from gutters, interglacial littorals, sacked settlements and broken relationships, the Earth-human has no use for thinking except in the service of acquisition. He stands at every gate with one hand held out and the other behind his back, inventing reasons why he should be let in. From the first bunch of bananas, his every sluggish fit or dull fleabite of mental activity has prompted more, more; and his time has been spent for thousands of years in the construction and sophistication of systems of ideas that will enable him to excuse, rationalize, and moralize the grasping hand. His dreams, those priceless comic visions he has of himself as a being with concerns beyond the material, are no more than furtive cannibals stumbling round in an uncomfortable murk of emotion, trying to eat each other. Politics, religion, ideology — desperate, edgy attempts to shift the onus of responsibility for his own actions: abdications. His hands have the largest neural representation in the somesthetic cortex, his head the smallest; but he's always trying to hide the one behind the other.
M. John Harrison (The Centauri Device)
The greatest threat of all to their identity, and to the very idea of a nomadic hunter in North America, appeared on the plains in the late 1860s. These were the buffalo men. Between 1868 and 1881 they would kill thirty-one million buffalo, stripping the plains almost entirely of the huge, lumbering creatures and destroying any last small hope that any horse tribe could ever be restored to its traditional life. There was no such thing as a horse Indian without a buffalo herd. Such an Indian had no identity at all.
S.C. Gwynne (Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History)
Like prison systems throughout the South, Texas's grew directly out of slavery. After the Civil War the state's economy was in disarray, and cotton and sugar planters suddenly found themselves without hands they could force to work. Fortunately for them, the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery, left a loophole. It said that 'neither slavery nor involuntary servitude' shall exist in the United States 'except as punishment for a crime.' As long as black men were convicted of crimes, Texas could lease all of its prisoners to private cotton and sugar plantations and companies running lumber camps and coal mines, and building railroads. It did this for five decades after the abolition of slavery, but the state eventually became jealous of the revenue private companies and planters were earning from its prisoners. So, between 1899 and 1918, the state bought ten plantations of its own and began running them as prisons.
Shane Bauer (American Prison: A Reporter's Undercover Journey into the Business of Punishment)
Lying there, I close my eyes for a time, then open them. I silently breathe in, then out. A thought begins to form in my mind, but in the end I think of nothing. Not that there was much difference between the two, thinking and not thinking. I find I can no longer distinguish between one thing and another, between things that existed and things that did not. I look out the window. Until the sky turns white, clouds float by, birds chirp, and a new day lumbers up, gathering together the sleepy minds of the people who inhabit this planet.
Haruki Murakami (Sputnik Sweetheart)
Each spring for a period of weeks the imperial gardens were filled with prize tulips (Turkish, Dutch, Iranian), all of them shown to their best advantage. Tulips whose petals had flexed wide were held shut with fine threads hand-tied. Most of the bulbs had been grown in place, but these were supplemented by thousands of cut stems held in glass bottles; the scale of the display was further compounded by mirrors placed strategically around the garden. Each variety was marked with a label made from silver filigree. In place of every fourth flower a candle, its wick trimmed to tulip height, was set into the ground. Songbirds in gilded cages supplied the music, and hundreds of giant tortoises carrying candles on their backs lumbered through the gardens, further illuminating the display. All the guests were required to dress in colors that flattered those of the tulips. At the appointed moment a cannon sounded, the doors to the harem were flung open, and the sultan's mistresses stepped into the garden led by eunuchs bearing torches. The whole scene was repeated every night for as long as the tulips were in bloom, for as long as Sultan Ahmed managed to cling to his throne.
