Summers Over Quotes

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And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby)
Weeping is not the same thing as crying. It takes your whole body to weep, and when it's over, you feel like you don't have any bones left to hold you up.
Sarah Ockler (Twenty Boy Summer)
Would you rather live one perfect day over and over or live your life with no perfect days but just decent ones?
Jenny Han (The Summer I Turned Pretty (Summer, #1))
I want to tear myself from this place, from this reality, rise up like a cloud and float away, melt into this humid summer night and dissolve somewhere far, over the hills. But I am here, my legs blocks of concrete, my lungs empty of air, my throat burning. There will be no floating away.
Khaled Hosseini (The Kite Runner)
It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside.
Maud Hart Lovelace (Betsy-Tacy and Tib (Betsy-Tacy, #2))
some people fall in love over and over again while some people can only do it once.
Ann Brashares (Forever in Blue: The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood (Sisterhood, #4))
Maybe not," she said as we came to the car. "But maybe that isn't so bad. You can't love anyone that way more than once in a lifetime. It's too hard and it hurts too much when it ends. The first boy is always the hardest to get over, Haven. It's just the way the world works.
Sarah Dessen (That Summer)
My Dearest Allie. I couldn't sleep last night because I know that it's over between us. I'm not bitter anymore, because I know that what we had was real. And if in some distant place in the future we see each other in our new lives, I'll smile at you with joy and remember how we spent the summer beneath the trees, learning from each other and growing in love. The best love is the kind that awakens the soul and makes us reach for more, that plants a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds, and that's what you've given me. That's what I hope to give to you forever. I love you. I'll be seeing you. Noah
Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook (The Notebook, #1))
I knew I had to be careful. I had to keep my distance. If she knew how much I still cared, it was all over. I wouldn’t be able to walk away again. The first time was hard enough.
Jenny Han (We'll Always Have Summer (Summer #3))
[T]hat old September feeling, left over from school days, of summer passing, vacation nearly done, obligations gathering, books and football in the air ... Another fall, another turned page: there was something of jubilee in that annual autumnal beginning, as if last year's mistakes had been wiped clean by summer.
Wallace Stegner (Angle of Repose)
If I had my life to live over... Someone asked me the other day if I had my life to live over would I change anything. My answer was no, but then I thought about it and changed my mind. If I had my life to live over again I would have waxed less and listened more. Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy and complaining about the shadow over my feet, I'd have cherished every minute of it and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was to be my only chance in life to assist God in a miracle. I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed. I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded. I would have eaten popcorn in the "good" living room and worried less about the dirt when you lit the fireplace. I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth. I would have burnt the pink candle that was sculptured like a rose before it melted while being stored. I would have sat cross-legged on the lawn with my children and never worried about grass stains. I would have cried and laughed less while watching television ... and more while watching real life. I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband which I took for granted. I would have eaten less cottage cheese and more ice cream. I would have gone to bed when I was sick, instead of pretending the Earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for a day. I would never have bought ANYTHING just because it was practical/wouldn't show soil/ guaranteed to last a lifetime. When my child kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, "Later. Now, go get washed up for dinner." There would have been more I love yous ... more I'm sorrys ... more I'm listenings ... but mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute of it ... look at it and really see it ... try it on ... live it ... exhaust it ... and never give that minute back until there was nothing left of it.
Erma Bombeck (Eat Less Cottage Cheese And More Ice Cream Thoughts On Life From Erma Bombeck)
On the way out Jeremiah turned around and danced a quick jig for me and i couldn't help it, I laughed. Over his shoulder Conrad said, "Good night Belly." And that was it. I was in love
Jenny Han (The Summer I Turned Pretty (Summer, #1))
No, it's not that. It's not what you're thinking. I was serious when I said 'all of it'. I can remember every moment we were together, and in eachof them there was something wonderful. I can't really pick any one time that meant more than any other. The entire summer was perfect, the kind of summer everyone should have. How could I pick one moment over another? Poets often describe love as an emotion that we can't control, one that overwhelms logic and common sense. That's what it was like for me. I didn't plan on falling in love with you, and I doubt if you planned on falling in love with me. But once we met, it was clear that neither of us could control what was happening to us. We fell in love, despite our differences, and once we did, something rare and beautiful was created. For me, love like that has happened only once, and that's why every minute we spent together has been seared in my memory. I'll never forget a single moment of it.
Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook (The Notebook, #1))
I go wherever you go,' he says, launching us into the water. This is our start. This is the moment it becomes real. We are married. We are infinite. Me and Conrad. The first boy I ever slow danced with, ever cried over. Ever loved.
Jenny Han (We'll Always Have Summer (Summer #3))
Learning to let go should be learned before learning to get. Life should be touched, not strangled. You've got to relax, let it happen at times, and at others move forward with it. It's like boats. You keep your motor on so you can steer with the current. And when you hear the sound of the waterfall coming nearer and nearer, tidy up the boat, put on your best tie and hat, and smoke a cigar right up till the moment you go over. That's a triumph.
Ray Bradbury (Farewell Summer)
When I hug you?” Fuck. His heart was turning over and over like a car engine. “My hugs are your recharging station?
Tessa Bailey (It Happened One Summer (Bellinger Sisters, #1))
He’s twelve years old, and this summer he learns that people will always choose a simple lie over a complicated truth, because the lie has one unbeatable advantage: the truth always has to stick to what actually happened, whereas the lie just has to be easy to believe.
Fredrik Backman (Us Against You (Beartown, #2))
I look up at the sky, wondering if I'll catch a glimpse of kindness there, but I don't. All I see are indifferent summer clouds drifting over the Pacific. And they have nothing to say to me. Clouds are always taciturn. I probably shouldn't be looking up at them. What I should be looking at is inside of me. Like staring down into a deep well. Can I see kindness there? No, all I see is my own nature. My own individual, stubborn, uncooperative often self-centered nature that still doubts itself--that, when troubles occur, tries to find something funny, or something nearly funny, about the situation. I've carried this character around like an old suitcase, down a long, dusty path. I'm not carrying it because I like it. The contents are too heavy, and it looks crummy, fraying in spots. I've carried it with me because there was nothing else I was supposed to carry. Still, I guess I have grown attached to it. As you might expect.
Haruki Murakami (What I Talk About When I Talk About Running)
We stood there, looking at each other, saying nothing. But it was the kind of nothing that meant everything. In his eyes, there was no trace of what had happened between us earlier and I could feel something inside me break. So that was that. We were finally, finally over. I looked at him, and I felt so sad, because this thought occurred to me: 'I will never look at you the same way again. I'll never be that girl again. The girl who comes running back every time you push her away, the girl who loves you anyway.' I couldn’t even be mad at him, because this was who he was. This was who he’d always been. He’d never lied about that. He gave and then he took away. I felt it in the pit of my stomach, the familiar ache, that lost, regretful feeling only he could give me. I never wanted to feel it again. Never, ever. Maybe this was why I came, so I could really know. So I could say good-bye. I looked at him, and I thought, 'If I was very brave or very honest, I would tell him.' I would say it, so he would know it and I would know it, and I could never take it back. But I wasn’t that brave or honest, so all I did was look at him. And I think he knew anyway. 'I release you. I evict you from my heart. Because if I don't do it now, I never will.' I was the one to look away first.
Jenny Han (It's Not Summer Without You (Summer, #2))
In his eyes, there was no trace of what had happened earlier, and I could feel something inside me break. So that was that. We were finally, finally over.
Jenny Han (It's Not Summer Without You (Summer, #2))
I laid myself fucking bare last night! I put it all out there, and you shut me down. Rightfully so. I get that I shouldn’t have said any of that stuff to you. But now here I am trying to find a way to come out of this with just a little fragment of pride so I can look you in the eye when this is all over, and you won’t even let me have that. You broke my heart last night, all right? Is that what you want to hear?
Jenny Han (We'll Always Have Summer (Summer #3))
That was the summer when everything we would become was hovering just over our heads.
