National Park Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to National Park. Here they are! All 100 of them:

Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity
John Muir (Our National Parks)
I'm the girl who is lost in space, the girl who is disappearing always, forever fading away and receding farther and farther into the background. Just like the Cheshire cat, someday I will suddenly leave, but the artificial warmth of my smile, that phony, clownish curve, the kind you see on miserably sad people and villains in Disney movies, will remain behind as an ironic remnant. I am the girl you see in the photograph from some party someplace or some picnic in the park, the one who is in fact soon to be gone. When you look at the picture again, I want to assure you, I will no longer be there. I will be erased from history, like a traitor in the Soviet Union. Because with every day that goes by, I feel myself becoming more and more invisible...
Elizabeth Wurtzel (Prozac Nation)
Some national parks have long waiting lists for camping reservations. When you have to wait a year to sleep next to a tree, something is wrong.
George Carlin
One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.
John Muir (Our National Parks)
For it is my opinion that we enclose and celebrate the freaks of our nation and our civilization. Yellowstone National Park is no more representative of America than is Disneyland.
John Steinbeck (Travels with Charley: In Search of America)
One should go to the woods for safety, if for nothing else.
John Muir (Our National Parks)
Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.
John Muir (Our National Parks)
The nation behaves well if it treats its natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased, and not impaired, in value.
Theodore Roosevelt
No more cars in national parks. Let the people walk. Or ride horses, bicycles, mules, wild pigs--anything--but keep the automobiles and the motorcycles and all their motorized relatives out. We have agreed not to drive our automobiles into cathedrals, concert halls, art museums, legislative assemblies, private bedrooms and the other sanctums of our culture; we should treat our national parks with the same deference, for they, too, are holy places. An increasingly pagan and hedonistic people (thank God!), we are learning finally that the forests and mountains and desert canyons are holier than our churches. Therefore let us behave accordingly.
Edward Abbey (Desert Solitaire)
We need the possibility of escape as surely as we need hope.
Edward Abbey (Desert Solitaire)
Skyscraper National Park
Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
There is nothing so American as our national parks. The scenery and the wildlife are native. The fundamental idea behind the parks is native. It is, in brief, that the country belongs to the people, that it is in process of making for the enrichment of the lives of all of us. The parks stand as the outward symbal of the great human principle.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Industrial tourism is a threat to the national parks. But the chief victims of the system are the motorized tourists. They are being robbed and robbing themselves. So long as they are unwilling to crawl out of their cars they will not discover the treasures of the national parks and will never escape the stress and turmoil of the urban-suburban complexes which they had hoped, presumably, to leave behind for a while.
Edward Abbey (Desert Solitaire)
National parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.
Wallace Stegner
Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life. Awakening from the stupefying effects of the vice of over-industry and the deadly apathy of luxury, they are trying as best they can to mix and enrich their own little ongoings with those of Nature, and to get rid of rust and disease.
John Muir (Our National Parks)
My spiritual life is found inside the heart of the wild.
Terry Tempest Williams (The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America's National Parks)
At the foot of the mountain, the park ended and suddenly all was squalor again. I was once more struck by this strange compartmentalization that goes on in America -- a belief that no commercial activities must be allowed inside the park, but permitting unrestrained development outside, even though the landscape there may be just as outstanding. America has never quite grasped that you can live in a place without making it ugly, that beauty doesn't have to be confined behind fences, as if a national park were a sort of zoo for nature.
Bill Bryson (Lost Continent: Travels In Small-Town America)
It was the afternoon of the day and the afternoon of his life, and his course was now westward down all the mountains into the sunset. [speaking about Ralph Waldo Emerson]
John Muir (Our National Parks)
It is always interesting to see people in dead earnest, from whatever cause, and earthquakes make everybody earnest.
John Muir (Our National Parks)
He had gone to the higher Sierras... [about Ralph Waldo Emerson's death]
John Muir (Our National Parks)
The finest of the glacier meadow gardens lie ...imbedded in the upper pine forests like lakes of light.
John Muir (Our National Parks)
Our public lands - whether a national park or monument, wildlife refuge, forest or prairie - make each one of us land-rich. It is our inheritance as citizens of a country called America.
Terry Tempest Williams (The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America's National Parks)
My house makes it so I never, ever have any extra money. If my house starts to notice I’ve been squirreling away a hundred dollars here or there to try to get my kids to a national park for a week, the house breaks something. I think it has abandonment issues.
Kelly Harms (The Overdue Life of Amy Byler)
Awe is the moment when ego surrenders to wonder. This is our inheritance - the beauty before us. We cry. We cry out. There is nothing sentimental about facing the desert bare. It is a terrifying beauty.
Terry Tempest Williams (The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America's National Parks)
Yellowstone National Park is no more representative of America than is Disneyland.
John Steinbeck (Travels with Charley: In Search of America)
It is important we leave the National Parks the same way when we arrived.
Mark Villareal (The Adventures of Park Ranger Brock Cliffhanger & His Jr. Park Rangers: Mountain Rescue: Preserving Our Great Smoky Mountains National Park)
The National Park Service actually has something of a tradition of making things extinct.
Bill Bryson (A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail)
Standing there, gaping at this monstrous and inhumane spectacle of rock and cloud and sky and space, I feel a ridiculous greed and possessiveness come over me. I want to know it all, posess it all, embrace the entire scene intimately, deeply, totally...
Edward Abbey (Desert Solitaire)
We have agreed not to drive our automobiles into cathedrals, concert halls, art museums, legislative assemblies, private bedrooms and the other sanctums of our culture; we should treat our national parks with the same deference, for they, too, are holy places. An increasingly pagan and hedonistic people (thank God!), we are learning finally that the forests and mountains and desert canyons are holier than our churches. Therefore let us behave accordingly.
Edward Abbey (Desert Solitaire)
Yellowstone, a place so special and awe-inspiring that after exploring it in 1871, the Hayden Expedition conceived of the original concept of the world’s first national park—a set-aside of 2. 2 million acres containing more than ten thousand thermal features, canyons, waterfalls, and wildlife—so no man or corporation could ever own it.
C.J. Box (Free Fire (Joe Pickett, #7))
In the beauty and grandeur of individual trees, and in number and variety of species, the Sierra forests surpass all others
John Muir (Our National Parks)
As dawn leaks into the sky it edits out the stars like excess punctuation marks, deleting asterisks and periods, commas, and semi-colons, leaving only unhinged thoughts rotating and pivoting, and unsecured words.
Ann Zwinger (Downcanyon: A Naturalist Explores the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon)
Yes sir, yes madam, I entreat you, get out of those motorized wheelchairs, get off your foam rubber backsides, stand up straight like men! like women! like human beings! and walk-walk-WALK upon our sweet and blessed land!