Michael Pollan (The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World)
In my case, the effort for these years to live in the dress of Arabs, and to imitate their mental foundation, quitted me of my English self, and let me look at the West and its conventions with new eyes: they destroyed it all for me. At the same time I could not sincerely take on the Arab skin: it was an affectation only. Easily was a man made an infidel, but hardly might he be converted to another faith. I had dropped one form and not taken on the other, and has become like Mohammed's coffin in our legend, with a resultant feeling of intense loneliness in life, and a contempt, not for other men, but for all they do. Such detachment came at times to a man exhausted by prolonged physical effort and isolation. His body plodded on mechanically, while his reasonable mind left him, and from without looked down critically on him, wondering what that futile lumber did and why. Sometimes these selves would converse in the void; and then madness was very near, as I believe it would be near the man who could see things through the veils at once of two customs, two educations, two environments.
T.E. Lawrence
Let the trees be consulted before you take any action every time you breathe in thank a tree let tree roots crack parking lots at the world bank headquarters let loggers be druids specially trained and rewarded to sacrifice trees at auspicious times let carpenters be master artisans let lumber be treasured like gold let chain saws be played like saxophones let soldiers on maneuvers plant trees give police and criminals a shovel and a thousand seedlings let businessmen carry pocketfuls of acorns let newlyweds honeymoon in the woods walk don't drive stop reading newspapers stop writing poetry squat under a tree and tell stories.
John Wright
To: Anna Oliphant From: Etienne St. Clair Subject: Uncommon Prostitues I have nothing to say about prostitues (other than you'd make a terrible prostitute,the profession is much too unclean), I only wanted to type that. Isn't it odd we both have to spend Christmas with our fathers? Speaking of unpleasant matters,have you spoken with Bridge yet? I'm taking the bus to the hospital now.I expect a full breakdown of your Christmas dinner when I return. So far today,I've had a bowl of muesli. How does Mum eat that rubbish? I feel as if I've been gnawing on lumber. To: Etienne St. Clair From: Anna Oliphant Subject: Christmas Dinner MUESLY? It's Christmas,and you're eating CEREAL?? I'm mentally sending you a plate from my house. The turkey is in the oven,the gravy's on the stovetop,and the mashed potatoes and casseroles are being prepared as I type this. Wait. I bet you eat bread pudding and mince pies or something,don't you? Well, I'm mentally sending you bread pudding. Whatever that is. No, I haven't talked to Bridgette.Mom keeps bugging me to answer her calls,but winter break sucks enough already. (WHY is my dad here? SERIOUSLY. MAKE HIM LEAVE. He's wearing this giant white cable-knit sweater,and he looks like a pompous snowman,and he keeps rearranging the stuff on our kitchen cabinets. Mom is about to kill him. WHICH IS WHY SHE SHOULDN'T INVITE HIM OVER FOR HOLIDAYS). Anyway.I'd rather not add to the drama. P.S. I hope your mom is doing better. I'm so sorry you have to spend today in a hospital. I really do wish I could send you both a plate of turkey. To: Anna Oliphant From: Etienne St. Clair Subject: Re: Christmas Dinner YOU feel sorry for ME? I am not the one who has never tasted bread pudding. The hospital was the same. I won't bore you with the details. Though I had to wait an hour to catch the bus back,and it started raining.Now that I'm at the flat, my father has left for the hospital. We're each making stellar work of pretending the other doesn't exist. P.S. Mum says to tell you "Merry Christmas." So Merry Christmas from my mum, but Happy Christmas from me. To: Etienne St. Clair From: Anna Oliphant Subject: SAVE ME Worst.Dinner.Ever.It took less than five minutes for things to explode. My dad tried to force Seany to eat the green bean casserole, and when he wouldn't, Dad accused Mom of not feeding my brother enough vegetables. So she threw down her fork,and said that Dad had no right to tell her how to raise her children. And then he brought out the "I'm their father" crap, and she brought out the "You abandoned them" crap,and meanwhile, the WHOLE TIME my half-dead Nanna is shouting, "WHERE'S THE SALT! I CAN'T TASTE THE CASSEROLE! PASS THE SALT!" And then Granddad complained that Mom's turkey was "a wee dry," and she lost it. I mean,Mom just started screaming. And it freaked Seany out,and he ran to his room crying, and when I checked on him, he was UNWRAPPING A CANDY CANE!! I have no idea where it came from. He knows he can't eat Red Dye #40! So I grabbed it from him,and he cried harder, and Mom ran in and yelled at ME, like I'd given him the stupid thing. Not, "Thank you for saving my only son's life,Anna." And then Dad came in and the fighting resumed,and they didn't even notice that Seany was still sobbing. So I took him outside and fed him cookies,and now he's running aruond in circles,and my grandparents are still at the table, as if we're all going to sit back down and finish our meal. WHAT IS WRONG WITH MY FAMILY? And now Dad is knocking on my door. Great. Can this stupid holiday get any worse??
Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1))
Dude," said Hassan softly. "Khanzeer." (Arabic:Pig) "Matha, al-khanazeer la yatakalamoon araby?" Colin asked. (Arabic: What, pigs don't speak Arabic?" "That's no pig," answered Hassan in Enlgish. "That's a goddamned monster." The pig stopped its rotting and looked up at them. "I mean. Wilbur is a fugging pig. Babe is a fugging pig. That thing was birthed from the loins of Iblis." (Arabic: Satan) It was clear now the pig could see them. Colin could see the black in its eyes. "Stop cursing. The feral hog shows a remarkable understanding of human speech, especially profane speech," he mumbled, quoting from the book. "That's a bunch of bullshit," Hassan said, and then the pig took two lumbering steps towards them, and Hassan said, "Okay. Or not. Fine. No cursing. Listen. Satan Pig. We're cool. We don't want to shoot you. The guns are for show, dude." "Stand up so he knows we're bigger than he is," Colin said. "Did you read that in the book?" Hassan asked as he stood. "No, I read it in a book about grizzly bears." "We're gonna get gored to death by a feral fugging hog and your best strategy is to pretend it's a grizzly bear?
John Green (An Abundance of Katherines)
Bad luck alone does not embitter us that badly . . . nor does the feeling that our affairs might have been better managed move us out of range of ordinary disappointment; it is when we recognize that the loss has been caused in great part by others; that it needn't have happened; that there is an enemy out there who has stolen our loaf, soured our wine, infected our book of splendid verse with filthy rhymes; then we are filled with resentment and would hang the villains from that bough we would have lounged in liquorous love beneath had the tree not been cut down by greedy and dim-witted loggers in the pay of the lumber interests. Watch out, then, watch out for us, be on your guard, look sharp, both ways, when we learn--we, in any numbers--when we find who is forcing us--wife, children, Commies, fat cats, Jews--to give up life in order to survive. It is this condition in men that makes them ideal candidates for the Party of the disappointed People.
William H. Gass (The Tunnel)
I know more about my father than I used to know: I know he wanted to be a pilot in the war but could not, because the work he did was considered essential to the war effort… I know he grew up on a farm in the backwoods of Nova Scotia, where they didn’t have running water or electricity. This is why he can build things and chop things… He did his high school courses by correspondence, sitting at the kitchen table and studying by the light by a kerosene lamp; he put himself through university by working in lumber camps and cleaning out rabbit hutches, and was so poor he lived in a tent in the summers to save money… All this is known, but unimaginable. Also I wish I did not know it. I want my father to be just my father, the way he has always been, not a separate person with an earlier, mythological life of his own. Knowing too much about other people puts you in their power, they have a claim on you, you are forced to understand their reasons for doing things and then you are weakened.
Margaret Atwood (Cat’s Eye)
That was the great misconception about men: because they dealt with money, because they could hire someone on and later fire him, because they alone filled state assemblies and were elected congressional representatives, everyone thought they had power. Yet all the hiring and firing, the land deals and the lumber contracts, the complicated process for putting through a constitutional amendment-these were only bluster. They were blinds to disguise the fact of men's real powerlessness in life. Men controlled the legislatures, but when it came down to it, they didn't control themselves. Men had failed to study their own minds sufficiently, and because of this failure they were at the mercy of fleeting passions; men, much more than women, were moved by petty jealousies and the desire for petty revenges. Because they enjoyed their enormous but superficial power, men had never been forced to know themselves the way that women, in their adversity and superficial subservience, had been forced to learn about the workings of their brains and their emotions.
