We are all travelers in the wilderness of this world, and the best we can find in our travels is an honest friend.
Robert Louis Stevenson
I am awfully greedy; I want everything from life. I want to be a woman and to be a man, to have many friends and to have loneliness, to work much and write good books, to travel and enjoy myself, to be selfish and to be unselfish… You see, it is difficult to get all which I want. And then when I do not succeed I get mad with anger.
Simone de Beauvoir
All men have stars, but they are not the same things for different people. For some, who are travelers, the stars are guides. For others they are no more than little lights in the sky. For others, who are scholars, they are problems... But all these stars are silent. You-You alone will have stars as no one else has them... In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars will be laughing when you look at the sky at night..You, only you, will have stars that can laugh! And when your sorrow is comforted (time soothes all sorrows) you will be content that you have known me... You will always be my friend. You will want to laugh with me. And you will sometimes open your window, so, for that pleasure... It will be as if, in place of the stars, I had given you a great number of little bells that knew how to laugh
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (The Little Prince)
It is a long way to Ireland, Janet, and I am sorry to send my little friend on such weary travels: but if I can't do better, how is it to be helped? Are you anything akin to me, do you think, Jane?"
I could risk no sort of answer by this time: my heart was still.
"Because, he said, "I sometimes have a queer feeling with regard to you - especially when you are near me, as now: it is as if I had a string somewhere under my left ribs, tightly and inextricably knotted to a similar string situated in the corresponding quarter of your little frame. And if that boisterous channel, and two hundred miles or so of land some broad between us, I am afraid that cord of communion will be snapt; and then I've a nervous notion I should take to bleeding inwardly. As for you, - you'd forget me.
Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre)
Do you think we can be friends?” I asked.
He stared up at the ceiling. “Probably not, but we can pretend.
Priya Ardis (Ever My Merlin (My Merlin, #3))
I am charging you with the protection of my mother and friends, not to mention keeping my younger self off the Internet. He is as dangerous as Opal.
Eoin Colfer (The Time Paradox (Artemis Fowl, #6))
Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends.
You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things: air, sleep, dreams, sea, the sky - all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.
I pack my trunk, embrace my friends, embark on the sea and at last wake up in Naples, and there beside me is the stern fact, the sad self, unrelenting, identical, that I fled from.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
There was another reason [she] took her books whenever they went away. They were her home when she was somewhere strange. They were familiar voices, friends that never quarreled with her, clever, powerful friends -- daring and knowledgeable, tried and tested adventurers who had traveled far and wide. Her books cheered her up when she was sad and kept her from being bored.
Cornelia Funke (Inkheart (Inkworld, #1))
Iz," Alec said tiredly. "It's not like it's one big bad thing. It's a lot of little invisible things. When Magnus and I were traveling, and I'd call from the road, Dad never asked how he was. When I get up to talk in Clave meetings, no one listens, and I don't know if that's because I'm young or if it's because of something else. I saw Mom talking to a friend about her grandchildren and the second I walked into the room they shut up. Irina Cartwright told me it was a pity no one would ever inherit my blue eyes now." He shrugged and looked toward Magnus, who took a hand off the wheel for a moment to place it on Alec's. "It's not like a stab wound you can protect me from. It's a million little paper cuts every day.
Cassandra Clare (City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments, #5))
When the two people who thus discover that they are on the same secret road are of different sexes, the friendship which arises between them will very easily pass – may pass in the first half hour – into erotic love. Indeed, unless they are physically repulsive to each other or unless one or both already loves elsewhere, it is almost certain to do so sooner or later. And conversely, erotic love may lead to Friendship between the lovers. But this, so far from obliterating the distinction between the two loves, puts it in a clearer light. If one who was first, in the deep and full sense, your Friend, is then gradually or suddenly revealed as also your lover you will certainly not want to share the Beloved’s erotic love with any third. But you will have no jealousy at all about sharing the Friendship. Nothing so enriches an erotic love as the discovery that the Beloved can deeply, truly and spontaneously enter into Friendship with the Friends you already had; to feel that not only are we two united by erotic love but we three or four or five are all travelers on the same quest, have all a common vision.
C.S. Lewis (The Four Loves)
The wish to travel seems to me characteristically human: the desire to move, to satisfy your curiosity or ease your fears, to change the circumstances of your life, to be a stranger, to make a friend, to experience an exotic landscape, to risk the unknown..
Paul Theroux (The Tao of Travel: Enlightenments from Lives on the Road)
My passionate sense of social justice and social responsibility has always contrasted oddly with my pronounced lack of need for direct contact with other human beings and human communities. I am truly a 'lone traveler' and have never belonged to my country, my home, my friends, or even my immediate family, with my whole heart; in the face of all these ties, I have never lost a sense of distance and a need for solitude…
Albert Einstein (Ideas and Opinions)
Kumiko and I felt something for each other from the beginning. It was not one of those strong, impulsive feelings that can hit two people like an electric shock when they first meet, but something quieter and gentler, like two tiny lights traveling in tandem through a vast darkness and drawing imperceptibly closer to each other as they go. As our meetings grew more frequent, I felt not so much that I had met someone new as that I had chanced upon a dear old friend.
Haruki Murakami (The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle)
Maybe happiness didn't have to be about the big, sweeping circumstances, about having everything in your life in place. Maybe it was about stringing together a bunch of small pleasures. Wearing slippers and watching the Miss Universe contest. Eating a brownie with vanilla ice cream. Getting to level seven in Dragon Master and knowing there were twenty more levels to go.
Maybe happiness was just a matter of the little upticks- the traffic signal that said "Walk" the second you go there- and downticks- the itch tag at the back of your collar- that happened to every person in the course of the day. Maybe everybody had the same allotted measure of happiness within each day.
maybe it didn't matter if you were a world-famous heartthrob or a painful geek. Maybe it didn't matter if your friend was possibly dying.
Maybe you just got through it. Maybe that was all you could ask for.
Ann Brashares (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Sisterhood, #1))
How evanescent those loves and friendships seem at this distance in time…We move on, make new attachments. We grow old. But sometimes, we hanker for old friendships, the old loves. Sometimes I wish I was young again. Or that I could travel back in time and pick up the threads. Absent so long, I may have stopped loving you, friends; but I will never stop loving the Day I loved you.
True friends don't come with conditions.
Aaron Lauritsen (100 Days Drive: The Great North American Road Trip)
Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.
Maya Angelou (Wouldn't Take Nothing for My Journey Now)
First look from morning's window
The rediscovered book
Snow, the change of the seasons
Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.
Naomi Shihab Nye (Words Under the Words: Selected Poems)
Ladies and gentlemen of the class of '97:
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.
Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.
Don't worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 pm on some idle Tuesday.
Do one thing everyday that scares you.
Don't be reckless with other people's hearts. Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.
Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself.
Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.
Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.
Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't.
Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You'll miss them when they're gone.
Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll divorce at 40, maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else's.
Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.
Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.
Read the directions, even if you don't follow them.
Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.
Get to know your parents. You never know when they'll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They're your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.
Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.
Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel.
Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble, and children respected their elders.
Respect your elders.
Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.
Don't mess too much with your hair or by the time you're 40 it will look 85.
Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.
But trust me on the sunscreen.
Mary Schmich (Wear Sunscreen: A Primer for Real Life)
There are adventures of the spirit and one can travel in books and interest oneself in people and affairs. One need never be dull as long as one has friends to help, gardens to enjoy and books in the long winter evenings.
D.E. Stevenson (Listening Valley)
When a person spends all his time in foreign travel, he ends by having many acquaintances, but no friends.
Seneca (Epistles 1-65)
I had found a new friend. The surprising thing is where I’d found him – not up a tree or sulking in the shade, or splashing around in one of the hill streams, but in a book. No one had told us kids to look there for a friend. Or that you could slip inside the skin of another. Or travel to another place with marshes, and where, to our ears, the bad people spoke like pirates.
Lloyd Jones (Mister Pip)
Traveling is a fool's paradise. Our first journeys discover to us the indifference of places. At home I dream that at Naples, at Rome, I can be intoxicated with beauty, and lose my sadness. I pack my trunk, embrace my friends, embark on the sea, and at last wake up in Naples, and there beside me is the stern fact, the sad self, unrelenting, identical, that I fled from. I seek the Vatican, and the palaces. I affect to be intoxicated with sights and suggestions, but I am not intoxicated. My giant goes with me wherever I go.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (Self-Reliance)
The very condition of having Friends is that we should want something else besides Friends. Where the truthful answer to the question "Do you see the same truth?" would be "I see nothing and I don't care about the truth; I only want a Friend," no Friendship can arise - though Affection of course may. There would be nothing for the Friendship to be about; and Friendship must be about something, even if it were only an enthusiasm for dominoes or white mice. Those who have nothing can share nothing; those who are going nowhere can have no fellow-travellers.
C.S. Lewis (The Four Loves)
And now, the end is near,
And so I face the final curtain.
My friend, I'll say it clear,
I'll state my case, of which I'm certain.
I've lived a life that's full.
I've traveled each and every highway;
And more, much more than this,
I did it my way.
Jacques Revaux (My Way (Sheet Music))
Disappointment will come when your effort does not give you the expected return. If things don’t go as planned or if you face failure. Failure is extremely difficult to handle, but those that do come out stronger. What did this failure teach me? is the question you will need to ask. You will feel miserable. You will want to quit, like I wanted to when nine publishers rejected my first book. Some IITians kill themselves over low grades – how silly is that? But that is how much failure can hurt you. But it’s life. If challenges could always be overcome, they would cease to be a challenge. And remember – if you are failing at something, that means you are at your limit or potential. And that’s where you want to be.
Disappointment’ s cousin is Frustration, the second storm. Have you ever been frustrated? It happens when things are stuck. This is especially relevant in India. From traffic jams to getting that job you deserve, sometimes things take so long that you don’t know if you chose the right goal. After books, I set the goal of writing for Bollywood, as I thought they needed writers. I am called extremely lucky, but it took me five years to get close to a release. Frustration saps excitement, and turns your initial energy into something negative, making you a bitter person. How did I deal with it? A realistic assessment of the time involved – movies take a long time to make even though they are watched quickly, seeking a certain enjoyment in the process rather than the end result – at least I was learning how to write scripts, having a side plan – I had my third book to write and even something as simple as pleasurable distractions in your life – friends, food, travel can help you overcome it. Remember, nothing is to be taken seriously. Frustration is a sign somewhere, you took it too seriously.
I am frequently asked if I have visited Israel, whereas yet, it is simply assumed that I have. Well, I don’t travel. I really don’t, and if I did, I probably wouldn’t visit Israel. I remember how it was in 1948 when Israel was being established and all my Jewish friends were ecstatic, I was not. I said: what are we doing? We are establishing ourselves in a ghetto, in a small corner of a vast Muslim sea. The Muslims will never forget nor forgive, and Israel, as long as it exists, will be embattled. I was laughed at, but I was right. I can’t help but feel that the Jews didn’t really have the right to appropriate a territory only because 2000 years ago, people they consider their ancestors, were living there. History moves on and you can’t really turn it back. (#92 ff.)
Isaac Asimov (Asimov Laughs Again: More Than 700 Jokes, Limericks and Anecdotes)
The sacred is in the ordinary...it is to be found in one's daily life, in one's neighbors, friends, and family, in one's own backyard...travel may be a flight from confronting the scared--this lesson can be easily lost. To be looking elsewhere for miracles is to me a sure sign of ignorance that everything is miraculous.
Abraham H. Maslow
A woman or man of value doesn’t love you because of what he or she wants you to be or do for them. He or she loves you because your combined souls understand one another, complements each other, and make sense above any other person in this world. You each share a part of their soul's mirror and see each other’s light reflected in it clearly. You can easily speak from the heart and feel safe doing so. Both of you have been traveling a parallel road your entire life. Without each other's presence, you feel like an old friend or family member was lost. It bothers you, not because you have given it too much meaning, but because God did. This is the type of person you don't have to fight for because you can't get rid of them and your heart doesn't want them to leave anyways.
Shannon L. Alder
Mostly you meet friends when traveling by accident, like by sitting next to them on the train, or in a restaurant, or in a holding cell.
Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love)
When you make friends with fear, it can’t rule you.
Anne Lamott (Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith)
I have my own set of survival techniques. I am patient. I know how to pack light. But my one might travel talent is that I can make friends with anybody. I can make friends with the dead. If there isn’t anyone else around to talk to, I could probably make friends with a four-foot-tall pile of sheetrock. That is why I’m not afraid to travel to the most remote places in the world, not if there are human beings there to meet. People asked me before I left, “do you have friends [there]?’ and I would just shake my head no, thinking to myself, But I will.
Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love)
To all the ships at sea, and all the ports of call. To my family and to all friends and strangers. This is a message, and a prayer. The message is that my travels taught me a great truth. I already had what everyone is searching for and few ever find. The one person in the world who I was born to love forever. A person, like me, of the outer banks and the blue Atlantic mystery. A person rich in simple treasures. Self-made. Self-taught. A harbor where I am forever home. And no wind, or trouble or even a little death can knock down this house. The prayer is that everyone in the world can know this kind of love and be healed by it. If my prayer is heard, there will be an erasing of all guilt and all regret and an end to all anger. Please, God. Amen.
Nicholas Sparks (Message in a Bottle)
. . . and together you're what, the Super Friends?
He was easy to talk to, and easy not to talk to-equally important qualities in a friend. Essential in a travel companion.
Phil Knight (Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike)
Only a few days earlier he had explained to her that he did not merely read books but traveled with them, that they took him to other countries and unfamiliar continents, and that with their help he was always getting to know new people, many of whom even became his friends.
Jan-Philipp Sendker (The Art of Hearing Heartbeats (The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, #1))
The thing about traveling alone, is that you run into your insecurities and fears times ten the normal! You run into all the good things and all the bad things about yourself on a daily basis, and are allowed the opportunity to truly become your own friend. Traveling alone is a learning process; some people travel for leisure, I travel to run into myself!
C. JoyBell C.
your lives be as full and happy as ours,and may the seasons be kind to you and your friends. The door of our Abbey is always open to any travellers roaming the dusty path between the woodlands and the plains.
I know that sometimes these friends feel that they have been expelled from the ordinary world they lived in before and that they are now citizens of the Land of the Fucked.
Anne Lamott (Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith)
I've traveled all over the world for the Institute, but I never dreamed I'd meet someone like you."
A chuckle escaped her. "Yes."
"Sharp of wit and skilled with a sword?"
"Absolutely." An other chuckle. "But I mean a man… friend… guy. Oh, I don't know what to call you!"
He savored her amusement—and her earnest words. "Just call me yours. That is all I want to be."
(Ashlyn and Maddox)
Gena Showalter (The Darkest Night (Lords of the Underworld, #1))
In the old days, when travelers would get lost, they would follow the stars and I love that idea. I wish that I could rely on something as simple and magnificent as a star for all of my aching questions.
Jennifer Elisabeth (Born Ready: Unleash Your Inner Dream Girl)
Travelling is a fool's paradise. We owe to our first journeys the discovery that place is nothing. At home I dream that at Naples, at Rome, I can be intoxicated with beauty, and lose my sadness. I pack my trunk, embrace my friends, embark on the sea, and at last wake up in Naples, and there beside me is the stern Fact, the sad self, unrelenting identical that I fled from.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (Essays, First Series)
This is the most profound spiritual truth I know: that even when we're most sure that love can't conquer all, it seems to anyway. It goes down into the rat hole with us, in the guise of our friends, and there it swells and comforts. It gives us second winds, third winds, hundredth winds.
Anne Lamott (Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith)
As I stood there, looking into the eyes of the Travelers, something happened. For each one of those brief moments, I reconnected with a true friend. Though no words were exchanged, they were each telling me the same thing. They were with me. I truly believed that if I had asked any one of them to follow me through the gates of hell, I'd have to hold them back from going in first.
D.J. MacHale (Raven Rise (Pendragon, #9))
I’m never sad when a friend goes far away, because whichever city or country that friend goes to, they turn the place friendly. They turn a suspicious-looking name on the map into a place where a welcome can be found. Maybe the friend will talk about you sometimes, to other friends that live around him, and then that’s almost as good as being there yourself. You’re in several places at once! In fact, my daughter, I would even go so far as to say that the further away your friends, and the more spread out they are the better your chances of going safely through the world…
Helen Oyeyemi (Mr. Fox)
I, sometimes, fear that probably I'll just keep changing cities, and may be someday I'll also travel the world, but never find another soul who thinks exactly the way I do.
You run back and forth listening for unusual events,
peering into the faces of travelers.
"Why are you looking at me like a madman?"
I have lost a friend. Please forgive me.
Rumi (The Essential Rumi)
It is a well-known fact that of all the species on earth Homo sapiens is among the most adaptable. Settle a tribe of them in a desert and they will wrap themselves in cotton, sleep in tents, and travel on the backs of camels; settle them in the Arctic and they will wrap themselves in sealskin, sleep in igloos, and travel by dog-drawn sled. And if you settle them in a Soviet climate? They will learn to make friendly conversation with strangers while waiting in line; they will learn to neatly stack their clothing in their half of the bureau drawer; and they will learn to draw imaginary buildings in their sketchbooks. That is, they will adapt.
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
Friend, we're traveling together.
Throw off your tiredness. Let me show you
one tiny spot of the beauty that cannot be spoken.
I'm like an ant that's gotten into the granary, ludicrously happy, and trying to lug out
a grain that's way too big.
Rumi (The Essential Rumi)
Every place is a goldmine. You have only to give yourself time, sit in a teahouse watching the passers-by, stand in a corner of the market, go for a haircut. You pick up a thread – a word, a meeting, a friend of a friend of someone you have just met – and soon the most insipid, most insignificant place becomes a mirror of the world, a window on life, a theatre of humanity.
Tiziano Terzani (A Fortune-Teller Told Me: Earthbound Travels in the Far East)
The best way to know a city is to eat it.
Scott Westerfeld (Afterworlds (Afterworlds, #1))
Hey presto: time travel. You don't need a time machine, it turns out, you just need a friend to laugh like a teenager. Chronology shivers.
Michael Marshall Smith (By Blood We Live)
You don’t read, you don’t understand. You don’t know what it’s like to live in different worlds, to travel on great adventures through the galaxy with people you know better than you know your own family. To live and die with them. These are my friends, my best friends in the world.
Casting back her head, Arya gazed up at the twinkling sky, her long neck gold with firelight, her face pale with the radiance of the heavenx. "Do you ask out of friendly concern or your own self-interest?" She gave an abrupt, choked laugh, the sound of water falling over cold rocks. "Never mind. The night air has addled me. It has undone my sense of courtesy and left me free to say the most spiteful things that occur to me."
"It does matter, because I regret it, and I shall not tolerate it. Did I love Faolin? How would you define love? For over twenty years, we traveled together, the only immortals to walk among the short-lived races. We were companions...and friends.
Often I feel I go to some distant region of the world to be reminded of who I really am. There is no mystery about why this should be so. Stripped of your ordinary surroundings, your friends, your daily routines, your refrigerator full of your food, your closet full of your clothes -- with all this taken away, you are forced into direct experience. Such direct experience inevitably makes you aware of who it is that is having the experience. That's not always comfortable, but it is always invigorating.
Michael Crichton (Travels)
I like the idea of saving to buy a place of my own or having some extra in the bank for an adventure once I figure out what kind of adventure I want to have. I see all these choices unrolling in front of me - career, travel, friends, geography - and despite things being insane and hard and messy, I don't think I've ever liked myself more than I do now. It's the strangest feeling to be proud simply because I'm taking care of me and mine. Is this what it's like to grow up?
Christina Lauren (The Unhoneymooners)
Peaches and Cheese”:
The vagabond sun winks down through the trees,
While lilacs, like memories, waft on the breeze,
My friend, I was born for days such as these,
To inhale perfume,
And cut through the gloom,
And feast like a king upon peaches and cheese!
I’ll travel this wide world and go where I please,
Can’t stop my wand’ring, it’s like a disease.
My only regret as I cross the high seas:
What I leave behind,
Though I hope to find,
My own golden city of peaches and cheese!
Rachel Hartman (Seraphina (Seraphina, #1))
I don't believe in happy endings, but I do believe in happy travels, because ultimately, you die at a very young age, or you live long enough to watch your friends die. It's a mean thing, life.
You'd help if you could, wouldn't you, boy?" I said. "It's no wonder they call you man's best friend. Faithful and loyal and true, you share in our sorrows and rejoice with us in our triumphs, the truest friend we ever have known, a better friend than we deserve. You have thrown in your lot with us, through thick and thin, on battlefield and hearthrug, refusing to leave your master even when death and destruction lie all around. Ah, noble dog, you are the furry mirror in which we see our better selves reflected, man as he could be, unstained by war or ambition, unspoilt by-
Connie Willis (To Say Nothing of the Dog (Oxford Time Travel, #2))
...some people might think our lives dull and uneventful, but it does not seem so to us. ...it is not travel and adventure that make a full life. There are adventures of the spirit and one can travel in books and interest oneself in people and affairs. One need ever be dull as long as one has friends to help, gardens to enjoy and books in the long winter evenings.
D.E. Stevenson (Listening Valley)
It is the right of a traveller to vent their frustration at every minor inconvenience by writing of it to their friends.
Susanna Clarke (Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell)
The trees were friendly, they gave me rest and shadowed refuge. Slipping through them, I felt safe and competent. My whole body was occupied. I had little energy to think or worry.
Aspen Matis (Girl in the Woods: A Memoir)
We are all travelers in the wilderness of this world, and the best that we find is an honest friend. He is a fortunate voyager who finds many.
Robert Louis Stevenson
We wish to learn all the curious, outlandish ways of all the different countries, so that we can "show off" and astonish people when we get home. We wish to excite the envy of our untraveled friends with our strange foreign fashions which we can't shake off.
Mark Twain (The Innocents Abroad)
Travel is little beds and cramped bathrooms. It’s old television sets and slow Internet connections. Travel is extraordinary conversations with ordinary people. It’s waiters, gas station attendants, and housekeepers becoming the most interesting people in the world. It’s churches that are compelling enough to enter. It’s McDonald’s being a luxury. It’s the realization that you may have been born in the wrong country. Travel is a smile that leads to a conversation in broken English. It’s the epiphany that pretty girls smile the same way all over the world. Travel is tipping 10% and being embraced for it. Travel is the same white T-shirt again tomorrow. Travel is accented sex after good wine and too many unfiltered cigarettes. Travel is flowing in the back of a bus with giggly strangers. It’s a street full of bearded backpackers looking down at maps. Travel is wishing for one more bite of whatever that just was. It’s the rediscovery of walking somewhere. It’s sharing a bottle of liquor on an overnight train with a new friend. Travel is “Maybe I don’t have to do it that way when I get back home.” It’s nostalgia for studying abroad that one semester. Travel is realizing that “age thirty” should be shed of its goddamn stigma.
As an adult I have often known that peculiar legacy time brings to the traveler: the longing to seek out a place a second time, to find deliberately what we stumbled on once before, to recapture the feeling of discovery. Sometimes we search out again even a place that was not remarkable itself - we look for it simply because we remember it. If we do find it, of course, everything is different. The rough-hewn door is still there, but it's much smaller; the day is cloudy instead of brilliant; it's spring instead of autumn; we're alone instead of with three friends. Or worse, with three friends instead of alone.
Elizabeth Kostova (The Historian)
I travel in gardens and bedrooms, basements and attics, around corners, through doorways and windows, along sidewalks, over carpets, down drainpipes, in the sky, with friends, lovers, children and heros; perceived, remembered, imagined, distorted and clarified.
Tom Robbins (Another Roadside Attraction)
I wish to go with you, not as man and wife, but merely as friends, travel companions, the sort of happy-go-lucky chums about whom rollicking old ballads of the road are written.
Alex Flinn (A Kiss in Time)
Lena was suspicious of many things. But she had earned her suspicions about boys. Lena knew boys. They never looked beyond your looks. They pretended to be your friend to get you to trust them, and as soon as you trusted them, they went in for the grope. They pretended to want to work on a history project or volunteer on your blood drive committee to get your attention. But as soon as they got it through their skulls that you didn't want to go out with them, they suddenly weren't interested in time lines or dire blood shortages. Worst of all, on occasion they even went out with one of your best friends to get close to you, and broke that same best friend's heart when the truth came out. Lean preferred plain guys to cute ones, but even the plain ones disappointed her.
Ann Brashares (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Sisterhood, #1))
What are you trying to say?"
All men have the stars," he answered, "but they are not the same things for different people. For some, who are travelers, the stars are guides. For others they are no more than little lights in the sky. For others, who are scholars, they are problems. For my businessman they are wealth. But all these stars are silent. You - only you - will have stars that can laugh!"
