Thousands Of Miles Between Us Quotes

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believe that this way of living, this focus on the present, the daily, the tangible, this intense concentration not on the news headlines but on the flowers growing in your own garden, the children growing in your own home, this way of living has the potential to open up the heavens, to yield a glittering handful of diamonds where a second ago there was coal. This way of living and noticing and building and crafting can crack through the movie sets and soundtracks that keep us waiting for our own life stories to begin, and set us free to observe the lives we have been creating all along without ever realizing it. I don’t want to wait anymore. I choose to believe that there is nothing more sacred or profound than this day. I choose to believe that there may be a thousand big moments embedded in this day, waiting to be discovered like tiny shards of gold. The big moments are the daily, tiny moments of courage and forgiveness and hope that we grab on to and extend to one another. That’s the drama of life, swirling all around us, and generally I don’t even see it, because I’m too busy waiting to become whatever it is I think I am about to become. The big moments are in every hour, every conversation, every meal, every meeting. The Heisman Trophy winner knows this. He knows that his big moment was not when they gave him the trophy. It was the thousand times he went to practice instead of going back to bed. It was the miles run on rainy days, the healthy meals when a burger sounded like heaven. That big moment represented and rested on a foundation of moments that had come before it. I believe that if we cultivate a true attention, a deep ability to see what has been there all along, we will find worlds within us and between us, dreams and stories and memories spilling over. The nuances and shades and secrets and intimations of love and friendship and marriage an parenting are action-packed and multicolored, if you know where to look. Today is your big moment. Moments, really. The life you’ve been waiting for is happening all around you. The scene unfolding right outside your window is worth more than the most beautiful painting, and the crackers and peanut butter that you’re having for lunch on the coffee table are as profound, in their own way, as the Last Supper. This is it. This is life in all its glory, swirling and unfolding around us, disguised as pedantic, pedestrian non-events. But pull of the mask and you will find your life, waiting to be made, chosen, woven, crafted. Your life, right now, today, is exploding with energy and power and detail and dimension, better than the best movie you have ever seen. You and your family and your friends and your house and your dinner table and your garage have all the makings of a life of epic proportions, a story for the ages. Because they all are. Every life is. You have stories worth telling, memories worth remembering, dreams worth working toward, a body worth feeding, a soul worth tending, and beyond that, the God of the universe dwells within you, the true culmination of super and natural. You are more than dust and bones. You are spirit and power and image of God. And you have been given Today.
Shauna Niequist (Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life)
But in Friendship, being free of all that, we think we have chosen our peers. In reality, a few years' difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another, posting to different regiments, the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting—any of these chances might have kept us apart. But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking, no chances. A secret Master of the Ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you," can truly say to every group of Christian friends "You have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another." The Friendship is not a reward for our discrimination and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each the beauties of all the others. They are no greater than the beauties of a thousand other men; by Friendship God opens our eyes to them. They are, like all beauties, derived from Him, and then, in a good Friendship, increased by Him through the Friendship itself, so that it is His instrument for creating as well as for revealing.
C.S. Lewis (The Four Loves)
No matter where my life takes me or yours takes you, I will love you whether there are a thousand miles between us or none at all.
Courtney Peppernell (Pillow Thoughts (Pillow Thoughts #1))
I love every part of you. I could be a thousand miles away from you, stay away from you my whole life, put an ocean between us, take a million other women in my arms, and you’re still the one I want, the only woman on my mind.
Katy Evans (Ladies Man (Manwhore, #3))
I myself have dreamed up a structure intermediate between Dyson spheres and planets. Build a ring 93 million miles in radius - one Earth orbit - around the sun. If we have the mass of Jupiter to work with, and if we make it a thousand miles wide, we get a thickness of about a thousand feet for the base. And it has advantages. The Ringworld will be much sturdier than a Dyson sphere. We can spin it on its axis for gravity. A rotation speed of 770 m/s will give us a gravity of one Earth normal. We wouldn't even need to roof it over. Place walls one thousand miles high at each edge, facing the sun. Very little air will leak over the edges. Lord knows the thing is roomy enough. With three million times the surface area of the Earth, it will be some time before anyone complains of the crowding.
Larry Niven
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)
My mother had either finally given up, conceding in her efforts to try to shape me into something I didn't want to be, or she had moved on to subtler tactics, realizing it was unlikely that I'd last another year in this mess before I discovered she'd been right all along. Or maybe the three thousand miles between us had made it so she was just happy to be with me. Or maybe she'd finally accepted that I'd forged my own path and found someone who loved me wholly, and believed at last that I would end up all right.
Michelle Zauner (Crying in H Mart)
It’s too late now. The game’s been won by companies who don’t two shits about community character or decent jobs. Congratufuckinglations, America! We did the deal. Now we’ve got an unlimited supply of cheap commodities and unhealthy food and crumbling downtowns, no sense of place, and a permanent under class. Yay. The underclass isn’t relegated to urban ghettos either. It’s coast to coast and especially in between. Take US 50 west from Kansas City to Sacramento or US 6 from Chicago to California and you’ll see a couple thousand miles of corn, soybeans, and terminally ill towns. It looks like a scene from The Walking Dead. If there’s such a thing as the American Heartland, it has a stake through it.
Finn Murphy (The Long Haul: A Trucker's Tales of Life on the Road)
Mom's afraid you two will fight if you come," my father admitted later. "She knows she has to put all her focus into getting better." I assumed the seven years I'd lived away from home had healed the wounds between us, that the strain built up in my teenage years had been forgotten. My mother had found ample space in the three thousand miles between Eugene and Philadelphia to relax her authority, and for my part, free to explore my creative impulses without constant critique, I came to appreciate all the labors she performed, their ends made apparent only in her absence. Now we were closer than ever, but my father's admission revealed there were memories of which my mother could not let go.
Michelle Zauner (Crying in H Mart)
By day, contrary to common wisdom, you probably won’t see the Great Pyramids at Giza, and you certainly won’t see the Great Wall of China. Their obscurity is partly the result of having been made from the soil and stone of the surrounding landscape. And although the Great Wall is thousands of miles long, it’s only about twenty feet wide—much narrower than the U.S. interstate highways you can barely see from a transcontinental jet. From orbit, with the unaided eye, you would have seen smoke plumes rising from the oil-field fires in Kuwait at the end of the first Persian Gulf War in 1991 and smoke from the burning World Trade Center towers in New York City on September 11, 2001. You will also notice the green–brown boundaries between swaths of irrigated and arid land. Beyond that shortlist, there’s not much else made by humans that’s identifiable from hundreds of miles up in the sky. You can see plenty of natural scenery, though, including hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico, ice floes in the North Atlantic, and volcanic eruptions wherever they occur.