Michael McDowell (The Flood (Blackwater, #1))
These things matter to me, Daniel, says the man with six days to live. They are sitting on the porch in the last light. These things matter to me, son. The way the hawks huddle their shoulders angrily against hissing snow. Wrens whirring in the bare bones of bushes in winter. The way swallows and swifts veer and whirl and swim and slice and carve and curve and swerve. The way that frozen dew outlines every blade of grass. Salmonberries thimbleberries cloudberries snowberries elderberries salalberries gooseberries. My children learning to read. My wife's voice velvet in my ear at night in the dark under the covers. Her hair in my nose as we slept curled like spoons. The sinuous pace of rivers and minks and cats. Fresh bread with too much butter. My children's hands when they cup my face in their hands. Toys. Exuberance. Mowing the lawn. Tiny wrenches and screwdrivers. Tears of sorrow, which are the salt sea of the heart. Sleep in every form from doze to bone-weary. Pay stubs. Trains. The shivering ache of a saxophone and the yearning of a soprano. Folding laundry hot from the dryer. A spotless kitchen floor. The sound of bagpipes. The way horses smell in spring. Red wines. Furnaces. Stone walls. Sweat. Postcards on which the sender has written so much that he or she can barely squeeze in the signature. Opera on the radio. Bathrobes, back rubs. Potatoes. Mink oil on boots. The bands at wedding receptions. Box-elder bugs. The postman's grin. Linen table napkins. Tent flaps. The green sifting powdery snow of cedar pollen on my porch every year. Raccoons. The way a heron labors through the sky with such a vast elderly dignity. The cheerful ears of dogs. Smoked fish and the smokehouses where fish are smoked. The way barbers sweep up circles of hair after a haircut. Handkerchiefs. Poems read aloud by poets. Cigar-scissors. Book marginalia written with the lightest possible pencil as if the reader is whispering to the writer. People who keep dead languages alive. Fresh-mown lawns. First-basemen's mitts. Dish-racks. My wife's breasts. Lumber. Newspapers folded under arms. Hats. The way my children smelled after their baths when they were little. Sneakers. The way my father's face shone right after he shaved. Pants that fit. Soap half gone. Weeds forcing their way through sidewalks. Worms. The sound of ice shaken in drinks. Nutcrackers. Boxing matches. Diapers. Rain in every form from mist to sluice. The sound of my daughters typing their papers for school. My wife's eyes, as blue and green and gray as the sea. The sea, as blue and green and gray as her eyes. Her eyes. Her.
Brian Doyle (Mink River)
Never did I learn to think in terms of The Niggers. When I grew up, and I did grow up with black people, they were Calpurnia, Zeebo the garbage collector, Tom the yard man, and whatever else their names were. There were hundreds of Negroes surrounding me, they were the hands in the fields, who chopped the cotton, who worked the roads, who sawed the lumber to make our houses. They were poor, they were diseased and dirty, some were lazy and shiftless but never in my life was I given the idea that I should despise one, should fear one, should be discourteous to one, or think that I could mistreat one and get away with it.They as a people did not enter my world, nor did I enter theirs: when I went hunting I did not trespass on a Negro's land, not because it was a Negro's, but because I was not supposed to trespass on anybody's land. I was taught never to take advantage of anybody who was less fortunate than myself, whether he be less fortunate in brains, wealth, or social position; it meant anybody, not just Negroes. I was given to understand that the reverse was to be despised. That is the way I was raised, by a black woman and a white man.
