Old Tree Trunk Quotes

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To lose a brother is to lose someone with whom you can share the experience of growing old, who is supposed to bring you a sister-in-law and nieces and nephews, creatures who people the tree of your life and give it new branches. To lose your father is to lose the one whose guidance and help you seek, who supports you like a tree trunk supports its branches. To lose your mother, well, that is like losing the sun above you. It is like losing--I'm sorry, I would rather not go on.
Yann Martel (Life of Pi)
Now this is the Law of the Jungle -- as old and as true as the sky; And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the Wolf that shall break it must die. As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk the Law runneth forward and back -- For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.
Rudyard Kipling
And after a long time the boy came back again. "I am sorry, Boy," said the tree, "but I have nothing left to give you- My apples are gone." "My teeth are too weak for apples," said the boy. "My branches are gone," said the tree. "You cannot swing on them-" "I am too old to swing on branches," said the boy. "My trunk is gone," said the tree. "You cannot climb-" "I am too tired to climb," said the boy. "I am sorry," sighed the tree. "I wish that I could give you something... but I have nothing left. I am an old stump. I am sorry..." "I don't need very much now," said the boy, "just a quiet pleace to sit and rest. I am very tired." "Well," said the tree, straightening herself up as much as she could, "well, an old stump is a good for sitting and resting. Come, Boy, sit down. Sit down and rest." And the boy did. And the tree was happy.
Shel Silverstein (The Giving Tree)
The old poems said that lovers were made for each other. But that wasn't true for Kai and Elliot. They hadn't been made for each other at all—quite the opposite. But they'd grown together, the two of them, until they were like two trees from a single trunk, stronger together than either could have been alone.
Diana Peterfreund (For Darkness Shows the Stars (For Darkness Shows the Stars, #1))
Some people find fall depressing, others hate spring. I've always been a spring person myself. All that growth, you can feel Nature groaning, the old bitch; she doesn't want to do it, not again, no, anything but that, but she has to. It's a fucking torture rack, all that budding and pushing, the sap up the tree trunks, the weeds and the insects getting set to fight it out once again, the seeds trying to remember how the hell the DNA is supposed to go, all that competition for a little bit of nitrogen; Christ, it's cruel.
John Updike (The Witches of Eastwick (Eastwick #1))
And then the rains came. They came down from the hills and up from the sound. And it rained a sickness. And it rained a fear. And it rained an odor. And it rained a murder. And it rained dangers and pale eggs of the beast. Rain poured for days, unceasing. Flooding occurred. The wells filled with reptiles. The basements filled with fossils. Mossy-haired lunatics roamed the dripping peninsulas. Moisture gleamed on the beak of the raven. Ancient Shaman's rained from their homes in dead tree trunks, clacked their clamshell teeth in the drowned doorways of forests. Rain hissed on the freeway. It hissed at the prows of fishing boats. It ate the old warpaths, spilled the huckleberries, ran into the ditches. Soaking. Spreading. Penetrating. And it rained an omen. And it rained a poison. And it rained a pigment. And it rained a seizure.
Tom Robbins (Another Roadside Attraction)
What a thing to acknowledge in your heart! To lose a brother is to lose someone with whom you can share the experience of growing old, who is supposed to bring you a sister-in-law and nieces and nephews, creatures to people the tree of your life and give it new branches. To lose your father is to lose the one whose guidance and help you seek, who supports you like a tree trunk supports its branches. To lose your mother, well, that is like losing the sun above you. It is like losing-I’m sorry, I would rather not go on.
Yann Martel (Life of Pi)
Cut this tree I'm living in down. Hollow its trunk out. Make me all over again, with what you scooped out of its insides. Slide the new me back inside the old trunk. Burn me. Burn the tree. Spread the ashes, for luck, where you want next year's crops to grow. Birth me and the tree Next summer's sun Midwinter guarantee
Ali Smith (Autumn (Seasonal, #1))
There is a tree. At the downhill edge of a long, narrow field in the western foothills of the La Sal Mountains -- southeastern Utah. A particular tree. A juniper. Large for its species -- maybe twenty feet tall and two feet in diameter. For perhaps three hundred years this tree has stood its ground. Flourishing in good seasons, and holding on in bad times. "Beautiful" is not a word that comes to mind when one first sees it. No naturalist would photograph it as exemplary of its kind. Twisted by wind, split and charred by lightning, scarred by brushfires, chewed on by insects, and pecked by birds. Human beings have stripped long strings of bark from its trunk, stapled barbed wire to it in using it as a corner post for a fence line, and nailed signs on it on three sides: NO HUNTING; NO TRESPASSING; PLEASE CLOSE THE GATE. In commandeering this tree as a corner stake for claims of rights and property, miners and ranchers have hacked signs and symbols in its bark, and left Day-Glo orange survey tape tied to its branches. Now it serves as one side of a gate between an alfalfa field and open range. No matter what, in drought, flood heat and cold, it has continued. There is rot and death in it near the ground. But at the greening tips of its upper branches and in its berrylike seed cones, there is yet the outreach of life. I respect this old juniper tree. For its age, yes. And for its steadfastness in taking whatever is thrown at it. That it has been useful in a practical way beyond itself counts for much, as well. Most of all, I admire its capacity for self-healing beyond all accidents and assaults. There is a will in it -- toward continuing to be, come what may.
Robert Fulghum (Uh-oh: Some Observations from Both Sides of the Refrigerator Door)
I am too old and sad to play," said the boy. "I want a boat that will take me far away from here. Can you give me a boat?" "Cut down my trunk and make a boat," said the tree. "Then you can sail away... and be happy." And so the boy cut down her trunk and made a boat and sailed away. And the tree was happy ... but not really.
Shel Silverstein
Panting and gasping, Harry slowed down, skirting the Willow’s swiping branches, peering through the darkness toward its thick trunk, trying to see the single knot in the bark of the old tree that would paralyze it. Ron and Hermione caught up, Hermione so out of breath she could not speak. “How — how’re we going to get in?” panted Ron. “I can — see the place — if we just had — Crookshanks again —” “Crookshanks?” wheezed Hermione, bent double, clutching her chest. “Are you a wizard, or what?” “Oh — right — yeah —
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7))
It was an unusual sunset. Having sat behind opaque drapery all day, I had not realized that a storm was pushing in and that much of the sky was the precise shade of old suits of armor one finds in museums. At the same time, patches of brilliance engaged in a territorial dispute with the oncoming onyx of the storm. Light and darkness mingled in strange ways both above and below. Shadows and sunshine washed together, streaking the landscape with an unearthly study of glare and gloom. Bright clouds and black folded into each other in a no-man's land of the sky. The autumn trees took on the appearance of sculptures formed in a dream, their leaden-colored trunks and branches and iron-red leaves all locked in an infinite and unliving moment, unnaturally timeless. The gray lake slowly tossed and tumbled in a dead sleep, nudging unconsciously against its breakwall of numb stone. A scene of contradiction and ambivalence, a tragicomedic haze over all. A land of perfect twilight.
Thomas Ligotti (The Nightmare Factory)
A young tree was bothered by the fact that a lot of tiny insects were living in its trunk. An old tree advised, “Focus on your larger self - roots, trunk, branches, leaves. The tiny insects will stop bothering you. Don’t let a woodpecker destroy you on the pretext of killing your insects.
Shunya
This was a beautiful, old wood, all massive oak and ash trees finding footing among great slabs of cracked stone. Ferns sprang from rocks and verdant moss grew up the sides of the tree trunks. The air itself was scented with green and growing and water. The light was golden through the leaves. Everything was alive, alive.
Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1))
His seventy-six-year-old heart almost quit on him as his gaze, as good as it ever was, focused on a solitary pine tree and the naked woman lashed to the trunk. “Holy
Lisa Jackson (Left To Die (To Die, #1))
NOW this is the Law of the Jungle — as old and as true as the sky; And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the Wolf that shall break it must die. As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk the Law runneth forward and back — For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack. Wash daily from nose-tip to tail-tip; drink deeply, but never too deep; And remember the night is for hunting, and forget not the day is for sleep. The Jackal may follow the Tiger, but, Cub, when thy whiskers are grown, Remember the Wolf is a Hunter — go forth and get food of thine own. Keep peace withe Lords of the Jungle — the Tiger, the Panther, and Bear. And trouble not Hathi the Silent, and mock not the Boar in his lair. When Pack meets with Pack in the Jungle, and neither will go from the trail, Lie down till the leaders have spoken — it may be fair words shall prevail. When ye fight with a Wolf of the Pack, ye must fight him alone and afar, Lest others take part in the quarrel, and the Pack be diminished by war. The Lair of the Wolf is his refuge, and where he has made him his home, Not even the Head Wolf may enter, not even the Council may come. The Lair of the Wolf is his refuge, but where he has digged it too plain, The Council shall send him a message, and so he shall change it again. If ye kill before midnight, be silent, and wake not the woods with your bay, Lest ye frighten the deer from the crop, and your brothers go empty away. Ye may kill for yourselves, and your mates, and your cubs as they need, and ye can; But kill not for pleasure of killing, and seven times never kill Man! If ye plunder his Kill from a weaker, devour not all in thy pride; Pack-Right is the right of the meanest; so leave him the head and the hide. The Kill of the Pack is the meat of the Pack. Ye must eat where it lies; And no one may carry away of that meat to his lair, or he dies. The Kill of the Wolf is the meat of the Wolf. He may do what he will; But, till he has given permission, the Pack may not eat of that Kill. Cub-Right is the right of the Yearling. From all of his Pack he may claim Full-gorge when the killer has eaten; and none may refuse him the same. Lair-Right is the right of the Mother. From all of her year she may claim One haunch of each kill for her litter, and none may deny her the same. Cave-Right is the right of the Father — to hunt by himself for his own: He is freed of all calls to the Pack; he is judged by the Council alone. Because of his age and his cunning, because of his gripe and his paw, In all that the Law leaveth open, the word of your Head Wolf is Law. Now these are the Laws of the Jungle, and many and mighty are they; But the head and the hoof of the Law and the haunch and the hump is — Obey!