Neil deGrasse Tyson (Astrophysics for People in a Hurry)
Between 1968 and 1973, the United States and Britain, the latter the colonial administrator, forcibly removed the indigenous inhabitants of the islands, the Chagossians. Most of the two thousand deportees ended up more than a thousand miles away in Mauritius and the Seychelles, where they were thrown into lives of poverty and forgotten. The purpose of this expulsion was to create a major US military base on one of the Chagossian islands, Diego Garcia.
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz (An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States (ReVisioning American History, #3))
When Congress approved the decision to retire the SR-71, the Smithsonian Institution requested that a Blackbird be delivered for eventual display in the Air and Space Museum in Washington and that we set a new transcontinental speed record delivering it from California to Dulles. I had the honor of piloting that final flight on March 6, 1990, for its final 2,300-mile flight between L.A. and D.C. I took off with my backseat navigator, Lt. Col. Joe Vida, at 4:30 in the morning from Palmdale, just outside L.A., and despite the early hour, a huge crowd cheered us off. We hit a tanker over the Pacific then turned and dashed east, accelerating to 2.6 Mach and about sixty thousand feet. Below stretched hundreds of miles of California coastline in the early morning light. In the east and above, the hint of a red sunrise and the bright twinkling lights from Venus, Mars, and Saturn. A moment later we were directly over central California, with the Blackbird’s continual sonic boom serving as an early wake-up call to the millions sleeping below on this special day. I pushed out to Mach 3.3.
Ben R. Rich (Skunk Works: A Personal Memoir of My Years of Lockheed)
With the best of intentions, the generation before mine worked diligently to prepare their children to make an intelligent case for Christianity. We were constantly reminded of the superiority of our own worldview and the shortcomings of all others. We learned that as Christians, we alone had access to absolute truth and could win any argument. The appropriate Bible verses were picked out for us, the opposing positions summarized for us, and the best responses articulated for us, so that we wouldn’t have to struggle through two thousand years of theological deliberations and debates but could get right to the bottom line on the important stuff: the deity of Christ, the nature of the Trinity, the role and interpretation of Scripture, and the fundamentals of Christianity. As a result, many of us entered the world with both an unparalleled level of conviction and a crippling lack of curiosity. So ready with the answers, we didn’t know what the questions were anymore. So prepared to defend the faith, we missed the thrill of discovering it for ourselves. So convinced we had God right, it never occurred to us that we might be wrong. In short, we never learned to doubt. Doubt is a difficult animal to master because it requires that we learn the difference between doubting God and doubting what we believe about God. The former has the potential to destroy faith; the latter has the power to enrich and refine it. The former is a vice; the latter a virtue. Where would we be if the apostle Peter had not doubted the necessity of food laws, or if Martin Luther had not doubted the notion that salvation can be purchased? What if Galileo had simply accepted church-instituted cosmology paradigms, or William Wilberforce the condition of slavery? We do an injustice to the intricacies and shadings of Christian history when we gloss over the struggles, when we read Paul’s epistles or Saint Augustine’s Confessions without acknowledging the difficult questions that these believers asked and the agony with which they often asked them. If I’ve learned anything over the past five years, it’s that doubt is the mechanism by which faith evolves. It helps us cast off false fundamentals so that we can recover what has been lost or embrace what is new. It is a refining fire, a hot flame that keeps our faith alive and moving and bubbling about, where certainty would only freeze it on the spot. I would argue that healthy doubt (questioning one’s beliefs) is perhaps the best defense against unhealthy doubt (questioning God). When we know how to make a distinction between our ideas about God and God himself, our faith remains safe when one of those ideas is seriously challenged. When we recognize that our theology is not the moon but rather a finger pointing at the moon, we enjoy the freedom of questioning it from time to time. We can say, as Tennyson said, Our little systems have their day; They have their day and cease to be; They are but broken lights of thee, And thou, O Lord, art more than they.15 I sometimes wonder if I might have spent fewer nights in angry, resentful prayer if only I’d known that my little systems — my theology, my presuppositions, my beliefs, even my fundamentals — were but broken lights of a holy, transcendent God. I wish I had known to question them, not him. What my generation is learning the hard way is that faith is not about defending conquered ground but about discovering new territory. Faith isn’t about being right, or settling down, or refusing to change. Faith is a journey, and every generation contributes its own sketches to the map. I’ve got miles and miles to go on this journey, but I think I can see Jesus up ahead.
Rachel Held Evans (Faith Unraveled: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask Questions)
Undersecretary of State Robert Lansing, number two man in the State Department, tried to put this phenomenon into words in a private memorandum. “It is difficult, if not impossible, for us here in the United States to appreciate in all its fullness the great European War,” he wrote. “We have come to read almost with indifference of vast military operations, of battle lines extending for hundreds of miles, of the thousands of dying men, of the millions suffering all manner of privation, of the wide-spread waste and destruction.” The nation had become inured to it all, he wrote. “The slaughter of a thousand men between the trenches in northern France or of another thousand on a foundering cruiser has become commonplace. We read the headlines in the newspapers and let it go at that. The details have lost their interest.
Erik Larson (Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania)
America, secure in its fortress of neutrality, watched the war at a remove and found it all unfathomable. Undersecretary of State Robert Lansing, number two man in the State Department, tried to put this phenomenon into words in a private memorandum. “It is difficult, if not impossible, for us here in the United States to appreciate in all its fullness the great European War,” he wrote. “We have come to read almost with indifference of vast military operations, of battle lines extending for hundreds of miles, of the thousands of dying men, of the millions suffering all manner of privation, of the wide-spread waste and destruction.” The nation had become inured to it all, he wrote. “The slaughter of a thousand men between the trenches in northern France or of another thousand on a foundering cruiser has become commonplace. We read the headlines in the newspapers and let it go at that. The details have lost their interest.
Erik Larson (Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania)
Before we move on, let me clarify that there is a fundamental difference between what we do and how predictable we are. When it comes to things we do-like the distances we travel, the number of e-mails we send, or the number of calls we make-we encounter power laws, which means that some individuals are significantly more active than others. They send more messages; they travel farther. This also means that out-liers are normal-we expect to have a few individuals, like Hasan, who cover hundreds or even thousands of miles on a regular basis. But when it comes to the predictability of our actions, to our surprise power laws are replaced by Gaussians. This means that whether you limit your life to a two-mile neighborhood or drive dozens of miles each day, take a fast train to work or even commute via airplane, you are just as predictable as everyone else. And once Gaussians dominate the problem, outliers are forbidden, just as bursts are never found in Poisson's dice-driven universe. Or two-mile-tall folks ambling down the street are unheard of. Despite the many differences between us, when it came to our whereabouts we are all equally predictable, and the unforgiving law of statistics forbids the existence of individuals who somehow buck this trend.