Edward Abbey (Desert Solitaire)
To all accusations of excessive development the administrators can reply, as they will if pressed hard enough, that they are giving the public what it wants, that their primary duty is to serve the public not preserve the wilds. "Parks are for people" is the public relations slogan, which decoded means that the parks are for people-in-automobiles. Behind the slogan is the assumption that the majority of Americans, exactly like the managers of the tourist industry, expect and demand to see their national parks from the comfort, security and convenience of their automobiles. Is this assumption correct? Perhaps. Does that justify the continued and increasing erosion of the parks? It does not.
Edward Abbey (Desert Solitaire)
This is Nature's own reservation, and every lover of wildness will rejoice with me that by kindly frost it is so well defended.
John Muir (Our National Parks)
Generally speaking, though, Americans have an inability to relax into sheer pleasure. Ours is an entertainment-seeking nation, but not necessarily a pleasure-seeking one. Americans spend billions to keep themselves amused with everything from porn to theme parks to wars, but that's not exactly the same thing as quiet enjoyment. Americans work harder and longer and more stressful hours than anyone in the world today. But...we seem to like it. Alarming statistics back this observation up, showing that many Americans feel more happy and fulfilled in their offices than they do in their own homes. Of course, we all inevitably work too hard, then we get burned out and have to spend the whole weekend in our pajamas, eating cereal straight out of the box and staring at the TV in a mild coma (which is the opposite of working, yes, but not exactly the same thing as pleasure). Americans don't really know how to do NOTHING. This is the cause of that great sad American stereotype-the overstressed executive who goes on vacation but who cannot relax.
Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love)
Suddenly, in the space of a moment, I realized what it was that I loved about Britain - which is to say, all of it. Every last bit of it, good and bad - Marmite, village fetes, country lanes, people saying 'mustn't grumble' and 'I'm terribly sorry but', people apologizing to me when I conk them with a nameless elbow, milk in bottles, beans on toast, haymaking in June, stinging nettles, seaside piers, Ordnance Survey maps, crumpets, hot-water bottles as a necessity, drizzly Sundays - every bit of it. What a wondrous place this was - crazy as fuck, of course, but adorable to the tiniest degree. What other country, after all, could possibly have come up with place names like Tooting Bec and Farleigh Wallop, or a game like cricket that goes on for three days and never seems to start? Who else would think it not the least odd to make their judges wear little mops on their heads, compel the Speaker of the House of Commons to sit on something called the Woolsack, or take pride in a military hero whose dying wish was to be kissed by a fellow named Hardy? ('Please Hardy, full on the lips, with just a bit of tongue.') What other nation in the world could possibly have given us William Shakespeare, pork pies, Christopher Wren, Windsor Great Park, the Open University, Gardners' Question Time and the chocolate digestive biscuit? None, of course. How easily we lose sight of all this. What an enigma Britain will seem to historians when they look back on the second half of the twentieth century. Here is a country that fought and won a noble war, dismantled a mighty empire in a generally benign and enlightened way, created a far-seeing welfare state - in short, did nearly everything right - and then spent the rest of the century looking on itself as a chronic failure. The fact is that this is still the best place in the world for most things - to post a letter, go for a walk, watch television, buy a book, venture out for a drink, go to a museum, use the bank, get lost, seek help, or stand on a hillside and take in a view. All of this came to me in the space of a lingering moment. I've said it before and I'll say it again. I like it here. I like it more than I can tell you.
Bill Bryson (Notes from a Small Island)
How to pry the tourists out of their automobiles, out of their back-breaking upholstered mechanized wheelchairs and onto their feet, onto the strange warmth and solidity of Mother Earth again? This is the problem which the Park Service should confront directly, not evasively, and which it cannot resolve by simply submitting and conforming to the automobile habit.
Edward Abbey (Desert Solitaire)
C. albus...I think the very loveliest of all the lily family,- a spotless soul, plant saint, that every one must love and so be made better. It puts the wildest mountaineer on his good behavior. With this plant the whole world would seem rich though non other existed.
John Muir (Our National Parks)
Boundaries are fears made manifest, designed to protect us. I don't want protection, I want freedom.
Terry Tempest Williams (The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America's National Parks)
The ones who claim the universe is a dark forest where you either kill or be killed, using safety and security as excuses to maintain the status quo of archaic brains no longer useful in progressive, advanced societies. In my homeland, there was a time when the Virunga National Park wasn’t shrouded in darkness, but was the living, breathing heart of the Congo, with its rich biodiversity and ecological beauty. Non-human hearts of every shape and size shared its gifts. Our forests were never dark before the greed of men came to cast a shadow. Even the cunning leopard, stealthy and powerful, only claimed the life it needed to sustain itself. You may belong in a dark forest, but our worlds and our universes are not one, so get out of our way! Our forests are big hearted and so are we.
Alexandra Almeida (Is Neurocide the Same as Genocide? : And Other Dangerous Ideas (Spiral Worlds))
it will be objected that a constantly increasing population makes resistance and conservation a hopeless battle. this is true. unless a way is found to stabilize the nation's population, the parks can not be saved. or anything else worth a damn. wilderness preservation, like a hundred other good causes, will be forgotten under the overwhelming pressure of a struggle for mere survival and sanity in a completely urbanized, completely industrialized, ever more crowded environment. for my own part i would rather take my chances in a thermonuclear war than live in such a world.
Edward Abbey (Desert Solitaire)
The life's work of Walt Disney and Ray Kroc had come full-circle, uniting in perfect synergy. McDonald's began to sell its hamburgers and french fries at Disney's theme parks. The ethos of McDonaldland and of Disneyland, never far apart, have finally become one. Now you can buy a Happy Meal at the Happiest Place on Earth.
Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal)
Wilderness is not a place of isolation but contemplation. Refuge. Refugees.....Wilderness is a knife that cuts through pretense and exposes fear. Even in remote country, you cannot escape your mind.
Terry Tempest Williams (The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America's National Parks)
Shenandoah National Park is lovely. It is possibly the most wonderful national park I have ever been in, and, considering the impossible and conflicting demands put on it, it is extremely well run. Almost at once it became my favorite part of the Appalachian Trail.
Bill Bryson (A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail)
For chrissake folks what is this life if full of care we have no time to stand and stare? Take off your shoes for a while, unzip your fly, piss hearty, dig your toes in the hot sand, feel that raw and rugged earth, split a couple of big toenails, draw blood! Why not?
Edward Abbey (Desert Solitaire)
The making of gardens and parks goes on with civilization all over the world, and they increase both in size and number as their value is recognized. Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike. This natural beauty-hunger is made manifest in the little windowsill gardens of the poor, though perhaps only a geranium slip in a broken cup, as well as in the carefully tended rose and lily gardens of the rich, the thousands of spacious city parks and botanical gardens, and in our magnificent National Parks—the Yellowstone, Yosemite, Sequoia, etc.—Nature's sublime wonderlands, the admiration and joy of the world. Nevertheless, like anything else worth while, from the very beginning, however well guarded, they have always been subject to attack by despoiling gain-seekers and mischief-makers of every degree from Satan to Senators, eagerly trying to make everything immediately and selfishly commercial, with schemes disguised in smug-smiling philanthropy, industriously, sham-piously crying, "Conservation, conservation, panutilization," that man and beast may be fed and the dear Nation made great. Thus long ago a few enterprising merchants utilized the Jerusalem temple as a place of business instead of a place of prayer, changing money, buying and selling cattle and sheep and doves; and earlier still, the first forest reservation, including only one tree, was likewise despoiled. Ever since the establishment of the Yosemite National Park, strife has been going on around its borders and I suppose this will go on as part of the universal battle between right and wrong, however much of its boundaries may be shorn, or its wild beauty destroyed.