Rudyard Kipling (The Jungle Book)
Nothing is a masterpiece - a real masterpiece - till it's about two hundred years old. A picture is like a tree or a church, you've got to let it grow into a masterpiece. Same with a poem or a new religion. They begin as a lot of funny words. Nobody knows whether they're all nonsense or a gift from heaven. And the only people who think anything of 'em are a lot of cranks or crackpots, or poor devils who don't know enough to know anything. Look at Christianity. Just a lot of floating seeds to start with, all sorts of seeds. It was a long time before one of them grew into a tree big enough to kill the rest and keep the rain off. And it's only when the tree has been cut into planks and built into a house and the house has got pretty old and about fifty generations of ordinary lumpheads who don't know a work of art from a public convenience, have been knocking nails in the kitchen beams to hang hams on, and screwing hooks in the walls for whips and guns and photographs and calendars and measuring the children on the window frames and chopping out a new cupboard under the stairs to keep the cheese and murdering their wives in the back room and burying them under the cellar flags, that it begins even to feel like a religion. And when the whole place is full of dry rot and ghosts and old bones and the shelves are breaking down with old wormy books that no one could read if they tried, and the attic floors are bulging through the servants' ceilings with old trunks and top-boots and gasoliers and dressmaker's dummies and ball frocks and dolls-houses and pony saddles and blunderbusses and parrot cages and uniforms and love letters and jugs without handles and bridal pots decorated with forget-me-nots and a piece out at the bottom, that it grows into a real old faith, a masterpiece which people can really get something out of, each for himself. And then, of course, everybody keeps on saying that it ought to be pulled down at once, because it's an insanitary nuisance.
Joyce Cary (The Horse's Mouth)
The forest has been growing for hundreds of years. Each time a child is born, a tree is planted. You could see from his tree how old a person was. The tall and thick tree trunks, which gave the most shade, belonged to people who had already returned to the spirit world. But the trees of the living and the dead stood in the same grove, sought their nourishment from the same soil and the same rain. They stood there waiting for the children that were not yet born, the trees that had not yet been planted. In that way the forest would grow, and the age of the village would be visible for all time. No one could tell from a tree whether someone was dead, only that he had been born.
Henning Mankell (Chronicler of the Winds)
The road goes west out of the village, past open pine woods and gallberry flats. An eagle's nest is a ragged cluster of sticks in a tall tree, and one of the eagles is usually black and silver against the sky. The other perches near the nest, hunched and proud, like a griffon. There is no magic here except the eagles. Yet the four miles to the Creek are stirring, like the bleak, portentous beginning of a good tale. The road curves sharply, the vegetation thickens, and around the bend masses into dense hammock. The hammock breaks, is pushed back on either side of the road, and set down in its brooding heart is the orange grove. Any grove or any wood is a fine thing to see. But the magic here, strangely, is not apparent from the road. It is necessary to leave the impersonal highway, to step inside the rusty gate and close it behind. By this, an act of faith is committed, through which one accepts blindly the communion cup of beauty. One is now inside the grove, out of one world and in the mysterious heart of another. Enchantment lies in different things for each of us. For me, it is in this: to step out of the bright sunlight into the shade of orange trees; to walk under the arched canopy of their jadelike leaves; to see the long aisles of lichened trunks stretch ahead in a geometric rhythm; to feel the mystery of a seclusion that yet has shafts of light striking through it. This is the essence of an ancient and secret magic. It goes back, perhaps, to the fairy tales of childhood, to Hansel and Gretel, to Babes in the Wood, to Alice in Wonderland, to all half-luminous places that pleased the imagination as a child. It may go back still farther, to racial Druid memories, to an atavistic sense of safety and delight in an open forest. And after long years of spiritual homelessness, of nostalgia, here is that mystic loveliness of childhood again. Here is home. An old thread, long tangled, comes straight again.
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (Cross Creek)
For as long as I could remember, I'd been making vague and confident assurances that any day I would finish the thing [my book]. If and when I ever did, they would probably feel an almost physical sense of relief. I was like a massively incompetent handyman who'd been up on their roof now for years, trying to take down a gnarled old lightning-struck tree trunk that had fallen against the house, haunting every gathering, all discussions of family business, any attempt they made to sit down together and plan for the future, with the remote but ceaseless whining of my saw.
Michael Chabon (Wonder Boys)
Now this is the Law of the Jungle, as old and as true as the sky, And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the Wolf that shall break it must die. As the creeper that girdles the tree trunk, the Law runneth forward and back; For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.
Cassandra Clare (City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments, #5))
Beowulf’s picture was far more elaborate than those of his siblings, and it did need a bit more work coloring in the background, but the gist of it was on full, frightening view. In the sky: a full moon, its eerie glow partially obscured by dark, swirling clouds. In the foreground: the dense, ferny undergrowth of a forest, bordered by a few gnarled tree trunks rising upward. In the center of the page: an old woman, wrapped in a cloak. Her mouth hung open in a leering smile, and her teeth were large and razor sharp, with a prominent set of gleaming white incisors. From the back of her shroudlike garments poked a long, wolfish tail. Cassiopeia and Alexander clapped and barked with admiration, but Penelope’s skin went cold.
Maryrose Wood (The Hidden Gallery (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, #2))
Singing at the Edge of Need by Susan Laughter Meyers (fragment) Three things I turned my back to: light, the past, the trunk of an old tree. One by one each unfastened itself. To sit is to present when the roll is called. I knew that. I wore my hat of straw, fringed like fingers sifting a breeze. My hat collecting a thousand thoughts… …I had no map and few lessons yet to guide me. I was a study of questions. O Grandmother, I was small, sitting in the midst of wildness, a child thrilling at the boss of thunder. A rustle of leaves, moss tipping at me- I was small, I was hunger, I was thirst- wings flitting in a brush pile. O Grandmother, I was small, kneeling in the midst of wonder, quaking and singing at the edge of need.
Susan Laughter Meyers
When I contacted her about my research, Dr. Dalmau's colleague Dr. Rita Balice-Gorodn brought up the old Indian proverb, often used by neuroscientists studying the brain, about six blind men trying to identify an elephant, offering it as a way of understanding how much more we have to learn about the disease. Each man grabs hold of a different part of the animal and tries to identify the unnamed object. One man touches the tail and says, "rope"; one touches a leg and says, "pillar"; one feels a trunk and says, "tree"; one feels an ear and says, "fan"; one feels the belly and says, "wall"; the last one feels the tusk and is certain it's a "pipe." (The tale has been told so many times that the outcomes differ widely. In a Buddhist iteration, the mean are told they are all correct and rejoice; in another, the men break out in violence when they can't agree.) Dr. Balice-Gordon has a hopeful interpretation of the analogy: "We're sort of approaching the elephant from the front end and from the back end in the hopes of touching in the middle. We're hoping to paint a detailed enough landscape of the elephant.
Susannah Cahalan (Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness)
He lived in the world, as the last of the Grisly Bears lived in settled Missouri.And as Spring and Summer had departed, that wild Logan of the woods, burying himself in the hollow of a tree, lived out the winter there, sucking his own paws; so, in his inclement, howling old age, Ahab's soul, shut up in the caved trunk of his body, there fed upon the sullen paws of its gloom!
Herman Melville (Moby-Dick or, the Whale)
When they turned off, it was still early in the pink and green fields. The fumes of morning, sweet and bitter, sprang up where they walked. The insects ticked softly, their strength in reserve; butterflies chopped the air, going to the east, and the birds flew carelessly and sang by fits. They went down again and soon the smell of the river spread over the woods, cool and secret. Every step they took among the great walls of vines and among the passion-flowers started up a little life, a little flight. 'We’re walking along in the changing-time,' said Doc. 'Any day now the change will come. It’s going to turn from hot to cold, and we can kill the hog that’s ripe and have fresh meat to eat. Come one of these nights and we can wander down here and tree a nice possum. Old Jack Frost will be pinching things up. Old Mr. Winter will be standing in the door. Hickory tree there will be yellow. Sweet-gum red, hickory yellow, dogwood red, sycamore yellow.' He went along rapping the tree trunks with his knuckle. 'Magnolia and live-oak never die. Remember that. Persimmons will all get fit to eat, and the nuts will be dropping like rain all through the woods here. And run, little quail, run, for we’ll be after you too.' They went on and suddenly the woods opened upon light, and they had reached the river. Everyone stopped, but Doc talked on ahead as though nothing had happened. 'Only today,' he said, 'today, in October sun, it’s all gold—sky and tree and water. Everything just before it changes looks to be made of gold.' ("The Wide Net")
Eudora Welty (The Collected Stories)
For Hindus, banyan trees are sacred. For Buddhists, bodhi trees; for the Arabs, certain date palms. To be stalwart in a ‘tree-like’ way was to approach goodness, according to Confucius. The Normans built chapels in the trunks of yew trees. Many other cultures attached religious significance to particular trees and groves and forests. Adonis was born of a tree. Daphne turned into one. George Washington confessed to cutting one down and the United States, as a result, was all but immaculately conceived. The tree is the symbol of the male organ and of the female body. The Hebrew kabbalah depicts Creation in the form of a tree. In Genesis, a tree holds the key to immortal life, and it is to the branches and fruit of an olive tree that God’s people are likened in both the Old and New Testaments. To celebrate the birth of Christ his followers place trees in their sitting rooms and palm fronds, a symbol of victory, commemorate his entering Jerusalem. A child noted by Freud had fantasies of wounding a tree that represented his mother. The immortal swagman of Australia sat beneath a coolabah tree. In hundreds of Australian towns the war dead are honoured by avenues of trees.