And he laughed again.
And when your sorrow is comforted (time soothes all sorrows) you will be content that you have known me. You will always be my friend. You will want to laugh with me. And you will sometimes open your window, so, for that pleasure... And your friends will be properly astonished to see you laughing as you look up at the sky! Then you will say to them, "Yes, the stars always makes me laugh!" And they will think you are crazy. It will be a very shabby trick that I shall have played on you..."
And he laughed again.
It will be as if, in place of the stars, I have given you a great number of little bells that knew how to laugh..."
And he laughed again.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (The Little Prince)
I wish I could travel backward in time and tell Monty of two years ago, lying on the lawn of his father's house with a black eye and a dawning realization he was falling in love with his best friend, that someday he'd be here.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky (Montague Siblings, #1.5))
Real travel is not about the highlights with which you dazzle your friends once you're home. It's about the loneliness, the solitude, the evenings spent by yourself, pining to be somewhere else. Those are the moments of true value. You feel half proud of them and half ashamed and you hold them to your heart.
Tahir Shah (In Arabian Nights: A Caravan of Moroccan Dreams)
When two members of a family or two intimate friends are separated, and one goes abroad and one remains at home, the return of the relative or friend who has been travelling always seems to place the relative or friend who has been staying at home at a painful disadvantage when the two first meet. The sudden encounter of the new thoughts and new habits eagerly gained in the one case, with the old thoughts and old habits passively preserved in the other, seems at first to part the sympathies of the most loving relatives and the fondest friends, and to set a sudden strangeness, unexpected by both and uncontrollable by both, between them on either side.
Wilkie Collins (The Woman in White)
Death has a body like a model, the clothes of a poet and the smile of your best friend. She wears a top hat for fun, her ankh necklace for power, and carries a big black umbrella for travelling to the 'sunless lands.' I wonder what she smells like? I'm sure it's fresh and clean and her laugh must be rinkly or maybe it's warm and chuckly, but whatever it is, Death laughs a lot.
We talk about the 'miracle of birth' but what about the 'miracle of death'? We have the science of death pretty much figured out, but death's magic and inevitability have been feared and ignored for a long time now.
What if Death is a person?
Neil Gaiman (Death: The Time of Your Life)
In his rearview mirror, I saw something flash in his eyes. "You want to know?" he sneered. "Let me imagine, Agha sahib. You probably lived in a big two- or three-story house with a nice backyard that your gardener filled with flowers and fruit trees. All gated, of course. Your father drove an American car. You had servants, probably Hazaras. Your parents hired workers to decorate the house for the fancy mehmanis they threw, so their friends would come over to drink and boast about their travels to Europe or America. And I would bet my first son's eyes that this is the first time you've ever worn a pakol." He grinned at me, revealing a mouthful of prematurely rotting teeth. "Am I close?"
Why are you saying these things?" I said.
Because you wanted to know," he spat. He pointed to an old man dressed in ragged clothes trudging down a dirt path, a large burlap pack filled with scrub grass tied to his back. "That's the real Afghanistan, Agha sahib. That's the Afghanistan I know. You? You've always been a tourist here, you just didn't know it.
Khaled Hosseini (The Kite Runner)
To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world. You are surrounded by adventure. You have no idea of what is in store for you, but you will, if you are wise and know the art of travel, let yourself go on the stream of the unknown and accept whatever comes in the spirit in which the gods may offer it. For this reason your customary thoughts, all except the rarest of your friends, even most of your luggage - everything, in fact, which belongs to your everyday life, is merely a hindrance. The tourist travels in his own atmosphere like a snail in his shell and stands, as it were, on his own perambulating doorstep to look at the continents of the world. But if you discard all this, and sally forth with a leisurely and blank mind, there is no knowing what may not happen to you.
Freya Stark (Baghdad Sketches (Travel))
The open road. Seemingly my only friend for years upon end since leaving war. The road embraced me, let me breathe, and more importantly, did not judge me.
He remembered traveling across the sea, having lost his family, not knowing that he was going to his best friend.
Cassandra Clare (Son of the Dawn (Ghosts of the Shadow Market, #1))
The two friends stood for a few moments on the windy street corner, not speaking a word, as two travelers, who have lost their way, sometimes stand and admit their perplexity in silence. (O Pioneers!)
From the earliest age, we must learn to say good-bye to friends and family. We see our parents and siblings off at the station; we visit cousins, attend schools, join the regiment; we marry or travel abroad. It is part of the human experience that we are constantly gripping a good fellow by the shoulders and wishing him well, taking comfort from the notion that we will hear word of him soon enough.
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
What are the dead, anyway, but waves and energy? Light shining from a dead star?
That, by the way, is a phrase of Julian's. I remember it from a lecture of his on the Iliad, when Patroklos appears to Achilles in a dream. There is a very moving passage where Achilles overjoyed at the sight of the apparition – tries to throw his arms around the ghost of his old friend, and it vanishes. The dead appear to us in dreams, said Julian, because that's the only way they can make us see them; what we see is only a projection, beamed from a great distance, light shining at us from a dead star…
Which reminds me, by the way, of a dream I had a couple of weeks ago.
I found myself in a strange deserted city – an old city, like London – underpopulated by war or disease. It was night; the streets were dark, bombed-out, abandoned. For a long time, I wandered aimlessly – past ruined parks, blasted statuary, vacant lots overgrown with weeds and collapsed apartment houses with rusted girders poking out of their sides like ribs. But here and there, interspersed among the desolate shells of the heavy old public buildings, I began to see new buildings, too, which were connected by futuristic walkways lit from beneath. Long, cool perspectives of modern architecture, rising phosphorescent and eerie from the rubble.
I went inside one of these new buildings. It was like a laboratory, maybe, or a museum. My footsteps echoed on the tile floors.There was a cluster of men, all smoking pipes, gathered around an exhibit in a glass case that gleamed in the dim light and lit their faces ghoulishly from below.
I drew nearer. In the case was a machine revolving slowly on a turntable, a machine with metal parts that slid in and out and collapsed in upon themselves to form new images. An Inca temple… click click click… the Pyramids… the Parthenon.
History passing beneath my very eyes, changing every moment.
'I thought I'd find you here,' said a voice at my elbow.
It was Henry. His gaze was steady and impassive in the dim light. Above his ear, beneath the wire stem of his spectacles, I could just make out the powder burn and the dark hole in his right temple.
I was glad to see him, though not exactly surprised. 'You know,' I said to him, 'everybody is saying that you're dead.'
He stared down at the machine. The Colosseum… click click click… the Pantheon. 'I'm not dead,' he said. 'I'm only having a bit of trouble with my passport.'
He cleared his throat. 'My movements are restricted,' he said.
'I no longer have the ability to travel as freely as I would like.'
Hagia Sophia. St. Mark's, in Venice. 'What is this place?' I asked him.
'That information is classified, I'm afraid.'
1 looked around curiously. It seemed that I was the only visitor.
'Is it open to the public?' I said.
'Not generally, no.'
I looked at him. There was so much I wanted to ask him, so much I wanted to say; but somehow I knew there wasn't time and even if there was, that it was all, somehow, beside the point.
'Are you happy here?' I said at last.
He considered this for a moment. 'Not particularly,' he said.
'But you're not very happy where you are, either.'
St. Basil's, in Moscow. Chartres. Salisbury and Amiens. He glanced at his watch.
'I hope you'll excuse me,' he said, 'but I'm late for an appointment.'
He turned from me and walked away. I watched his back receding down the long, gleaming hall.
Donna Tartt (The Secret History)
The Standover Man. all my life, I've been scared of men standing over me. I suppose my first standover man was my father, but he vanished before I could remember him. For some reason when I was a boy, I liked to fight. a lot of the time, I lost. Another boy, sometimes with blood falling from his nose, would be standing over me. Many years later, I needed to hide. I tried not to sleep because I as afraid of who might be there when I woke up. But I was lucky. It was always my friend.When I was hiding. I dreamed of a certain man. The hardest was when I traveled to find him. Out of sheer luck and many footsteps, I made it. I slept there for a long time. Three days, they told me...and what did I find when I woke up? Not a man, but someone else standing over me. As time passed by the girl and I realized we had things in common. But there is one strange thing. The girl says I look like something else. Now I live in a basement. Bad dreams still live in my sleep. One night, after my usual nightmare, a shadow stood above me. She said, "Tell me what you dream of." So I did. In return, she explained what her own dreams were made of. Now I think we are friends, this girl and me. It was she who gave me a gift - to me. It makes me understand that the best standover man I've ever known is not a man at all...
Markus Zusak (The Book Thief)
Sometimes you have to travel a long way to find what is near...
Dinesh Kumar Biran
María was out of the blocks the moment she heard the doorbell jangle. She came rushing from the kitchen to greet her childhood friend with cilantro hugs and chipotle kisses.
Kevin Ansbro (In the Shadow of Time)
Holding the space is crucial, and exactly what we are missing. To hold the space is to create a ring of safety around the family and friends of the dead, providing a place where they can grieve openly and honestly, without fear of being judged.
Caitlin Doughty (From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death)
Of all the misconceptions about love the most powerful and pervasive is the belief that "falling in love" is love or at least one of the manifestations of love. It is a potent misconception, because falling in love is subjectively experienced in a very powerful fashion as an experience of love. When a person falls in love what he or she certainly feels is "I love him" or "I love her."
But two problems are immediately apparent. The first is that the experience of falling in love is specifically a sex-linked erotic experience. We do not fall in love with our children even though we may love them very deeply. We do not fall in love with our friends of the same sex-unless we are homosexually oriented-even though we may care for them greatly. We fall in love only when we are consciously or unconsciously sexually motivated. The second problem is that the experience of falling in love is invariably temporary. No matter whom we fall in love with, we sooner or later fall out of love if the relationship continues long enough. This is not to say that we invariably cease loving the person with whom we fell in love. But it is to say that the feeling of ecstatic lovingness that characterizes the experience of falling in love always passes. The honeymoon always ends. The bloom of romance always fades.
M. Scott Peck (The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth)
Such a tough life. This is not the easy way."
"No," Penn agreed, "but I'm not sure easy is what I want for the kids anyway."
She looked up at him. "Why the hell not?"
"I mean, if we could have everything, sure. If we can have it all, yeah. I wish them easy, successful, fun-filled lives, crowned with good friends, attentive lovers, heaps of money, intellectual stimulation, and good views out the window. I wish them eternal beauty, international travel, and smart things to watch on tv. But if I can't have everything, if I only get a few, I'm not sure easy makes my wish list."
"Easy is nice. But its not as good as getting to be who you are or stand up for what you believe in," said Penn. "Easy is nice. But I wonder how often it leads to fulfilling work or partnership or being."
"Easy probably rules out having children," Rosie admitted.
"Having children, helping people, making art, inventing anything, leading the way, tackling the world's problems, overcoming your own. I don't know. Not much of what I value in our lives is easy. But there's not much of it I'd trade for easy either, I don't think.
Laurie Frankel (This Is How It Always Is)
It is often while travelling through the dark that you find the ones who shine brightest in your life. For they are the ones who remind you of your own beautiful light and show up, without a second thought, in your pain, as well as your glory.
Why do we refuse to have these conversations, asking our family and friends what they want done with their body when they die? Our avoidance is self-defeating. By dodging the talk about our inevitable end, we put both our pocketbooks and our ability to mourn at risk.
Caitlin Doughty (From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death)
Your favorite occupation? Travel in contested territory. Hard-working writing and reading when safely home, in the knowledge that an amusing friend is later coming to dinner.
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)
I'm perpetual tourist, and that's the best way to travel. Nobody gets used to you, you make new friends without having to hear anyone's everyday problems, and you jet back still feeling like a know-it-all.
John Waters (Crackpot: The Obsessions of John Waters)
Until a person takes responsibility for where he is, there is no basis for moving on. The bad news is that the past was in your hands, but the good news is that the future, my friend, is also in your hands.
Andy Andrews (The Traveler's Gift: Seven Decisions that Determine Personal Success)
Moving right along
In search of good times
And good news,
With good friends you can't lose.
This could become a habit.
Opportunity just knocked,
Let's reach out and grab it,
Together we'll nab it,
We'll hitch-hike, bus, or yellow cab it.
Jim Henson (It's Not Easy Being Green: And Other Things to Consider)
we missed you at the wedding," he said.