John Muir (The Yosemite)
As I grew up, I knew that as a building (Fenway Park) was on the level of Mount Olympus, the Pyramid at Giza, the nation's capitol, the czar's Winter Palace, and the Louvre — except, of course, that is better than all those inconsequential places
Bart Giamatti
Wilderness is the source of what we can imagine and what we cannot - the taproot of consciousness. It will survive us.
Terry Tempest Williams (The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America's National Parks)
Our ability to travel is a privilege. But it is also a choice. Money is time. Where do we spend out time? Wilderness is not my leisure or my recreation. It is my sanity.
Terry Tempest Williams (The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America's National Parks)
The spectacular incident of the stones serves as a kind of red herring in this respect. Many researchers have adopted the erroneous belief that where there has been one incident, there must be others. To offer another analogy, this is like dispatching a crew of meteor watchers to Crater National Park because a huge asteroid struck there two million years ago.
Stephen King (Carrie)
Suppose we were planning to impose a dictatorial regime upon the American people—the following preparations would be essential: 1. Concentrate the populace in megalopolitan masses so that they can be kept under close surveillance and where, in case of trouble, they can be bombed, burned, gassed or machine-gunned with a minimum of expense and waste. 2. Mechanize agriculture to the highest degree of refinement, thus forcing most of the scattered farm and ranching population into the cities. Such a policy is desirable because farmers, woodsmen, cowboys, Indians, fishermen and other relatively self-sufficient types are difficult to manage unless displaced from their natural environment. 3. Restrict the possession of firearms to the police and the regular military organizations. 4. Encourage or at least fail to discourage population growth. Large masses of people are more easily manipulated and dominated than scattered individuals. 5. Continue military conscription. Nothing excels military training for creating in young men an attitude of prompt, cheerful obedience to officially constituted authority. 6. Divert attention from deep conflicts within the society by engaging in foreign wars; make support of these wars a test of loyalty, thereby exposing and isolating potential opposition to the new order. 7. Overlay the nation with a finely reticulated network of communications, airlines and interstate autobahns. 8. Raze the wilderness. Dam the rivers, flood the canyons, drain the swamps, log the forests, strip-mine the hills, bulldoze the mountains, irrigate the deserts and improve the national parks into national parking lots. Idle speculations, feeble and hopeless protest. It was all foreseen nearly half a century ago by the most cold-eyed and clear-eyed of our national poets, on California’s shore, at the end of the open road. Shine, perishing republic.
Edward Abbey (Desert Solitaire)
The itch for naming things is almost as bad as the itch for possessing things. Let them and leave them alone--they'll survive for a few more thousand years, more or less, without any glorification from us.
Edward Abbey (Desert Solitaire)
We’re going to stop this preposterous obsession with economic growth at the cost of all else. Great economic success doesn’t produce national happiness. It produces Republicans and Switzerland. So we’re going to concentrate on just being lovely and pleasant and civilized. We’re going to have the best schools and hospitals, the most comfortable public transportation, the liveliest arts, the most useful and well-stocked libraries, the grandest parks, the cleanest streets, the most enlightened social policies. In short, we’re going to be like Sweden, but with less herring and better jokes.
Bill Bryson (The Road to Little Dribbling: More Notes from a Small Island)
Few things in this world evoke scrotum-shriveling fear in a man like a group of frowning women, enraged to the point of atypical silence, ambling toward him with an obvious agenda.
Michael Gurnow (Nature's Housekeeper)
We take too much of our heritage for granted. Harriman State Park is not Mt. Vernon. Nor is it Yosemite. But heritage cannot be measured on a scale...
Mary E. Reed (Harriman: From Railroad Ranch to State Park)
There will never be a photograph of the Grand Canyon that can adequately describe its depth, breadth, and true beauty.
Stefanie Payne (A Year in the National Parks: The Greatest American Road Trip)
...it is disquieting to feel that the conversion into a National Forest or Park always means the esthetic death of a piece of wild country.
Aldo Leopold (A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There)
This is what we can promise the future: a legacy of care. That we will be good stewards and not take too much or give back too little, that we will recognize wild nature for what it is, in all its magnificent and complex history - an unfathomable wealth that should be consciously saved, not ruthlessly spent. Privilege is what we inherit by our status as Homo sapiens living on this planet. This is the privilege of imagination. What we choose to do with our privilege as a species is up to each of us. Humility is born in wildness. We are not protecting grizzlies from extinction; they are protecting us from the extinction of experience as we engage with a world beyond ourselves. The very presence of a grizzly returns us to an ecology of awe. We tremble at what appears to be a dream yet stands before us on two legs and roars.
Terry Tempest Williams (The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America's National Parks)
In a world that is becoming increasingly virtual, the parks remain places of visceral beauty. Places where we can remember that we are but a small part of the life on this planet, and that it is a truly wonderful planet and the only one we've got.
Nevada Barr
I was having dinner…in London…when eventually he got, as the Europeans always do, to the part about “Your country’s never been invaded.” And so I said, “Let me tell you who those bad guys are. They’re us. WE BE BAD. We’re the baddest-assed sons of bitches that ever jogged in Reeboks. We’re three-quarters grizzly bear and two-thirds car wreck and descended from a stock market crash on our mother’s side. You take your Germany, France, and Spain, roll them all together and it wouldn’t give us room to park our cars. We’re the big boys, Jack, the original, giant, economy-sized, new and improved butt kickers of all time. When we snort coke in Houston, people lose their hats in Cap d’Antibes. And we’ve got an American Express card credit limit higher than your piss-ant metric numbers go. You say our country’s never been invaded? You’re right, little buddy. Because I’d like to see the needle-dicked foreigners who’d have the guts to try. We drink napalm to get our hearts started in the morning. A rape and a mugging is our way of saying 'Cheerio.' Hell can’t hold our sock-hops. We walk taller, talk louder, spit further, fuck longer and buy more things than you know the names of. I’d rather be a junkie in a New York City jail than king, queen, and jack of all Europeans. We eat little countries like this for breakfast and shit them out before lunch.
P.J. O'Rourke (Holidays in Hell: In Which Our Intrepid Reporter Travels to the World's Worst Places and Asks, "What's Funny about This?")