Albert-László Barabási (Bursts: The Hidden Pattern Behind Everything We Do)
Darwin’s Bestiary PROLOGUE Animals tame and animals feral prowled the Dark Ages in search of a moral: the canine was Loyal, the lion was Virile, rabbits were Potent and gryphons were Sterile. Sloth, Envy, Gluttony, Pride—every peril was fleshed into something phantasmic and rural, while Courage, Devotion, Thrift—every bright laurel crowned a creature in some mythological mural. Scientists think there is something immoral in singular brutes having meat that is plural: beasts are mere beasts, just as flowers are floral. Yet between the lines there’s an implicit demurral; the habit stays with us, albeit it’s puerile: when Darwin saw squirrels, he saw more than Squirrel. 1. THE ANT The ant, Darwin reminded us, defies all simple-mindedness: Take nothing (says the ant) on faith, and never trust a simple truth. The PR men of bestiaries eulogized for centuries this busy little paragon, nature’s proletarian— but look here, Darwin said: some ants make slaves of smaller ants, and end exploiting in their peonages the sweating brows of their tiny drudges. Thus the ant speaks out of both sides of its mealy little mouth: its example is extolled to the workers of the world, but its habits also preach the virtues of the idle rich. 2. THE WORM Eyeless in Gaza, earless in Britain, lower than a rattlesnake’s belly-button, deaf as a judge and dumb as an audit: nobody gave the worm much credit till Darwin looked a little closer at this spaghetti-torsoed loser. Look, he said, a worm can feel and taste and touch and learn and smell; and ounce for ounce, they’re tough as wrestlers, and love can turn them into hustlers, and as to work, their labors are mythic, small devotees of the Protestant Ethic: they’ll go anywhere, to mountains or grassland, south to the rain forests, north to Iceland, fifty thousand to every acre guzzling earth like a drunk on liquor, churning the soil and making it fertile, earning the thanks of every mortal: proud Homo sapiens, with legs and arms— his whole existence depends on worms. So, History, no longer let the worm’s be an ignoble lot unwept, unhonored, and unsung. Moral: even a worm can turn. 3. THE RABBIT a. Except in distress, the rabbit is silent, but social as teacups: no hare is an island. (Moral: silence is golden—or anyway harmless; rabbits may run, but never for Congress.) b. When a rabbit gets miffed, he bounds in an orbit, kicking and scratching like—well, like a rabbit. (Moral: to thine own self be true—or as true as you can; a wolf in sheep’s clothing fleeces his skin.) c. He populates prairies and mountains and moors, but in Sweden the rabbit can’t live out of doors. (Moral: to know your own strength, take a tug at your shackles; to understand purity, ponder your freckles.) d. Survival developed these small furry tutors; the morals of rabbits outnumber their litters. (Conclusion: you needn’t be brainy, benign, or bizarre to be thought a great prophet. Endure. Just endure.) 4. THE GOSSAMER Sixty miles from land the gentle trades that silk the Yankee clippers to Cathay sift a million gossamers, like tides of fluff above the menace of the sea. These tiny spiders spin their bits of webbing and ride the air as schooners ride the ocean; the Beagle trapped a thousand in its rigging, small aeronauts on some elusive mission. The Megatherium, done to extinction by its own bigness, makes a counterpoint to gossamers, who breathe us this small lesson: for survival, it’s the little things that count.
Philip Appleman
A look passed between Genevieve, Kaya, and I, a silent knowledge relating back to the warning Anansi had given us that Paine was growing corn here, recalling a vision I had not long ago about acres and acres of the stuff stretching on for miles beneath a moonlit sky, about so many lessons gleaned in the Divine Rite Academy as children regarding the “Devil’s Grain” and how to spot it and its many forms by sight and smell, so that we would always avoid it if it should ever reappear on this earth. That yellow sweet temptress. Its siren song was near impossible to avoid, even though I’d never once tasted it. But somehow I knew exactly how it would taste, how its rough grit would crunch between my teeth like grains of sand, as if it had been imprinted into my genes from so many ancestors going back thousands of years who were gluttons for those kernels of gold. We could drive it to extinction or turn it into a monster that would drive us to extinction, but it would always be a part of us, waiting for resurrection. I could tell by the way the women gazed at the platter of golden medallions that they were having a similar fight in their minds. Just one bite. One little taste. It wouldn’t be so bad. And then we could move on.
Allison M. Dickson (The Last Supper)
The distance between us was just a few inches of evening air, but his arm seemed to bridge a span of miles and his featherlight touch crumbled walls that had taken years to build. His fingers moved into my hair, and his other arm slid around my waist. My hands wanted to go to him, but in disbelief, I couldn’t move. He took a breath and, for a moment, I thought he was about to speak. Instead, he drew me to him and kissed me. It was a gentle kiss, just his lips against mine as we breathed each other in, but it eased a deep, consuming sense of loss I hadn’t even been fully aware of. I wrapped my arms around him, holding him closer and letting him overwhelm my senses. For all that had been said and all we’d been through, it was this kiss—this deliberate, silent return to the way things should have been—that allowed me to release my breath for the first time in months. In years. I had to break the kiss just to look at him, to remind myself that this was real. Our eyes met, and it was. He was here. My world was back on its axis. There were a thousand things I wanted to say, to ask, to know, but words hadn’t done us a lot of good. All they’d done was keep me from hearing everything he’d tried to tell me all along. Talking could wait until we’d said all the things we needed to say. So I kissed him again.
L.A. Witt (The Distance Between Us (The Distance Between Us #1; Wilde's #2))
We had little money but didn’t think of ourselves as poor. Our vision, if I can call it that, was not materialistic. If we had a concept about ourselves, it was egalitarian, although we would not have known what that word meant. We spoke French entirely. There was a bond between Cajuns and people of color. Cajuns didn’t travel, because they believed they lived in the best place on earth. But somehow the worst in us, or outside of us, asserted itself and prevailed and replaced everything that was good in our lives. We traded away our language, our customs, our stands of cypress, our sugarcane acreage, our identity, and our pride. Outsiders ridiculed us and thought us stupid; teachers forbade our children to speak French on the school grounds. Our barrier islands were dredged to extinction. Our coastline was cut with eight thousand miles of industrial channels, destroying the root systems of the sawgrass and the swamps. The bottom of the state continues to wash away in the flume of the Mississippi at a rate of sixteen square miles a year. Much of this we did to ourselves in the same way that a drunk like me will destroy a gift, one that is irreplaceable and extended by a divine hand. Our roadsides are littered with trash, our rain ditches layered with it, our waterways dumping grounds for automobile tires and couches and building material. While we trivialize the implications of our drive-through daiquiri windows and the seediness of our politicians and recite our self-congratulatory mantra, laissez les bons temps rouler, the southern rim of the state hovers on the edge of oblivion, a diminishing, heartbreaking strip of green lace that eventually will be available only in photographs.
James Lee Burke (The New Iberia Blues (Dave Robicheaux #22))
My mother had either finally given up, conceding in her efforts to try to shape me into something I didn’t want to be, or she had moved on to subtler tactics, realizing it was unlikely that I’d last another year in this mess before I discovered she’d been right all along. Or maybe the three thousand miles between us had made it so she was just happy to be with me.