"Yeah." puck shrugged. "I was in Kyoto at the time, visiting some old kitsune friends. We were travelling up to Hokaido to check out this old temple that was supposedly haunted. Turns out, a yuki-onna had taken up residence there and had scared off most of the locals. She wasn't terribly happy to see us. Can you believe it?" He grinned. "Course, we, uh, might've pissed her off when the temple caught fire-you know how kitsune are. She chased us all the way to the coast, throwing icicles, causing blizzards...the old hag even tried to bury us under an avalanche. We almost died." He sighed dreamily and looked at Ash. "You should've been there ice-boy.
Julie Kagawa (Iron's Prophecy (The Iron Fey, #4.5))
From the earliest age, we must learn to say good-bye to friends and family. We see our parents and siblings off at the station; we visit cousins, attend schools, join the regiment; we marry, or travel abroad. It is part of the human experience that we are constantly gripping a good fellow by the shoulders and wishing him well, taking comfort from the notion that we will hear word of him soon enough. But experience is less likely to teach us how to bid our dearest possessions adieu. And if it were to? We wouldn’t welcome the education. For eventually, we come to hold our dearest possessions more closely than we hold our friends. We carry them from place to place, often at considerable expense and inconvenience; we dust and polish their surfaces and reprimand children for playing too roughly in their vicinity—all the while, allowing memories to invest them with greater and greater importance. This armoire, we are prone to recall, is the very one in which we hid as a boy; and it was these silver candelabra that lined our table on Christmas Eve; and it was with this handkerchief that she once dried her tears, et cetera, et cetera. Until we imagine that these carefully preserved possessions might give us genuine solace in the face of a lost companion.
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
By allowing the group of people whom we call “our loved ones” to continually expand, we realize that this group is actually limitless. It is only narrow-mindedness and a superficial convention that makes us divide people into friends and strangers. The world-traveler soon learns to see in every person he interacts with a potential friend .
Nicos Hadjicostis (Destination Earth- A New Philosophy of Travel by a World-Traveler)
Did you know sometimes it frightens me--
when you say my name and I can't see you?
will you ever learn to materialize before you speak?
impetuous boy, if that's what you really are.
how many centuries since you've climbed a balcony
or do you do this every night with someone else?
you tell me that you'll never leave
and I am almost afraid to believe it.
why is it me you've chosen to follow?
did you like the way I look when I am sleeping?
was my hair more fun to tangle?
are my dreams more entertaining?
do you laugh when I'm complaining that I'm all alone?
where were you when I searched the sea
for a friend to talk to me?
in a year where will you be?
is it enough for you to steal into my mind
filling up my page with music written in my hand
you know I'll take the credit for I must have made you come to me somehow.
but please try to close the curtains when you leave at night,
or I'll have to find someone to stay and warm me.
will you always attend my midnight tea parties--
as long as I set it at your place?
if one day your sugar sits untouched
will you have gone forever?
would you miss me in a thousand years--
when you will dry another's tears?
but you say you'll never leave me
and I wonder if you'll have the decency
to pass through my wall to the next room
while I dress for dinner
but when I'm stuck in conversation
with stuffed shirts whose adoration
hurts my ears,
where are you then?
can't you cut in when I dance with other men?
it's too late not to interfere with my life
you've already made me a most unsuitable wife
for any man who wants to be the first his bride has slept with
and you can't just fly into people's bedrooms
then expect them to calmly wave goodbye
you've changed the course of history
and didn't even try
where are you now--
standing behind me,
taking my hand?
come and remind me
who you are
have you traveled far
are you made of stardust too
are the angels after you
tell me what I am to do
but until then I'll save your side of the bed
just come and sing me to sleep
I do not wish to offend you, believe me. I have told you my decision. Nothing can change it. I must leave, I must travel, I must be free. Let me thank you cordially once again, and let us bid each other a friendly farewell.
Hermann Hesse (Narcissus and Goldmund)
Everywhere means nowhere. When a person spends all his time in foreign travel, he ends by having many acquaintances, but no friends. And the same thing must hold true of men who seek intimate acquaintance with no single author, but visit them all in a hasty and hurried manner. 3. Food does no good and is not assimilated into the body if it leaves the stomach as soon as it is eaten; nothing hinders a cure so much as frequent change of medicine; no wound will heal when one salve is tried after another; a plant which is often moved can never grow strong. There is nothing so efficacious that it can be helpful while it is being shifted about. And in reading of many books is distraction.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
Pretend there's no curse. No magical betrothal. Or romantic urges created by our bond. Would you choose me? To reign beside you. To be your queen. Your friend. Your confidant. Your lover... If I am still yours, I would tell you that you are mine. That I am choosing you as my husband. There is no one I'd rather confront my demons with, no soul I'd travel through Hell with. And no one else I want standing beside me.
Kerri Maniscalco (Kingdom of the Cursed (Kingdom of the Wicked, #2))
Cutting my roots and leaving my home and family when I was 18 years old forced me to build my home in other things, like my music, stories and my journey. The last years I have more or less constantly been on my way, on the road, always leaving and never arriving, which also means leaving people. I’ve loved and lost and I have regrets and I miss and no matter how many times you leave, start over, achieve success or travel places it’s other people that matter. People, friends, family, lovers, strangers – they will forever stay with you, even if only through memory. I’ve grown to appreciate people to the deepest core and I’m trying to learn how to tell people what I want to tell them when I have the chance, before it’s too late. …
Sure I worried that writing about it might be a mistake. You write a thing down because you're hoping to get a hold on it. You write about experiences partly to understand what they mean, partly not to lose them to time. To oblivion. But there's always the danger of the opposite happening. Losing the memory of the experience itself to the memory of writing about it. Like people whose memories of places they've traveled to are in fact only memories of the pictures they took there. In the end, writing and photography probably destroy more of the past than they ever preserve of it. So it could happen: by writing about someone lost - or even just talking too much about them - you might be burying them for good.
Sigrid Nunez (The Friend)
Green mountains rise to the north;
white water rolls past the eastern city.
Once it has been uprooted,
the tumbleweed travels forever.
Drifting clouds like a wanderer's mind;
sunset, like the heart of your old friend.
We turn, pause, look back and wave,
Even our ponies look back and whine.
If you had to pack your whole life into a suitcase--not just the practical things, like clothing, but the memories of the people you had lost and the girl you had once been--what would you take? The last photograph you had of your mother? A birthday gift from your best friend--a bookmark embroidered by her? A ticket stub from the traveling circus that had come through town two years ago, where you and your father held your breath as jeweled ladies flew through the air, and a brave man stuck his head in the mouth of a lion? Would you take them to make wherever you were going feel like home, or because you needed to remember where you had come from?
Jodi Picoult (The Storyteller)
We are all of us, to some degree or another, brainwashed by the society we live in. We are able to see this when we travel to another country, and are able to catch a glimpse of our own country with foreign eyes.. the best we can hope for is that a kindly friend from another culture will enable us to look at our culture with dispassionate eyes.
Doris Lessing (Prisons We Choose to Live Inside)
My friend Kira always said that life is like an extremely difficult, horribly unbalanced videogame. When you’re born, you’re given a randomly generated character, with a randomly determined name, race, face, and social class. Your body is your avatar, and you spawn in a random geographic location, at a random moment in human history, surrounded by a random group of people, and then you have to try to survive for as long as you can. Sometimes the game might seem easy. Even fun. Other times it might be so difficult you want to give up and quit. But unfortunately, in this game you only get one life. When your body grows too hungry or thirsty or ill or injured or old, your health meter runs out and then it’s Game Over. Some people play the game for a hundred years without ever figuring out that it’s a game, or that there is a way to win it. To win the videogame of life you just have to try to make the experience of being forced to play it as pleasant as possible, for yourself, and for all of the other players you encounter in your travels. Kira says that if everyone played the game to win, it’d be a lot more fun for everyone. —Anorak’s Almanac, chapter 77, verses 11–20
Ernest Cline (Ready Player Two (Ready Player One, #2))
And what is a friend? More than a father, more than a brother: a traveling companion, with him, you can conquer the impossible, even if you must lose it later. Friendship marks a life even more deeply than love. Love risks degenerating into obsession, friendship is never anything but sharing. It is a friend that you communicate the awakening of a desire, the birth of a vision or a terror, the anguish of seeing the sun disappear or of finding that order and justice are no more. That's what you can talk about with a friend. Is the soul immortal, and if so why are we afraid to die? If God exists, how can we lay claim to freedom, since He is its beginning and its end? What is death, when you come down to it? The closing of a parenthesis, and nothing more? And what about life? In the mouth of a philosopher, these questions may have a false ring, but asked during adolescence or friendship, they have the power to change being: a look burns and ordinary gestures tend to transcend themselves. What is a friend? Someone who for the first time makes you aware of your loneliness and his, and helps you to escape so you in turn can help him. Thanks to him who you can hold your tongue without shame and talk freely without risk. That's it.
Elie Wiesel (The Gates of the Forest)
I imagine the people whose lives are most intertwined with mine, and I realize life has gone on without me. The planet has not imploded because I, the girl who has always done what is expected of her, decided not to, just this once.
Rachel Friedman (The Good Girl's Guide to Getting Lost: A Memoir of Three Continents, Two Friends, and One Unexpected Adventure)
A Kite is a Victim
A kite is a victim you are sure of.
You love it because it pulls
gentle enough to call you master,
strong enough to call you fool;
because it lives
like a desperate trained falcon
in the high sweet air,
and you can always haul it down
to tame it in your drawer.
A kite is a fish you have already caught
in a pool where no fish come,
so you play him carefully and long,
and hope he won't give up,
or the wind die down.
A kite is the last poem you've written
so you give it to the wind,
but you don't let it go
until someone finds you
something else to do.
A kite is a contract of glory
that must be made with the sun,
so you make friends with the field
the river and the wind,
then you pray the whole cold night before,
under the travelling cordless moon,
to make you worthy and lyric and pure.
You tell me that silence
is nearer to peace than poems
but if for my gift
I brought you silence
(for I know silence)
you would say
This is not silence
this is another poem
and you would hand it back to me
There are some men
There are some men
who should have mountains
to bear their names through time
Grave markers are not high enough
and sons go far away to lose the fist
their father’s hand will always seem
I had a friend he lived and died
in mighty silence and with dignity
left no book son or lover to mourn.
Nor is this a mourning song
but only a naming of this mountain
on which I walk
fragrant, dark and softly white
under the pale of mist
I name this mountain after him.
-Believe nothing of me
Except that I felt your beauty
more closely than my own.
I did not see any cities burn,
I heard no promises of endless night,
I felt your beauty
more closely than my own.
Promise me that I will return.-
-When you call me close
to tell me
your body is not beautiful
I want to summon
the eyes and hidden mouths
of stone and light and water
to testify against you.-
I almost went to bed
the four white violets
I put in the button-hole
of your green sweater
and how i kissed you then
and you kissed me
shy as though I'd
never been your lover
-Reach into the vineyard of arteries for my heart.
Eat the fruit of ignorance and share with me the mist and
fragrance of dying.-
Leonard Cohen (The Spice-Box of Earth)
My dearest friend Abigail, These probably could be the last words I write to you and I may not live long enough to see your response but I truly have lived long enough to live forever in the hearts of my friends. I thought a lot about what I should write to you. I thought of giving you blessings and wishes for things of great value to happen to you in future; I thought of appreciating you for being the way you are; I thought to give sweet and lovely compliments for everything about you; I thought to write something in praise of your poems and prose; and I thought of extending my gratitude for being one of the very few sincerest friends I have ever had. But that is what all friends do and they only qualify to remain as a part of the bunch of our loosely connected memories and that's not what I can choose to be, I cannot choose to be lost somewhere in your memories. So I thought of something through which I hope you will remember me for a very long time. I decided to share some part of my story, of what led me here, the part we both have had in common. A past, which changed us and our perception of the world. A past, which shaped our future into an unknown yet exciting opportunity to revisit the lost thoughts and to break free from the libido of our lost dreams. A past, which questioned our whole past. My dear, when the moment of my past struck me, in its highest demonised form, I felt dead, like a dead-man walking in flesh without a soul, who had no reason to live any more. I no longer saw any meaning of life but then I saw no reason to die as well. I travelled to far away lands, running away from friends, family and everyone else and I confined myself to my thoughts, to my feelings and to myself. Hours, days, weeks and months passed and I waited for a moment of magic to happen, a turn of destiny, but nothing happened, nothing ever happens. I waited and I counted each moment of it, thinking about every moment of my life, the good and the bad ones. I then saw how powerful yet weak, bright yet dark, beautiful yet ugly, joyous yet grievous; is a one single moment. One moment makes the difference. Just a one moment. Such appears to be the extreme and undisputed power of a single moment. We live in a world of appearance, Abigail, where the reality lies beyond the appearances, and this is also only what appears to be such powerful when in actuality it is not. I realised that the power of the moment is not in the moment itself. The power, actually, is in us. Every single one of us has the power to make and shape our own moments. It is us who by feeling joyful, celebrate for a moment of success; and it is also us who by feeling saddened, cry and mourn over our losses. I, with all my heart and mind, now embrace this power which lies within us. I wish life offers you more time to make use of this power. Remember, we are our own griefs, my dear, we are our own happinesses and we are our own remedies.