 ‘Paradise Lost’ was printed in an edition of no more than 1,500 copies and transformed the English language. Took a while. Wordsworth had new ideas about nature: Thoreau read Wordsworth, Muir read Thoreau, Teddy Roosevelt read Muir, and we got a lot of national parks. Took a century. What poetry gives us is an archive, the fullest existent archive of what human beings have thought and felt by the kind of artists who loved language in a way that allowed them to labor over how you make a music of words to render experience exactly and fully.
Robert Hass
We spent June and July in the Rockies, growing stronger, feeling feral in the untamed range of mountains.
Aspen Matis (Your Blue Is Not My Blue: A Missing Person Memoir)
This is wilderness, to walk in silence. This is wilderness, to calm the mind. This is wilderness, my return to composure.
Terry Tempest Williams (The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America's National Parks)
Three hundred types of mussel, a third of the world’s total, live in the Smokies. Smokies mussels have terrific names, like purple wartyback, shiny pigtoe, and monkeyface pearlymussel. Unfortunately, that is where all interest in them ends. Because they are so little regarded, even by naturalists, mussels have vanished at an exceptional rate. Nearly half of all Smokies mussels species are endangered; twelve are thought to be extinct. This ought to be a little surprising in a national park. I mean it’s not as if mussels are flinging themselves under the wheels of passing cars. Still, the Smokies seem to be in the process of losing most of their mussels. The National Park Service actually has something of a tradition of making things extinct. Bryce Canyon National Park is perhaps the most interesting-certainly the most striking-example. It was founded in 1923 and in less than half a century under the Park Service’s stewardship lost seven species of mammal-the white-tailed jackrabbit, prairie dog, pronghorn antelope, flying squirrel, beaver, red fox, and spotted skunk. Quite an achievement when you consider that these animals had survived in Bryce Canyon for tens of millions of years before the Park Service took an interest in them. Altogether, forty-two species of mammal have disappeared from America's national parks this century.
Bill Bryson (A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail)
The alienation, the downright visceral frustration, of the new American ideologues, the bone in their craw, is the unacknowledged fact that America has never been an especially capitalist country. The postal system, the land grant provision for public education, the national park system, the Homestead Act, the graduated income tax, the Social Security system, the G.I. Bill -- all of these were and are massive distributions or redistributions of wealth meant to benefit the population at large.
Marilynne Robinson (When I Was a Child I Read Books)
I return to the wilderness to remember what I have forgotten, that the world can be wholesome and beautiful, that the harmony and integrity of ecosystems at peace is a mirror to what we have lost.
Terry Tempest Williams (The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America's National Parks)
Whether our families come from Guatemala, Afghanistan, or South Korea, the immigrants since 1965 have shared histories that extend beyond this nation, to our countries of origin, where our lineage has been decimated by Western imperialism, war, and dictatorships orchestrated or supported by the United States. In our efforts to belong in America, we act grateful, as if we’ve been given a second chance at life. But our shared root is not the opportunity this nation has given us but how the capitalist accumulation of white supremacy has enriched itself off the blood of our countries. We cannot forget this.
Cathy Park Hong (Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning)
By definition, our national parks in all their particularity and peculiarity show us as much about ourselves as the landscapes they honor and protect. They can be seen as holograms of an America born of shadow and light; dimensional; full of contradictions and complexities. Our dreams, our generosities, our cruelties and crimes are absorbed into these parks like water. The poet Rumi says, “Water, stories, the
Terry Tempest Williams (The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America's National Parks)
This landscape is animate: it moves, transposes, builds, proceeds, shifts, always going on, never coming back, and one can only retain it in vignettes, impressions caught in a flash, flipped through in succession, leaving a richness of images imprinted on a sunburned retina.
Ann Zwinger (Downcanyon: A Naturalist Explores the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon)
I can remember neing in high school, walking through Central Park on a chilly day, and the sound of stamping on the crispness of autumn leaves would make me think of the sensation of my head cracking open. And I would get really scared and run all the way home, running for cover.
Elizabeth Wurtzel (Prozac Nation)
The most meaningful namesake by far is Lafayette Square, across the street from the White House. Also known as Lafayette Park, this is the nation’s capital of protest, the place where we the people gather together to yell at our presidents. In each corner of this seven-acre park stands a statue of four of the most revered European officers who served in the Revolutionary War: Lafayette, Rochambeau, Steuben, and Thaddeus Kosciuszko, the Polish engineer whose defensive works contributed to the Continental Army’s victory at Saratoga.
Sarah Vowell (Lafayette in the Somewhat United States)
London is not a city, London is a person. Tower Bridge talks to you; National Gallery reads a poem for you; Hyde Park dances with you; Palace of Westminster plays the piano; Big Ben and St Paul’s Cathedral sing an opera! London is not a city; it is a talented artist who is ready to contact with you directly!
Mehmet Murat ildan
Almost as an article of faith, some individuals believe that conspiracies are either kooky fantasies or unimportant aberrations. To be sure, wacko conspiracy theories do exist. There are people who believe that the United States has been invaded by a secret United Nations army equipped with black helicopters, or that the country is secretly controlled by Jews or gays or feminists or black nationalists or communists or extraterrestrial aliens. But it does not logically follow that all conspiracies are imaginary. Conspiracy is a legitimate concept in law: the collusion of two or more people pursuing illegal means to effect some illegal or immoral end. People go to jail for committing conspiratorial acts. Conspiracies are a matter of public record, and some are of real political significance. The Watergate break-in was a conspiracy, as was the Watergate cover-up, which led to Nixon’s downfall. Iran-contra was a conspiracy of immense scope, much of it still uncovered. The savings and loan scandal was described by the Justice Department as “a thousand conspiracies of fraud, theft, and bribery,” the greatest financial crime in history. Often the term “conspiracy” is applied dismissively whenever one suggests that people who occupy positions of political and economic power are consciously dedicated to advancing their elite interests. Even when they openly profess their designs, there are those who deny that intent is involved. In 1994, the officers of the Federal Reserve announced they would pursue monetary policies designed to maintain a high level of unemployment in order to safeguard against “overheating” the economy. Like any creditor class, they preferred a deflationary course. When an acquaintance of mine mentioned this to friends, he was greeted skeptically, “Do you think the Fed bankers are deliberately trying to keep people unemployed?” In fact, not only did he think it, it was announced on the financial pages of the press. Still, his friends assumed he was imagining a conspiracy because he ascribed self-interested collusion to powerful people. At a World Affairs Council meeting in San Francisco, I remarked to a participant that U.S. leaders were pushing hard for the reinstatement of capitalism in the former communist countries. He said, “Do you really think they carry it to that level of conscious intent?” I pointed out it was not a conjecture on my part. They have repeatedly announced their commitment to seeing that “free-market reforms” are introduced in Eastern Europe. Their economic aid is channeled almost exclusively into the private sector. The same policy holds for the monies intended for other countries. Thus, as of the end of 1995, “more than $4.5 million U.S. aid to Haiti has been put on hold because the Aristide government has failed to make progress on a program to privatize state-owned companies” (New York Times 11/25/95). Those who suffer from conspiracy phobia are fond of saying: “Do you actually think there’s a group of people sitting around in a room plotting things?” For some reason that image is assumed to be so patently absurd as to invite only disclaimers. But where else would people of power get together – on park benches or carousels? Indeed, they meet in rooms: corporate boardrooms, Pentagon command rooms, at the Bohemian Grove, in the choice dining rooms at the best restaurants, resorts, hotels, and estates, in the many conference rooms at the White House, the NSA, the CIA, or wherever. And, yes, they consciously plot – though they call it “planning” and “strategizing” – and they do so in great secrecy, often resisting all efforts at public disclosure. No one confabulates and plans more than political and corporate elites and their hired specialists. To make the world safe for those who own it, politically active elements of the owning class have created a national security state that expends billions of dollars and enlists the efforts of vast numbers of people.