Don Watson (The Bush)
THE FORTRESS Under the pink quilted covers I hold the pulse that counts your blood. I think the woods outdoors are half asleep, left over from summer like a stack of books after a flood, left over like those promises I never keep. On the right, the scrub pine tree waits like a fruit store holding up bunches of tufted broccoli. We watch the wind from our square bed. I press down my index finger -- half in jest, half in dread -- on the brown mole under your left eye, inherited from my right cheek: a spot of danger where a bewitched worm ate its way through our soul in search of beauty. My child, since July the leaves have been fed secretly from a pool of beet-red dye. And sometimes they are battle green with trunks as wet as hunters' boots, smacked hard by the wind, clean as oilskins. No, the wind's not off the ocean. Yes, it cried in your room like a wolf and your pony tail hurt you. That was a long time ago. The wind rolled the tide like a dying woman. She wouldn't sleep, she rolled there all night, grunting and sighing. Darling, life is not in my hands; life with its terrible changes will take you, bombs or glands, your own child at your breast, your own house on your own land. Outside the bittersweet turns orange. Before she died, my mother and I picked those fat branches, finding orange nipples on the gray wire strands. We weeded the forest, curing trees like cripples. Your feet thump-thump against my back and you whisper to yourself. Child, what are you wishing? What pact are you making? What mouse runs between your eyes? What ark can I fill for you when the world goes wild? The woods are underwater, their weeds are shaking in the tide; birches like zebra fish flash by in a pack. Child, I cannot promise that you will get your wish. I cannot promise very much. I give you the images I know. Lie still with me and watch. A pheasant moves by like a seal, pulled through the mulch by his thick white collar. He's on show like a clown. He drags a beige feather that he removed, one time, from an old lady's hat. We laugh and we touch. I promise you love. Time will not take away that.
Anne Sexton (Selected Poems)
Ahab was inaccessible. Though nominally included in the census of Christendom, he was still an alien to it. He lived in the world, as the last of the Grisly Bears lived in settled Missouri. And as when Spring and Summer had departed, that wild Logan of the woods, burying himself in the hollow of a tree, lived out the winter there, sucking his own paws; so, in his inclement, howling old age, Ahab's soul, shut up in the caved trunk of his body, there fed upon the sullen paws of its gloom!
Herman Melville (Moby Dick)
There were no traces of human existence around them. Old ruts, overgrown with grass, made human presence seem more distant, adding the distance of years to the distance of miles. A haze of twilight remained over the ground, but in the breaks between the tree trunks there were leaves that hung in patches of shining green and seemed to light the forest. The leaves hung still. They walked, alone to move through a motionless world. She noticed suddenly that they had not said a word for a long time.
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
socially, Ahab was inaccessible. Though nominally included in the census of Christendom, he was still an alien to it. He lived in the world, as the last of the Grisly Bears lived in settled Missouri. And as when Spring and Summer had departed, that wild Logan of the woods, burying himself in the hollow of a tree, lived out the winter there, sucking his own paws; so, in his inclement, howling old age, Ahab's soul, shut up in the caved trunk of his body, there fed upon the sullen paws of its gloom!
Herman Melville (Moby Dick; or, the White Whale)
They were dead; I could no longer deny it. What a thing to acknowledge in your heart! To lose a brother is to lose someone with whom you can share the experience of growing old, who is supposed to bring you a sister-in-law and nieces and nephews, creatures to people the tree of your life and give it new branches. To lose your father is to lose the one whose guidance and help you seek, who supports you like a tree trunk supports its branches. To lose your mother, well, that is like losing the sun above you.
Yann Martel (Life of Pi)
I took a cautious step inside, marveling at the sight before me. A vast conservatory awaited, or what 'once' was a conservatory. Sunlight beamed through the enormous glass roof. I realized that its position at the center of the house precluded its visibility from below. In awe, my heart beating wildly, I lingered in an arbor covered with bright pink bougainvillea, with a trunk so thick, it was larger than my waist. Most of it had died off, but a single healthy vine remained, and it burst with magenta blossoms. I could smell citrus warming in the sunlight, and I immediately noticed the source: an old potted lemon tree in the far corner. 'This must have been Lady Anna's.' I walked along the leaf-strewn pathway to a table that had clearly once showcased dozens of orchids. Now it was an orchid graveyard. Only their brown, shriveled stems remained, but I could imagine how they'd looked in their prime. I smiled when I picked up a tag from one of the pots. 'Lady Fiona Bixby. She must have given them her own names.' Perhaps there hadn't been anything sinister going on in the orchard, after all. Lady Anna was clearly a creative spirit, and maybe that played out in her gardens and the names she gave to her flowers and trees.
Sarah Jio (The Last Camellia)
On 119th Street there had been a sign for years in the front window of an old dilapidated three-storey brick house, announcing: FUNERALS PERFORMED. For five years past the house had been condemned as unsafe for human habitation. The wooden steps leading up to the cracked, scabby front door were so rotten one had to mount them like crossing a river on a fallen tree trunk; the foundation was crumbling, one side of the house had sunk more than a foot lower than the other, the concrete windowsills had fallen from all the upper windows and the constant falling of bricks from the front wall created a dangerous hazard for passing pedestrians.
Chester Himes (Blind Man with a Pistol (Harlem Cycle, #8))
Something happens to you in an old-growth forest. At first you are curious to see the tremendous girth and height of the trees, and you sally forth, eager. You start to saunter, then amble, slower and slower, first like a fox and then an armadillo and then a tortoise, until you are trudging at the pace of an earthworm, and then even slower, the pace of a sassafras leaf's turning. The blood begins to languish in your veins, until you think it has turned to sap. You hanker to touch the trees and embrace them and lean your face against their bark, and you do. You smell them. You look up at leaves so high their shapes are beyond focus, into far branches with circumferences as thick as most trees. Every limb of your body becomes weighted, and you have to prop yourself up. There's this strange current of energy running skyward, like a thousand tiny bells tied to your capillaries, ringing with your heartbeat. You sit and lean against one trunk-it's like leaning against a house or a mountain. The trunk is your spine, the nerve centers reaching into other worlds, below ground and above. You stand and press your body into the ancestral and enduring, arms wide, and your fingers do not touch. You wonder how big the unseen gap. If you stay in one place too long, you know you'll root.
Janisse Ray
Trees stand at the heart of ecology, and they must come to stand at the heart of human politics. Tagore said, Trees are the earth’s endless effort to speak to the listening heaven. But people—oh, my word—people! People could be the heaven that the Earth is trying to speak to. “If we could see green, we’d see a thing that keeps getting more interesting the closer we get. If we could see what green was doing, we’d never be lonely or bored. If we could understand green, we’d learn how to grow all the food we need in layers three deep, on a third of the ground we need right now, with plants that protected one another from pests and stress. If we knew what green wanted, we wouldn’t have to choose between the Earth’s interests and ours. They’d be the same!” One more click takes her to the next slide, a giant fluted trunk covered in red bark that ripples like muscle. “To see green is to grasp the Earth’s intentions. So consider this one. This tree grows from Colombia to Costa Rica. As a sapling, it looks like a piece of braided hemp. But if it finds a hole in the canopy, the sapling shoots up into a giant stem with flaring buttresses.” She turns to regard the image over her shoulder. It’s the bell of an enormous angel’s trumpet, plunged into the Earth. So many miracles, so much awful beauty. How can she leave so perfect a place? “Did you know that every broadleaf tree on Earth has flowers? Many mature species flower at least once a year. But this tree, Tachigali versicolor, this one flowers only once. Now, suppose you could have sex only once in your entire life. . . .” The room laughs now. She can’t hear, but she can smell their nerves. Her switchback trail through the woods is twisting again. They can’t tell where their guide is going. “How can a creature survive, by putting everything into a one-night stand? Tachigali versicolor’s act is so quick and decisive that it boggles me. You see, within a year of its only flowering, it dies.” She lifts her eyes. The room fills with wary smiles for the weirdness of this thing, nature. But her listeners can’t yet tie her rambling keynote to anything resembling home repair. “It turns out that a tree can give away more than its food and medicines. The rain forest canopy is thick, and wind-borne seeds never land very far from their parent. Tachigali’s once-in-a-lifetime offspring germinate right away, in the shadow of giants who have the sun locked up. They’re doomed, unless an old tree falls. The dying mother opens a hole in the canopy, and its rotting trunk enriches the soil for new seedlings. Call it the ultimate parental sacrifice. The common name for Tachigali versicolor is the suicide tree.
Richard Powers (The Overstory)
When I was in the street throwing a beanbag with the other children and Mr. Tanaka happened to stroll out of the seafood company, I always stopped what I was doing to watch him. I lay there on that slimy table while Mr. Tanaka examined my lip, pulling it down with his fingers and tipping my head this way and that. All at once he caught sight of my gray eyes, which were fixed on his face with such fascination, I couldn't pretend I hadn't been staring at him. He didn't give me a sneer, as if to say that I was an impudent girl, and he didn't look away as if it made no difference where I looked or what I thought. We stared at each other for a long moment-so long it gave me a chill even there in the muggy air of the seafood company. "I know you," he said at last. "You're old Sakamoto's little girl." Even as a child I could tell that Mr. Tanaka saw the world around him as it really was; he never wore the dazed look of my father. To me, he seemed to see the sap bleeding from the trunks of the pine trees, and the circle of brightness in the sky where the sun was smothered by clouds. He lived in the world that was visible, even if it didn't always please him to be there. I knew he noticed the trees, and the mud, and the children in the street, but I had no reason to believe he'd ever noticed me. Perhaps this is why when he spoke to me, tears came stinging to my eyes.