Michelle Zauner (Crying in H Mart)
One of the results of the battle, which is at least significant, is the fact that General Grant, who had superciliously refused to recognize General Polk as one with whom he could exchange prisoners, did, after the battle, send a flag of truce to get such privileges as are recognized between armies acknowledging each other to be "foemen worthy of their steel." General Polk reported as follows: "We pursued them to their boats, seven miles, and then drove their boats before us. The road was strewed with their dead and wounded, guns, ammunition, and equipments. The number of prisoners taken by the enemy, as shown by their list furnished, was one hundred and six, all of whom have been returned by exchange. After making a liberal allowance to the enemy, a hundred of their prisoners still remain in my hands, one stand of colors, and a fraction over one thousand stand of arms, with knapsacks, ammunition, and other military stores. Our loss in killed, wounded, and missing, was six hundred and forty one; that of the enemy was probably not less than twelve hundred.
Jefferson Davis (The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government)
Meanwhile, the economic gulf between us and our southern neighbors drove hundreds of thousands of people to illegally cross the 1,933-mile U.S.-Mexico border each year, searching for work and a better life. Congress had spent billions to harden the border, with fencing, cameras, drones, and an expanded and increasingly militarized border patrol. But rather than stop the flow of immigrants, these steps had spurred an industry of smugglers—coyotes—who made big money transporting human cargo in barbaric and sometimes deadly fashion. And although border crossings by poor Mexican and Central American migrants received most of the attention from politicians and the press, about 40 percent of America’s unauthorized immigrants arrived through airports or other legal ports of entry and then overstayed their visas.
Barack Obama (A Promised Land)
I’m sweaty. I’m tired. And I stink in places I really shouldn’t be stinking.” I whine and shoot a glare to Dean, who’s sitting in the passenger seat looking sheepish. “What?” he exclaims with his hands raised. “I didn’t know we’d have fucking car trouble. Your car isn’t even a year old.” “I know!” I snap, hitting my hand on the wheel and growling in frustration. “Stupid old lady car!” I exclaim and push my head closer to the window for a breeze. “The frickin’ air conditioning isn’t even working anymore. Me and this car are officially in a fight.” “I think we all just need to remain calm,” Lynsey chirps from the back seat, leaning forward so her head comes between Dean’s and mine. “Because, as horrible as this trip was, after everything that’s happened between the three of us the past couple of years, I think this was really healing.” I close my eyes and shake my head, ruing the moment I agreed that a road trip to the Rocky Mountains to pick up this four-thousand-dollar carburetor from some hick who apparently didn’t know how to ‘mail things so they don’t get lost.’” Honestly! How are people who don’t use the mail a thing? Though, admittedly, when we got to the man’s mountain home, I realized that he was probably more familiar with the Pony Express. And I couldn’t be sure his wife wasn’t his cousin. But that’s me being judgmental. Still, though, it’s no wonder he wouldn’t let me PayPal him the money. I had to get an actual cashier’s check from a real bank. Then on our way back down the mountain, I got a flat tire. Dean, Lynsey, and I set about changing it together, thinking three heads could figure out how to put a spare tire on better than one. One minute, I’m snapping at Dean to hand me the tire iron, and the next minute, he’s asking me if I’m being a bitch because he told me he had feelings for me. Then Lynsey chimes in, hurt and dismayed that neither of us told her about our conversation at the bakery, and it was a mess. On top of all of that, my car wouldn’t start back up! It was a disaster. The three of us fighting with each other on the side of the road looked like a bad episode of Sister Wives: Colorado Edition. I should probably make more friends. “God, I hope this thing is legit,” Dean states, turning the carburetor over in his hands. “Put it down. You’re making me nervous,” I snap, eyeing him cautiously. We’re only five miles from Tire Depot, and they close in ten, so my nerves are freaking fried. “I just want to drop this thing off and forget this whole trip ever happened.” “No!” Lynsey exclaims. “Stick to the plan. This is your grand gesture! Your get out of jail free card.” “I don’t want a get out of jail free card,” I cry back. “The longer we spent on that hot highway trying to figure out what was wrong with my car, the more ridiculous this plan became in my head. I don’t want to buy Miles’s affection back. I want him to want me for me. Flaws and all.” “So what are you going to do?” Dean asks, and I feel his concerned eyes on mine. “I’m going to drop this expensive hunk of metal at the counter and leave. I’m not giving it to him naked or holding the thing above my head like John Cusack in Say Anything. I’ll drop it off at the front counter, and then we’ll go. End of story.” Lynsey’s voice pipes up from behind. “That sounds like the worst ending to a book I’ve ever heard.” “This isn’t a book!” I shriek. “This is my life, and it’s no wonder this plan has turned into such a mess. It has desperation stamped all over it. I just want to go home, eat some pizza, and cry a little, okay?” The car is dead silent as we enter Boulder until Dean’s voice pipes up. “Hey Kate, I know you’re a little emongry right now, but I really don’t think you should drive on this spare tire anymore. They’re only manufactured to drive for so many miles, you know.” I turn and glower over at him. He shrinks down into his seat a little bit.
Amy Daws (Wait With Me (Wait With Me, #1))
Beijing’s creation of three thousand acres of new land in the South China Sea between 2013 and 2015 has placed China on a trajectory to dominate the entire body of water by 2020. “They will control the South China Sea against all the militaries out there with the exception of the U.S. military in all scenarios short of war,” he said.*2 Here again, China was pushing the envelope in at least two ways. The first was by claiming a range of rights over what goes on within an EEZ that exceeds what most countries recognize. Conventional interpretations of the international law of the sea allow “innocent passage” of vessels from other nations through any state’s two-hundred-mile EEZ, including military vessels, which should neither pause or linger nor “launch or recover aircraft, collect military intelligence, distribute propaganda, launch any kind of watercraft, fire weapons, fish or take any action that is not involved in the direct passage of the ship through the territory of the coastal state,” according to an article published in September 2015 by the U.S. Naval Institute.
Howard W. French (Everything Under the Heavens: How the Past Helps Shape China's Push for Global Power)
Thoughts at a Café Table Between the Kazan and the Iron Gates Progress has now placed the whole of this landscape underwater. A traveller sitting at my old table on the quay at Orsova would have to peer at the scenery through a thick brass-hinged disc of glass; this would frame a prospect of murk and slime [...] Moving a couple of miles downstream, he would fumble his way on to the waterlogged island and among the drowned Turkish houses; or, upstream, flounder among the weeds and rubble choking Count Széchenyi's road and peer across the dark gulf at the vestiges of Trajan on the other side; and all round him, above and below, the dark abyss would yawn and the narrows where currents once rushed and cataracts shuddered from bank to bank and echoes zigzagged along the vertiginous clefts would be sunk in diluvian since. [...] He could toil many days up these cheerless soundings, for Rumania and Yugoslavia have built one of the world's biggest ferro-concrete dams and hydro-electric power plants across the Iron Gates. This has turned a hundred and thirty miles of the Danube into a vast pond which has swollen and blurred the course of the river beyond recognition. It has abolished cayons, turned beetling crags into mild hills and ascended the beautiful Cerna valley almost to the Baths of Hercules. Many thousands of the inhabitabnts of Orşova and the riparian hamlets had to be uprooted and transplanted elsewhere. The islanders of Ada Kaleh have been moved to another islet downstream and their old home has vanished under the still surface as though it has never been. Let us hope that the power generated by the dam has spread well-being on either bank and lit up Rumanian and Yugoslav towns brighter than ever before because, in everything but economics, the damage is irreparrable. [... M]yths, lost voices, history and hearsay have all been put to rout, leaving nothing but this valley of shadow. Goethe's advice, 'Bewahre Dich vor Räuber und Ritter und Gespenstergeschichten',* has been taken literally, and everything has fled. _____________ * Beware of the robber, the cavalier, and ghost stories.