Title: Letter to Abigail
Chapter: The Road To Awe
Young friends, whose string-and-tin-can phone extended from island to island, had to pay out more and more string, as if letting kites go higher and higher. They had more and more to tell each other, and less and less string. The boy asked the girl to say "I love you" into her can, giving her no further explanation. And she didn't ask for any, or say "That's silly," or "We're too young for love," or even suggest that she was saying "I love you" because he asked her to. Instead she said, "I love you." The words traveled through the long, long string. The boy covered his can with a lid, removed it from the string, and put her love for him on a shelf in his closet. Of course, he never could open the can, because then he would lose its contents. It was enough just to know it was there.
Jonathan Safran Foer (Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close)
And at night you will look up at the stars. It's too small, where I live, for me to show you where my stars is. It's better that way. My star will just be one of the stars, for you. So you'll like looking at all of them. They'll all be your friends. And, besides, I am going to make you a present...' He laughed again.
'Ah, little prince, dear little prince! I love to hear that laughter!'
'That is my present. Just that. It will be as it was when we drank the water...'
'What do you mean?'
'People have stars, but they aren't the same. For travelers, the stars are guides. For other people, they're nothing but tiny lights. And for still others, for scholars, they're problems. For my businessman, they were gold. But all those stars are silent stars. You, though, you'll have stars like nobody else.'
'What do you mean?'
'When you look up at the sky at night, since I'll be living on one of them, since I'll be laughing on one of them, for you it'll be as if all the stars are laughing. You'll have stars that can laugh!'
And he laughed again.
'And when you're consoled (everyone eventually is consoled), you'll be glad you've known me. You'll always be my friend. You'll feel like laughing with me. And you'll open your window sometimes just for the fun of it...And your friends will be amazed to see you laughing while you're looking up at the sky. Then you'll tell them, "Yes, it's the stars; they always make me laugh!" And they'll think you're crazy. It'll be a nasty trick I played on you...'
And he laughed again.
'And it'll be as if I had given you, instead of stars, a lot of tiny bells that know how to laugh...'
And he laughed again.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (The Little Prince)
Solitude, the safeguard of mediocrity, is to genius the stern friend, the cold, obscure shelter where moult the wings which will bear it farther than suns and stars. He who should inspire and lead his race must be defended from travelling with the souls of other men, from living, breathing, reading, and writing in the daily, time-worn yoke of their opinions. "In the morning, — solitude;" said Pythagoras; that Nature may speak to the imagination, as she does never in company, and that her favorite may make acquaintance with those divine strengths which disclose themselves to serious and abstracted thought. 'Tis very certain that Plato, Plotinus, Archimedes, Hermes, Newton, Milton, Wordsworth, did not live in a crowd, but descended into it from time to time as benefactors: and the wise instructor will press this point of securing to the young soul in the disposition of time and the arrangements of living, periods and habits of solitude.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
This is, to me, the loveliest and saddest landscape in the world. It is the same as that on the preceding page, but I have drawn it again to impress it on your memory. It is here that the little prince appeared on Earth, and disappeared.
Look at it carefully so that you will be sure to recognise it in case you travel some day to the African desert. And, if you should come upon this spot, please do not hurry on. Wait for a time, exactly under the star. Then, if a little man appears who laughs, who has golden hair and who refuses to answer questions, you will know who he is. If this should happen, please comfort me. Send me word that he has come back.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (The Little Prince)
The man journeyed far, and he heard and saw many strange things on his travels. He learned that - that the friend and the enemy are but two faces of the same self. That the path one believes chosen long since, constant and unchangeable, straight and wide, can alter in an instant. Can branch, and twist and lead the traveler to places far beyond his wildest imaginings. That there are mysteries beyond the mind of mortal man, and that to deny their existence is to spend a life of half-consciousness.
Juliet Marillier (Daughter of the Forest (Sevenwaters, #1))
We’re here,’ the Clock says.
The Perfectionist opens her eyes. She sees nothing. It’s white. All white. There’s no up. There’s no down. No horizon. Nothing. It’s just white.
‘Clock, what is this?’ asks the Perfectionist. Her voice is shaky.
‘This is the future.’
‘This is the future?’ the Perfectionist asks. Her mouth is dry. She forces herself to swallow.
‘Why is the future like this?’
‘Because it hasn’t happened yet,’ says the Clock
Andrew Kaufman (All My Friends are Superheroes)
People grow apart. Distance doesn’t always mean miles. Sometimes it means two friends going separate ways. The person you poured your heart out to, traveled through new cities with, called at three in the morning just to get ice cream, suddenly becomes someone who can’t even text you back. So, you start to wonder what happened and where it all went wrong. How can this person who was once your lifeline now be a stranger who holds all your memories? But people change and become caught up in their own lives. They may not even realize they are doing it. Sometimes friends disappear and we don’t know why. But you don’t deserve to be ignored. The things you have to say are important; you should never allow someone to make you feel as though they aren’t. You should never tolerate someone who can’t acknowledge the news you have to share. You don’t need this in your life. Let go of people who don’t make you happy.
Courtney Peppernell (Pillow Thoughts II: Healing the Heart)
Many years ago a friend assured me that we are all islands. Once in a while, another island travels along with us for a short stretch, and then it goes away, it slips off to some other place, and we never see each other again. Life is nothing more than a system of good-byes. Of releases. Of mutilations. The truth is we are incapable of giving anyone what they really need.
Luis Eduardo Reyes
The Thought of Death. It gives me a melancholy happiness to live in the midst of this confusion of streets, of necessities, of voices: how much enjoyment, impatience and desire, how much thirsty life and drunkenness of life comes to light here every moment! And yet it will soon be so still for all these shouting, lively, life- loving people! How everyone's shadow, his gloomy travelling companion stands behind him! It is always as in the last moment before the departure of an emigrant- ship: people have more than ever to say to one another, the hour presses, the ocean with its lonely silence waits impatiently behind all the noise-so greedy, so certain of its prey! And all, all, suppose that the past has been nothing, or a small matter, that the near future is everything: hence this haste, this crying, this self-deafening and self-overreaching! Everyone wants to be foremost in this future-and yet death and the stillness of death are the only things certain and common to all in this future! How strange that this sole thing that is certain and common to all, exercises almost no influence on men, and that they are the furthest from regarding themselves as the brotherhood of death! It makes me happy to see that men do not want to think at all of the idea of death! I would fain do something to make the idea of life to us to be more than friends in the sense of that sublime possibility. And so we will believe in our even a hundred times more worthy of their attention.
Friedrich Nietzsche (The Gay Science)
When I was a child, an angel came to say,
A true friend is coming my warrior to sweep you away,
It won’t be easy the path because it leads through hell,
But if you’re faithful, it will be the greatest story to tell,
You will move God’s daughters to a place of hope,
Your story will teach everyone there is nothing they can’t cope,
You will suffer a lot, but not one tear will you waste,
Because for all that you do for me, you will be graced,
For I am bringing you someone that wants to travel your trail,
Someone you already met when you passed through heaven’s veil,
A warrior, a friend that whispers your heart’s song,
Someone that will run with you and pull your spirit along,
Don’t you see the timing was love's fated throw,
Because I put you both there to help one another grow,
I am the writer of all great stories your chapters were written by me,
You suffered, you cried because I needed you to see,
That your faith in my ending goes far beyond two,
It was going to change more hearts than both of you knew,
So hush my child and wait for my loving hand,
The last chapter is not written and still in the sand,
It is up to you to finish, before the tide washes it away,
All that is in your heart, I’ve put there for you to say,
This is not about winning, loss or pain,
I made you the way you are because true love stories are insane,
I wrote you in heaven as I sat on its sandy shore,
You know with all of my heart I loved you both more,
There is no better ending two people seeing each other's heart,
Together your spirits will never drift apart,
Because two kindred spirits is what I made you to be,
The waves and beach crashing together because of-- ME.
Shannon L. Alder
Somethings worth having defy logic. They come with obstacles, challenges, battles and long periods of wandering in the dark. Your path won't make sense to your family or friends. People will weigh in with their life rules and fears, but in the end it is your life. That pull you feel is real and often your intuition. It nags at you everyday. Follow it for as far as it takes you because life is too short to dwell on indecision, while you forget to live. Take a chance because if you have a good heart God isn't going to abandon you. He will travel wherever you need to go, in order to find the missing pieces of your soul.
Shannon L. Alder
In the past seven years of love-making he had heard the words "I love you" so many times:
from the mouths of widows and children, from prostitutes, family friends, travelers, and adulterous wives. Women said "I love you" without his ever speaking. "The more you love someone," he came to think, "the harder it is to tell them." It surprised him that strangers didn't stop each other on the street to say "I love you".
Jonathan Safran Foer
Charlotte: Giordano is terribly afraid Gwyneth will get everything wrong tomorrow that she can get wrong.
Gideon: Pass the olive oil, please.
Charlotte: Politics and history are a closed book to Gwyneth. She can’t even remember names—they go in at one ear and straight out of the other. She can’t help it, her brain doesn’t have the capacity. It’s stuffed with the names of boy bands and long, long cast lists of actors in soppy romantic films.
Raphael: Gwyneth is your time-traveling cousin, right? I saw her yesterday in school. Isn’t she the one with long dark hair and blue eyes?
Charlotte: Yes, and that birthmark on her temple, the one that looks like a little banana.
Gideon: Like a little crescent moon.
Raphael: What’s that friend of hers called? The blonde with freckles? Lily?
Charlotte: Lesley Hay. Rather brighter than Gwyneth, but she’s a wonderful example of the way people get to look like their dogs. Hers is a shaggy golden retriever crossbreed called Bertie.
Raphael: That’s cute!
Charlotte: You like dogs?
Raphael: Especially golden retriever crossbreeds with freckles.
Charlotte: I see. Well, you can try your luck. You won’t find it particularly difficult. Lesley gets through even more boys than Gwyneth.
Gideon: Really? How many . . . er, boyfriends has Gwyneth had?
Charlotte: Oh, my God! This is kind of embarrassing. I don’t want to speak ill of her, it’s just that she’s not very discriminating. Particularly when she’s had a drink. She’s done the rounds of almost all the boys in our class and the class above us . . . I guess I lost track at some point. I’d rather not repeat what they call her.
Raphael: The school mattress?
Gideon: Pass the salt, please.
Kerstin Gier (Saphirblau (Edelstein-Trilogie, #2))
It’s traumatizing to think that a best friend could become just a friend. That’s because there is virtually no difference between an acquaintance and a friend. But the gulf between a friend and a best friend is enormous and profound. And if I look at it that way, I think I can see the value of a wedding. If you’re my best friend and the only way I get to have dinner with you is by traveling thousands of miles, selecting a chicken or fish option, and wearing a dress in the same shade of lavender as six other girls, I will do that.
Mindy Kaling (Why Not Me?)
It’s to do with knowing and being known. I remember how it stopped seeming odd that in biblical Greek knowing was used for making love. Whosit knew so-and-so. Carnal knowledge. It’s what lovers trust each other with. Knowledge of each other, not of the flesh but through the flesh, knowledge of self, the real him, the real her, in extremis, the mask slipped from the face. Every other version of oneself is on offer to the public. We share our vivacity, grief, sulks, anger, joy ... we hand it out to anybody who happens to be standing around, to friends and family with a momentary sense of indecency perhaps, to strangers without hesitation. Our lovers share us with the passing trade. But in pairs we insist that we give ourselves to each other. What selves? What’s left? What else is there that hasn’t been dealt out like a pack of cards? Carnal knowledge. Personal, final, uncompromised. Knowing, being known. I revere that. Having that is being rich, you can be generous about what’s shared – she walks, she talks, she laughs, she lends a sympathetic ear, she kicks off her shoes and dances on the tables, she’s everybody’s and it don’t mean a thing, let them eat cake; knowledge is something else, the undealt card, and while it’s held it makes you free-and-easy and nice to know, and when it’s gone everything is pain. Every single thing. Every object that meets the eye, a pencil, a tangerine, a travel poster. As if the physical world has been wired up to pass a current back to the part of your brain where imagination glows like a filament in a lobe no bigger than a torch bulb. Pain.