Arthur Golden (Memoirs of a Geisha)
On our block, everybody knows me and I know everybody. I know every brick and every tree trunk and every crack in the sidewalk. I know Mrs. Grimaldi, the lady who's always sitting by her window, and the old guy who walks up and down the street whistling like a bird. I know the deli on the corner where Mom gets our bagels, and the waitresses at the coffee shop who all call me "honey" and give me lollipops whenever they see me. I love my neighborhood of North River Heights, which is why it was so strange to be walking down these blocks feeling like it was all new to me suddenly. Amesfort Avenue, a street I've been down a million times, looked totally different for some reason. Full of people I never saw before, waiting for buses, pushing strollers
R.J. Palacio (Wonder (Wonder, #1))
There is a deep stillness in the Fakahatchee, but there is not a moment of physical peace. Something is always brushing against you or lapping at you or snagging at you or tangling in your legs, and the sun is always pummeling your skin, and the wetness in the air makes your hair coil like a phone cord. You never smell plain air in a swamp - you smell the tang of mud and the sourness of rotting leaves and the cool musk of new leaves and the perfumes of a million different flowers floating by, each distinct but transparent, like soap bubbles. The biggest number in the universe would not be big enough to count the things your eyes see. Every inch of land holds up a thatch of tall grass or a bush or a tree, and every bush or tree is girdled with another plant’s roots, and every root is topped with a flower or a fern or a swollen bulb, and every one of those flowers and ferns is the pivot around which a world of bees and gnats and spiders and dragonflies revolve. The sounds you hear are twigs cracking underfoot and branches whistling past you and leaves murmuring and leaves slopping over the trunks of old dead trees and every imaginable and unimaginable insect noise and every kind of bird peep and screech and tootle, and then all those unclaimed sounds of something moving in a hurry, something low to the ground and heavy, maybe the size of a horse in the shape of a lizard, or maybe the size, shape and essential character of a snake. In the swamp you feel as if someone had plugged all of your senses into a light socket. A swamp is logy and slow-moving about at the same time highly overstimulating. Even in the dim, sultry places deep within it, it is easy to stay awake.
Susan Orlean (The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession)
She stood in the high pines along the eastern edge of the camp that ran downhill toward the river. She had a place there. A small clearing just above the riverbank where the earth was carpeted in brown pine needles, and the trees were very tall and very old, and there, in that same place, were some young pine saplings with their feathery, light green needles, fernlike in their delicacy, fanning out silently in the still cool air with the old alligator bark of the ancient trees behind them and the long golden river sliding over the rocks beyond. In this place, the black branch of one thick old tree reached out far over the river, and its smallest branches trailed along the surface like fingers, and the light fell and glittered wonderfully on the water, and she could feel her God there, inside of her, could be gentled and calmed by Him as she watched the sun pour down in long shafts and then splinter out across the the surface of the water like shards of a shattered mirror. She rested her hand against the rough trunk of the tree and then leaned her whole body against it, soaking in the silence, the curious comfort of leaning up against something so old, listening to the never-ending movement of the water.
Kimberly Cutter
From Tomorrow to Yesterday The tree trunks move in time with the rhythm of her rubber soles on the wet path, where the air is still cool after the night rain. The woodland floor is white with anemones; in one place, growing close to the roots of an ancient tree, they make her think of an old, wrinkled hand. She could go on and on without getting tired, without meeting anyone or thinking of anything in particular, and without coming to the edge of the woods. As if the town did not begin just behind the trees, the leafy suburb with its peaceful roads and its houses hidden behind close-trimmed hedges. She doesn't want to think about anything, and almost succeeds; her body is no more than a porous, pulsating machine. The sun breaks through the clouds as she runs back, its light diffused on the gravel drive and the magnolia in front of the kitchen window. His car is no longer parked beside hers, he must have left while she was in the woods. He hadn't stirred when she rose, and she'd already been in bed when he came home late last night. She lay with her back turned, eyes closed, as he undressed, taking care not to wake her. She leans against one of the pillars of the garage and stretches, before emptying the mailbox and letting herself into the house. She puts the mail on the kitchen table. The little light on the coffeemaker is on; she switches it off. Not so long ago, she would have felt a stab of irritation or a touch of tenderness, depending on her mood. He always forgets to turn off that machine. She puts the kettle on, sprinkles tea leaves into the pot, and goes over to the kitchen window. She observes the magnolia blossoms, already starting to open. They'll have to talk about it, of course, but neither of them seems able to find the right words, the right moment. She pauses on her way through the sitting room. She stands amid her furniture looking out over the lawn and the pond at the end of the garden. The canopies of the trees are dimly reflected in the shining water. She goes into the bathroom. The shower door is still spotted with little drops. As time went on they have come to make contact during the day only briefly, like passing strangers. But that's the way it has been since the children left home, nothing unusual in that. She takes off her clothes and stands in front of the mirror where a little while ago he stood shaving. She greets her reflection with a wry smile. She has never been able to view herself in a mirror without this moue, as if demonstrating a certain guardedness about what she sees. The dark green eyes and wavy black hair, the angularity of her features. She dyes her hair exactly the color it would have been if she hadn't begun to go gray in her thirties, but that's her only protest against age.
Jens Christian Grøndahl (An Altered Light)
That’s the Thornton place up there atop yon hill,” the farmer said, pointing. Lucinda gazed in mounting anger at the large, but unimpressive cottage that was barely visible through the thick trees, then she turned the full force of her authority on the hapless farmer. “You’re mistaken, my good man,” she said stoutly. “No gentleman of consequence or sense would live in such a godforsaken place as this. Kindly turn this decrepit vehicle around and return us to the village whence we came so that we can ask directions again. There was obviously a misunderstanding.” At that, both the horse and the farmer swung their heads around and looked at her with identical expressions of weary resentment. The horse remained silent, but the farmer had heard Lucinda’s irate complaints for the last twelve miles, and he was heartily sick of them. “See here, my lady,” he began, but Lucinda cut him off. “Do not address me as ‘my lady.’ ‘Miss Throckmorton-Jones’ will do very well.” “Aye. Well, whoever ye be, this is as far as I’m takin’ ye, and that thar is the Thornton cottage.” “You can’t mean to abandon us here!” she said as the tired old man exhibited a surge of renewed energy-obviously brought on by the prospect of ridding himself of his unwanted guests-and leapt off the wagon, whereupon he began to drag their trunks and bandboxes off the wagon and onto the side of the narrow ledge that passed for a road.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
The Law of the Jungle NOW this is the Law of the Jungle — as old and as true as the sky; And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the Wolf that shall break it must die. As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk the Law runneth forward and back — For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack. Wash daily from nose-tip to tail-tip; drink deeply, but never too deep; And remember the night is for hunting, and forget not the day is for sleep. The Jackal may follow the Tiger, but, Cub, when thy whiskers are grown, Remember the Wolf is a Hunter — go forth and get food of thine own. Keep peace withe Lords of the Jungle — the Tiger, the Panther, and Bear. And trouble not Hathi the Silent, and mock not the Boar in his lair. When Pack meets with Pack in the Jungle, and neither will go from the trail, Lie down till the leaders have spoken — it may be fair words shall prevail. When ye fight with a Wolf of the Pack, ye must fight him alone and afar, Lest others take part in the quarrel, and the Pack be diminished by war. The Lair of the Wolf is his refuge, and where he has made him his home, Not even the Head Wolf may enter, not even the Council may come. The Lair of the Wolf is his refuge, but where he has digged it too plain, The Council shall send him a message, and so he shall change it again. If ye kill before midnight, be silent, and wake not the woods with your bay, Lest ye frighten the deer from the crop, and your brothers go empty away. Ye may kill for yourselves, and your mates, and your cubs as they need, and ye can; But kill not for pleasure of killing, and seven times never kill Man! If ye plunder his Kill from a weaker, devour not all in thy pride; Pack-Right is the right of the meanest; so leave him the head and the hide. The Kill of the Pack is the meat of the Pack. Ye must eat where it lies; And no one may carry away of that meat to his lair, or he dies. The Kill of the Wolf is the meat of the Wolf. He may do what he will; But, till he has given permission, the Pack may not eat of that Kill. Cub-Right is the right of the Yearling. From all of his Pack he may claim Full-gorge when the killer has eaten; and none may refuse him the same. Lair-Right is the right of the Mother. From all of her year she may claim One haunch of each kill for her litter, and none may deny her the same. Cave-Right is the right of the Father — to hunt by himself for his own: He is freed of all calls to the Pack; he is judged by the Council alone. Because of his age and his cunning, because of his gripe and his paw, In all that the Law leaveth open, the word of your Head Wolf is Law. Now these are the Laws of the Jungle, and many and mighty are they; But the head and the hoof of the Law and the haunch and the hump is — Obey!
Rudyard Kipling
The essence of the suicides consisted not of sadness or mystery but simple selfishness. The girls took into their own hands decisions better left to God. They became too powerful to live among us, too self-concerned, too visionary, too blind. What lingered after them was not life, which always overcomes natural death, but the most trivial list of mundane facts: a clock ticking on a wall, a room dim at noon, and the outrageousness of a human being thinking only of herself. Her brain going dim to all else, but flaming up in precise points of pain, personal injury, lost dreams. Every other loved one receding as though across a vast ice floe, shrinking to black dots waving tiny arms, out ofhearing. Then the rope thrown over the beam, the sleeping pill dropped in the palm with the long, lying lifeline, the window thrown open, the oven turned on, whatever. They made us participate in their own madness, because we couldn't help but retrace their steps, rethink their thoughts, and see that none of them led to us. We couldn't imagine the emptiness of a creature who put a razor to her wrists and opened her veins, the emptiness and the calm. And we had to smear our muzzles in their last traces, of mud marks on the floor, trunks kicked out from under them, we had to breathe forever the air of the rooms in which they killed themselves. It didn't matter in the end how old they had been, or that they were girls, but only that we had loved them, and that they hadn't heard us calling, still do not hear us, up here in the tree house, with our thinning hair and soft bellies, calling them out ofthose rooms where they went to be alone for all time, alone in suicide, which is deeper than death, and where we will.