Junot Díaz (This Is How You Lose Her)
I was in the winter of my life- and the men I met along the road were my only summer. At night I fell sleep with visions of myself dancing and laughing and crying with them. Three years down the line of being on an endless world tour and memories of them were the only things that sustained me, and my only real happy times. I was a singer, not a very popular one, who once had dreams of becoming a beautiful poet- but upon an unfortunate series of events saw those dreams dashed and divided like a million stars in the night sky that I wished on over and over again- sparkling and broken. But I really didn’t mind because I knew that it takes getting everything you ever wanted and then losing it to know what true freedom is. When the people I used to know found out what I had been doing, how I had been living- they asked me why. But there’s no use in talking to people who have a home, they have no idea what its like to seek safety in other people, for home to be wherever you lay your head. I was always an unusual girl, my mother told me that I had a chameleon soul. No moral compass pointing me due north, no fixed personality. Just an inner indecisiveness that was as wide as wavering as the ocean. And if I said that I didn't plan for it to turn out this way I’d be lying- because I was born to be the other woman. I belonged to no one- who belonged to everyone, who had nothing- who wanted everything with a fire for every experience and an obsession for freedom that terrified me to the point that I couldn’t even talk about- and pushed me to a nomadic point of madness that both dazzled and dizzied me. Every night I used to pray that I’d find my people- and finally I did- on the open road. We have nothing to lose, nothing to gain, nothing we desired anymore- except to make our lives into a work of art.
Lana Del Rey
You just want to keep me on this hook, right? So I'll keep chasing after you and you can feel good about yourself. As soon as I start to get over you, you just reel me back in. You're so screwed up in the head. But I'm telling you, this is it. You don't get to have me anymore. Not as your friend or your admirer or anything. I'm through.
Jenny Han (The Summer I Turned Pretty (Summer, #1))
I always forget fear is a conquerable thing but I learn it over and over again and that, I guess, is better than never learning it.
Courtney Summers (Sadie)
I celebrate myself, and sing myself, And what I assume you shall assume, For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you. I loafe and invite my soul, I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass. 32. I think I could turn and live with animals, they're so placid and self-contained, I stand and look at them and long. They do not sweat and whine about their condition. They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins. They do not make me sick discussiong their duty to God, Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things, Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago, Not one is respectable or unhappy over the earth. 52. The spotted hawk swoops by and accuses me, he complains of my gab and loitering. I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable, I sound my barbaric YAWP over the roofs of the world.
Walt Whitman (Song of Myself)
I had a dream about you last night. I could fly. I was going to use this power to impress you, but you were too heavy to carry, so I won you over with my personality instead
Michael Summers (I Had a Dream About You)
He started to say something, maybe an apology and maybe not, and then he stopped, he leaned over and pulled me toward him - like by gravitational force. He kissed me, hard, and his skin was stubbly and rough against my cheek. My first thought was, I guess he didn't have time to shave this morning, and then - I was kissing him back, my fingers winding through his soft yellow hair and my eyes closed. He kissed like he was drowning and I was air. It was passionate, and desperate, and like nothing I had ever experienced before. This was what people meant when they said the earth stopped turning. It felt like a world outside of that car, that moment, didn't exist. It was just us.
Jenny Han (It's Not Summer Without You (Summer, #2))
We are married. We are infinite. Me and Conrad. The first boy I ever slow danced with, ever cried over. Ever loved
Jenny Han (We'll Always Have Summer (Summer #3))
And I don't know if Batty's gotten over it yet,' said Skye. Mr. Penderwick looked out the window to where Batty was playing vampires with Hound. Hound was on his back, trying to wiggle out of the black towel Batty had tied around his neck. Batty was leaping over Hound's water bowl, shrieking, 'Blood, blood!' 'She looks all right,' he said.
Jeanne Birdsall (The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy (The Penderwicks, #1))
I was surrounded by friends, my work was immense, and pleasures were abundant. Life, now, was unfolding before me, constantly and visibly, like the flowers of summer that drop fanlike petals on eternal soil. Overall, I was happiest to be alone; for it was then I was most aware of what I possessed. Free to look out over the rooftops of the city. Happy to be alone in the company of friends, the company of lovers and strangers. Everything, I decided, in this life, was pure pleasure.
Roman Payne (Rooftop Soliloquy)
And then I had a thought, clear as day. I would never be somebody's favorite again. I would never be a kid again, not in the same way. That was all over now. She was really gone.
Jenny Han (It's Not Summer Without You (Summer, #2))
But maybe that isn't so bad. You can't love anyone that way more than once in a lifetime. It's too hard and it hurts too much when it ends. The first boy is ialways the hardest to get over, Haven. It's just the way the world works.
Sarah Dessen (That Summer)
You’re JOKING!” said Fred Weasley loudly. The tension that had filled the Hall ever since Moody’s arrival suddenly broke. Nearly everyone laughed, and Dumbledore chuckled appreciatively. “I am not joking, Mr. Weasley,” he said, “though now that you mention it, I did hear an excellent one over the summer about a troll, a hag, and a leprechaun who all go into a bar...” Professor McGonagall cleared her throat loudly. “Er — but maybe this is not the time... no...” said Dumbledore.
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter, #4))
We thought the hard part was over—but we were wrong. Living is the hardest part. Figuring out how to live your life when you’re all busted up inside and out—there is nothing harder.
Paullina Simons (The Summer Garden (The Bronze Horseman, #3))
I used to lie here like this all summer long,' I tell her. 'I'd come up here and just stare at the sky.' She rolls over on her back so she's staring up as well. 'Bet this view hasn't changed much, has it?' What she says is so simple i almost laugh. She's right, of course. 'No. This looks exactly the same.' I suppose that's the secret, If you're ever wishing for things to go back to the way they were. You just have to look up.
Lauren Oliver (Before I Fall)
On the blue summer evenings, I will go along the paths, And walk over the short grass, as I am pricked by the wheat: Daydreaming I will feel the coolness on my feet. I will let the wind bathe my bare head. I will not speak, I will have no thoughts: But infinite love will mount in my soul; And I will go far, far off, like a gypsy, through the countryside - as happy as if I were with a woman. "Sensation
Arthur Rimbaud
I was sad that summer was over. But I was happy that it was over for my enemies, too.
B.J. Novak (One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories)
A thin grey fog hung over the city, and the streets were very cold; for summer was in England.
Rudyard Kipling (The Light That Failed [Illustrated])
Every time you take a step, even when you don't want to. . . . When it hurts, when it means you rub chins with death, or even if it means dying, that's good. Anything that moves ahead, wins. No chess game was ever won by the player who sat for a lifetime thinking over his next move.
Ray Bradbury (Farewell Summer)
This is what made a book great, she thought, that you could read it over and over and never get tired of it.
Jeanne Birdsall (The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy (The Penderwicks, #1))
The power you have over someone who loves you is greater than any other power you'll ever have.
Paullina Simons (The Summer Garden (The Bronze Horseman, #3))
Or maybe you get so used to the mess of home, you convince yourself over time everything's exactly where it belongs.
Courtney Summers (Sadie)
The sparks are gone, replaced by fierce, ugly tears that track down my face. Thunder rumbles somewhere far off and the air is warm. But the humid temperature is gone. The heat has broken and summer will soon be over. Time is passing. My life is moving on, no matter how much I want it to stay the same.
Victoria Aveyard (Red Queen (Red Queen, #1))
It wasn’t was easy as picking one over the other. Nothing ever was. It wasn’t as though I’d even had a choice, not really.
Jenny Han (It's Not Summer Without You (Summer, #2))
Because teenage girls don't pray to God, they pray to each other. They clasp their hands over a keyboard and then they let it all out, a (stupid) girl's heart tucked into another girl's heart.
Courtney Summers (All the Rage)
This is reality, whether you like it or not--all those frivolities of summer, the light and shadow, the living mask of green that trembled over everything, they were lies, and this is what was underneath. This is the truth.