Patrick Leigh Fermor (Between the Woods and the Water (Trilogy, #2))
The US military had this huge generator they needed to get to an airfield site they were planning in the south. This was a remote area, and aside from a few pockets of US troops, it was completely under bandit control. There was no fuel available for miles around the landing spot, and none of the outfits we approached would touch it with a bargepole. They all kept saying, “We’ll never get out again, how can we take off from an unprepared airfield with no fuel?” ‘The job was priced at between sixty thousand and seventy thousand dollars, but one day there’s a phone call from these Russian guys. They said, “We’ll do it, but it’ll cost you two million dollars, in advance.” The Americans didn’t really have a choice by this stage, so they paid. And sure enough, right on time, this ex-Soviet air force crew flew in, with the generator, in this battered old Il-76, unloaded the generator, then sat down for a leisurely smoke. ‘Just as all the Americans were wondering how on earth they were going to fly out again, there’s a cloud of dust and up clatters this old minibus driven by some Afghan bloke – and these airmen just get in and drive off. The Yanks were all going, “Hey, how will you get the plane back?” And the crew just said, “We won’t. It’s an old one – we only bought it for this job, and we’re ditching it here.” Half a million dollars it cost them, and they held it together with string just long enough to land, then cleared off one and a half million dollars in profit and left it to rust. It’s still there.
Matt Potter (Outlaws Inc.)
It’s too late now. The game’s been won by companies who don’t give two shits about community character or decent jobs. Congratufuckinglations, America! We did the deal. Now we’ve got an unlimited supply of cheap commodities and unhealthy food and crumbling downtowns, no sense of place, and a permanent under class. Yay. The underclass isn’t relegated to urban ghettos either. It’s coast to coast and especially in between. Take US 50 west from Kansas City to Sacramento or US 6 from Chicago to California and you’ll see a couple thousand miles of corn, soybeans, and terminally ill towns. It looks like a scene from The Walking Dead. If there’s such a thing as the American Heartland, it has a stake through it.
Finn Murphy (The Long Haul: A Trucker's Tales of Life on the Road)
Every single cell in the human body replaces itself over a period of seven years. That means there’s not even the smallest part of you now that was part of you seven years ago. Everything is changing. In the early days of my second life I noticed how the shadow of a telegraph pole would inch between the gardens of two houses across the street – from 152 to the garden of 150 – over the course of several hours, from lunchtime into evening. After watching this a few times I did the maths: the shadow movement from one garden to the next meant that both houses, the telegraph pole, the street, all of us, had travelled one thousand, one hundred and sixty miles around the earth with the turning of the planet. We’d also travelled about seventy-six thousand miles through space around the sun in the same period and much much further as part of the wider spiralling of the galaxy. And nobody noticed a thing. There is no stillness, only change. Yesterday’s here is not today’s here. Yesterday’s here is somewhere in Russia, in a wilderness in Canada, a deep blue nowhere out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. It’s behind the sun, it’s in deep space, hundreds of thousands, millions of miles left behind. We can never wake up in the same place we went to sleep in. Our place in the universe, the universe itself, it all changes faster and faster by the second. Every one of us standing on this planet, we’re all moving forwards and we’re never ever coming back. The truth is, stillness is an idea, a dream. It’s the thought of friendly, welcoming lights still shining in all the places we’ve been forced to abandon.
Steven Hall (The Raw Shark Texts)
All beauty calls you to me, and you seem, Past twice a thousand miles of shifting sea, To reach me. You are as the wind I breathe Here on the ship's sun-smitten topmost deck, With only light between the heavens and me. I feel your spirit and I close my eyes, Knowing the bright hair blowing in the sun, The eager whisper and the searching eyes. Listen, I love you. Do not turn your face Nor touch me. Only stand and watch awhile The blue unbroken circle of sea. Look far away and let me ease my heart Of words that beat in it with broken wing. Look far away, and if I say too much, Forget that I am speaking. Only watch, How like a gull that sparking sinks to rest, The foam-crest drifts along a happy wave Toward the bright verge, the boundary of the world. I am so weak a thing, praise me for this, That in some strange way I was strong enough To keep my love unuttered and to stand Altho' I longed to kneel to you that night You looked at me with ever-calling eyes. Was I not calm? And if you guessed my love You thought it something delicate and free, Soft as the sound of fir-trees in the wind, Fleeting as phosphorescent stars in foam. Yet in my heart there was a beating storm Bending my thoughts before it, and I strove To say too little lest I say too much, And from my eyes to drive love’s happy shame. Yet when I heard your name the first far time It seemed like other names to me, and I Was all unconscious, as a dreaming river That nears at last its long predestined sea; And when you spoke to me, I did not know That to my life’s high altar came its priest. But now I know between my God and me You stand forever, nearer God than I, And in your hands with faith and utter joy I would that I could lay my woman’s soul. Oh, my love To whom I cannot come with any gift Of body or of soul, I pass and go. But sometimes when you hear blown back to you My wistful, far-off singing touched with tears, Know that I sang for you alone to hear, And that I wondered if the wind would bring To him who tuned my heart its distant song. So might a woman who in loneliness Had borne a child, dreaming of days to come, Wonder if it would please its father’s eyes. But long before I ever heard your name, Always the undertone’s unchanging note In all my singing had prefigured you, Foretold you as a spark foretells a flame. Yet I was free as an untethered cloud In the great space between the sky and sea, And might have blown before the wind of joy Like a bright banner woven by the sun. I did not know the longing in the night– You who have waked me cannot give me sleep. All things in all the world can rest, but I, Even the smooth brief respite of a wave When it gives up its broken crown of foam, Even that little rest I may not have. And yet all quiet loves of friends, all joy In all the piercing beauty of the world I would give up– go blind forevermore, Rather than have God blot from out my soul Remembrance of your voice that said my name. For us no starlight stilled the April fields, No birds awoke in darking trees for us, Yet where we walked the city’s street that night Felt in our feet the singing fire of spring, And in our path we left a trail of light Soft as the phosphorescence of the sea When night submerges in the vessel’s wake A heaven of unborn evanescent stars.