Jeffrey Eugenides (The Virgin Suicides)
Unchopping a Tree. Start with the leaves, the small twigs, and the nests that have been shaken, ripped, or broken off by the fall; these must be gathered and attached once again to their respective places. It is not arduous work, unless major limbs have been smashed or mutilated. If the fall was carefully and correctly planned, the chances of anything of the kind happening will have been reduced. Again, much depends upon the size, age, shape, and species of the tree. Still, you will be lucky if you can get through this stages without having to use machinery. Even in the best of circumstances it is a labor that will make you wish often that you had won the favor of the universe of ants, the empire of mice, or at least a local tribe of squirrels, and could enlist their labors and their talents. But no, they leave you to it. They have learned, with time. This is men's work. It goes without saying that if the tree was hollow in whole or in part, and contained old nests of bird or mammal or insect, or hoards of nuts or such structures as wasps or bees build for their survival, the contents will have to repaired where necessary, and reassembled, insofar as possible, in their original order, including the shells of nuts already opened. With spider's webs you must simply do the best you can. We do not have the spider's weaving equipment, nor any substitute for the leaf's living bond with its point of attachment and nourishment. It is even harder to simulate the latter when the leaves have once become dry — as they are bound to do, for this is not the labor of a moment. Also it hardly needs saying that this the time fro repairing any neighboring trees or bushes or other growth that might have been damaged by the fall. The same rules apply. Where neighboring trees were of the same species it is difficult not to waste time conveying a detached leaf back to the wrong tree. Practice, practice. Put your hope in that. Now the tackle must be put into place, or the scaffolding, depending on the surroundings and the dimension of the tree. It is ticklish work. Almost always it involves, in itself, further damage to the area, which will have to be corrected later. But, as you've heard, it can't be helped. And care now is likely to save you considerable trouble later. Be careful to grind nothing into the ground. At last the time comes for the erecting of the trunk. By now it will scarcely be necessary to remind you of the delicacy of this huge skeleton. Every motion of the tackle, every slightly upward heave of the trunk, the branches, their elaborately reassembled panoply of leaves (now dead) will draw from you an involuntary gasp. You will watch for a lead or a twig to be snapped off yet again. You will listen for the nuts to shift in the hollow limb and you will hear whether they are indeed falling into place or are spilling in disorder — in which case, or in the event of anything else of the kind — operations will have to cease, of course, while you correct the matter. The raising itself is no small enterprise, from the moment when the chains tighten around the old bandages until the boles hands vertical above the stump, splinter above splinter. How the final straightening of the splinters themselves can take place (the preliminary work is best done while the wood is still green and soft, but at times when the splinters are not badly twisted most of the straightening is left until now, when the torn ends are face to face with each other). When the splinters are perfectly complementary the appropriate fixative is applied. Again we have no duplicate of the original substance. Ours is extremely strong, but it is rigid. It is limited to surfaces, and there is no play in it. However the core is not the part of the trunk that conducted life from the roots up to the branches and back again. It was relatively inert. The fixative for this part is not the same as the one for the outer layers and the bark, and if either of these is involved
W.S. Merwin
Isn't there something in Genesis about not looking back? A stupid glance over my shoulder showed her expression relaxing, glad I wasn't taking anything that couldn't be replaced and glad I didn't destroy anything that couldn't be repaired. "Do you care for me, Georgia?" I asked her. "Tell me you don't and I'm out of your life forever." She stood in the driveway with her arms wrapped around herself like she was freezing. "Andre is on his way." "I didn't ask you about no Andre." "He'll be here in a minute." My head hurt, but I pressed her. "It's a yes-or-no question." "Can we talk when Andre gets back? We can-" "Stop talking about him. I want to know if you love me." "Andre…" She said his name one time too many. For what happened next, she would have to take some of the blame. I asked her a simple question and she refused to give me a simple answer. I turned from her and made a sharp left turn, pounding across the yard, feeling the dry grass crunch under my shoes. Six long strides put me at the base of the massive tree. I touched the rough bark, an instant of reflection, to give Old Hickey the benefit of the doubt. But in reality, a hickory tree was a useless hunk of wood. Tall, and that's all. To break the shell of a hickory nut, you needed a hammer and an act of Congress, and even then you needed a screwdriver to get at the meat, which was about as tasty as a clod of limestone. Nobody would ever mourn a hickory tree except Celestial, and maybe Andre. When I was a boy, so little I couldn't manage much more than a George Washington hatcher, Big Roy taught me how to take down a tree. Bend your knees, swing hard and low, follow up with a straight chop. Celestial was crying like the baby we never had, yelping and mewing with every swing. Believe me when I say that I didn't slow my pace, even though my shoulders burned and my arms strained and quivered. With every blow, wedges of fresh wood flew from the wounded trunk peppering my face with hot bites. "Speak up, Georgia," I shouted, hacking at the thick grey bark, experiencing pleasure and power with each stroke. "I asked you if you loved me.
Tayari Jones (An American Marriage)
And there, until 1884, it was possible to gaze on the remains of a generally neglected monument, so-called Dagobert’s Tower, which included a ninth-century staircase set into the masonry, of which the thirty-foot handrail was fashioned out of the trunk of a gigantic oak tree. Here, according to tradition, lived a barber and a pastry-cook, who in the year 1335 plied their trade next door to each other. The reputation of the pastry-cook, whose products were among the most delicious that could be found, grew day by day. Members of the high-ranking clergy in particular were very fond of the extraordinary meat pies that, on the grounds of keeping to himself the secret of how the meats were seasoned, our man made all on his own, with the sole assistance of an apprentice who was responsible for the pastry. His neighbor the barber had won favor with the public through his honesty, his skilled hairdressing and shaving, and the steam baths he offered. Now, thanks to a dog that insistently scratched at the ground in a certain place, the ghastly origins of the meat used by the pastry-cook became known, for the animal unearthed some human bones! It was established that every Saturday before shutting up shop the barber would offer to shave a foreign student for free. He would put the unsuspecting young man in a tip-back seat and then cut his throat. The victim was immediately rushed down to the cellar, where the pastry-cook took delivery of him, cut him up, and added the requisite seasoning. For which the pies were famed, ‘especially as human flesh is more delicate because of the diet,’ old Dubreuil comments facetiously. The two wretched fellows were burned with their pies, the house was ordered to be demolished, and in its place was built a kind of expiatory pyramid, with the figure of the dog on one of its faces. The pyramid was there until 1861. But this is where the story takes another turn and joins the very best of black comedy. For the considerable number of ecclesiastics who had unwittingly consumed human flesh were not only guilty before God of the very venial sin of greed; they were automatically excommunicated! A grand council was held under the aegis of several bishops and it was decided to send to Avignon, where Pope Clement VI resided, a delegation of prelates with a view to securing the rescindment if not of the Christian interdiction against cannibalism then at least of the torments of hell that faced the inadvertent cannibals. The delegation set off, with a tidy sum of money, bare-footed, bearing candles and singing psalms. But the roads of that time were not very safe and doubtless strewn with temptation. Anyway, the fact is that Clement VI never saw any sign of the penitents, and with good reason.
Jacques Yonnet (Paris Noir: The Secret History of a City)
Danny fills a pitcher with water as R2-D2 gallops into the room to nuzzle my thigh. He is a two-year-old unexercised and panicky Labrador who looks as if he will at any moment speak. Everything in him wants to run. R2-D2 hunts scraps on the floor underneath Danny, who holds the pitcher brimming with water. I worry about his grip, but he wants to tell a story like an intact man about a fair he went to where a man balanced on top of a Ferris wheel. A tremor grows in his forearm. I say, “Why don’t you let me hold that?” “Are you listening? I’m talking to you.” He sways as if regaining his balance. The pitcher slips silently out of his grip, barely missing the dog as it shatters against the floor. R2-D2 yelps, scrabbles out of the room. I collect the chunks of glass. “Was I holding that?” he says. “Don’t move,” I say. He says he won’t but forgets. “Don’t.” He roots in place. I’ve never raised my voice to him. “Did you drop the pitcher?” he says, when I am transferring the large chunks to the trash can. “Yes.” I guide him over the mess and into the family room. I motion for him to sit and hand him the remote. I wipe the kitchen floor and take the garbage to the outside patio where several other bags are stacked. The dog jogs beside me, sniffs a tree trunk.
Marie-Helene Bertino (Parakeet: A Novel)
The researchers looked at about 700,000 trees on every continent around the world. The surprising result: the older the tree, the more quickly it grows. Trees with trunks 3 feet in diameter generated three times as much biomass as trees that were only half as wide.42 So, in the case of trees, being old doesn’t mean being weak, bowed, and fragile.
Peter Wohlleben (The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate—Discoveries from A Secret World)
her mother told her stories of the Senoi people of Malaysia, who believe each person has a ‘partner’ tree, a specific tree that they ‘bond’ with. This could go on through the generations, her mother told her, with trunks growing from the roots of an original tree, providing new trees for generations to bond with. She would take Melissa’s small hand and place it against this old oak. ‘This is our tree,’ she would say. ‘We belong to it. It belongs to us.’ It was her mother’s favourite topic, the healing properties of the forest, both physical and spiritual.
Tracy Buchanan (Wall of Silence)
Whatever the particularities of their history, these fallen trees have now started the next part of their journey through the ecology of this old-growth forest. Fungi, salamanders, and thousands of species of invertebrates will thrive in and under the rotting trunks. At least half a tree's contribution to the fabric of life comes after its death, so one measure of a vitality of a forest ecosystem is the density of tree carcasses. You're in a great forest if you cannot pick out a straight-line path through fallen limbs and trunks. A bare forest floor is a sign of ill health.
David George Haskell (The Forest Unseen: A Year’s Watch in Nature)
...by means of certain small scars rising along its trunk, and by a limb extending over the river, and another thinner limb growing near it. This was the tree, and it seemed to me standing there to resemble those men, the giants of your childhood, whom you encounter years later and find that they are not merely smaller in relation to your growth, but that they are absolutely smaller, shrunken by age...the old giants have become piggies while you were looking the other way.