Willa Cather (My Ántonia)
Always keep mint on your windowsill in August, to ensure that buzzing flies will stay outside, where they belong. Don't think the summer is over, even when roses droop and turn brown and the stars shift position in the sky. Never presume August is a safe or reliable time of the year.
Alice Hoffman (Practical Magic (Practical Magic, #1))
And then one student said that happiness is what happens when you go to bed on the hottest night of the summer, a night so hot you can't even wear a tee-shirt and you sleep on top of the sheets instead of under them, although try to sleep is probably more accurate. And then at some point late, late, late at night, say just a bit before dawn, the heat finally breaks and the night turns into cool and when you briefly wake up, you notice that you're almost chilly, and in your groggy, half-consciousness, you reach over and pull the sheet around you and just that flimsy sheet makes it warm enough and you drift back off into a deep sleep. And it's that reaching, that gesture, that reflex we have to pull what's warm - whether it's something or someone - toward us, that feeling we get when we do that, that feeling of being safe in the world and ready for sleep, that's happiness.
Paul Schmidtberger (Design Flaws of the Human Condition)
Somewhere along the seashore, a strange wind blows over the ocean, and twenty oblivious boys simultaneously look up from their surfboards.
Sarah Ockler (Twenty Boy Summer)
Like a view of the sea on a summer day on the most perfect winding road taken in from your car seat window A thing perfect and ready to become a part of the texture of the fabric of Something more ethereal like Mount Olympus where Zeus and Athena and the rest of the immortals play
Lana Del Rey (Violet Bent Backwards Over the Grass)
On September 11, I went out and bought a new TV/VCR at Best Buy so I could record the news coverage of the planes crashing into the Twin Towers. Trevor was on a honeymoon in Barbados, I'd later learn, but Reva was lost. Reva was gone. I watched the videotape over and over to soothe myself that day. And I continue to watch it, usually on a lonely afternoon, or any other time I doubt that life is worth living, or when I need courage, or when I am bored. Each time I see the woman leap off the seventy-eighth floor of the North Tower—one high-heeled shoe slipping off and hovering up over her, the other stuck on her foot as though it were too small, her blouse untucked, hair flailing, limbs stiff as she plummets down, one arm raised, like a dive into a summer lake—I am overcome by awe, not because she looks like Reva, and I think it's her, almost exactly her, and not because Reva and I had been friends, or because I'll never see her again, but because she is beautiful. There she is, a human being, diving into the unknown, and she is wide awake.
Ottessa Moshfegh (My Year of Rest and Relaxation)
We talk about love like it's an involuntary act. We fall into love, like a hole, a puddle, an elevator shaft. We never step mindfully into love. Love we seem to think, requires a loss of control; love necessitates that vertiginous giving over to gravity; love wants you to have no choice.
Chelsea G. Summers (A Certain Hunger)
Annabelle gave him a chiding smile. “If you’re implying that I’m spoiled, I assure you that I am not.” “You should be.” His warm gaze slid over her pink-tinted face and slender upper body, then sought hers again. There was a note in his voice that gently robbed her of breath. “You could do with a bit of spoiling.
Lisa Kleypas (Secrets of a Summer Night (Wallflowers, #1))
Don't you ever feel like, what if the world really IS messed up? What if we COULD Do it all over again from scratch? No more war. Nobody homeless. No more summer reading homework. 'm listening. Annabeth: I mean, the West represents a lot of the best things mankind ever did--that's why the fire is still burning. That's why OlympusIs still around. But sometimes you just see the bad stuff, you know? And you start thinking the way Luke does: 'If I could tear this all down, i would do it better.'. Don't you ever feel that way? Like YOU could do a better job I'd you ran the world? Percy:Um...no. Me running the world would be kind of a nightmare. Annabeth: then you're lucky. Hubris isn't your fatal flaw. Percy: what is? Annabeth: I don't know, Percy, but every hero has one. If you don't find it and learn to control it...well, they don't call it 'fatal' for nothing. Percy(thinking to himself): I thought about that. It didn't exactly cheer me up.
Rick Riordan (The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #2))
I kept thinking back to all those nights in Connecticut, when I was out the door as soon as dinner was over, yelling my plans behind me as I headed to my car, ready for my real night to begin—my time with my family just something to get through as quickly as possible. And now that I knew that the time we had together was limited, I was holding on to it, trying to stretch it out, all the while wishing I’d appreciated what I’d had earlier.
Morgan Matson (Second Chance Summer)
Oxford, in those days, was still a city of aquatint. In her spacious and quiet streets men walked and spoke as they had done in Newman's day; her autumnal mists, her grey springtime, and the rare glory of her summer days - such as that day - when the chestnut was in flower and the bells rang out high and clear over her gables and cupolas, exhaled the soft airs of centuries of youth. It was this cloistral hush which gave our laughter its resonance, and carried it still, joyously, over the intervening clamour.
Evelyn Waugh (Brideshead Revisited)
Tomorrow when the farm boys find this freak of nature, they will wrap his body in newspaper and carry him to the museum. But tonight he is alive and in the north field with his mother. It is a perfect summer evening: the moon rising over the orchard, the wind in the grass. And as he stares into the sky, there are twice as many stars as usual.
Laura Gilpin (The Weight of a Soul)
I don't understand. You still...love me?" "Yeah, I do. And I know you're not the same girl. But I'm in love with you, Emma. I fell in love with you all over again this summer. People change. I know this. And we'll continue to change. That just means I'll get to fall in love with you again. Because no matter what happens in our lives, what I feel for you will survive anything.
Rebecca Donovan (Out of Breath (Breathing, #3))
A great tree develops over time and can tell stories not only those of happiness, but also those that contain pain from what it has seen over the years, and as a result is the wise ancient tree that it is today. As the seasons change, the tree naturally goes through changes as well: where the leaves turn yellow and orange in the fall, falling by the Winter, returning in the Spring, and with full set of new leafs by the Summer. Love is no different in that there will be times when we are fully naked in the Winter, and left to wonder about Spring when it seemed so easy to love, yet the wise tree knows that no winter will last forever no matter how cold it may be.
Forrest Curran (Purple Buddha Project: Purple Book of Self-Love)
Daylight...In my mind, the night faded. It was daytime and the neighborhood was busy. Miss Stephenie Crawford crossed the street to tell the latest to Miss Rachel. Miss Maudie bent over the azaleas. It was summertime, and two children scampered down the sidewalk toward a man approaching in the distance. The man waved, and the children raced each other to him. It was still summertime, and the children came closer. A boy trudged down the sidewalk dragging a fishingpole behind him. A man stood waiting with his hands on his hips. Summertime, and his children played in the front yeard with their friend, enacting a strange little drama of their own invention. It was fall and his children fought ont he sidewalk in front of Mrs. Dubose's. The boy helped his sister to her feet and they made their way home. Fall, and his children trotted to and fro around the corner, the day's woe's and triymph's on their face. They stopped at an oak tree, delighted, puzzled apprehensive. Winter, and his children shivered at the front gate, silhouetted against a blazing house. Winter and a man walked into the street, dropped his glasses, and show a dog. Summer, and he watched his children's heart break. Autumn again, and Boo's children needed him.
Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird)
If we could capture feelings like we capture pictures, none of us would ever leave our rooms. It would be so tempting to inhabit the good moments over and over again. But I don't want to be the kind of person who lives backwardly, who memorializes moments before she's finished living in them. So I plant my feet here on this hillside beside a boy who is undoing me, and I kiss him back like I mean it. And, God help me, with the sky wrapped around us in every direction, I do mean it.
Emery Lord (Open Road Summer)
Ooh, Snowberry, you were right,” one of them said, wrinkling her nose like she smelled something foul. “She does reek of a dead pig in the summer. I don’t know how Mab can stand it.” Clenching my fists, I tried to keep my cool. I was so not in the mood for this now.God, it’s like high school all over again. Will it never end? These are ancient faeries, for Pete’s sake, and they’re acting like my high school pom squad.