Michael Parenti (Dirty Truths)
I am leaving this tower and returning home. When I speak with family, and comments are always the same, 'Won't you be glad to get back to the real world?' This is my question after two weeks of time, only two weeks, spent with prairie dogs, 'What is real?' What is real? These prairie dogs and the lives they live and have adapted to in grassland communities over time, deep time? What is real? A gravel pit adjacent to one of the last remaining protected prairie dog colonies in the world? A corral where cowboys in an honest day's work saddle up horses with prairie dogs under hoof for visitors to ride in Bryce Canyon National Park? What is real? Two planes slamming into the World Trade Center and the wake of fear that has never stopped in this endless war of terror? What is real? Forgiveness or revenge and the mounting deaths of thousands of human beings as America wages war in Afghanistan and Iraq? What is real? Steve's recurrence of lymphoma? A closet full of shoes? Making love? Making money? Making right with the world with the smallest of unseen gestures? How do we wish to live And with whom? What is real to me are these prairie dogs facing the sun each morning and evening in the midst of man-made chaos. What is real to me are the consequences of cruelty. What is real to me are the concentric circles of compassion and its capacity to bring about change. What is real to me is the power of our awareness when we are focused on something beyond ourselves. It is a shaft of light shining in a dark corner. Our ability to shift our perceptions and seek creative alternatives to the conundrums of modernity is in direct proportion to our empathy. Can we imagine, witness, and ultimately feel the suffering of another.
Terry Tempest Williams
It’s pretty here all right, so pretty that you can get stupid looking at it and forget to pay attention to Death, who walks up wearing Yosemite as if it were a fine suit of clothes, and while you’re admiring the cloth and color, there’s Death standing in front of you and smiling, considering all the ways he’s got to kill you. Yeah, death hides in beauty. *   *   *
Mark Woods (Lassoing the Sun: A Year in America's National Parks)
Feminism has both undone the hierarchy in which the elements aligned with the masculine were given greater value than those of the feminine and undermined the metaphors that aligned these broad aspects of experience with gender. So, there goes women and nature. What does it leave us with? One thing is a political mandate to decentralize privilege and power and equalize access, and that can be a literal spatial goal too, the goal of our designed landscapes and even the managed ones -- the national parks, forests, refuges, recreation areas, and so on.
Rebecca Solnit (Storming the Gates of Paradise: Landscapes for Politics)
Running was Clover's favorite thing to do, after reading. She loved the way the cement felt hard and unforgiving under her feet until she reached the park and the dirt path that wound its way alongside the Truckee River. She liked the wind in her face and how it smelled like water. And the way Mango ran beside her, keeping her company. But most of all she liked the way the steady pace untangled her thoughts.
Shaunta Grimes (Viral Nation (Viral Nation, #1))
This is what we can promise the future: a legacy of care. That we will be good stewards and not take too much or give back too little, that we will recognize wild nature for what it is, in all its magnificent and complex history - an unfathomable wealth that should be consciously saved, not ruthlessly spent.
Terry Tempest Williams (The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America's National Parks)
We drove through Utah, the Crossroads of the West, bordered by all the mountain states, except for Montana. Laying rooted in the backcountry we saw some of the most awe-inspiring groove gulleys we’d ever seen, but it was the intensity of Zion National Park that held our attention; The red rock backdrop dazzled us as brutal rapids nose-dived off the cliffs into pools surrounded by abundant green piñon-juniper forests and fiery peach and coral sandstone canyons carved by flowing rivers and streams. It would honestly not have surprised me to see Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid plunging from an unforgiving precipice into the river below.
Karl Wiggins (Wrong Planet - Searching for your Tribe)
People have been driving off of the canyon for decades. I don't know of any that were accidental. One Ranger who worked here before I did told me that on several occasions, when cars drove off and folks died, they went down and collected the remains. But there were no helicopters strong enough and affordable enough to haul the cars out. He told me Rangers went down later and sprayed the cars with paint to help them blend in with the rocks.
Nancy Eileen Muleady-Mecham (Park Ranger Sequel: More True Stories From a Ranger's Career in America's National Parks)
If nature has a soul, it feels like it must be bound up in the bark and sap of our forests. There, older, wiser sentinels stand in silent judgment. Not just the ancient sequoias and redwoods—even regular pine and birch trees outlast us. Every tree is a witness tree—they see how we spend our time on earth, what we take and what we give.
Conor Knighton (Leave Only Footprints: My Acadia-to-Zion Journey Through Every National Park)
The nation’s leaders keep throwing out the word “Washington” as a vulgar abstraction. Nothing new here: the anti-Washington reflex in American politics has been honed for centuries, often by candidates who deride the capital as a swamp, only to settle into the place as if it were a soothing whirlpool bath once they get elected. The city exists to be condemned.
Mark Leibovich (This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral — plus plenty of valet parking! — in America’s Gilded Capital)
Hainanese chicken rice, which could arguably be considered the national dish of Singapore. (And yes, Eleanor is ready for foodie bloggers to start attacking her restaurant choice. She chose Wee Nam Kee specifically because the United Square location is only five minutes from the Bao condo, and parking there is $2.00 after 6:00 p.m. If she took him to Chatterbox, which she personally prefers, parking at Mandarin Hotel would have been a nightmare and she would have had to valet her Jaguar for $15. Which she would RATHER DIE than do.)
Kevin Kwan (China Rich Girlfriend (Crazy Rich Asians, #2))
Wilderness, or wildness is a mystique. A religion, an intense philosophy, a dream of ideal society - these are also mystique. We are not engaged in preserving so many acre-feet of water, so many board-feet of timber, so many billion tons of granite, so many profit possibilities in so many ways for those concerned with the material aspects of the world. Yet, we must accept the fact that human life (at least in the metabolic sense) depends upon the resources of the Earth. As the fisherman depends upon the rivers, lakes and seas, and the farmer upon the land for his existence, so does mankind in general depend upon the beauty of the world about him for his spiritual and emotional existence. From a speech to The Wilderness Society, May 9 1980
Ansel Adams (Ansel Adams: Our National Parks)
Let us consider Elfland as a great national park, a vast and beautiful place where a person goes by himself, on foot, to get in touch with reality in a special, private, profound fashion. But what happens when it is considered merely as a place to "get away to"? Well, you know what has happened to Yosemite. Everybody comes, not with an ax and a box of matches, but in a trailer with a motorbike on the back and a motorboat on top and a butane stove, five aluminum folding chairs, and a transistor radio on the inside. They arrive totally encapsulated in a secondhand reality. And then they move on to Yellowstone, and it's just the same there, all trailers and transistors. They go from park to park, but they never really go anywhere; except when one of them who thinks that even the wildlife isn't real gets chewed up by a genuine, firsthand bear. The same sort of thing seems to be happening to Elfland, lately.