Tom Stoppard (The Real Thing)
I tramp the perpetual journey
My signs are a rain-proof coat, good shoes, and a staff cut from the
No friend of mine takes his ease in my chair,
I have no chair, no philosophy,
I lead no man to a dinner-table, library, exchange,
But each man and each woman of you I lead upon a knoll,
My left hand hooking you round the waist,
My right hand pointing to landscapes of continents and the public
Not I, not any one else can travel that road for you,
You must travel it for yourself.
It is not far, it is within reach,
Perhaps you have been on it since you were born and did not know,
Perhaps it is everywhere on water and on land.
Shoulder your duds dear son, and I will mine, and let us hasten
Wonderful cities and free nations we shall fetch as we go.
If you tire, give me both burdens, and rest the chuff of your hand
on my hip,
And in due time you shall repay the same service to me,
For after we start we never lie by again.
This day before dawn I ascended a hill and look'd at the crowded
And I said to my spirit When we become the enfolders of those orbs,
and the pleasure and knowledge of every thing in them, shall we
be fill'd and satisfied then?
And my spirit said No, we but level that lift to pass and continue
You are also asking me questions and I hear you,
I answer that I cannot answer, you must find out for yourself.
Sit a while dear son,
Here are biscuits to eat and here is milk to drink,
But as soon as you sleep and renew yourself in sweet clothes, I kiss
you with a good-by kiss and open the gate for your egress
Long enough have you dream'd contemptible dreams,
Now I wash the gum from your eyes,
You must habit yourself to the dazzle of the light and of every
moment of your life.
Long have you timidly waded holding a plank by the shore,
Now I will you to be a bold swimmer,
To jump off in the midst of the sea, rise again, nod to me, shout,
and laughingly dash with your hair.
Walt Whitman (Song of Myself)
Books are like people: fascinating, inspiring, thought-provoking, some laugh, some meditate, others ache with old age, but still have wisdom: some are disease-ridden, some deceitful; but others are a delight to behold, and many travel to foreign lands; some cry, some teach, others are lots of fun, they are excellent companions and all have individuality - Books are friends. What person has too many friends?
Gladys M. Hunt
is a broken man an outlaw?"
"More or less." Brienne answered.
Septon Meribald disagreed. "More less than more. There are many sorts of outlaws, just as there are many sorts of birds. A sandpiper and a sea eagle both have wings, but they are not the same. The singers love to sing of good men forced to go outside the law to fight some wicked lord, but most outlaws are more like this ravening Hound than they are the lightning lord. They are evil men, driven by greed, soured by malice, despising the gods and caring only for themselves. Broken men are more deserving of our pity, though they may be just as dangerous. Almost all are common-born, simple folk who had never been more than a mile from the house where they were born until the day some lord came round to take them off to war. Poorly shod and poorly clad, they march away beneath his banners, ofttimes with no better arms than a sickle or a sharpened hoe, or a maul they made themselves by lashing a stone to a stick with strips of hide. Brothers march with brothers, sons with fathers, friends with friends. They've heard the songs and stories, so they go off with eager hearts, dreaming of the wonders they will see, of the wealth and glory they will win. War seems a fine adventure, the greatest most of them will ever know.
"Then they get a taste of battle.
"For some, that one taste is enough to break them. Others go on for years, until they lose count of all the battles they have fought in, but even a man who has survived a hundred fights can break in his hundred-and-first. Brothers watch their brothers die, fathers lose their sons, friends see their friends trying to hold their entrails in after they've been gutted by an axe.
"They see the lord who led them there cut down, and some other lord shouts that they are his now. They take a wound, and when that's still half-healed they take another. There is never enough to eat, their shoes fall to pieces from the marching, their clothes are torn and rotting, and half of them are shitting in their breeches from drinking bad water.
"If they want new boots or a warmer cloak or maybe a rusted iron halfhelm, they need to take them from a corpse, and before long they are stealing from the living too, from the smallfolk whose lands they're fighting in, men very like the men they used to be. They slaughter their sheep and steal their chicken's, and from there it's just a short step to carrying off their daughters too. And one day they look around and realize all their friends and kin are gone, that they are fighting beside strangers beneath a banner that they hardly recognize. They don't know where they are or how to get back home and the lord they're fighting for does not know their names, yet here he comes, shouting for them to form up, to make a line with their spears and scythes and sharpened hoes, to stand their ground. And the knights come down on them, faceless men clad all in steel, and the iron thunder of their charge seems to fill the world...
"And the man breaks.
"He turns and runs, or crawls off afterward over the corpses of the slain, or steals away in the black of night, and he finds someplace to hide. All thought of home is gone by then, and kings and lords and gods mean less to him than a haunch of spoiled meat that will let him live another day, or a skin of bad wine that might drown his fear for a few hours. The broken man lives from day to day, from meal to meal, more beast than man. Lady Brienne is not wrong. In times like these, the traveler must beware of broken men, and fear them...but he should pity them as well
George R.R. Martin
Henry's recollections of the past, in contrast to Proust, are done while in movement. He may remember his first wife while making love to a whore, or he may remember his very first love while walking the streets, traveling to see a friend; and life does not stop while he remembers. Analysis in movement. No static vivisection. Henry's daily and continuous flow of life, his sexual activity, his talks with everyone, his cafe life, his conversations with people in the street, which I once considered an interruption to writing, I now believe to be a quality which distinguishes him from other writers. He never writes in cold blood: he is always writing in white heat.
It is what I do with the journal, carrying it everywhere, writing on cafe tables while waiting for a friend, on the train, on the bus, in waiting rooms at the station, while my hair is washed, at the Sorbonne when the lectures get tedious, on journeys, trips, almost while people are talking.
It is while cooking, gardening, walking, or love-making that I remember my childhood, and not while reading Freud's 'Preface to a Little Girl's Journal.
Anaïs Nin (The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1: 1931-1934)
In a way it scared me, having a summer of experiences and feelings that belonged to me alone. What happened in front of my friends felt read. What happened to me by myself felt partly dreamed, partly imagined, definitely shifted and warped by own fears and wants. And who knows? Maybe there is more truth in how you feel than in what actually happens.
Ann Brashares (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Sisterhood, #1))
There are friends, I think we can't imagine living without. People who are sisters to us, or brothers. Jimmy was one of those. I never thought I might have to go through life without him. I never thought he might be killed by a drunken driver or anything else. Who thinks about things like that when you're seventeen? If I had known ahead of time what was going to happen to him, I would have gone crazy. I guess I did go a little crazy. My Aunt Lo, who's a hospital psychiatrist, says grief travels a certain route-that if you could plot it out on a map you'd have a line that twists and weaves and eventually ends up near the point of departure. I say "near" because although
you may survive the grief, you won't ever be exactly the same. It took me a long time to learn that, and sometimes the whole experience comes back on me and I have to learn it all over again.
Julie Reece Deaver (Say Goodnight, Gracie)
Suddenly, ahead of us, a group of men ran out of the forest and pulled a thick rope across the road. There was no time to look at them properly, but they didn’t look friendly. I still don’t know why, but my reflex reaction was to foot the accelerator and drive straight through – never a good idea on a dirt track, except perhaps for rally drivers. I’m not sure who was more surprised, me or them, but I found myself looking in the rear-view mirror and seeing men lying on the road, I suppose pulled down by the force of the rope.
Oliver Dowson (There's No Business Like International Business: Business Travel – But Not As You Know It)
Vagabonding is an attitude—a friendly interest in people, places, and things that makes a person an explorer in the truest, most vivid sense of the word. Vagabonding is not a lifestyle, nor is it a trend. It’s just an uncommon way of looking at life—a value adjustment from which action naturally follows. And, as much as anything, vagabonding is about time—our only real commodity—and how we choose to use it.
Rolf Potts (Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel)
Philosophy, then, is not a doctrine, not some simplistic scheme for orienting oneself in the world, certainly not an instrument or achievement of human Dasein. Rather, it is this Dasein itself insofar as it comes to be, in freedom, from out of its own ground. Whoever, by stint of research, arrives at this self-understanding of philosophy is granted the basic experience of all philosophizing, namely that the more fully and originally research comes into its own, the more surely is it "nothing but" the transformation of the same few simple questions. But those who wish to transform must bear within themselves the power of a fidelity that knows how to preserve. And one cannot feel this power growing within unless one is up in wonder. And no one can be caught up in wonder without travelling to the outermost limits of the possible. But no one will ever become the friend of the possible without remaining open to dialogue with the powers that operate in the whole of human existence. But that is the comportment of the philosopher: to listen attentively to what is already sung forth, which can still be perceived in each essential happening of world. And in such comportment the philosopher enters the core of what is truly at stake in the task he has been given to do. Plato knew of that and spoke of it in his Seventh Letter:
'In no way can it be uttered, as can other things, which one can learn. Rather, from out of a full, co-existential dwelling with the thing itself - as when a spark, leaping from the fire, flares into light - so it happens, suddenly, in the soul, there to grow, alone with itself.
Tom Dancer’s gift of a whitebark pine cone
You never know
Is going to travel to you,
Or through you.
Once a friend gave me
A small pine cone-
One of a few
He found in the scat
Of a grizzly
In Utah maybe,
I took it home
And did what I supposed
He was sure I would do-
I ate it,
How it had traveled
Through that rough
And holy body.
It was crisp and sweet.
It was almost a prayer
My gratitude, Tom Dancer,
For this gift of the world
I adore so much
And want to belong to.
And thank you too, great bear
Mary Oliver (Swan: Poems and Prose Poems)
With winter the feeling had deepened. I would see a neighbor running along the sidewalk in front of the house, training, I imagined, for a climb up Kilimanjaro. Or a friend at my book club giving a blow-by-blow of her bungee jump from a bridge in Australia. Or - and this was the worst of all - a TV show about some intrepid woman traveling alone in the blueness of Greece, and I'd be overcome by the little sparks that seemed to run beneath all that, the blood/sap/wine, aliveness, whatever it was. It had made me feel bereft over the immensity of the world, the extraordinary things people did with their lives - though, really, I didn't want to do any of those particular things. I didn't know then what I wanted, but the ache for it was palpable.
Sue Monk Kidd (The Mermaid Chair)
Dad, will they ever come back?"
"No. And yes." Dad tucked away his harmonica. "No not them. But yes, other people like them. Not in a carnival. God knows what shape they'll come in next. But sunrise, noon, or at the latest, sunset tomorrow they'll show. They're on the road."
"Oh, no," said Will.
"Oh, yes, said Dad. "We got to watch out the rest of our lives. The fight's just begun."
They moved around the carousel slowly.
"What will they look like? How will we know them?"
"Why," said Dad, quietly, "maybe they're already here."
Both boys looked around swiftly.
But there was only the meadow, the machine, and themselves.
Will looked at Jim, at his father, and then down at his own body and hands. He glanced up at Dad.
Dad nodded, once, gravely, and then nodded at the carousel, and stepped up on it, and touched a brass pole.
Will stepped up beside him. Jim stepped up beside Will.
Jim stroked a horse's mane. Will patted a horse's shoulders.
The great machine softly tilted in the tides of night.
Just three times around, ahead, thought Will. Hey.
Just four times around, ahead, thought Jim. Boy.
Just ten times around, back, thought Charles Halloway. Lord.
Each read the thoughts in the other's eyes.
How easy, thought Will.
Just this once, thought Jim.
But then, thought Charles Halloway, once you start, you'd always come back. One more ride and one more ride. And, after awhile, you'd offer rides to friends, and more friends until finally...
The thought hit them all in the same quiet moment.
...finally you wind up owner of the carousel, keeper of the freaks...
proprietor for some small part of eternity of the traveling dark carnival shows....
Maybe, said their eyes, they're already here.
Ray Bradbury (Something Wicked This Way Comes (Green Town, #2))
Well, of course I’ve tried lavender. And pulling my memory out, ribbonlike and dripping. And shrieking into my pillow. And writing the poems. And making more friends. And baking warm brown cookies. And therapy. And intimacy. And pictures of rainbows. And all of the movies about lovers and the terrible things they do to each other. And watching the ones in other languages. And leaving the subtitles off. And listening to the language. And forgetting my name. And feeling the dirt on my skin. And screaming in the shower. And changing my shampoo. And living alone. And cutting my hair. And buying a turtle. And petting the cat. And traveling. And writing more poems. And touching a different body. And digging a grave. And digging a grave. Of course, I’ve tried it. Of course I have.