Sara Teasdale (The Collected Poems)
Permanent Revolution THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION OPENED up new ways to convert energy and to produce goods, largely liberating humankind from its dependence on the surrounding ecosystem. Humans cut down forests, drained swamps, dammed rivers, flooded plains, laid down hundreds of thousands of miles of railroad tracks, and built skyscraping metropolises. As the world was moulded to fit the needs of Homo sapiens, habitats were destroyed and species went extinct. Our once green and blue planet is becoming a concrete and plastic shopping centre. Today, the earth’s continents are home to billions of Sapiens. If you took all these people and put them on a large set of scales, their combined mass would be about 300 million tons. If you then took all our domesticated farmyard animals – cows, pigs, sheep and chickens – and placed them on an even larger set of scales, their mass would amount to about 700 million tons. In contrast, the combined mass of all surviving large wild animals – from porcupines and penguins to elephants and whales – is less than 100 million tons. Our children’s books, our iconography and our TV screens are still full of giraffes, wolves and chimpanzees, but the real world has very few of them left. There are about 80,000 giraffes in the world, compared to 1.5 billion cattle; only 200,000 wolves, compared to 400 million domesticated dogs; only 250,000 chimpanzees – in contrast to billions of humans. Humankind really has taken over the world.1 Ecological degradation is not the same as resource scarcity. As we saw in the previous chapter, the resources available to humankind are constantly increasing, and are likely to continue to do so. That’s why doomsday prophesies of resource scarcity are probably misplaced. In contrast, the fear of ecological degradation is only too well founded. The future may see Sapiens gaining control of a cornucopia of new materials and energy sources, while simultaneously destroying what remains of the natural habitat and driving most other species to extinction. In fact, ecological turmoil might endanger the survival of Homo sapiens itself. Global warming, rising oceans and widespread pollution could make the earth less hospitable to our kind, and the future might consequently see a spiralling race between human power and human-induced natural disasters. As humans use their power to counter the forces of nature and subjugate the ecosystem to their needs and whims, they might cause more and more unanticipated and dangerous side effects. These are likely to be controllable only by even more drastic manipulations of the ecosystem, which would result in even worse chaos. Many call this process ‘the destruction of nature’. But it’s not really destruction, it’s change. Nature cannot be destroyed. Sixty-five million years ago, an asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs, but in so doing opened the way forward for mammals. Today, humankind is driving many species into extinction and might even annihilate itself. But other organisms are doing quite well. Rats and cockroaches, for example, are in their heyday. These tenacious creatures would probably creep out from beneath the smoking rubble of a nuclear Armageddon, ready and able to spread their DNA. Perhaps 65 million years from now, intelligent rats will look back gratefully on the decimation wrought by humankind, just as we today can thank that dinosaur-busting asteroid. Still, the rumours of our own extinction are premature. Since the Industrial Revolution, the world’s human population has burgeoned as never before. In 1700 the world was home to some 700 million humans. In 1800 there were 950 million of us. By 1900 we almost doubled our numbers to 1.6 billion. And by 2000 that quadrupled to 6 billion. Today there are just shy of 7 billion Sapiens.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
Shea blinked back tears, found his wrist with trembling fingers, the lightest contact, a connection between them. “We make such a perfect pair, Jacques. At least one of us should be stable, don’t you think?” He brought her hand to the warmth of his mouth. “You came for me, from thousands of miles away. You came for me.” She managed a smile. “A few years late.” Something eased in the vicinity of his heart. He knew there was no escape for either of them. He might not understand fully, but he knew he had bound them irrevocably together for all time. “Is there not a saying, ‘Better late than never’?” His thumb feathered over her wrist, found her pulse.
Christine Feehan (Dark Desire (Dark, #2))
You have no idea how badly I wish you could see my life. Understand it. See me." "Across the thousands of miles you've always put between us?
Sonali Dev (Recipe for Persuasion (The Rajes, #2))
I cannot always distinguish reality from the madness. There is only you, my love, to keep me sane. If you choose to desert me, I fear for myself and any who dare to come near.” Shea blinked back tears, found his wrist with trembling fingers, the lightest contact, a connection between them. “We make such a perfect pair, Jacques. At least one of us should be stable, don’t you think?” He brought her hand to the warmth of his mouth. “You came for me, from thousands of miles away. You came for me.” She managed a smile. “A few years late.” Something eased in the vicinity of his heart. He knew there was no escape for either of them. He might not understand fully, but he knew he had bound them irrevocably together for all time. “Is there not a saying, ‘Better late than never’?” His thumb feathered over her wrist, found her pulse. Her mind was calmer now, more accepting of their union. She rested her head in the niche of his sternum. “I feel so terrible that I didn’t listen to my dreams. If only…” His hand covered her mouth, stopping her words. “You saved my sanity. You came for me. That is all that matters. Now we have to find our way together.