Julie Kagawa (The Iron Daughter (The Iron Fey, #2))
Like many fly fishermen in western Montana where the summer days are almost Arctic in length, I often do not start fishing until the cool of the evening. Then in the Arctic half-light of the canyon, all existence fades to a being with my soul and memories and the sounds of the Big Blackfoot River and a four-count rhythm and the hope that a fish will rise. Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of those rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.
Norman Maclean (A River Runs through It)
I'd never heard of them, but at that moment, it was the best song I'd ever heard. I went out and bought Ten and listened to it on repeat. When I listened to track five, "Black," it was like I was there, in that moment all over again. After the summer was over, when I got back home, I went to the music store and bought the sheet music and learned to play it on the piano. I thought one day I could accompany Conrad and we could be, like, a band.
Jenny Han (The Summer I Turned Pretty (Summer, #1))
I do like him. I'm sick of just liking people. I wish to God I could meet somebody I could respect.... .... Listen, don't hate me because I can't remember some person immediately. Especially when they look like everybody else, and talk and dress and act like everybody else." Franny made her voice stop. It sounded to her caviling and bitchy, and she felt a wave of self-hatred that, quite literally, made her forehead begin to perspire again. But her voice picked up again, in spite of herself. "I don't mean there's anything horrible about him or anything like that. It's just that for four solid years I've kept seeing Wally Campbells wherever I go. I know when they're going to be charming, I know when they're going to start telling you some really nasty gossip about some girl that lives in your dorm, I know when they're going to ask me what I did over the summer, I know when they're going to pull up a chair and straddle it backward and start bragging in a terribly, terribly quiet voice--or name-dropping in a terribly quiet, casual voice. There's an unwritten law that people in a certain social or financial bracket can name-drop as much as they like just as long as they say something terribly disparaging about the person as soon as they've dropped his name—that he's a bastard or a nymphomaniac or takes dope all the time, or something horrible." She broke off again. She was quiet for a moment, turning the ashtray in her fingers. Franny quickly tipped her cigarette ash, then brought the ashtray an inch closer to her side of the table. "I'm sorry. I'm awful," she said. "I've just felt so destructive all week. It's awful, I'm horrible.
J.D. Salinger (Franny and Zooey)
Kästner was one reason I called my book barge the Literary Apothecary,” said Perdu. “I wanted to treat feelings that are not recognized as afflictions and are never diagnosed by doctors. All those little feelings and emotions no therapist is interested in, because they are apparently too minor and intangible. The feeling that washes over you when another summer nears its end. Or when you recognize that you haven’t got your whole life left to find out where you belong. Or the slight sense of grief when a friendship doesn’t develop as you thought, and you have to continue your search for a lifelong companion. Or those birthday morning blues. Nostalgia for the air of your childhood. Things like that.
Nina George (The Little Paris Bookshop)
Hubris means deadly pride, Percy. Thinking you can do things better than anyone else... even the gods.' 'You feel that way?' She [Annabeth] looked down. 'Don't you ever feel like, what if the world really is messed up? What if we could do it all over again from scratch? No more war. Nobody homeless. No more summer reading homework.' 'I'm listening.' 'I mean, the West represents a lot of the best things mankind ever did - that's why the fire is still burning. That's why Olympus is still around. But sometimes you just see the bad stuff, you know? And you start thinking the way Luke does: "If I could tear this all down, I would do it better." Don't you ever feel that way? Like you could do a better job if you ran the world?
Rick Riordan (The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #2))
It was her last breakfast with Bapi, her last morning in Greece. In her frenetic bliss that kept her up till dawn, she’d scripted a whole conversation in Greek for her and Bapi to have as their grand finale of the summer. Now she looked at him contentedly munching on his Rice Krispies, waiting for the right juncture for launchtime. He looked up at her briefly and smiled, and she realized something important. This was how they both liked it. Though most people felt bonded by conversation, Lena and Bapi were two of a kind who didn’t. They bonded by the routine of just eating cereal together. She promptly forgot her script and went back to her cereal. At one point, when she was down to just milk, Bapi reached over and put his hand on hers. ‘You’re my girl,’ he said. And Lena knew she was.
Ann Brashares (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Sisterhood, #1))
I was in the winter of my life- and the men I met along the road were my only summer. At night I fell sleep with vision of myself dancing and laughing and crying with them. Three year down the line of being on an endless world tour and memories of them were the only things that sustained me, and my only real happy times. I was a singer, not very popular one, who once has dreams of becoming a beautiful poet- but upon an unfortunate series of events saw those dreams dashed and divided like million stars in the night sky that I wished on over and over again- sparkling and broken. But I really didn’t mind because I knew that it takes getting everything you ever wanted and then losing it to know what true freedom is. When the people I used to know found out what I had been doing, how I had been living- they asked me why. But there’s no use in talking to people who have a home, they have no idea what its like to seek safety in other people, for home to be wherever you lied you head. I was always an unusual girl, my mother told me that I had a chameleon soul. No moral compass pointing me due north, no fixed personality. Just an inner indecisiviness that was as wide as wavering as the ocean. And if I said that I didn’t plan for it to turn out this way I’d be lying- because I was born to be the other woman. I belonged to no one- who belonged to everyone, who had nothing- who wanted everything with a fire for every experience and an obssesion for freedom that terrified me to the point that I couldn’t even talk about- and pushed me to a nomadic point of madness that both dazzled and dizzied me. Every night I used to pray that I’d find my people- and finally I did- on the open road. We have nothing to lose, nothing to gain, nothing we desired anymore- except to make our lives into a work of art. LIVE FAST. DIE YOUNG. BE WILD. AND HAVE FUN. I believe in the country America used to be. I belive in the person I want to become, I believe in the freedom of the open road. And my motto is the same as ever- *I believe in the kindness of strangers. And when I’m at war with myself- I Ride. I Just Ride.* Who are you? Are you in touch with all your darkest fantasies? Have you created a life for yourself where you’re free to experience them? I Have. I Am Fucking Crazy. But I Am Free.
Lana Del Rey
There is one moment, a moment in eternity. Before we find out the truth about one another. That simple moment is the one that propels us through life – what we felt at the very edge of our future, standing over the abyss, before we knew for sure we loved. Before we knew for sure we loved forever. … Before all that, you and I walked through The Summer Garden, and once in a while my bare arm touched your arm, and once in a while you spoke and that gave me an excuse to look up into your face, into your laughing eyes, to catch a glimpse of your mouth and I, who had never been touched, tried to imagine what it might be like to have your mouth touch me. Falling in love with you in The Summer Garden in the white nights of Leningrad is the moment that propels me though life.
Paullina Simons (Tatiana and Alexander (The Bronze Horseman, #2))
Instead I let the moment pass and I just sighed and leaned back onto my chair. The sky was pinky gold. I had the feeling that there was nothing more beautiful than this, that this particular sunset matched the beauty of anything in this world, ten times over. I could feel all the tension of the day drifting away from me and out to sea. I wanted to memorize it all in case I didn’t get to come back again. You never know the last time you’ll see a place. A person.