Perhaps it is true that at base we readers are dissatisfied people, yearning to be elsewhere, to live vicariously through words in a way we cannot live directly through life. Perhaps we are the world's great nomads, if only in our minds...I am the sort of person who prefers to stay at home, surrounded by family, friends, familiarity, books...It turns out that when my younger self thought of taking wing, she wanted only to let her spirit soar. Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.
Anna Quindlen (How Reading Changed My Life)
Naruto… I now remember the words you once said to me. That when you're with me, you finally understand what it's like to have a brother… And when I think of it that way… That feeling… I finally get it now. I've been travelling around the world and I seem to recall these memories a lot. We were alone and starved of love. Kids that lived in a world full of hate. And from that point on, we went our separate ways… and fought. But time has passed and now I'm thinking… Could it be that… just like how the hope and and pain from my father, mother and my brother, Itachi flowed into me… I'd understand your pain and hopes too, Naruto? You never abandoned me, no matter what. And you never gave up on me, coming closer when I pulled away. It wouldn't have surprised me if you hated me, but you didn't… You kept insisting that we were friends. And even that, I nearly destroyed. You fought to stop me… to the point you lost an arm. All because you were my friend. You saved me. The us that quarrelled over the smallest things… are now able to share the pain in each other's hearts. On my journey around the world, I noticed… That all these feelings of mine aren't just about us, I'm sure it's the same for everything else. But… there aren't a lot of people like you. And things won't go as planned, look at us. It's especially true when it comes to bigger things. I think it's the same as praying. And until I can do it, I'll stay strong. The beings that have been entrusted with hope… that's us. That's what makes us shinobi.
Had I catalogued the downsides of parenthood, "son might turn out to be a killer" would never have turned up on the list. Rather, it might have looked something like this:
2. Less time just the two of us. (Try no time just the two of us.)
3. Other people. (PTA meetings. Ballet teachers. The kid's insufferable friends and their insufferable parents.)
4. Turning into a cow. (I was slight, and preferred to stay that way. My sister-in-law had developed bulging varicose veins in her legs during pregnancy that never retreated, and the prospect of calves branched in blue tree roots mortified me more than I could say. So I didn't say. I am vain, or once was, and one of my vanities was to feign that I was not.)
5. Unnatural altruism: being forced to make decisions in accordance with what was best for someone else. (I'm a pig.)
6. Curtailment of my traveling. (Note curtailment. Not conclusion.)
7. Dementing boredom. (I found small children brutally dull. I did, even at the outset, admit this to myself.)
8. Worthless social life. (I had never had a decent conversation with a friend's five-year-old in the room.)
9. Social demotion. (I was a respected entrepreneur. Once I had a toddler in tow, every man I knew--every woman, too, which is depressing--would take me less seriously.)
10. Paying the piper. (Parenthood repays a debt. But who wants to pay a debt she can escape? Apparently, the childless get away with something sneaky. Besides, what good is repaying a debt to the wrong party? Only the most warped mother would feel rewarded for her trouble by the fact that at last her daughter's life is hideous, too.)
Lionel Shriver (We Need to Talk About Kevin)
Now. Maybe you think it is arrogant or self centered, or ridiculous for me to believe that God bothered to wiggle a cheap bolt out of my new used car because he or she needed to keep me away for a few days until just the moment when my old friend most needed me to help her mother move into whatever comes next. Maybe nothing conscious helped to stall me so that I would be there when I could be most useful. Or maybe it did. I’ll never know for sure. And anyway, it doesn’t really matter.
Anne Lamott (Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith)
Men learn to regard rape as a moment in time; a discreet episode with a beginning, middle, and end. But for women, rape is thousands of moments that we fold into ourselves over a lifetime.
Its' the day that you realize you can't walk to a friend's house anymore or the time when your aunt tells you to be nice because the boy was just 'stealing a kiss.' It's the evening you stop going to the corner store because, the night before, a stranger followed you home. It's the late hour that a father or stepfather or brother or uncle climbs into your bed. It's the time it takes you to write an email explaining that you're changing your major, even though you don't really want to, in order to avoid a particular professor. It's when you're racing to catch a bus, hear a person demand a blow job, and turn to see that it's a police officer. It's the second your teacher tells you to cover your shoulders because you'll 'distract the boys, and what will your male teachers do?' It's the minute you decide not to travel to a place you've always dreamed about visiting and are accused of being 'unadventurous.' It's the sting of knowing that exactly as the world starts expanding for most boys, it begins to shrink for you. All of this goes on all day, every day, without anyone really uttering the word rape in a way that grandfathers, fathers, brothers, uncles, teachers, and friends will hear it, let alone seriously reflect on what it means.
Soraya Chemaly (Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women's Anger)
Once upon a time, there was a bird. He was adorned with two perfect wings and with glossy, colorful, marvelous feathers.
One day, a woman saw this bird and fell in love with him.
She invited the bird to fly with her, and the two travelled across the sky in perfect harmony. She admired and venerated and celebrated that bird.
But then she thought: He might want to visit far-off mountains!
And she was afraid, afraid that she would never feel the same way about any other bird.
And she thought: “I’m going to set a trap. The next time the bird appears, he will never leave again.”
The bird, who was also in love, returned the following day, fell into the trap and was put in a cage.
She looked at the bird every day. There he was, the object of her passion, and she showed him to her friends, who said: “Now you have everything you could possibly want.”
However, a strange transformation began to take place: now that she had the bird and no longer needed to woo him, she began to lose interest.
The bird, unable to fly and express the true meaning of his life, began to waste away and his feathers to lose their gloss; he grew ugly; and the woman no longer paid him any attention, except by feeding him and cleaning out his cage.
One day, the bird died. The woman felt terribly sad and spent all her time thinking about him. But she did not remember the cage, she thought only of the day when she had seen him for the first time, flying contentedly amongst the clouds.
If she had looked more deeply into herself, she would have realized that what had thrilled her about the bird was his freedom, the energy of his wings in motion, not his physical body.
Without the bird, her life too lost all meaning, and Death came knocking at her door.
“Why have you come?” she asked Death.
“So that you can fly once more with him across the sky,” Death replied.
“If you had allowed him to come and go, you would have loved and admired him ever more; alas, you now need me in order to find him again.
Paulo Coelho (Eleven Minutes)
Breakfast! My favorite meal- and you can be so creative. I think of bowls of sparkling berries and fresh cream, baskets of Popovers and freshly squeezed orange juice, thick country bacon, hot maple syrup, panckes and French toast - even the nutty flavor of Irish oatmeal with brown sugar and cream. Breaksfast is the place I splurge with calories, then I spend the rest of the day getting them off! I love to use my prettiest table settings - crocheted placemats with lace-edged napkins and old hammered silver. And whether you are inside in front of a fire, candles burning brightly on a wintery day - or outside on a patio enjoying the morning sun - whether you are having a group of friends and family, a quiet little brunch for two, or an even quieter little brunch just for yourself, breakfast can set the mood and pace of the whole day.
And Sunday is my day. Sometimes I think we get caught up in the hectic happenings of the weeks and months and we forget to take time out to relax. So one Sunday morning I decided to do things differently - now it's gotten to be a sort of ritual! This is what I do: at around 8:30 am I pull myself from my warm cocoon, fluff up the pillows and blankets and put some classical music on the stereo. Then I'm off to the kitchen, where I very calmly (so as not to wake myself up too much!) prepare my breakfast, seomthing extra nice - last week I had fresh pineapple slices wrapped in bacon and broiled, a warm croissant, hot chocolate with marshmallows and orange juice. I put it all on a tray with a cloth napkin, my book-of-the-moment and the "Travel" section of the Boston Globe and take it back to bed with me. There I spend the next two hours reading, eating and dreaming while the snowflakes swirl through the treetops outside my bedroom window. The inspiring music of Back or Vivaldi adds an exquisite elegance to the otherwise unruly scene, and I am in heaven. I found time to get in touch with myself and my life and i think this just might be a necessity! Please try it for yourself, and someone you love.
Susan Branch (Days from the Heart of the Home)
And we've read scary books and watched scary movies and TV shows together. He's met monsters, ghouls, and demons on the page and on the screen. There's nothing like watching Anaconda with your best friend or lying in bed next to your mother reading Roald Dahl, because that way you get to explore dark stuff safely. You get to laugh with it, to step out on the vampire's dance floor and take him for a spin, and then step back into your life. When you make friends with fear, it can't rule you.
Anne Lamott (Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith)
Middle school is kind of like Middle-earth. It’s a magical journey filled with elves, dwarves, hobbits, queens, kings, and a few corrupt wizards. Word to the wise: pick your traveling companions well. Ones with the courage and moral fiber to persevere. Ones who wield their lip gloss like magic wands when confronted with danger. This way, when you pass through the congested hallways rife with pernicious diversion, you achieve your desired destination—or at least your next class.
-CeCee, Lucy and CeCee's How to Survive (and Thrive) in Middle School
Kimberly Dana (Lucy and CeCee's How to Survive (and Thrive) in Middle School)
One of the greatest comforts of this life is friendship; and one of the comforts of friendship is that of having someone we can trust with a secret. But friendship does not pair us off into couples, as marriage does; each of us generally has more than one friend to his name, and so a chain is formed, of which no man can see the end. When we allow ourselves the comfort of depositing a secret in the bosom of a friend, we inspire him with the wish to enjoy the same comfort for himself. It is true that we always ask him not to tell anyone else; and this is a condition which, if taken literally, would break the series of comforting confidences at once. But the general practice is to regard the obligation as one which prevents a man from passing the secret on, except to an equally trusted friend and on the same condition of silence. From trusted friend to trusted friend, the secret travels and travels along an unending chain, until it reaches the ears of the very man or men from whom the first speaker meant to keep it for ever. It would generally require a long time to get there, if each of us only had two friends—one to confide the secret to us, and another to whom we can pass it on. But there are some privileged men who have hundreds of friends, and once a secret reaches one of them, its subsequent journeys are so rapid and multitudinous that no one can keep track of them.
I glance around the room. What a comedy! All these people sitting there, looking serious, eating. No, they aren't eating: they are recuperating in order to successfully finish their tasks. Each one of them has his little personal difficulty which keeps him from noticing that he exists; there isn't one of them who doesn't believe himself indispensable to something or someone. Didn't the Self-Taught Man tell me the other day: "No one better qualified than Noucapie to undertake this vast synthesis?" Each one of them does one small thing and no one is better qualified than he to do it. No one is better qualified than the commercial traveler over there to sell Swan Toothpaste. No one better qualified than that interesting young man to put his hand under his girl friend's skirts. And I am among them and if they look at me they must think that no one is better qualified than I to do what I'm doing. But I know. I don't look like much, but I know I exist and that they exist. And if I knew how to convince people I'd go and sit down next to that handsome white-haired gentleman and explain to him just what existence means. I burst out laughing at the thought of the face he would make. The Self-Taught Man looks at me with surprise. I'd like to stop but I can't; I laugh until I cry.
Jean-Paul Sartre (Nausea)
Reading these stories, it's tempting to think that
the arts to be learned are those of tracking, hunting,
navigating, skills of survival and escape. Even in the
everyday world of the present, an anxiety to survive
manifests itself in cars and clothes for far more rugged
occasions than those at hand, as though to express some
sense of the toughness of things and of readiness to face
them. But the real difficulties, the real arts of survival,
seem to lie in more subtle realms. There, what's called
for is a kind of resilience of the psyche, a readiness to
deal with what comes next. These captives lay out in a
stark and dramatic way what goes on in every life: the
transitions whereby you cease to be who you were. Seldom
is it as dramatic, but nevertheless, something of
this journey between the near and the far goes on in
every life. Sometimes an old photograph, an old friend,
an old letter will remind you that you are not who you
once were, for the person who dwelt among them, valued
this, chose that, wrote thus, no longer exists. Without
noticing it you have traversed a great distance; the
strange has become familiar and the familiar if not
strange at least awkward or uncomfortable, an outgrown
garment. And some people travel far more than
others. There are those who receive as birthright an adequate
or at least unquestioned sense of self and those
who set out to reinvent themselves, for survival or for
satisfaction, and travel far. Some people inherit values
and practices as a house they inhabit; some of us have to
burn down that house, find our own ground, build from scratch, even as a psychological metamorphosis.