John Knowles (A Separate Peace)
When I am away from Sandhill, sometimes the picture of it comes drifting toward me- just the picture of it, like some sunny little island I have got to get back to. And there's my family. Most of the time I seem to see them sort of like a bunch of picnickers in a nineteenth century painting, sitting around in the grass with their picnic baskets and their pretty dresses and parasols, and floating past on that island. I think, I've got to get back. I think, they need me there and I have got to get back to them. But when I go back, they laugh at me and rumple my hair and ask why I;m such a worrier. And I can't tell them why. There's nothing I can tell them. Pretty soon I leave again, on account of seeing myself so weak and speechless and worried. I get to thinking about something I just miss like hell in another town, like this tree on a street in Atlanta that has a real electric socket in it, right in the trunk, or the trolley cars in Philadelphia making that faraway lonesome sound as they pass down an empty street in the rain, through old torn-down slum buildings with nothing but a wallpapered sheet of brick and a set of stone steps left standing...
Anne Tyler (If Morning Ever Comes)
We are misidentified—because we ourselves keep growing, keep changing,127 we shed our old bark, we shed our skins every spring, we keep becoming younger, fuller of future,128 taller, stronger, we push our roots ever more powerfully into the depths—into evil—while at the same time we embrace the heavens ever more lovingly, more broadly, imbibing their light ever more thirstily with all our twigs and leaves. Like trees we grow—this is hard to understand, as is all of life—not in one place only but everywhere, not in one direction but equally upward and outward and inward and downward; our energy is at work simultaneously in the trunk, branches, and roots; we are no longer free to do only one particular thing, to be only one particular thing.
Friedrich Nietzsche (The Gay Science with a Prelude in Rhymes & an Appendix of Songs)
You’ve probably all seen this place before. It’s a large field filled with really old pecan trees. They are planted in rows with the grass trimmed beneath them. Sometimes the owners let the cattle run free in the field, their hulking bodies snorting beneath the gigantic barken trunks, their breath visible in the dewy morning air as the sun rises over—” I hold my crossed fingers up and interrupt him. “Dude, can we get on with it? Your third year creative writing class is doing wonders for your descriptive prose, but I’m ready to smash some skulls.” It takes all I have to not squeak in shock when Zelda actually seconds my statement with a fervent nod. Tommy sighs and flips past one, two, three of the notecards he was reading from. The dude must really be digging those writing classes. “Okay, here we go. 
Leah Rae Miller (Romancing the Nerd (Nerd, #2))
On a quiet day, when the wind was still, the creek could be heard all the way up to where the old beech stood. Under its branches, cats would come to dream and be dreamed. Black cats and calicos, white cats and marmalade ones, too. Sometimes they exchanged gossip or told stories about L'il Pater, the trickster cat. More often they lay in a drowsy circle around the fat trunk of the ancient beech that spread its boughs above them. Then one of them might tell a story of the old and powerful Father of Cats, and though the sun might still be high and the day warm, they would shiver and groom themselves with nervous tongues. But they hadn't yet gathered on the day the orphan girl fell asleep among the beech's roots, nestling in the weeds and long grass like the gangly, tousle-haired girl she was. Her name was Lillian Kindred.
Charles de Lint (The Cats of Tanglewood Forest (Newford, #18))
That night, I met some old college friends at Soho House, a private club in the meatpacking district of Manhattan. I hadn’t seen them since I’d joined the community, and they hardly recognized me. They spent a half hour discussing how awkward and introverted I used to be. Then their conversation turned to work and movies. I tried to contribute, but I had trouble focusing on the words. They just floated into my ear and accumulated there like wax. I felt like I didn’t fit in with them anymore. Fortunately, an Amazonian woman with tree-trunk thighs and a lethal boob-job soon stumbled past the table. She was a foot taller than me and somewhat drunk. “Have
Neil Strauss (The Game)
What they don’t understand about birthdays and what they never tell you is that when you’re eleven, you’re also ten, and nine, and eight, and seven, and six and five, and four, and three, and two, and one. And when you wake up on your eleventh birthday, you expect to feel eleven, but you don’t. You open your eyes and everything’s just like yesterday, only it’s today. Like some days you might say something stupid, and that’s part of you that’s still ten. Or maybe some days you need to sit on your mama’s lap because you’re scared, and that’s the part of you that’s five. And maybe one day when you’re all grown up maybe you will need to cry like as if you are three. Because the way you grow old is like an onion or like the rings inside a tree trunk.
Woman Hollering
Room eight contained a neatly made bed, a wash basin on a chest of drawers, and a desk, each piece of furniture simple but sturdy. Joe moved to the window and paused, looking out at the wreckage of Glipwood with a pang of sadness. Below the window lay what remained of Shaggy’s Tavern. The stone chimney stood like the trunk of an old petrified tree, the ground littered with planks, broken stools, and shattered bottles. Wincing at the creak of his footsteps on the wooden floor, he crept to the chest of drawers and slid it away from the wall. Behind the bureau was a small doorway. Joe looked around one last time and ducked inside, pulling the chest back into place behind him.
Andrew Peterson (North! or Be Eaten)
Tell him to stop, a voice inside her said, but all she could think was that Jeremy had never kissed her like this. He had never made her feel like this--not once in the two years they had been together. No one had ever made her feel like this. And she didn’t want the moment to end. Her brain seemed to shut down just then, leaving her body in control. Desire curled like mist through her veins. She fumbled with the buttons on the front of his denim shirt, tore one of them off in her haste to touch him. She jerked the fabric apart and slid her hands inside, pressed her trembling palms against his bare chest. Thick bands of muscle tightened. Crisp brown chest hair curled around the tips of her fingers, and ridges of muscle rippled down his flat stomach. Call made a sound in his throat and a shudder ran the length of his body. His mouth still clung to hers. He jerked up her sweatshirt, cupped her breasts over her white lace bra, and started to work the catch beneath the tiny bow at the front. “Hey, Call! You over here? Call! Is everything all right?” She whimpered as he whipped his mouth away and softly cursed. With an unsteady hand, he jerked down her sweatshirt and stepped protectively in front of her, leaving her shielded behind his body and the trunk of the tree. “Everything’s fine, Toby.” His voice sounded raspy. She wondered if his friend would notice. “I thought I heard shots,” Toby said, “but I was cooking so I didn’t pay all that much attention. Then I went into the living room and found the front door open. When I saw your rifle gone from the rack, I was afraid something bad might have happened.” “Our neighbor, Ms. Sinclair, came nose to nose with her first black bear.” Call looked her way, gave her a quick once-over, saw that she didn’t look too disheveled, and tugged her out from behind the tree. “Charity Sinclair, meet Toby Jenkins. Toby’s chief-cook-and-bottle-washer over at my place, and all-around handyman. At least he is till he leaves for college in the fall. Toby, this is Ms. Sinclair, our new neighbor.” “Nice to meet you, ma’am. I heard Mose sold the place. I’ve been meaning to come over and say hello.” “Forget the ma’am,” Charity told him. “It makes me feel too old. Charity is enough.” He nodded, smiled. He was young, maybe nineteen or twenty, with thick, dark red hair and a few scattered freckles, sort of a young John Kennedy, an attractive boy with what appeared to be a pleasant disposition. She wondered if he could tell by looking at her what had been going on when he arrived. Then she noticed Call’s shirt was open and missing a button and felt her face heating up again.
Kat Martin (Midnight Sun (Sinclair Sisters Trilogy, #1))
Hey, Call! You over here? Call! Is everything all right?” She whimpered as he whipped his mouth away and softly cursed. With an unsteady hand, he jerked down her sweatshirt and stepped protectively in front of her, leaving her shielded behind his body and the trunk of the tree. “Everything’s fine, Toby.” His voice sounded raspy. She wondered if his friend would notice. “I thought I heard shots,” Toby said, “but I was cooking so I didn’t pay all that much attention. Then I went into the living room and found the front door open. When I saw your rifle gone from the rack, I was afraid something bad might have happened.” “Our neighbor, Ms. Sinclair, came nose to nose with her first black bear.” Call looked her way, gave her a quick once-over, saw that she didn’t look too disheveled, and tugged her out from behind the tree. “Charity Sinclair, meet Toby Jenkins. Toby’s chief-cook-and-bottle-washer over at my place, and all-around handyman. At least he is till he leaves for college in the fall. Toby, this is Ms. Sinclair, our new neighbor.” “Nice to meet you, ma’am. I heard Mose sold the place. I’ve been meaning to come over and say hello.” “Forget the ma’am,” Charity told him. “It makes me feel too old. Charity is enough.” He nodded, smiled. He was young, maybe nineteen or twenty, with thick, dark red hair and a few scattered freckles, sort of a young John Kennedy, an attractive boy with what appeared to be a pleasant disposition. She wondered if he could tell by looking at her what had been going on when he arrived. Then she noticed Call’s shirt was open and missing a button and felt her face heating up again. Call cleared his throat. “I’ll be home in a couple of minutes, Toby.” “Yes, sir. I’ll have your breakfast waiting.” With a wave good-bye, he set off down the path the way he had come. When Charity turned, she saw Call watching her, his face dark, his expression closed up as it usually was. “I didn’t mean for that to happen.” Oh, God. He was obviously sorry it had and it made her even more embarrassed. “Neither did I. I don’t make a habit of…of…I don’t exactly know what happened.” She studied her feet, then stared off toward the creek. “It must have been the fear, you know? They say when your life is threatened you revert to your most basic instincts.” She risked a glance at him, saw that his jaw looked iron-hard. “Yeah, that must be it.” She glanced away, trying not to think of what they’d just done. Trying not to wonder what would have happened if Toby hadn’t arrived when he did. “You’d better go,” she said, making an effort to smile. “Your breakfast is waiting and I’ve got work to do.” As she started to turn, the sun peeked out from behind a cloud, casting shadows beneath his cheekbones and the little indentation on his chin. He didn’t move when she grabbed the plastic bag of garbage and headed for one of the heavy iron trash cans that were supposed to be bear-proof. She saw him walk over and pick up his rifle, his fingers wrapping around the stock with a casual ease that said he was comfortable with the weapon. He didn’t walk away as she expected. Instead, he stood there watching, waiting until she disappeared inside the house.