Jenny Han (It's Not Summer Without You (Summer, #2))
Fireflies out on a warm summer's night, seeing the urgent, flashing, yellow-white phosphorescence below them, go crazy with desire; moths cast to the winds an enchantment potion that draws the opposite sex, wings beating hurriedly, from kilometers away; peacocks display a devastating corona of blue and green and the peahens are all aflutter; competing pollen grains extrude tiny tubes that race each other down the female flower's orifice to the waiting egg below; luminescent squid present rhapsodic light shows, altering the pattern, brightness and color radiated from their heads, tentacles, and eyeballs; a tapeworm diligently lays a hundred thousand fertilized eggs in a single day; a great whale rumbles through the ocean depths uttering plaintive cries that are understood hundreds of thousands of kilometers away, where another lonely behemoth is attentively listening; bacteria sidle up to one another and merge; cicadas chorus in a collective serenade of love; honeybee couples soar on matrimonial flights from which only one partner returns; male fish spray their spunk over a slimy clutch of eggs laid by God-knows-who; dogs, out cruising, sniff each other's nether parts, seeking erotic stimuli; flowers exude sultry perfumes and decorate their petals with garish ultraviolet advertisements for passing insects, birds, and bats; and men and women sing, dance, dress, adorn, paint, posture, self-mutilate, demand, coerce, dissemble, plead, succumb, and risk their lives. To say that love makes the world go around is to go too far. The Earth spins because it did so as it was formed and there has been nothing to stop it since. But the nearly maniacal devotion to sex and love by most of the plants, animals, and microbes with which we are familiar is a pervasive and striking aspect of life on Earth. It cries out for explanation. What is all this in aid of? What is the torrent of passion and obsession about? Why will organisms go without sleep, without food, gladly put themselves in mortal danger for sex? ... For more than half the history of life on Earth organisms seem to have done perfectly well without it. What good is sex?... Through 4 billion years of natural selection, instructions have been honed and fine-tuned...sequences of As, Cs, Gs, and Ts, manuals written out in the alphabet of life in competition with other similar manuals published by other firms. The organisms become the means through which the instructions flow and copy themselves, by which new instructions are tried out, on which selection operates. 'The hen,' said Samuel Butler, 'is the egg's way of making another egg.' It is on this level that we must understand what sex is for. ... The sockeye salmon exhaust themselves swimming up the mighty Columbia River to spawn, heroically hurdling cataracts, in a single-minded effort that works to propagate their DNA sequences into future generation. The moment their work is done, they fall to pieces. Scales flake off, fins drop, and soon--often within hours of spawning--they are dead and becoming distinctly aromatic. They've served their purpose. Nature is unsentimental. Death is built in.
Carl Sagan (Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors: Earth Before Humans by ANN DRUYAN' 'CARL SAGAN (1992-05-03))
I'll tell you how the sun rose A ribbon at a time... It's a living book, this life; it folds out in a million settings, cast with a billion beautiful characters, and it is almost over for you. It doesn't matter how old you are; it is coming to a close quickly, and soon the credits will roll and all your friends will fold out of your funeral and drive back to their homes in cold and still and silence. And they will make a fire and pour some wine and think about how you once were . . . and feel a kind of sickness at the idea you never again will be. So soon you will be in that part of the book where you are holding the bulk of the pages in your left hand, and only a thin wisp of the story in your right. You will know by the page count, not by the narrative, that the Author is wrapping things up. You begin to mourn its ending, and want to pace yourself slowly toward its closure, knowing the last lines will speak of something beautiful, of the end of something long and earned, and you hope the thing closes out like last breaths, like whispers about how much and who the characters have come to love, and how authentic the sentiments feel when they have earned a hundred pages of qualification. And so my prayer is that your story will have involved some leaving and some coming home, some summer and some winter, some roses blooming out like children in a play. My hope is your story will be about changing, about getting something beautiful born inside of you, about learning to love a woman or a man, about learning to love a child, about moving yourself around water, around mountains, around friends, about learning to love others more than we love ourselves, about learning oneness as a way of understanding God. We get one story, you and I, and one story alone. God has established the elements, the setting and the climax and the resolution. It would be a crime not to venture out, wouldn't it?
Donald Miller (Through Painted Deserts: Light, God, and Beauty on the Open Road)
People should fall in love more. Fall in love with the way your coffee swirls as soon as you pour the milk in. Fall in love with the look your dog gives you when you wake up. Fall in love with the rare moment when your cat doesn’t ignore you. Fall in love with the person who tells you to have a good day. Fall in love with the waiter who gives you extra chili fries. Fall in love with sweaters in winter and cold lemonade in summer. Fall in love with the moment your head hits the pillow. Fall in love with talking to someone until 4 a.m. Fall in love with the days you can hit the snooze button over and over again. Fall in love when a lover stares at you for five hours. Fall in love with the stars when they look at you. Fall in love with the sound of someone breathing. Fall in love with the bus if it’s on time or the train if it comes early. Fall in love with everything possible.
Courtney Peppernell (Pillow Thoughts)
I am a cutter, you see. Also a snipper, a slicer, a carver, a jabber. I am a very special case. I have a purpose. My skin, you see, screams. It's covered with words - cook, cupcake, kitty, curls - as if a knife-wielding first-grader learned to write on my flesh. I sometimes, but only sometimes, laugh. Getting out of the bath and seeing, out of the corner of my eye, down the side of a leg: babydoll. Pull on a sweater and, in a flash of my wrist: harmful. Why these words? Thousands of hours of therapy have yielded a few ideas from the good doctors. They are often feminine, in a Dick and Jane, pink vs. puppy dog tails sort of way. Or they're flat-out negative. Number of synonyms for anxious carved in my skin: eleven. The one thing I know for sure is that at the time, it was crucial to see these letters on me, and not just see them, but feel them. Burning on my left hip: petticoat. And near it, my first word, slashed on an anxious summer day at age thirteen: wicked. I woke up that morning, hot and bored, worried about the hours ahead. How do you keep safe when your whole day is as wide and empty as the sky? Anything could happen. I remember feeling that word, heavy and slightly sticky across my pubic bone. My mother's steak knife. Cutting like a child along red imaginary lines. Cleaning myself. Digging in deeper. Cleaning myself. Pouring bleach over the knife and sneaking through the kitchen to return it. Wicked. Relief. The rest of the day, I spent ministering to my wound. Dig into the curves of W with an alcohol-soaked Q-tip. Pet my cheek until the sting went away. Lotion. Bandage. Repeat.
Gillian Flynn (Sharp Objects)
Taylor wanted me to forget about Conrad, to just erase him from my mind and memory. She kept saying things like, “everybody has to get over a first love, it’s a rite of passage.” But Conrad wasn’t just my first love. He wasn’t some rite of passage. He was so much more than that. He and Jeremiah and Susannah were my family. In my memory, the three of them would always be entwined, forever linked. There couldn’t be one without the others. If I forgot Conrad, if I evicted him from my heart, pretended like he was never there, it would be like doing those tings to Susannah. And that, I couldn’t do.
Jenny Han (It's Not Summer Without You (Summer, #2))
Bad, or good, as it happens to be, that is what it is to exist! . . . It is as though I have been silent and fuddled with sleep all my life. In spite of all, I know now that at least it is better to go always towards the summer, towards those burning seas of light; to sit at night in the forecastle lost in an unfamiliar dream, when the spirit becomes filled with stars, instead of wounds, and good and compassionate and tender. To sail into an unknown spring, or receive one's baptism on storm's promontory, where the solitary albatross heels over in the gale, and at last come to land. To know the earth under one's foot and go, in wild delight, ways where there is water.
Malcolm Lowry (Ultramarine)
Summer has never been the same since the 2000 Presidential Election, when we still seemed to be a prosperous nation at peace with the world, more or less. Two summers later we were a dead-broke nation at war with all but three or four countries in the world, and three of those don't count. Spain and Italy were flummoxed and and England has allowed itself to be taken over by and stigmatized by some corrupt little shyster who enjoys his slimy role as a pimp and a prostitute all at once--selling a once-proud nation of independent-thinking people down the river and into a deadly swamp of slavery to the pimps who love Jesus and George Bush and the war-crazed U.S. Pentagon.
Hunter S. Thompson (Hey Rube: Blood Sport, the Bush Doctrine, and the Downward Spiral of Dumbness: Modern History from the ESPN.com Sports Desk)
Of course, now I am too old to be much of a fisherman, and now of course I usually fish the big waters alone, although some friends think I shouldn’t. Like many fly fishermen in western Montana where the summer days are almost Arctic in length, I often do not start fishing until the cool of the evening. Then in the Arctic half-light of the canyon, all existence fades to a being with my soul and memories and the sounds of the Big Blackfoot River and a four-count rhythm and the hope that a fish will rise. Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.