Harper Lee (Go Set a Watchman)
She understood the genre constraints, the decencies we were supposed to be observing. The morally cosy vision allows the embrace of monstrosity only as a reaction to suffering or as an act of rage against the Almighty. Vampire interviewee Louis is in despair at his brother’s death when he accepts Lestat’s offer. Frankenstein’s creature is driven to violence by the violence done to him. Even Lucifer’s rebellion emerges from the agony of injured pride. The message is clear: By all means become an abomination—but only while unhinged by grief or wrath. By rights, Talulla knew, she should have been orphaned or raped or paedophilically abused or terminally ill or suicidally depressed or furious at God for her mother’s death or at any rate in some way deranged if she was to be excused for not having killed herself, once it became apparent that she’d have to murder and devour people in order to stay alive. The mere desire to stay alive, in whatever form you’re lumbered with—werewolf, vampire, Father of Lies—really couldn’t be considered a morally sufficient rationale. And yet here she was, staying alive. You love life because life’s all there is.
Glen Duncan (The Last Werewolf (The Last Werewolf, #1))
In the case of Switzerland, a whole country is concerned with the species-appropriate treatment of all things green. The constitution reads, in part, that "account [is] to be taken of the dignity of creation when handling animals, plants and other organisms." So it's probably not a good idea to decapitate flowers along the highway in Switzerland without good reason. Although this point of view has elicited a lot of head shaking in the international community, I, for one, welcome breaking down the moral barriers between animals and plants. When the capabilities of vegetative beings become known, and their emotional lives and needs are recognized, then the way we treat plants will gradually change, as well. Forests are not first and foremost lumber factories and warehouses for raw material, and only secondarily complex habitats for thousands of species, which is the way modern forestry currently treats them. Completely the opposite, in fact.
Peter Wohlleben (The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate: Discoveries from a Secret World)
This afternoon, being on Fair Haven Hill, I heard the sound of a saw, and soon after from the Cliff saw two men sawing down a noble pine beneath, about forty rods off. I resolved to watch it till it fell, the last of a dozen or more which were left when the forest was cut and for fifteen years have waved in solitary majesty over the sprout-land. I saw them like beavers or insects gnawing at the trunk of this noble tree, the diminutive manikins with their cross-cut saw which could scarcely span it. It towered up a hundred feet as I afterward found by measurement, one of the tallest probably in the township and straight as an arrow, but slanting a little toward the hillside, its top seen against the frozen river and the hills of Conantum. I watch closely to see when it begins to move. Now the sawers stop, and with an axe open it a little on the side toward which it leans, that it may break the faster. And now their saw goes again. Now surely it is going; it is inclined one quarter of the quadrant, and, breathless, I expect its crashing fall. But no, I was mistaken; it has not moved an inch; it stands at the same angle as at first. It is fifteen minutes yet to its fall. Still its branches wave in the wind, as it were destined to stand for a century, and the wind soughs through its needles as of yore; it is still a forest tree, the most majestic tree that waves over Musketaquid. The silvery sheen of the sunlight is reflected from its needles; it still affords an inaccessible crotch for the squirrel’s nest; not a lichen has forsaken its mast-like stem, its raking mast,—the hill is the hulk. Now, now’s the moment! The manikins at its base are fleeing from their crime. They have dropped the guilty saw and axe. How slowly and majestic it starts! as it were only swayed by a summer breeze, and would return without a sigh to its location in the air. And now it fans the hillside with its fall, and it lies down to its bed in the valley, from which it is never to rise, as softly as a feather, folding its green mantle about it like a warrior, as if, tired of standing, it embraced the earth with silent joy, returning its elements to the dust again. But hark! there you only saw, but did not hear. There now comes up a deafening crash to these rocks , advertising you that even trees do not die without a groan. It rushes to embrace the earth, and mingle its elements with the dust. And now all is still once more and forever, both to eye and ear. I went down and measured it. It was about four feet in diameter where it was sawed, about one hundred feet long. Before I had reached it the axemen had already divested it of its branches. Its gracefully spreading top was a perfect wreck on the hillside as if it had been made of glass, and the tender cones of one year’s growth upon its summit appealed in vain and too late to the mercy of the chopper. Already he has measured it with his axe, and marked off the mill-logs it will make. And the space it occupied in upper air is vacant for the next two centuries. It is lumber. He has laid waste the air. When the fish hawk in the spring revisits the banks of the Musketaquid, he will circle in vain to find his accustomed perch, and the hen-hawk will mourn for the pines lofty enough to protect her brood. A plant which it has taken two centuries to perfect, rising by slow stages into the heavens, has this afternoon ceased to exist. Its sapling top had expanded to this January thaw as the forerunner of summers to come. Why does not the village bell sound a knell? I hear no knell tolled. I see no procession of mourners in the streets, or the woodland aisles. The squirrel has leaped to another tree; the hawk has circled further off, and has now settled upon a new eyrie, but the woodman is preparing [to] lay his axe at the root of that also.