Kat Martin (Midnight Sun (Sinclair Sisters Trilogy, #1))
No sooner had the town dropped back than all sort of stuff and nonsense, as is usual with us, began scrawling itself along both sides of the road: tussocks, fir trees, low skimpy stands of young pines, charred trunks of old ones, wild heather, and similar gibberish.
Nikolai Gogol (Dead Souls)
She finds herself, by some miraculous feat, no longer standing in the old nursery but returned to the clearing in the woods. It is the 'green cathedral', the place she first kissed Jack all those weeks ago. The place where they laid out the stunned sparrowhawk, then watched it spring miraculously back to life. All around, the smooth, grey trunks of ancient beech trees rise up from the walls of the room to tower over her, spreading their branches across the ceiling in a fan of tangled branches and leaves, paint and gold leaf cleverly combined to create the shimmering effect of a leafy canopy at its most dense and opulent. And yet it is not the clearing, not in any real or grounded sense, because instead of leaves, the trees taper up to a canopy of extraordinary feathers shimmering and spreading out like a peacock's tail across the ceiling, a hundred green, gold and sapphire eyes gazing down upon her. Jack's startling embellishments twist an otherwise literal interpretation of their woodland glade into a fantastical, dreamlike version of itself. Their green cathedral, more spectacular and beautiful than she could have ever imagined. She moves closer to one of the trees and stretches out a hand, feeling instead of rough bark the smooth, cool surface of a wall. She can't help but smile. The trompe-l'oeil effect is dazzling and disorienting in equal measure. Even the window shutters and cornicing have been painted to maintain the illusion of the trees, while high above her head the glass dome set into the roof spills light as if it were the sun itself, pouring through the canopy of eyes. The only other light falls from the glass windowpanes above the window seat, still flanked by the old green velvet curtains, which somehow appear to blend seamlessly with the painted scene. The whole effect is eerie and unsettling. Lillian feels unbalanced, no longer sure what is real and what is not. It is like that book she read to Albie once- the one where the boy walks through the wardrobe into another world. That's what it feels like, she realizes: as if she has stepped into another realm, a place both fantastical and otherworldly. It's not just the peacock-feather eyes that are staring at her. Her gaze finds other details: a shy muntjac deer peering out from the undergrowth, a squirrel, sitting high up in a tree holding a green nut between its paws, small birds flitting here and there. The tiniest details have been captured by Jack's brush: a silver spider's web, a creeping ladybird, a puffy white toadstool. The only thing missing is the sound of the leaf canopy rustling and the soft scuttle of insects moving across the forest floor.
Hannah Richell (The Peacock Summer)
That evening, as dusk was falling, Dolly Clare took her accustomed walk at the edge of Hundred Acre Field, behind her home. All her little duties were done, and she felt free to enjoy the evening air before settling by the fireside. She reached the oak tree, and stood very still, watching three fine pheasants searching for acorns at the foot of the gnarled old trunk. Above her the rooks were flying homeward. The great field before her, gleaming with gold when last she walked there with Emily, was now freshly ploughed, the furrows dark and glistening. Within a few days the seed would be planted and she would watch, alone now, the first tender blades appear, then the ripening crop and, finally, its harvesting. The comforting cycle of the seasons continued unchanged—the sowing, the growing and the reaping. Dolly Claire turned, and made her way homeward with a grateful heart. Life went on, and was still sweet.
Miss Read (Emily Davis (The Fairacre Series #8))
The great danger of lying is not that lies are untruths, and thus unreal, but that they become real in other people's minds. They escape the liar's grip like seeds let loose in the wind, sprouting a life of their own in the least expected places, until one day the liar finds himself contemplating a lonely but nonetheless healthy tree, grown off the side of a barren cliff. It has the capacity to sadden him as much as it does to amaze. How could that tree have got there? How does it manage to live? It is extraordinarily beautiful in its loneliness, built on a barren untruth, yet green and very much alive. Many years have passed since I sowed the lies, and thus lives, of which I am speaking. Yet more than ever, I shall have to sort the branches out carefully, determine which ones stemmed from truth, which from falsehood. Will it be possible to saw off the misleading branches without mutilating the tree beyond hope? Perhaps I should rather uproot the tree, replant it in flat, fertile soil. But the risk is great. My tree has adapted in a hundred and one ways to its untruth, learned to bend with the wind, live with little water. It leans so far it is horizontal, a green enigma halfway up and perpendicular to a tall, lifeless cliff. Yet it is not lying on the ground, its leaves rotting in dew as it would if I replanted it. Curved trunks cannot stand up, any more than I can straighten my posture to return to my twenty-year-old self. A milder environment, after so long a harsh one, would surely prove fatal. I have found the solution. If I simply tell the truth, the cliff will erode chip by chip, stone by stone. And the destiny of my tree? I hold my fist to the sky and let loose my prayers. Wherever they go, I hope my tree will land there.
Christine Leunens (Caging Skies)
At the center of the grove an ancient weirwood brooded over a small pool where the waters were black and cold. “The heart tree,” Ned called it. The weirwood’s bark was white as bone, its leaves dark red, like a thousand bloodstained hands. A face had been carved in the trunk of the great tree, its features long and melancholy, the deep-cut eyes red with dried sap and strangely watchful. They were old, those eyes; older than Winterfell itself. They had seen Brandon the Builder set the first stone, if the tales were true; they had watched the castle’s granite walls rise around them. It was said that the children of the forest had carved the faces in the trees during the dawn centuries before the coming of the First Men across the narrow sea. In the south the last weirwoods had been cut down or burned out a thousand years ago, except on the Isle of Faces where the green men kept their silent watch. Up here it was different. Here every castle had its godswood, and every godswood had its heart tree, and every heart tree its face.
George R.R. Martin (A Song of Ice and Fire, 5-Book Boxed Set: A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, A Feast for Crows, A Dance with Dragons (Song of Ice & Fire 1-5))
She wandered moodily about the clearing, kicking at the grass, then bent down and picked something up. It was an old steel helmet, thick with rust, a jagged hole in the side. You still find these all over the woods, she said. I'm not even sure whether it's Russian or German. She turned it slowly over and over in her hands, crumbling more of the rusty metal off. Then she hurled it away and brushed the rust off her hands. The helmet hit a tree, bounced off in a shower of rust and fell into a bramble bush where it perched on a a branch, bobbing up and down like some great brown bird alighting. Raya seemed to be abashed by the ridiculousness of it, and picked it out of the bush. They sat down side by side on a fallen tree trunk sodden, like everything else, with the stored wetness of winter. Raya turned the helmet over in her hands again, feeling its texture curiously. Poor old helmet, she said, Manufactured and issued and worn and punctured and lost and rusted by the forces of historical necessity. Found and touched and lost again by Raissa P. metelius, lecturer.
Michael Frayn (The Russian Interpreter)
One lone survivor. A bottle of red wine, left in the trunk from a previous shopping trip, rolled across the pavement amongst the rubble and debris, coming to rest intact against the base of the old tree.
Lisa B. Thomas (Sharpe Turn (Maycroft Mystery #4))
At the Fishhouses Although it is a cold evening, down by one of the fishhouses an old man sits netting, his net, in the gloaming almost invisible, a dark purple-brown, and his shuttle worn and polished. The air smells so strong of codfish it makes one's nose run and one's eyes water. The five fishhouses have steeply peaked roofs and narrow, cleated gangplanks slant up to storerooms in the gables for the wheelbarrows to be pushed up and down on. All is silver: the heavy surface of the sea, swelling slowly as if considering spilling over, is opaque, but the silver of the benches, the lobster pots, and masts, scattered among the wild jagged rocks, is of an apparent translucence like the small old buildings with an emerald moss growing on their shoreward walls. The big fish tubs are completely lined with layers of beautiful herring scales and the wheelbarrows are similarly plastered with creamy iridescent coats of mail, with small iridescent flies crawling on them. Up on the little slope behind the houses, set in the sparse bright sprinkle of grass, is an ancient wooden capstan, cracked, with two long bleached handles and some melancholy stains, like dried blood, where the ironwork has rusted. The old man accepts a Lucky Strike. He was a friend of my grandfather. We talk of the decline in the population and of codfish and herring while he waits for a herring boat to come in. There are sequins on his vest and on his thumb. He has scraped the scales, the principal beauty, from unnumbered fish with that black old knife, the blade of which is almost worn away. Down at the water's edge, at the place where they haul up the boats, up the long ramp descending into the water, thin silver tree trunks are laid horizontally across the gray stones, down and down at intervals of four or five feet. Cold dark deep and absolutely clear, element bearable to no mortal, to fish and to seals . . . One seal particularly I have seen here evening after evening. He was curious about me. He was interested in music; like me a believer in total immersion, so I used to sing him Baptist hymns. I also sang "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God." He stood up in the water and regarded me steadily, moving his head a little. Then he would disappear, then suddenly emerge almost in the same spot, with a sort of shrug as if it were against his better judgment. Cold dark deep and absolutely clear, the clear gray icy water . . . Back, behind us, the dignified tall firs begin. Bluish, associating with their shadows, a million Christmas trees stand waiting for Christmas. The water seems suspended above the rounded gray and blue-gray stones. I have seen it over and over, the same sea, the same, slightly, indifferently swinging above the stones, icily free above the stones, above the stones and then the world. If you should dip your hand in, your wrist would ache immediately, your bones would begin to ache and your hand would burn as if the water were a transmutation of fire that feeds on stones and burns with a dark gray flame. If you tasted it, it would first taste bitter, then briny, then surely burn your tongue. It is like what we imagine knowledge to be: dark, salt, clear, moving, utterly free, drawn from the cold hard mouth of the world, derived from the rocky breasts forever, flowing and drawn, and since our knowledge is historical, flowing, and flown.