Ursula K. Le Guin (From Elfland to Poughkeepsie)
Oh, America the Beautiful, where are our standards? How did Europeans, ancestral cultures to most of us, whose average crowded country would fit inside one of our national parks, somehow hoard the market share of Beautiful? They’ll run over a McDonald’s with a bulldozer because it threatens the way of life of their fine cheeses. They have international trade hissy fits when we try to slip modified genes into their bread. They get their favorite ham from Parma, Italy, along with a favorite cheese, knowing these foods are linked in an ancient connection the farmers have crafted between the milk and the hogs. Oh. We were thinking Parmesan meant, not “coming from Parma,” but “coming from a green shaker can.” Did they kick us out for bad taste? No, it was mostly for vagrancy, poverty, or being too religious. We came here for the freedom to make a Leaves of Grass kind of culture and hear America singing to a good beat, pierce our navels as needed, and eat whatever we want without some drudge scolding: “You don’t know where that’s been!” And boy howdy, we do not.” (p.4)
Barbara Kingsolver (Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life)
For four hundred years since Galileo, science has always proceeded as a free and open inquiry into the workings of nature. Scientists have always ignored national boundaries, holding themselves above the transitory concerns of politics and even wars. Scientists have always rebelled against secrecy in research, and have even frowned on the idea of patenting their discoveries, seeing themselves as working to the benefit of all mankind. And for many generations, the discoveries of scientists did indeed have a peculiarly selfless quality.
Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park (Jurassic Park, #1))
Do we allow unlimited visitation, or do we restrict numbers to protect a delicate ecosystem? Do we heavily advertise the park, enticing paying visitors, generating needed money for Idaho's park department, or do we sacrifice financial benefits to better preserve natural ones? Do we log diseased trees, interfering with nature, or do we allow trees to rot and fall, possibly endangering lives? Do we inexpensively repair historic structures, or do we meticulously restore them? Do we maintain this park as closely as possible to the condition in which Idaho received it, or do we develop it for multiple uses; allow overnight visitors; permit all-terrain vehicles; provide paths for those unable to navigate unpaved trails?
Mary E. Reed (Harriman: From Railroad Ranch to State Park)
The commercialization of molecular biology is the most stunning ethical event in the history of science, and it has happened with astonishing speed. For four hundred years since Galileo, science has always proceeded as a free and open inquiry into the workings of nature. Scientists have always ignored national boundaries, holding themselves above the transitory concerns of politics and even wars. Scientists have always rebelled against secrecy in research, and have even frowned on the idea of patenting their discoveries, seeing themselves as working to the benefit of all mankind. And for many generations, the discoveries of scientists did indeed have a peculiarly selfless quality... Suddenly it seemed as if everyone wanted to become rich. New companies were announced almost weekly, and scientists flocked to exploit genetic research... It is necessary to emphasize how significant this shift in attitude actually was. In the past, pure scientists took a snobbish view of business. They saw the pursuit of money as intellectually uninteresting, suited only to shopkeepers. And to do research for industry, even at the prestigious Bell or IBM labs, was only for those who couldn't get a university appointment. Thus the attitude of pure scientists was fundamentally critical toward the work of applied scientists, and to industry in general. Their long-standing antagonism kept university scientists free of contaminating industry ties, and whenever debate arose about technological matters, disinterested scientists were available to discuss the issues at the highest levels. But that is no longer true. There are very few molecular biologists and very few research institutions without commercial affiliations. The old days are gone. Genetic research continues, at a more furious pace than ever. But it is done in secret, and in haste, and for profit.
Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park (Jurassic Park, #1))
Let’s appreciate and welcome the arrival of a new prophet The one who can be Reasonable and rational Realistic and democrat The one who respects the rights of women and children And does not make everyone slave of his nation Let’s do not whip some virgin pregnant women They may have Christ in their belly Let’s arrange a new miracle That can be little rationale and less awkward Maybe an application (software) or a gadget That can make us smile Or let’s build a green park that children could play and be happy And let’s bring a little educated prophet Not like the old one Illiterate! Marrying 10 to 12 women and waging war Maybe someone who does not blind the world by his Eye to eye policy and manifestation A little kind and a little rational
M.F. Moonzajer
The irony of our existence is this: We are infinitesimal in the grand scheme of evolution, a tiny organism on Earth. And yet, personally, collectively, we are changing the planet through our voracity, the velocity of our reach, our desires, our ambitions, and our appetites. We multiply, our hunger multiplies, and our insatiable craving accelerates. Consumption is a progressive disease. We believe in more, more possessions, more power, more war. Anywhere, everywhere our advance of aggression continues. My aggression toward myself is the first war. Wilderness is an antidote to the war within ourselves.
Terry Tempest Williams (The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America's National Parks)
Early naturalists talked often about “deep time”—the perception they had, contemplating the grandeur of this valley or that rock basin, of the profound slowness of nature. But the perspective changes when history accelerates. What lies in store for us is more like what aboriginal Australians, talking with Victorian anthropologists, called “dreamtime,” or “everywhen”: the semi-mythical experience of encountering, in the present moment, an out-of-time past, when ancestors, heroes, and demigods crowded an epic stage. You can find it already by watching footage of an iceberg collapsing into the sea—a feeling of history happening all at once. It is. The summer of 2017, in the Northern Hemisphere, brought unprecedented extreme weather: three major hurricanes arising in quick succession in the Atlantic; the epic “500,000-year” rainfall of Hurricane Harvey, dropping on Houston a million gallons of water for nearly every single person in the entire state of Texas; the wildfires of California, nine thousand of them burning through more than a million acres, and those in icy Greenland, ten times bigger than those in 2014; the floods of South Asia, clearing 45 million from their homes. Then the record-breaking summer of 2018 made 2017 seem positively idyllic. It brought an unheard-of global heat wave, with temperatures hitting 108 in Los Angeles, 122 in Pakistan, and 124 in Algeria. In the world’s oceans, six hurricanes and tropical storms appeared on the radars at once, including one, Typhoon Mangkhut, that hit the Philippines and then Hong Kong, killing nearly a hundred and wreaking a billion dollars in damages, and another, Hurricane Florence, which more than doubled the average annual rainfall in North Carolina, killing more than fifty and inflicting $17 billion worth of damage. There were wildfires in Sweden, all the way in the Arctic Circle, and across so much of the American West that half the continent was fighting through smoke, those fires ultimately burning close to 1.5 million acres. Parts of Yosemite National Park were closed, as were parts of Glacier National Park in Montana, where temperatures also topped 100. In 1850, the area had 150 glaciers; today, all but 26 are melted.