Henry David Thoreau (The Journal, 1837-1861)
The sawdust flew. A slightly sweet fragrance floated in the immediate area. It was a sweet but subtle aroma, neither the scent of pine nor willow, but one from the past that had been forgotten, only to reappear now after all these years, fresher than ever. The workmen occasionally scooped up a handful of sawdust, which they put into their mouths and swallowed. Before that they had chewed on pieces of green bark that they had stripped from the cut wood. It had the same fragrance and it freshened their mouths, so at first that was what they had used. Now even though they were no longer chewing the bark with which they felt such a bond, the stack of corded wood was a very appealing sight. From time to time they gave the logs a friendly slap or kick. Each time they sawed off a section, which rolled to the ground from the sawhorse, they would say: 'Off with you - go over there and lie down where you belong.' What they were thinking was that big pieces of lumber like this should be used to make tables or chairs or to repair a house or make window frames; wood like this was hard to find. But now they were cutting it into kindling to be burned in stoves, a sad ending for good wood like this. They could see a comparison with their own lives, and this was a saddening thought. ("North China")
Xiao Hong (Selected Stories of Xiao Hong (Panda Books))
The judicious words of Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), the first existentialist philosopher, are apropos to end this lumbering manuscript. 1. “One must learn to know oneself before knowing anything else.” 2. “Life always expresses the results of our dominate thoughts.” 3. “Face the facts of being what you are, for that is what changes what you are.” 4. “Personality is only ripe when a man has made the truth his own.” 5. “Love is all, it gives all, and it takes all.” 6. “Don’t forget to love yourself.” 7. “Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.” 8. “Life has its own hidden forces, which you can only discover by living.” 9. “The highest and most beautiful things in life are not to be heard about, or read about, nor seen, but if one will, are to be lived.” 10. “Patience is necessary, and one cannot reap immediately where one has sown.” 11. “It seems essential, in relationships and all tasks, that we concentrate on only what is most significant and important.” 12. “To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself.” 13. “Since my earliest childhood, a barb of sorrow has lodged in my heart. As long as it stays I am ironic, if it is pulled out I shall die.” 14. “A man who as a physical being is always turned to the outside, thinking that his happiness lies outside of him, finally turns inward and discovers that the source is within him.” 15. “Just as in earthly life lovers long for the moment when they are able to breathe forth their love for each other, to let their souls blend into a soft whisper, so the mystic longs for the moment in prayer he can, as it were, creep into God.” Kierkegaard warned, “The greatest hazard of all, losing the self, can occur very quietly in the world, as if it were nothing at all. No other loss can occur so quietly; any other loss – an arm, a leg, five dollars, a wife, etc. – is sure to be noticed.” Kierkegaard said that the one method to avoid losing oneself is to live joyfully in the moment, which he described as “to be present in oneself in truth,” which in turn requires “to be today, in truth be today.
Kilroy J. Oldster (Dead Toad Scrolls)