Christine Feehan (Dark Desire (Dark, #2))
I'm not going to Wichita,' Vladimir said, the word 'Wichita' rendered by his accent as the most foreign word imaginable in the English language. 'I’m going to live with Fran and it’s going to be all right. You’re going to make it all right.' But even as he was laying down the law, his hands were shaking to the point where it was hard to keep the shabby pay-phone receiver properly positioned between his mouth and ear. Teardrops were blurring the corners of his eyes and he felt the need to have Baobab hear him burst out in a series of long, convulsive sobs, Roberta-style. All he had wanted was twenty thousand lousy dollars. It wasn’t a million. It was how much Dr. Girshkin made on average from two of his nervous gold-toothed patients. 'Okay,' Baobab said. 'Here’s how we’re going to do it. These are the new rules. Memorize them or write them down. Do you have a pen? Hello? Okay, Rule One: you can’t visit anyone—friends, relatives, work, nothing. You can only call me from a pay phone and we can’t talk for more than three minutes.' He paused. Vladimir imagined him reading this from a little scrap of paper. Suddenly Baobab said, under his breath: 'Tree, nine-thirty, tomorrow.' 'The two of us can never meet in person,' he was saying loudly now. 'We will keep in touch only by phone. If you check into a hotel, make sure you pay cash. Never pay by credit card. Once more: Tree, nine-thirty, tomorrow.' Tree. Their Tree? The Tree? And nine-thirty? Did he mean in the morning? It was hard to imagine Baobab up at that unholy hour. 'Rule Five: I want you to keep moving at all times, or at least try to keep moving. Which brings us to…' But just as Rule Six was about to come over the transom, there was a tussle for the phone and Roberta came on the line in her favorite Bowery harlot voice, the kind that smelled like gin nine hundred miles away. 'Vladimir, dear, hi!' Well, at least someone was enjoying Vladimir’s downfall. 'Say, I was thinking, do you have any ties with the Russian underworld, honey?' Vladimir thought of hanging up, but the way things were going even Roberta’s voice was a distinctly human one. He thought of Mr. Rybakov’s son, the Groundhog. 'Prava,' he muttered, unable to articulate any further. An uptown train rumbled beneath him to underscore the underlying shakiness of his life. Two blocks downtown, a screaming professional was being tossed back and forth between two joyful muggers. 'Prava, how very now!' Roberta said. 'Laszlo’s thinking of opening up an Academy of Acting and the Plastic Arts there. Did you know that there are thirty thousand Americans in Prava? At least a half dozen certified Hemingways among them, wouldn’t you agree?' 'Thank you for your concern, Roberta. It’s touching. But right now I have other… There are problems. Besides, getting to Prava… What can I do?… There’s an old Russian sailor… An old lunatic… He needs to be naturalized.' There was a long pause at this point and Vladimir realized that in his haste he wasn’t making much sense. 'It’s a long story…' he began, 'but essentially… I need to… Oh God, what’s wrong with me?' 'Talk to me, you big bear!' Roberta encouraged him. 'Essentially, if I get this old lunatic his citizenship, he’ll set me up with his son in Prava.' 'Okay, then,' Roberta said. 'I definitely can’t get him his citizenship.' 'No,' Vladimir concurred. 'No, you can’t.' What was he doing talking to a sixteen-year-old? 'But,' Roberta said, 'I can get him the next best thing…
Gary Shteyngart (The Russian Debutante's Handbook)
My wife and I can't recall how many years we've been married, but we'll never forget our first backpacking trip together. We'd just begun dating and I was her trail-hardened outdoorsman, a knight in shining Cordura, the guy who could handle any wilderness emergency. She was my...well, let's just say I was bent on making a good impression. This was her first backpacking experience and I wanted to have many more with her as my hiking partner. I'd checked and double-checked everything--trail conditions, equipment, weather forecast. I even bought a new stove for the occasion. We set off under overcast skies with packs loaded and spirits high. There was precipitation in the forecast, but it was November and too early for snow, I assured her. (Did I mention that we were just a few miles south of Mount Washington, home to the worst, most unpredictable weather in the Northeast?) As we climbed the few thousand feet up a granite ridge, the trail steadily steepened and we strained a bit under our loads. On top, a gentle breeze pushed a fluffy, light snowfall. The flakes were big and chunky, the kind you chase with your mouth open. Certainly no threat, I told her matter-of-factly. After a few miles, the winds picked up and the snowflakes thickened into a swirling soup. The trail all but dissolved into a wall of white, so I pulled out my compass to locate the three-sided shelter that was to be our base for the night. Eventually we found it, tucked alongside a gurgling freshet. The winds were roaring no, so I pitched our tent inside the shelter for added protection. It was a tight fit, with the tent door only two feet from the log end-wall, but at least we were out of the snowy gale. To ward off the cold and warm my fair belle, I pulled my glittering stove from its pouch, primed it, and confidently christened the burner with a match. She was awestruck by my backwoods wizardry. Color me smug and far too confident. That's when I noticed it: what appeared to be water streaming down the side of the stove. My new cooker's white-gas fuel was bathing the stove base. It was also drenching the tent floor between us and the doorway--the doorway that was zipped tightly shut. A headline flashed through my mind: "Brainless Hikers Toasted in White Mountains." The stove burst into flames that ran up the tent wall. I grabbed a wet sock, clutched the stove base with one hand, and unzipped the tent door with the other. I heaved the hissing fireball through the opening, assuming that was the end of the episode, only to hear a thud as it hit the shelter wall before bouncing back inside to melt some more nylon. My now fairly unimpressed belle grabbed a pack towel and doused the inferno. She breathed a huge sigh of relief, while I swallowed a pound of three of pride. We went on to have a thoroughly disastrous outing. The weather pounded us into submission. A full day of storm later with no letup in sight, we decided to hike out. Fortunately, that slippery, slithery descent down a snowed-up, iced-over trail was merely the end of our first backpacking trip together and not our relationship. --John Viehman
Karen Berger (Hiking & Backpacking A Complete Guide)
All beauty calls you to me, and you seem” All beauty calls you to me, and you seem, Past twice a thousand miles of shifting sea, To reach me. You are as the wind I breathe Here on the ship's sun-smitten topmost deck, With only light between the heavens and me. I feel your spirit and I close my eyes, Knowing the bright hair blowing in the sun, The eager whisper and the searching eyes. Listen, I love you. Do not turn your face Nor touch me. Only stand and watch awhile The blue unbroken circle of the sea. Look far away and let me ease my heart Of words that beat in it with broken wing. Look far away, and if I say too much, Forget that I am speaking. Only watch, How like a gull that sparkling sinks to rest, The foam-crest drifts along a happy wave Toward the bright verge, the boundary of the world. I am so weak a thing, praise me for this, That in some strange way I was strong enough To keep my love unuttered and to stand Altho' I longed to kneel to you that night You looked at me with ever-calling eyes. Was I not calm? And if you guessed my love You thought it something delicate and free, Soft as the sound of fir-trees in the wind, Fleeting as phosphorescent stars in foam. Yet in my heart there was a beating storm Bending my thoughts before it, and I strove To say too little lest I say too much, And from my eyes to drive love's happy shame. Yet when I heard your name the first far time It seemed like other names to me, and I Was all unconscious, as a dreaming river That nears at last its long predestined sea; And when you spoke to me, I did not know That to my life's high altar came its priest. But now I know between my God and me You stand forever, nearer God than I, And in your hands with faith and utter joy I would that I could lay my woman's soul. Oh, my love To whom I cannot come with any gift Of body or of soul, I pass and go. But sometimes when you hear blown back to you My wistful, far-off singing touched with tears, Know that I sang for you alone to hear, And that I wondered if the wind would bring To him who tuned my heart its distant song. So might a woman who in loneliness Had borne a child, dreaming of days to come, Wonder if it would please its father's eyes. But long before I ever heard your name, Always the undertone's unchanging note In all my singing had prefigured you, Foretold you as a spark foretells a flame. Yet I was free as an untethered cloud In the great space between the sky and sea, And might have blown before the wind of joy Like a bright banner woven by the sun. I did not know the longing in the night-- You who have waked me cannot give me sleep. All things in all the world can rest, but I, Even the smooth brief respite of a wave When it gives up its broken crown of foam, Even that little rest I may not have. And yet all quiet loves of friends, all joy In all the piercing beauty of the world I would give up--go blind forevermore, Rather than have God blot from out my soul Remembrance of your voice that said my name. For us no starlight stilled the April fields, No birds awoke in darkling trees for us, Yet where we walked the city's street that night Felt in our feet the singing fire of spring, And in our path we left a trail of light Soft as the phosphorescence of the sea When night submerges in the vessel's wake A heaven of unborn evanescent stars.