Norman Maclean (A River Runs Through It and Other Stories)
God! You'll do anything to avoid it.' Avoid what?' my mother said. The past,' Caroline said. 'Our past. I'm tired of acting like nothing ever happened, of pretending he was never here, of not seeing his pictures in the house, or his things Just because you're not able to let yourself grieve.' Don't,' my mother said, her voice low, 'talk to me about grief. You have no idea.' I do, though.' Caroline's voice caught, and she swallowed. 'I'm not trying to hide that I'm sad. I'm not trying to forget. You hide here behind all these plans for houses and townhouses because they're new and perfect and don't remind you of anything.' Stop it,' my mother said. And look at Macy,' Caroline continued, ignoring this.' Do you even know what you're doing to her?' My mother looked at me, and I shrank back, trying to stay out of this. 'Macy is fine,' my mother said. No, she's not. God you always say that, but she's not.' Caroline looked at me, as if she wanted me to jump in, but I just sat there. 'Have you even been paying the least bit of attention to what's going on with her? She's been miserable since Dad died, pushing herself so hard to please you. And then, this summer, she finally finds some friends and something she likes to do. But then one tiny slipup, and you take it all away from her.' That has nothing to do with what we're talking about,' my mother said. It has everything to do with it,' Caroline shot back. 'She was finally getting over what happened. Couldn't you see the change in her? I could, and I was berely here. She was different.' Exactly,' my mother said. 'She was-' Happy,' Caroline finished for her. 'She was starting to live her life again, and it scared you. Just like me redoing the beach house scares you. You think you're so strong becasue you never talk about Dad. Anyone can hide. Facing up to things, working through them, that's what makes you strong.
Sarah Dessen (The Truth About Forever)
Eh.” She waved a hand. “There are thousands of me there.” Brendan snorted at her joke. And then he realized she was serious. “Piper, there is nobody like you.” She smiled like she was humoring him... He pulled the car onto the side of the road, slammed on the brakes, and threw it into park. “Did you hear me?” He reached over to tilt up her chin. “There is nobody like you.” “Why are you getting so worked up?” “Because I . . .thought I was an intuitive man. A smart man. But I keep finding out new ways I’m flying blind when it comes to something so important. You. You are important.
Tessa Bailey (It Happened One Summer (Bellinger Sisters, #1))
In spring it is the dawn that is most beautiful. As the light creeps over the hills, their outlines are dyed a faint red and wisps of purplish cloud trail over them. In summer the nights. Not only when the moon shines, but on dark nights too, as the fireflies flit to and fro, and even when it rains, how beautiful it is! In autumn, the evenings, when the glittering sun sinks close to the edge of the hills and the crows fly back to their nests in threes and fours and twos; more charming still is a file of wild geese, like specks in the distant sky. When the sun has set, one's heart is moved by the sound of the wind and the hum of the insects. In winter the early mornings. It is beautiful indeed when snow has fallen during the night, but splendid too when the ground is white with frost; or even when there is no snow or frost, but it is simply very cold and the attendants hurry from room to room stirring up the fires and bringing charcoal, how well this fits the season's mood! But as noon approaches and the cold wears off, no one bothers to keep the braziers alight, and soon nothing remains but piles of white ashes.
Sei Shōnagon
I slipped in and out of consciousness as time stretched and flowed around me. Dreams and reality blurred, but I liked the dreams better. Noah was in them. I dreamed of us, walking hand in hand down a crowded street in the middle of the day. We were in New York. I was in no rush—I could walk with him forever—but Noah was. He pulled me alongside him, strong and determined and not smiling. Not today. We wove among the people, somehow not touching a single one. The trees were green and blossoming. It was spring, almost summer. A strong wind shook a few steadfast flowers off of the branches and into our path. We ignored them. Noah led me into Central Park. It was teeming with human life. Bright colored picnic blankets burst across the lawn, the pale, outstretched forms of people wriggling over them like worms in fruit. We passed the reservoir, the sun reflecting off its surface, and then the crowd began to thicken. They funneled into a throbbing mass as we strode up a hill, over and through. Until we could see them all below us, angry and electric. Noah reached into his bag. He pulled out the little cloth doll, my grandmother’s. The one we burned.
Michelle Hodkin (The Retribution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #3))
To muse for long unwearied hours with my attention riveted to some frivolous device upon the margin, or in the typography of a book — to become absorbed for the better part of a summer's day in a quaint shadow falling aslant upon the tapestry, or upon the floor — to lose myself for an entire night in watching the steady flame of a lamp, or the embers of a fire — to dream away whole days over the perfume of a flower — to repeat monotonously some common word, until the sound, by dint of frequent repetition, ceased to convey any idea whatever to the mind — to lose all sense of motion or physical existence in a state of absolute bodily quiescence long and obstinately persevered in — Such were a few of the most common and least pernicious vagaries induced by a condition of the mental faculties, not, indeed, altogether unparalleled, but certainly bidding defiance to any thing like analysis or explanation.
Edgar Allan Poe (Berenice)
But people aren’t math problems.” I gave a heavy shrug. “I can miss my dad and hate him at the same time. I can be worried about this book and torn up about my family and sick over the house I’m living in, and still look out at Lake Michigan and feel overwhelmed by how big it is. I spent all last summer thinking I’d never be happy again, and now, a year later, I still feel sick and worried and angry, but at moments, I’m also happy. Bad things don’t dig down through your life until the pit’s so deep that nothing good will ever be big enough to make you happy again. No matter how much shit, there will always be wildflowers. There will always be Petes and Maggies and rainstorms in forests and sun on waves.
Emily Henry (Beach Read)
I want to live forever in a land where summer lasts a thousand years. I want a castle in the clouds where I can look down over the world. I want to be six-and-twenty again. When I was six-and-twenty I could fight all day and fuck all night. What men want does not matter. Winter is almost upon us, boy. And winter is death. I would sooner my men die fighting for the Ned's little girl than alone and hungry in the snow, weeping tears that freeze upon their cheeks. No one sings songs of men who die like that. As for me, I am old. This will be my last winter. Let me bathe in Bolton blood before I die. I want to feel it spatter across my face when my axe bites deep into a Bolton skull. I want to lick it off my lips and die with the taste of it on my tongue.
George R.R. Martin (A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, #5))
I call it Joy. 'Animal-Land' was not imaginative. But certain other experiences were... The first is itself the memory of a memory. As I stood beside a flowering currant bush on a summer day there suddenly arose in me without warning, and as if from a depth not of years but of centuries, the memory of that earlier morning at the Old House when my brother had brought his toy garden into the nursery. It is difficult or find words strong enough for the sensation which came over me; Milton's 'enormous bliss' of Eden (giving the full, ancient meaning to 'enormous') comes somewhere near it. It was a sensation, of course, of desire; but desire for what?...Before I knew what I desired, the desire itself was gone, the whole glimpse... withdrawn, the world turned commonplace again, or only stirred by a longing for the longing that had just ceased... In a sense the central story of my life is about nothing else... The quality common to the three experiences... is that of an unsatisfied desire which is itself more desirable than any other satisfaction. I call it Joy, which is here a technical term and must be sharply distinguished both from Happiness and Pleasure. Joy (in my sense) has indeed one characteristic, and one only, in common with them; the fact that anyone who has experienced it will want it again... I doubt whether anyone who has tasted it would ever, if both were in his power, exchange it for all the pleasures in the world. But then Joy is never in our power and Pleasure often is.
C.S. Lewis (Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life)
She passed through a world of snowcapped mountains under shining stars. Passed over one of those mountains, where a winged male stood beside a heavily pregnant female, gazing out at those very stars. Fae. They were Fae, but this was not her world. She flung out a hand, as if she might signal them, as if they might somehow help her when she was nothing but an invisible speck of power— The winged male, beautiful beyond reason, snapped his head toward her as she arced across his starry sky. He lifted a hand, as in greeting. A blast of dark power, like a gentle summer night, slammed into her. Not to attack—but to slow her down. A wall, a shield, that she tore and plunged through. But it slowed her. That winged male's power slowed her, just enough. Aelin vanished from his world without a whisper.