Elizabeth Bishop
To lose a brother is to lose someone with whom you can share the experience of growing old, who is supposed to bring you a sister-in-law and nieces and nephews, creatures to people the tree of your life and give it new branches. To lose your father is to lose the one whose guidance and help you seek, who supports you like a tree trunk supports its branches. To lose your mother, well, that is like losing the sun above you. It
Yann Martel (Life of Pi)
To lose a brother is to lose someone with whom you can share the experience of growing old, who is supposed to bring you a sister-in-law and nieces and nephews, creatures to people the tree of your life and give it new branches. To lose your father is to lose the one whose guidance and help you seek, who supports you like a tree trunk supports its branches. To lose your mother, well, that is like losing the sun above you. It is like losing—I'm sorry, I would rather not go on.
Yann Martel (Life of Pi)
agency, where she’d filled seemingly endless paperwork despite all the forms she’d already filled out online, and was now in proud possession of the keys to a Honda Civic. It was nine o’clock in the morning, and the sky outside was as gray as pewter, with mean little flakes of snow, not the fluffy, festive kind, drifting down on a muted grey landscape of concrete and leafless trees. Claire dumped her bag in the trunk—or the boot, she supposed, someone in England would call it. Claire had always loved her godmother Ruth’s English accent, and when she was a kid she’d quizzed Ruth on all the different British words. Pavement for sidewalk. Jumper for sweater. Rubber for eraser. The last one, of course, had caused eleven-year-old Claire to burst into muffled giggles of embarrassment and mirth. Ruth had just smiled, her eyes twinkling, sharing the admittedly immature joke. Slowly, very conscious she was driving on the other side of the road, Claire pulled onto the road, and then followed signs for the M62 and York. An hour and a half later, those mean little flakes of snow had turned thick and fluffy and white. They were beautiful, but her little car was not handling the snowy roads all that
Kate Hewitt (A Yorkshire Christmas (Christmas Around the World Series, #2))
The chilling atmosphere of the secluded old mansion on the mountaintop was enough to give anyone the creeps. Given the choice, Nelie would rather live in a trailer park or a tree trunk but, alas, living in the old mansion had been her childhood dream. She had other dreams but those were about naked men and winning the lottery and finding a word that rhymed with eggshell. from Love in the Time of Rising Gas Prices
Vincent Bracco
She felt time in the lean muscles in her thighs and rounded bottom when she pushed herself off the ground. She felt time in the way her arms and legs pumped when she walked into the river, bathed herself in the cool reflected surface of the dark pool under the waterfall. Josephine felt the possibility of time the night she watched the couple bend, release, break, and come back together on the trunk of the hundred-year-old tree. -The Girl with Dragonfly Wings
Shilo Niziolek (The Gateway Review: A Journal of Magical Realism (Volume 4, Issue 1))
This was true mountain country, now, and true wilderness. Valley meadows, leafy trees halfway up the slopes, then evergreens gradually taking over at the higher altitudes... their road wound its way up and down through tree-tunnels that only intermittently allowed them to see the sky. It would have been a lovely journey under other circumstances. The weather remained fair, and remarkably pleasant, even if the night was going to be cold. She had only read about the wilderness, never experienced it for herself, and she found herself liking it a lot. Or- parts of it, anyway. The way it was never entirely silent, but simply 'quiet'- birdsong and insect noises, the rustle of leaves, the distant sound of water. She had never before realized how noisy people were. And the forest was so beautiful. She wasn't at all used to deep forest; it was like being inside a living cathedral, with beams of light penetrating the tree-canopy and illuminating unexpected treasures, a moss-covered rock, a small cluster of flowers, a spray of ferns. These woods were 'old', too, the trees had trunks so big it would take three people to put their arms around them, and there was a scent to the place that somehow conveyed that centuries of leaves had fallen here and become earth.
Mercedes Lackey (One Good Knight (Five Hundred Kingdoms, #2))
Two fifty-five. It’s go time.” Chris unlocks the doors and gets out and hides behind an oak tree in the yard. My adrenaline is pumping as I hop out of Chris’s car, grab Kitty’s bike out of her trunk, and push it a few houses. Then I set it on the ground and drape myself over it in a dramatic heap. Then I pull out the bottle of fake blood I bought for this very purpose and squirt some on my jeans--old jeans I’ve been planning on giving to Goodwill. As soon as I see Trevor’s car approaching, I start to pretend sob. From behind the tree Chris whispers, “Tone it down a little!” I immediately stop sobbing and start moaning. Trevor’s car pulls up beside me. He rolls down the window. “Lara Jean? Are you okay?” I whimper. “No…I think I might have sprained my ankle. It really hurts. Can you give me a ride home?” I’m willing myself to tear up, but it’s harder to cry on cue than I would have thought. I try to think about sad things--the Titanic, old people with Alzheimer’s, Jamie Fox-Pickle dying--but I can’t focus. Trevor regards me suspiciously. “Why are you riding your bike in this neighborhood?” Oh no, I’m losing him! I start talking fast but not too fast. “It’s not my bike; it’s my little sister’s. She’s friends with Sara Healey. You know, Dan Healey’s little sister? They live over there.” I point to their house. “I was bringing it to her--oh my God, Trevor. Do you not believe me? Are you seriously not going to give me a ride?” Trevor looks around. “Do you swear this isn’t a trick?” Gotcha! “Yes! I swear I don’t have your name, okay? Please just help me up. It really hurts.” “First show me your ankle.” “Trevor! You can’t see a sprained ankle!” I whimper and make a show of trying to stand up, and Trevor finally turns the car off and gets out. He stoops down and pulls me to my feet and I try to make my body heavy. “Be gentle,” I tell him. “See? I told you I didn’t have your name.” Trevor pulls me up by my armpits, and over his shoulder Chris creeps up behind him like a ninja. She dives forward, both hands out, and claps them on his back hard. “I got you!” she screams. Trevor shrieks and drops me, and I narrowly escape falling for real. “Damn it!” he yells. Gleefully Chris says, “You’re done, sucker!” She and I high-five and hug. “Can you guys not celebrate in front of me?” he mutters. Chris holds her hand out. “Now gimme gimme gimme.” Sighing, Trevor shakes his head and says, “I can’t believe I fell for that, Lara Jean.” I pat him on the back. “Sorry, Trevor.” “What if I had had your name?” he asks me. “What would you have done then?” Huh. I never thought of that. I shoot Chris an accusing glare. “Wait a minute! What if he had had my name?” “That was a chance we were willing to take,” she says smoothly.
Jenny Han (P.S. I Still Love You (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #2))
When the farmer bores the tap hole into the trunk, the tree sends sap to heal the wound. Sure enough, by the next spring, only an extremely observant and knowledgeable person can find the old tap scars. When the wind blows, the tree senses that a branch might break. A broken branch is a much more serious wound than a little clean tap hole in the trunk. Therefore, the tree withholds the sap from the tap hole in case it needs to rush a bunch of sap to a broken limb somewhere. Once the wind subsides, the sap starts flowing again through the little tap hole. Sentient beings, anyone? You bet. Fearfully and wonderfully made.
Joel Salatin (The Marvelous Pigness of Pigs: Respecting and Caring for All God's Creation)
There was a certain pathos. The wood still had some of the mystery of wild, old England; but Sir Geoffrey's cuttings during the war had given it a blow. How still the trees were, with their crinkly, innumerable twigs against the sky, and their grey, obstinate trunks rising from the brown bracken! How safely the birds flitted among them! And once there had been deer, and archers, and monks padding along on asses. The place remembered, still remembered.
D.H. Lawrence (Lady Chatterley's Lover)
The burst of life that took centuries to build, revealed in an old tree trunk's cross section. At its center, material memories of the sapling that this tree once was. Year after it grew by accretion, adding successive layers of the interplay of xylem and phloem, water in and water out, sap traveling up and down, transporting complexities under the corky protection of callous bark. If we could read the code of this great being, we would hear tales of drought summers or deep winter snows melting into spring overflow. The history of a life much longer than any human's tells its tale in concentric rings.
Susan Tyler Hitchcock
Research revealed the spruce to be an absolutely unbelievable 9,550 years old. The individual shoots were younger, but these new growths from the past few centuries were not considered to be stand-alone trees but part of a larger whole. And, I think, quite rightly so. The roots is certainly a more decisive factor than what is growing above ground. After all, it is the root that looks after the survival of an organism. It is the root that has withstood severe changes in climatic conditions. And it is the root that has regrown trunks time and time again. It is in the roots that centuries of experience are stored, and it is this experience that has allowed the tree's survival to the present day.
Peter Wohlleben (The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate – Discoveries from a Secret World)
The trees leaned over; their wind stirred fingers interlaced like bones. Kit found himself ducking as if through low doorways whenever he looked up, and drawing shallow breaths that tasted of moss and musk and mildew. His right eye showed a smoky power moving within the coarse-barked trunks. The trees were young, saplings scattered among a few old giants, the wood had been cut from memory, and Kit wondered if that were the reason for the appalling stench of hate and old blood clotting the senses.
Elizabeth Bear (Hell and Earth (Promethean Age, #4))
Ethan got some books out of an old trunk. They were history books, some passed down from his great-grandfather Tom through his grandfather Jeb and father Andrew. Ethan expected that he’d pass them on to his own child, one day. History and family trees had always been very important to the Fortner family.
C.G. Faulkner (The Adventures of the Home For Supper Kids (The Fortner Family Saga for Youngsters #1))