David Wallace-Wells (The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming)
The next time you drive into a Walmart parking lot, pause for a second to note that this Walmart—like the more than five thousand other Walmarts across the country—costs taxpayers about $1 million in direct subsidies to the employees who don’t earn enough money to pay for an apartment, buy food, or get even the most basic health care for their children. In total, Walmart benefits from more than $7 billion in subsidies each year from taxpayers like you. Those “low, low prices” are made possible by low, low wages—and by the taxes you pay to keep those workers alive on their low, low pay. As I said earlier, I don’t think that anyone who works full-time should live in poverty. I also don’t think that bazillion-dollar companies like Walmart ought to funnel profits to shareholders while paying such low wages that taxpayers must pick up the ticket for their employees’ food, shelter, and medical care. I listen to right-wing loudmouths sound off about what an outrage welfare is and I think, “Yeah, it stinks that Walmart has been sucking up so much government assistance for so long.” But somehow I suspect that these guys aren’t talking about Walmart the Welfare Queen. Walmart isn’t alone. Every year, employers like retailers and fast-food outlets pay wages that are so low that the rest of America ponies up a collective $153 billion to subsidize their workers. That’s $153 billion every year. Anyone want to guess what we could do with that mountain of money? We could make every public college tuition-free and pay for preschool for every child—and still have tens of billions left over. We could almost double the amount we spend on services for veterans, such as disability, long-term care, and ending homelessness. We could double all federal research and development—everything: medical, scientific, engineering, climate science, behavioral health, chemistry, brain mapping, drug addiction, even defense research. Or we could more than double federal spending on transportation and water infrastructure—roads, bridges, airports, mass transit, dams and levees, water treatment plants, safe new water pipes. Yeah, the point I’m making is blindingly obvious. America could do a lot with the money taxpayers spend to keep afloat people who are working full-time but whose employers don’t pay a living wage. Of course, giant corporations know they have a sweet deal—and they plan to keep it, thank you very much. They have deployed armies of lobbyists and lawyers to fight off any efforts to give workers a chance to organize or fight for a higher wage. Giant corporations have used their mouthpiece, the national Chamber of Commerce, to oppose any increase in the minimum wage, calling it a “distraction” and a “cynical effort” to increase union membership. Lobbyists grow rich making sure that people like Gina don’t get paid more. The
Elizabeth Warren (This Fight Is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America's Middle Class)
I have a peculiar affection for McCarthy; nothing serious or personal, but I recall standing next to him in the snow outside the “exit” door of a shoe factory in Manchester, New Hampshire, in February of 1968 when the five o’clock whistle blew and he had to stand there in the midst of those workers rushing out to the parking lot. I will never forget the pain in McCarthy’s face as he stood there with his hand out, saying over and over again: “Shake hands with Senator McCarthy… shake hands with Senator McCarthy… shake hands with Senator McCarthy…,” a tense plastic smile on his face, stepping nervously toward anything friendly, “Shake hands with Senator McCarthy”… but most of the crowd ignored him, refusing to even acknowledge his outstretched hand, staring straight ahead as they hurried out to their cars. There was at least one network TV camera on hand that afternoon, but the scene was never aired. It was painful enough, just being there, but to have put that scene on national TV would have been an act of genuine cruelty.
Hunter S. Thompson (Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72)
When Elisa arrives at McDonald’s, the manager unlocks the door and lets her in. Sometimes the husband-and-wife cleaning crew are just finishing up. More often, it’s just Elisa and the manager in the restaurant, surrounded by an empty parking lot. For the next hour or so, the two of them get everything ready. They turn on the ovens and grills. They go downstairs into the basement and get food and supplies for the morning shift. They get the paper cups, wrappers, cardboard containers, and packets of condiments. They step into the big freezer and get the frozen bacon, the frozen pancakes, and the frozen cinnamon rolls. They get the frozen hash browns, the frozen biscuits, the frozen McMuffins. They get the cartons of scrambled egg mix and orange juice mix. They bring the food upstairs and start preparing it before any customers appear, thawing some things in the microwave and cooking other things on the grill. They put the cooked food in special cabinets to keep it warm.
Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal)
Mad Lib Elegy" There are starving children left on your plate. There are injuries without brains. Migrant workers spend 23 hours a day removing tiny seeds from mixtures they cannot afford to smoke and cannot afford not to smoke. Entire nations are ignorant of the basic facts of hair removal and therefore resent our efforts to depilate unsightly problem areas. Imprisonment increases life expectancy. Finish your children. Adopt an injury. ‘I'm going to my car. When I get back, I'm shooting everybody.' [line omitted in memory of_______] 70% of pound animals will be euthanized. 94% of pound animals would be euthanized if given the choice. The mind may be trained to relieve itself on paper. A pill for your safety, a pill for her pleasure. Neighbors are bothered by loud laughter but not by loud weeping. Massively multiplayer zombie-infection web-games are all the rage among lifers. The world is a rare case of selective asymmetry. The capitol is redolent of burnt monk. ‘I'm going to my car. When I get back I'm shooting everybody.' [line omitted in memory of _______] There are two kinds of people in the world: those that condemn parking lots as monstrosities, ‘the ruines of a broken World,' and those that respond to their majesty emotionally. 70% of the planet is covered in parking lots. 94% of a man's body is parking lot. Particles of parking lot have been discovered in the permanent shadows of the moon. There is terror in sublimity. If Americans experience sublimity the terrorists have won. ‘I'm going to my car. When I get back I'm shooting everybody.' [line omitted in memory of _______]
Ben Lerner
All this attempt to control... We are talking about Western attitudes that are five hundred years old... The basic idea of science - that there was a new way to look at reality, that it was objective, that it did not depend on your beliefs or your nationality, that it was rational - that idea was fresh and exciting back then. It offered promise and hope for the future, and it swept away the old medieval system, which was hundreds of years old. The medieval world of feudal politics and religious dogma and hateful superstitions fell before science. But, in truth, this was because the medieval world didn't really work any more. It didn't work economically, it didn't work intellectually, and it didn't fit the new world that was emerging... But now... science is the belief system that is hundreds of years old. And, like the medieval system before it, science is starting to not fit the world any more. Science has attained so much power that its practical limits begin to be apparent. Largely through science, billions of us live in one small world, densely packed and intercommunicating. But science cannot help us decide what to do with that world, or how to live. Science can make a nuclear reactor, but it can not tell us not to build it. Science can make pesticide, but cannot tell us not to use it. And our world starts to seem polluted in fundamental ways - air, and water, and land - because of ungovernable science... At the same time, the great intellectual justification of science has vanished. Ever since Newton and Descartes, science has explicitly offered us the vision of total control. Science has claimed the power to eventually control everything, through its understanding of natural laws. But in the twentieth century, that claim has been shattered beyond repair. First, Heisenberg's uncertainty principle set limits on what we could know about the subatomic world. Oh well, we say. None of us lives in a subatomic world. It doesn't make any practical difference as we go through our lives. Then Godel's theorem set similar limits to mathematics, the formal language of science. Mathematicians used to think that their language had some inherent trueness that derived from the laws of logic. Now we know what we call 'reason' is just an arbitrary game. It's not special, in the way we thought it was. And now chaos theory proves that unpredictability is built into our daily lives. It is as mundane as the rain storms we cannot predict. And so the grand vision of science, hundreds of years old - the dream of total control - has died, in our century. And with it much of the justification, the rationale for science to do what it does. And for us to listen to it. Science has always said that it may not know everything now but it will know, eventually. But now we see that isn't true. It is an idle boast. As foolish, and misguided, as the child who jumps off a building because he believes he can fly... We are witnessing the end of the scientific era. Science, like other outmoded systems, is destroying itself. As it gains in power, it proves itself incapable of handling the power. Because things are going very fast now... it will be in everyone's hands. It will be in kits for backyard gardeners. Experiments for schoolchildren. Cheap labs for terrorists and dictators. And that will force everyone to ask the same question - What should I do with my power? - which is the very question science says it cannot answer.
Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park (Jurassic Park, #1))
After the plates are removed by the silent and swift waiting staff, General Çiller leans forward and says across the table to Güney, ‘What’s this I’m reading in Hürriyet about Strasbourg breaking up the nation?’ ‘It’s not breaking up the nation. It’s a French motion to implement European Regional Directive 8182 which calls for a Kurdish Regional Parliament.’ ‘And that’s not breaking up the nation?’ General Çiller throws up his hands in exasperation. He’s a big, square man, the model of the military, but he moves freely and lightly ‘The French prancing all over the legacy of Atatürk? What do you think, Mr Sarioğlu?’ The trap could not be any more obvious but Ayşe sees Adnan straighten his tie, the code for, Trust me, I know what I’m doing, ‘What I think about the legacy of Atatürk, General? Let it go. I don’t care. The age of Atatürk is over.’ Guests stiffen around the table, breath subtly indrawn; social gasps. This is heresy. People have been shot down in the streets of Istanbul for less. Adnan commands every eye. ‘Atatürk was father of the nation, unquestionably. No Atatürk, no Turkey. But, at some point every child has to leave his father. You have to stand on your own two feet and find out if you’re a man. We’re like kids that go on about how great their dads are; my dad’s the strongest, the best wrestler, the fastest driver, the biggest moustache. And when someone squares up to us, or calls us a name or even looks at us squinty, we run back shouting ‘I’ll get my dad, I’ll get my dad!’ At some point; we have to grow up. If you’ll pardon the expression, the balls have to drop. We talk the talk mighty fine: great nation, proud people, global union of the noble Turkic races, all that stuff. There’s no one like us for talking ourselves up. And then the EU says, All right, prove it. The door’s open, in you come; sit down, be one of us. Move out of the family home; move in with the other guys. Step out from the shadow of the Father of the Nation. ‘And do you know what the European Union shows us about ourselves? We’re all those things we say we are. They weren’t lies, they weren’t boasts. We’re good. We’re big. We’re a powerhouse. We’ve got an economy that goes all the way to the South China Sea. We’ve got energy and ideas and talent - look at the stuff that’s coming out of those tin-shed business parks in the nano sector and the synthetic biology start-ups. Turkish. All Turkish. That’s the legacy of Atatürk. It doesn’t matter if the Kurds have their own Parliament or the French make everyone stand in Taksim Square and apologize to the Armenians. We’re the legacy of Atatürk. Turkey is the people. Atatürk’s done his job. He can crumble into dust now. The kid’s come right. The kid’s come very right. That’s why I believe the EU’s the best thing that’s ever happened to us because it’s finally taught us how to be Turks.’ General Çiller beats a fist on the table, sending the cutlery leaping. ‘By God, by God; that’s a bold thing to say but you’re exactly right.
Ian McDonald (The Dervish House)
I like rainbows. We came back down to the meadow near the steaming terrace and sat in the river, just where one of the bigger hot streams poured into the cold water of the Ferris Fork. It is illegal – not to say suicidal – to bathe in any of the thermal features of the park. But when those features empty into the river, at what is called a hot pot, swimming and soaking are perfectly acceptable. So we were soaking off our long walk, talking about our favorite waterfalls, and discussing rainbows when it occurred to us that the moon was full. There wasn’t a hint of foul weather. And if you had a clear sky and a waterfall facing in just the right direction… Over the course of a couple of days we hked back down the canyon to the Boundary Creek Trail and followed it to Dunanda Falls, which is only about eight miles from the ranger station at the entrance to the park. Dunanda is a 150-foot-high plunge facing generally south, so that in the afternoons reliable rainbows dance over the rocks at its base. It is the archetype of all western waterfalls. Dunenda is an Indian name; in Shoshone it means “straight down,” which is a pretty good description of the plunge. ... …We had to walk three miles back toward the ranger station and our assigned campsite. We planned to set up our tents, eat, hang our food, and walk back to Dunanda Falls in the dark, using headlamps. We could be there by ten or eleven. At that time the full moon would clear the east ridge of the downriver canyon and would be shining directly on the fall. Walking at night is never a happy proposition, and this particular evening stroll involved five stream crossings, mostly on old logs, and took a lot longer than we’d anticipated. Still, we beat the moon to the fall. Most of us took up residence in one or another of the hot pots. Presently the moon, like a floodlight, rose over the canyon rim. The falling water took on a silver tinge, and the rock wall, which had looked gold under the sun, was now a slick black so the contrast of water and rock was incomparably stark. The pools below the lip of the fall were glowing, as from within, with a pale blue light. And then it started at the base of the fall: just a diagonal line in the spray that ran from the lower east to the upper west side of the wall. “It’s going to happen,” I told Kara, who was sitting beside me in one of the hot pots. Where falling water hit the rock at the base of the fall and exploded upward in vapor, the light was very bright. It concentrated itself in a shining ball. The diagonal line was above and slowly began to bend until, in the fullness of time (ten minutes, maybe), it formed a perfectly symmetrical bow, shining silver blue under the moon. The color was vaguely electrical. Kara said she could see colors in the moonbow, and when I looked very hard, I thought I could make out a faint line of reddish orange above, and some deep violet at the bottom. Both colors were very pale, flickering, like bad florescent light. In any case, it was exhilarating, the experience of a lifetime: an entirely perfect moonbow, silver and iridescent, all shining and spectral there at the base of Dunanda Falls. The hot pot itself was a luxury, and I considered myself a pretty swell fellow, doing all this for the sanity of city dwellers, who need such things more than anyone else. I even thought of naming the moonbow: Cahill’s Luminescence. Something like that. Otherwise, someone else might take credit for it.
Tim Cahill (Lost in My Own Backyard: A Walk in Yellowstone National Park (Crown Journeys))