Sarah J. Maas (Kingdom of Ash (Throne of Glass, #7))
So often this summer I keep thinking: I know I'm holding back. I know I'm waiting. I know I'm afraid to go forward. But I don't know how to get there from here." He was quiet, so she kept going. "Sometimes I see it as a tricky mountain pass between two valleys. Other times, it's like perilous straits connecting two lands. Partly it's the fear of the trip itself, I think, but partly it's the fear that I won't be able to get back. I'll turn around and the clouds will have settled over the mountaintop. Or the waters will have risen and shifted, and there will be no way home." Paul nodded. He took her hand again, which she discovered she appreciated. But that's not even the real fear." He gave her an odd smile. Short on mirth but affectionate. "What's the real fear?" The real fear is that I won't want to go home.
Ann Brashares
Sometimes, in a summer morning, having taken my accustomed bath, I sat in my sunny doorway from sunrise till noon, rapt in a revery, amidst the pines and hickories and sumachs, in undisturbed solitude and stillness, while the birds sing around or flitted noiseless through the house, until by the sun falling in at my west window, or the noise of some traveller's wagon on the distant highway, I was reminded of the lapse of time. I grew in those seasons like corn in the night, and they were far better than any work of the hands would have been. They were not time subtracted from my life, but so much over and above my usual allowance. I realized what the Orientals mean by contemplation and the forsaking of works. For the most part, I minded not how the hours went. The day advanced as if to light some work of mine; it was morning, and lo, now it is evening, and nothing memorable is accomplished.
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
The new country lay open before me: there were no fences in those days, and I could choose my own way over the grass uplands, trusting the pony to get me home again. Sometimes I followed the sunflower-bordered roads. Fuchs told me that the sunflowers were introduced into that country by the Mormons; that at the time of the persecution when they left Missouri and struck out into the wilderness to find a place where they could worship God in their own way, the members of the first exploring party, crossing the plains to Utah, scattered sunflower seeds as they went. The next summer, when the long trains of wagons came through with all the women and children, they had a sunflower trail to follow. I believe that botanists do not confirm Jake's story but, insist that the sunflower was native to those plains. Nevertheless, that legend has stuck in my mind, and sunflower-bordered roads always seem to me the roads to freedom.
Willa Cather (My Ántonia)
What shall I give? and which are my miracles? 2. Realism is mine--my miracles--Take freely, Take without end--I offer them to you wherever your feet can carry you or your eyes reach. 3. Why! who makes much of a miracle? As to me, I know of nothing else but miracles, Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan, Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky, Or wade with naked feet along the beach, just in the edge of the water, Or stand under trees in the woods, Or talk by day with any one I love--or sleep in the bed at night with any one I love, Or sit at the table at dinner with my mother, Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car, Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive, of a summer forenoon, Or animals feeding in the fields, Or birds--or the wonderfulness of insects in the air, Or the wonderfulness of the sundown--or of stars shining so quiet and bright, Or the exquisite, delicate, thin curve of the new moon in spring; Or whether I go among those I like best, and that like me best--mechanics, boatmen, farmers, Or among the savans--or to the _soiree_--or to the opera. Or stand a long while looking at the movements of machinery, Or behold children at their sports, Or the admirable sight of the perfect old man, or the perfect old woman, Or the sick in hospitals, or the dead carried to burial, Or my own eyes and figure in the glass; These, with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles, The whole referring--yet each distinct and in its place. 4. To me, every hour of the light and dark is a miracle, Every inch of space is a miracle, Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the same, Every cubic foot of the interior swarms with the same; Every spear of grass--the frames, limbs, organs, of men and women, and all that concerns them, All these to me are unspeakably perfect miracles. To me the sea is a continual miracle; The fishes that swim--the rocks--the motion of the waves--the ships, with men in them, What stranger miracles are there?
Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
We became acquainted with starry skies the girls had gazed at while camping years before, and the boredom of summers traipsing from back yard to front to back again, and even a certain indefinable smell that arose from toilets on rainy nights, which the girls called "sewery." We knew what it felt like to see a boy with his shirt off, and why it made Lux write the name Kevin in purple Magic Marker all over her three-ring binder and even on her bras and panties, and we understood her rage coming home one day to find that Mrs. Lisbon had soaked her things in Clorox, bleaching all the "Kevins" out. We knew the pain of winter wind rushing up your skirt, and the ache of keeping your knees together in class, and how drab and infuriating it was to jump rope while the boys played baseball. We could never understand why the girls cared so much about being mature, or why they felt compelled to compliment each other, but sometimes, after one of us had read a long portion of the diary out loud, we had to fight back the urge to hug one another or to tell each other how pretty we were. We felt the imprisonment of being a girl, the way it made your mind active and dreamy, and how you ended up knowing which colors went together. We knew that the girls were our twins, that we all existed in space like animals with identical skins, and that they knew everything about us though we couldn't fathom them at all. We knew, finally, that the girls were really women in disguise, that they understood love and even death, and that our job was merely to create the noise that seemed to fascinate them.
Jeffrey Eugenides (The Virgin Suicides)
You, Doctor Martin, walk from breakfast to madness. Late August, I speed through the antiseptic tunnel where the moving dead still talk of pushing their bones against the thrust of cure. And I am queen of this summer hotel or the laughing bee on a stalk of death. We stand in broken lines and wait while they unlock the doors and count us at the frozen gates of dinner. The shibboleth is spoken and we move to gravy in our smock of smiles. We chew in rows, our plates scratch and whine like chalk in school. There are no knives for cutting your throat. I make moccasins all morning. At first my hands kept empty, unraveled for the lives they used to work. Now I learn to take them back, each angry finger that demands I mend what another will break tomorrow. Of course, I love you; you lean above the plastic sky, god of our block, prince of all the foxes. The breaking crowns are new that Jack wore. Your third eye moves among us and lights the separate boxes where we sleep or cry. What large children we are here. All over I grow most tall in the best ward. Your business is people, you call at the madhouse, an oracular eye in our nest. Out in the hall the intercom pages you. You twist in the pull of the foxy children who fall like floods of life in frost. And we are magic talking to itself, noisy and alone. I am queen of all my sins forgotten. Am I still lost? Once I was beautiful. Now I am myself, counting this row and that row of moccasins waiting on the silent shelf.
Anne Sexton (To Bedlam and Part Way Back)
A Brief for the Defense Sorrow everywhere. Slaughter everywhere. If babies are not starving someplace, they are starving somewhere else. With flies in their nostrils. But we enjoy our lives because that's what God wants. Otherwise the mornings before summer dawn would not be made so fine. The Bengal tiger would not be fashioned so miraculously well. The poor women at the fountain are laughing together between the suffering they have known and the awfulness in their future, smiling and laughing while somebody in the village is very sick. There is laughter every day in the terrible streets of Calcutta, and the women laugh in the cages of Bombay. If we deny our happiness, resist our satisfaction, we lessen the importance of their deprivation. We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure, but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world. To make injustice the only measure of our attention is to praise the Devil. If the locomotive of the Lord runs us down, we should give thanks that the end had magnitude. We must admit there will be music despite everything. We stand at the prow again of a small ship anchored late at night in the tiny port looking over to the sleeping island: the waterfront is three shuttered cafés and one naked light burning. To hear the faint sound of oars in the silence as a rowboat comes slowly out and then goes back is truly worth all the years of sorrow that are to come.