Sara Teasdale (Rivers to the Sea)
On 14 September 1869, one hundred years after his birth, Alexander von Humboldt’s centennial was celebrated across the world. There were parties in Europe, Africa and Australia as well as the Americas. In Melbourne and Adelaide people came together to listen to speeches in honour of Humboldt, as did groups in Buenos Aires and Mexico City. There were festivities in Moscow where Humboldt was called the ‘Shakespeare of sciences’, and in Alexandria in Egypt where guests partied under a sky illuminated with fireworks. The greatest commemorations were in the United States, where from San Francisco to Philadelphia, and from Chicago to Charleston, the nation saw street parades, sumptuous dinners and concerts. In Cleveland some 8,000 people took to the streets and in Syracuse another 15,000 joined a march that was more than a mile long. President Ulysses Grant attended the Humboldt celebrations in Pittsburgh together with 10,000 revellers who brought the city to a standstill. In New York City the cobbled streets were lined with flags. City Hall was veiled in banners, and entire houses had vanished behind huge posters bearing Humboldt’s face. Even the ships sailing by, out on the Hudson River, were garlanded in colourful bunting. In the morning thousands of people followed ten music bands, marching from the Bowery and along Broadway to Central Park to honour a man ‘whose fame no nation can claim’ as the New York Times’s front page reported. By early afternoon, 25,000 onlookers had assembled in Central Park to listen to the speeches as a large bronze bust of Humboldt was unveiled. In the evening as darkness settled, a torchlight procession of 15,000 people set out along the streets, walking beneath colourful Chinese lanterns. Let us imagine him, one speaker said, ‘as standing on the Andes’ with his mind soaring above all. Every speech across the world emphasized that Humboldt had seen an ‘inner correlation’ between all aspects of nature. In Boston, Emerson told the city’s grandees that Humboldt was ‘one of those wonders of the world’. His fame, the Daily News in London reported, was ‘in some sort bound up with the universe itself’. In Germany there were festivities in Cologne, Hamburg, Dresden, Frankfurt and many other cities. The greatest German celebrations were in Berlin, Humboldt’s hometown, where despite torrential rain 80,000 people assembled. The authorities had ordered offices and all government agencies to close for the day. As the rain poured down and gusts chilled the air, the speeches and singing nonetheless continued for hours.
Andrea Wulf (The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World)
She asked me once what would I do if she lost her memory. How would I remind her of my touch, my scent, the way we kiss, from all these miles away. And so I told her, "You can still feel the sunlight from thousands of light-years away, you can still see the beauty in the stars burning miles before yesterday, you can still hear the call of your love's voice even after the dream ends, you can still understand the magic of a letter long after words have been penned." I told her that memory is more than being present. It is in the way I feel every time I see a flower in her favorite color; it is in the playlist we made each other this past summer. It is in the stories we share about our day; it is in the pictures we have that will last forever. I told my love, "The space between is not measured by how many lonely nights we spend apart but rather all the beautiful moments always connecting my heart to your heart.
Courtney Peppernell (The Space Between Us: Poetry and Prose)
this comet was much smaller, less than half a mile across, and would miss Mars by about eighty thousand miles. This was still close enough to splatter the atmosphere with hydrogen and dust, producing atmospheric effects that were observable with telescopes and spacecraft. When the close approach occurred, it provided a great opportunity to learn more about the infrequent (on human timescales) but inevitable interactions of planets with comets. For me there was also an unsettling aspect. We hear more about the impact threat from stray near-Earth asteroids, but a comet like this one, plunging at a frightening pace from the dark periphery of the solar system, would be a more formidable threat. In contrast to the many years or even decades of warning we’d likely have for a menacing asteroid, a comet can appear with little notice. This Martian near miss occurred less than two years after McNaught’s discovery. If the wrong comet appeared, we might have only a similar warning interval between detection and Earth impact. The chances of this happening in any year are minuscule, but recent solar system history teaches us that, if we watch long enough, seemingly unlikely objects and events will eventually materialize.
David Grinspoon (Earth in Human Hands: Shaping Our Planet's Future)
His features were Middle Eastern, his eyes haunted but also defiant. They were all defiant, Gray had found. When he looked at someone like al-Omari, Gray couldn’t help but think of a Dostoyevsky creation, the displaced outsider, brooding, plotting and methodically stroking a weapon of anarchy. It was the face of a fanatic, of one possessed by a deranged evil. It was the same type of person who’d taken away forever the two people Gray had loved most in the world. Though al-Omari was thousands of miles away in a facility only a very few people even knew existed, the picture and sound were crystal clear thanks to the satellite downlink. Through his headset he asked al-Omari a question in English. The man promptly answered in Arabic and then smiled triumphantly. In flawless Arabic Gray said, “Mr. al-Omari, I am fluent in Arabic and can actually speak it better than you. I know that you lived in England for years and that you speak English better than you do Arabic. I strongly suggest that we communicate in that language so there is absolutely no misunderstanding between us.” Al-Omari’s smile faded, and he sat straighter in his chair. Gray explained his proposal. Al-Omari was to become a spy for the United States, infiltrating one of the deadliest terrorist organizations operating in the Middle East. The man promptly refused. Gray persisted and al-Omari refused yet again, adding that “I have no idea what you’re talking about.” “There are currently ninety-three terrorist organizations in the world as recognized by the U.S. State Department, most of them originating in the Middle East,” Gray responded. “You have confirmed membership in at least three of them. In addition, you were found with forged passports, structural plans to the Woodrow Wilson Bridge and bomb-making material. Now you’re going to work for us, or it will become distinctly unpleasant.” Al-Omari smiled and leaned toward the camera. “I was interrogated years ago in Jordan by your CIA and your military and your FBI, your so-called Tiger Teams. They sent females in wearing only their underwear. They wiped their menstrual blood on me, or at least what they called their menstrual blood, so I was unclean and could not perform my prayers. They rubbed their bodies against me, offered me sex if I talk. I say no to them and I am beaten afterward.” He sat back. “I have been threatened with rape, and they say I will get AIDS from it and die. I do not care. True followers of Muhammad do not fear death as you Christians do. It is your greatest weakness and will lead to your total destruction. Islam will triumph. It is written in the Qur’an. Islam will rule the world.
David Baldacci (The Camel Club (Camel Club, #1))
The whole world is there on the screen, for the taking, and a hive of demanding voices encourages us to absorb as much of it as possible, and keep up with it frantically, as it moves on, and it is always moving on, more swiftly and forgetfully than ever. If you're someone with a thirst for knowledge, you can very easily get sucked into the excitement of this, before you realise it's a flawed, impossible pursuit, and it's not making people, en mass, any more knowledgeable. What it instead often leads to is a brand of knowledge that's thousands of miles wide and half a centimetre deep: a pond-skating mentality of misleading screenshots and thinly gleaned opinions and out-of-context sound bites and people reading hastily between the lines while forgetting the vital thing you also need to do when practising that skill is to read the lines themselves. The idea of getting to know an area of limited size extremely well works as an antidote to this, and even in a very small area there is always more to know.
Tom Cox (21st-Century Yokel)