Jack Gilbert (Refusing Heaven: Poems)
I just don't understand what you see in her," Sim said carefully. "I know she's charming. Fascinating and all of that. But she seems rather," he hesitated, "cruel." I nodded. "She is." Simmon watched me expectantly, finally said. "What? No defense for her?" "No. Cruel is a good word for her. But I think you are saying cruel and thinking of something else. Denna is not wicked, or mean, or spiteful. She is cruel." Sim was quiet for a long while before responding. "I think she might be some of those things, and cruel as well." Good, honest gentle Sim. He could never bring himself to say bad things about another person, just imply them. Even that was hard for him. He looked up at me. "I talked with Savoy. He's still not over her. He really loved her, you know. Treated her like a princess. He would have done anything for her. But she left him anyway, no explanation." "Denna is a wild thing," I explained. "Like a hind or a summer storm. If a storm blows down your house, or breaks a tree, you don't say the storm was mean. It was cruel. It acted according to its nature and something unfortunately was hurt. The same is true of Denna." "What's a hind?" "A deer." "I thought that was a hart?" "A hind is a female deer. A wild deer. Do you know how much good it does you to chase a wild thing? None. It works against you. It startles the hind away. All you can do is stay gently where you are, and hope in time that the hind will come to you.
Patrick Rothfuss (The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #1))
There was nothing left for me to do, but go. Though the things of the world were strong with me still. Such as, for example: a gaggle of children trudging through a side-blown December flurry; a friendly match-share beneath some collision-titled streetlight; a frozen clock, a bird visited within its high tower; cold water from a tin jug; towering off one’s clinging shirt post-June rain. Pearls, rags, buttons, rug-tuft, beer-froth. Someone’s kind wishes for you; someone remembering to write; someone noticing that you are not at all at ease. A bloody ross death-red on a platter; a headgetop under-hand as you flee late to some chalk-and-woodfire-smelling schoolhouse. Geese above, clover below, the sound of one’s own breath when winded. The way a moistness in the eye will blur a field of stars; the sore place on the shoulder a resting toboggan makes; writing one’s beloved’s name upon a frosted window with a gloved finger. Tying a shoe; tying a knot on a package; a mouth on yours; a hand on yours; the ending of the day; the beginning of the day; the feeling that there will always be a day ahead. Goodbye, I must now say goodbye to all of it. Loon-call in the dark; calf-cramp in the spring; neck-rub in the parlour; milk-sip at end of day. Some brandy-legged dog proudly back-ploughs the grass to cover its modest shit; a cloud-mass down-valley breaks apart over the course of a brandy-deepened hour; louvered blinds yield dusty beneath your dragging finger, and it is nearly noon and you must decide; you have seen what you have seen, and it has wounded you, and it seems you have only one choice left. Blood-stained porcelain bowl wobbles face down on wood floor; orange peel not at all stirred by disbelieving last breath there among that fine summer dust-layer, fatal knife set down in pass-panic on familiar wobbly banister, later dropped (thrown) by Mother (dear Mother) (heartsick) into the slow-flowing, chocolate-brown Potomac. None of it was real; nothing was real. Everything was real; inconceivably real, infinitely dear. These and all things started as nothing, latent within a vast energy-broth, but then we named them, and loved them, and in this way, brought them forth. And now we must lose them. I send this out to you, dear friends, before I go, in this instantaneous thought-burst, from a place where time slows and then stops and we may live forever in a single instant. Goodbye goodbye good-
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Between the roof of the shed and the big plant that hangs over the fence from the house next door I could see the constellation Orion. People say that Orion is called Orion because Orion was a hunter and the constellation looks like a hunter with a club and a bow and arrow, like this: But this is really silly because it is just stars, and you could join up the dots in any way you wanted, and you could make it look like a lady with an umbrella who is waving, or the coffeemaker which Mrs. Shears has, which is from Italy, with a handle and steam coming out, or like a dinosaur. And there aren't any lines in space, so you could join bits of Orion to bits of Lepus or Taurus or Gemini and say that they were a constellation called the Bunch of Grapes or Jesus or the Bicycle (except that they didn't have bicycles in Roman and Greek times, which was when they called Orion Orion). And anyway, Orion is not a hunter or a coffeemaker or a dinosaur. It is just Betelgeuse and Bellatrix and Alnilam and Rigel and 17 other stars I don't know the names of. And they are nuclear explosions billions of miles away. And that is the truth. I stayed awake until 5:47. That was the last time I looked at my watch before I fell asleep. It has a luminous face and lights up if you press a button, so I could read it in the dark. I was cold and I was frightened Father might come out and find me. But I felt safer in the garden because I was hidden. I looked at the sky a lot. I like looking up at the sky in the garden at night. In summer I sometimes come outside at night with my torch and my planisphere, which is two circles of plastic with a pin through the middle. And on the bottom is a map of the sky and on top is an aperture which is an opening shaped in a parabola and you turn it round to see a map of the sky that you can see on that day of the year from the latitude 51.5° north, which is the latitude that Swindon is on, because the largest bit of the sky is always on the other side of the earth. And when you look at the sky you know you are looking at stars which are hundreds and thousands of light-years away from you. And some of the stars don't even exist anymore because their light has taken so long to get to us that they are already dead, or they have exploded and collapsed into red dwarfs. And that makes you seem very small, and if you have difficult things in your life it is nice to think that they are what is called negligible, which means that they are so small you don't have to take them into account when you are calculating something. I didn't sleep very well because of the cold and because the ground was very bumpy and pointy underneath me and because Toby was scratching in his cage a lot. But when I woke up properly it was dawn and the sky was all orange and blue and purple and I could hear birds singing, which is called the Dawn Chorus. And I stayed where I was for another 2 hours and 32 minutes, and then I heard Father come into the garden and call out, "Christopher...? Christopher...?
Mark Haddon (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time)
A Faint Music by Robert Hass Maybe you need to write a poem about grace. When everything broken is broken, and everything dead is dead, and the hero has looked into the mirror with complete contempt, and the heroine has studied her face and its defects remorselessly, and the pain they thought might, as a token of their earnestness, release them from themselves has lost its novelty and not released them, and they have begun to think, kindly and distantly, watching the others go about their days— likes and dislikes, reasons, habits, fears— that self-love is the one weedy stalk of every human blossoming, and understood, therefore, why they had been, all their lives, in such a fury to defend it, and that no one— except some almost inconceivable saint in his pool of poverty and silence—can escape this violent, automatic life’s companion ever, maybe then, ordinary light, faint music under things, a hovering like grace appears. As in the story a friend told once about the time he tried to kill himself. His girl had left him. Bees in the heart, then scorpions, maggots, and then ash. He climbed onto the jumping girder of the bridge, the bay side, a blue, lucid afternoon. And in the salt air he thought about the word “seafood,” that there was something faintly ridiculous about it. No one said “landfood.” He thought it was degrading to the rainbow perch he’d reeled in gleaming from the cliffs, the black rockbass, scales like polished carbon, in beds of kelp along the coast—and he realized that the reason for the word was crabs, or mussels, clams. Otherwise the restaurants could just put “fish” up on their signs, and when he woke—he’d slept for hours, curled up on the girder like a child—the sun was going down and he felt a little better, and afraid. He put on the jacket he’d used for a pillow, climbed over the railing carefully, and drove home to an empty house. There was a pair of her lemon yellow panties hanging on a doorknob. He studied them. Much-washed. A faint russet in the crotch that made him sick with rage and grief. He knew more or less where she was. A flat somewhere on Russian Hill. They’d have just finished making love. She’d have tears in her eyes and touch his jawbone gratefully. “God,” she’d say, “you are so good for me.” Winking lights, a foggy view downhill toward the harbor and the bay. “You’re sad,” he’d say. “Yes.” “Thinking about Nick?” “Yes,” she’d say and cry. “I tried so hard,” sobbing now, “I really tried so hard.” And then he’d hold her for a while— Guatemalan weavings from his fieldwork on the wall— and then they’d fuck again, and she would cry some more, and go to sleep. And he, he would play that scene once only, once and a half, and tell himself that he was going to carry it for a very long time and that there was nothing he could do but carry it. He went out onto the porch, and listened to the forest in the summer dark, madrone bark cracking and curling as the cold came up. It’s not the story though, not the friend leaning toward you, saying “And then I realized—,” which is the part of stories one never quite believes. I had the idea that the world’s so full of pain it must sometimes make a kind of singing. And that the sequence helps, as much as order helps— First an ego, and then pain, and then the singing
Robert Hass (Sun under Wood)