Rebecca Solnit (A Field Guide to Getting Lost)
And ultimately, they find out everything: How you chew, how you sip, how you hum, how you dance. How you smell at every point in the day, how you are on the phone with your mother, the fact that many of your friends are shallow, that you always have to sit on the aisle, how you never really listen, how whiny you get when you travel, how you’re not gracious to her friends when they call, how certain game shows make you really really happy, how cranky you get because you’re too stupid to remember to eat, how you manage to get confrontational only when it’s with the absolute wrong person to be yelling at, how you don’t like the way you look in any picture you’ve taken since 1973, how you’re unable to get off the phone when you’re running late because you don’t have the ability to say, “This isn’t a good time; can I call you back?” How you have to lick certain fruits before actually eating them, how you have no ability to save receipts - all these things, and they still want to sign on. They still like you.
Paul Reiser (Couplehood)
Coordination' occurred with astonishing speed, even in sectors of life not directly targeted by specific laws, as Germans willingly placed themselves under the sway of Nazi rule, a phenomenon that became known as Selbtsgleichschaltung, or 'self-coordination.' Change came to Germany so quickly and across such a wide front that German citizens who left the country for business or travel returned to find everything around them altered, as if they were characters in a horror movie who come back to find that people who once were their friends, clients, patients, and customers have become different in ways hard to discern.
Erik Larson (In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin)
The wrought-iron gate squeaked as Lucas opened it. He lowered the rented bike down the stone steps and onto the sidewalk. To his right was the most famous Globe Hotel in Paris, disguised under another name. In front of the entrance five Curukians sat on mopeds. Lu-cas and his eighteen-month-old friend then shot out across the street and through the invisible beam of an-other security camera.
He rode diagonally across the place de la Concorde and headed toward the river. It seemed only natural. The motorcycles trailed him. He pedaled fast across the Alex-andre III bridge and zipped past Les Invalides hospital. He tried to turn left at the Rodin Museum, but Goper rode next to him, blocking his escape.
Paul Aertker (Brainwashed (Crime Travelers, #1))
That was what made travelling appeal to him - he always made new friends,and he didn't need to spend all of his time with them. When someone sees the same people every day, as had happened with him at the seminary, they wind up becoming a part of that person's life.And then they want the person to change. If someone isn't what others want them to be,the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives,but none about his or her own.
Paulo Coelho (The Alchemist)
I grew up back and forth between the British Isles: England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales. I spent short periods of time in France, Italy, and South Africa. This is my first time in the States. I was disappointed by Atlanta at first — I'd wanted to live in New York-but it's grown on me.”
Everything about Kaidan was exciting and exotic. This was my first time traveling away from home, and he'd already seen so much. I ate my apple, glad it was crisp and not soft.
“Which was your favorite place?” I asked.
“I've never been terribly attached to any place. I guess it would have to be...here.”
I stopped midchew and examined his face. He wouldn't look at me. He was clenching his jaw, tense. Was he serious or was he teasing me? I swallowed my bite.
“The Texas panhandle?” I asked.
“No.” He seemed to choose each word with deliberate care. “I mean here in this car. With you.”
Covered in goose bumps, I looked away from him and stared straight ahead at the road, letting my hand with the apple fall to my lap.
He cleared his throat and tried to explain. “I've not talked like this with anyone, not since I started working, not even to the only four people in the world who I call friends. You have Patti, and even that boyfriend of yours. So this has been a relief of sort. Kind of...nice.” He cleared his throat again.
Oh, my gosh. Did we just have a moment? I proceeded with caution, hoping not to ruin it.
“It's been nice for me, too,” I said. “I've never told Jay anything. He has no idea. You're the only one I've talked to about it all, except Patti, but it's not the same. She learned the basics from the nun at the convent where I was born.”
“You were born in a convent,” he stated.
Wendy Higgins (Sweet Evil (Sweet, #1))
most cherished desires of present-day Westerners are shaped by romantic, nationalist, capitalist and humanist myths that have been around for centuries. Friends giving advice often tell each other, ‘Follow your heart.’ But the heart is a double agent that usually takes its instructions from the dominant myths of the day, and the very recommendation to ‘follow your heart’ was implanted in our minds by a combination of nineteenth-century Romantic myths and twentieth-century consumerist myths. The Coca-Cola Company, for example, has marketed Diet Coke around the world under the slogan ‘Diet Coke. Do what feels good.’ Even what people take to be their most personal desires are usually programmed by the imagined order. Let’s consider, for example, the popular desire to take a holiday abroad. There is nothing natural or obvious about this. A chimpanzee alpha male would never think of using his power in order to go on holiday into the territory of a neighbouring chimpanzee band. The elite of ancient Egypt spent their fortunes building pyramids and having their corpses mummified, but none of them thought of going shopping in Babylon or taking a skiing holiday in Phoenicia. People today spend a great deal of money on holidays abroad because they are true believers in the myths of romantic consumerism. Romanticism tells us that in order to make the most of our human potential we must have as many different experiences as we can. We must open ourselves to a wide spectrum of emotions; we must sample various kinds of relationships; we must try different cuisines; we must learn to appreciate different styles of music. One of the best ways to do all that is to break free from our daily routine, leave behind our familiar setting, and go travelling in distant lands, where we can ‘experience’ the culture, the smells, the tastes and the norms of other people. We hear again and again the romantic myths about ‘how a new experience opened my eyes and changed my life’. Consumerism tells us that in order to be happy we must consume as many products and services as possible. If we feel that something is missing or not quite right, then we probably need to buy a product (a car, new clothes, organic food) or a service (housekeeping, relationship therapy, yoga classes). Every television commercial is another little legend about how consuming some product or service will make life better. 18. The Great Pyramid of Giza. The kind of thing rich people in ancient Egypt did with their money. Romanticism, which encourages variety, meshes perfectly with consumerism. Their marriage has given birth to the infinite ‘market of experiences’, on which the modern tourism industry is founded. The tourism industry does not sell flight tickets and hotel bedrooms. It sells experiences. Paris is not a city, nor India a country – they are both experiences, the consumption of which is supposed to widen our horizons, fulfil our human potential, and make us happier. Consequently, when the relationship between a millionaire and his wife is going through a rocky patch, he takes her on an expensive trip to Paris. The trip is not a reflection of some independent desire, but rather of an ardent belief in the myths of romantic consumerism. A wealthy man in ancient Egypt would never have dreamed of solving a relationship crisis by taking his wife on holiday to Babylon. Instead, he might have built for her the sumptuous tomb she had always wanted. Like the elite of ancient Egypt, most people in most cultures dedicate their lives to building pyramids. Only the names, shapes and sizes of these pyramids change from one culture to the other. They may take the form, for example, of a suburban cottage with a swimming pool and an evergreen lawn, or a gleaming penthouse with an enviable view. Few question the myths that cause us to desire the pyramid in the first place.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
So I close this long reflection on what I hope is a not-too-quaveringly semi-Semitic note. When I am at home, I will only enter a synagogue for the bar or bat mitzvah of a friend's child, or in order to have a debate with the faithful. (When I was to be wed, I chose a rabbi named Robert Goldburg, an Einsteinian and a Shakespearean and a Spinozist, who had married Arthur Miller to Marilyn Monroe and had a copy of Marilyn’s conversion certificate. He conducted the ceremony in Victor and Annie Navasky's front room, with David Rieff and Steve Wasserman as my best of men.) I wanted to do something to acknowledge, and to knit up, the broken continuity between me and my German-Polish forebears. When I am traveling, I will stop at the shul if it is in a country where Jews are under threat, or dying out, or were once persecuted. This has taken me down queer and sad little side streets in Morocco and Tunisia and Eritrea and India, and in Damascus and Budapest and Prague and Istanbul, more than once to temples that have recently been desecrated by the new breed of racist Islamic gangster. (I have also had quite serious discussions, with Iraqi Kurdish friends, about the possibility of Jews genuinely returning in friendship to the places in northern Iraq from which they were once expelled.) I hate the idea that the dispossession of one people should be held hostage to the victimhood of another, as it is in the Middle East and as it was in Eastern Europe. But I find myself somehow assuming that Jewishness and 'normality' are in some profound way noncompatible. The most gracious thing said to me when I discovered my family secret was by Martin, who after a long evening of ironic reflection said quite simply: 'Hitch, I find that I am a little envious of you.' I choose to think that this proved, once again, his appreciation for the nuances of risk, uncertainty, ambivalence, and ambiguity. These happen to be the very things that 'security' and 'normality,' rather like the fantasy of salvation, cannot purchase.
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)
I’M LOSING FAITH IN MY FAVORITE COUNTRY
Throughout my life, the United States has been my favorite country, save and except for Canada, where I was born, raised, educated, and still live for six months each year. As a child growing up in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, I aggressively bought and saved baseball cards of American and National League players, spent hours watching snowy images of American baseball and football games on black and white television and longed for the day when I could travel to that great country. Every Saturday afternoon, me and the boys would pay twelve cents to go the show and watch U.S. made movies, and particularly, the Superman serial. Then I got my chance. My father, who worked for B.F. Goodrich, took my brother and me to watch the Cleveland Indians play baseball in the Mistake on the Lake in Cleveland. At last I had made it to the big time. I thought it was an amazing stadium and it was certainly not a mistake. Amazingly, the Americans thought we were Americans.
I loved the United States, and everything about the country: its people, its movies, its comic books, its sports, and a great deal more. The country was alive and growing. No, exploding. It was the golden age of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The American dream was alive and well, but demanded hard work, honesty, and frugality. Everyone understood that. Even the politicians.
Then everything changed.
Partly because of its proximity to the United States and a shared heritage, Canadians also aspired to what was commonly referred to as the American dream. I fall neatly into that category. For as long as I can remember I wanted a better life, but because I was born with a cardboard spoon in my mouth, and wasn’t a member of the golden gene club, I knew I would have to make it the old fashioned way: work hard and save. After university graduation I spent the first half of my career working for the two largest oil companies in the world: Exxon and Royal Dutch Shell. The second half was spent with one of the smallest oil companies in the world: my own.
Then I sold my company and retired into obscurity. In my case obscurity was spending summers in our cottage on Lake Rosseau in Muskoka, Ontario, and winters in our home in Port St. Lucie, Florida. My wife, Ann, and I, (and our three sons when they can find the time), have been enjoying that “obscurity” for a long time. During that long time we have been fortunate to meet and befriend a large number of Americans, many from Tom Brokaw’s “Greatest Generation.” One was a military policeman in Tokyo in 1945. After a very successful business carer in the U.S. he’s retired and living the dream. Another American friend, also a member of the “Greatest Generation”, survived The Battle of the Bulge and lived to drink Hitler’s booze at Berchtesgaden in 1945. He too is happily retired and living the dream. Both of these individuals got to where they are by working hard, saving, and living within their means. Both also remember when their Federal Government did the same thing.
One of my younger American friends recently sent me a You Tube video, featuring an impassioned speech by Marco Rubio, Republican senator from Florida. In the speech, Rubio blasts the spending habits of his Federal Government and deeply laments his country’s future. He is outraged that the U.S. Government spends three hundred billion dollars, each and every month. He is even more outraged that one hundred and twenty billion of that three hundred billion dollars is borrowed. In other words, Rubio states that for every dollar the U.S. Government spends, forty cents is borrowed. I don’t blame him for being upset. If I had run my business using that arithmetic, I would be in the soup kitchens. If individual American families had applied that arithmetic to their finances, none of them would be in a position to pay a thin dime of taxes.
Sometimes, a person isn’t looking to increase their lifestyle, status or ego when they fall in love. Sometimes, they just want that special someone that is just like them. The one person that truly understands how they suffer because they have gone through it too. They want to wake up beside someone that knows their trials intimately. They want a teammate that doesn’t say they get it, but someone who knows it, lived it and survived it. They have been looking for that person their entire life because they feel alone and misunderstood. They are tired of people telling them not to care about other people, when that is not who God designed them to be. The depth of their soul can’t be reached by their partner standing at the top looking down. They want to come home to their “own kind”--the person that has run the same dark corridors they have traveled in their mind. They want to build a life with someone that would never break their heart, push them away or give up on them. They don’t want the person that has to win. They want the rescuer that has been to the fearful boundaries of their heart, but knows the way back to life. When they meet this person they will never forget them because they will come into their life with all the fire they possess and never leave their soul.
Shannon L. Alder
Today Means Amen
Dear you, whoever you are, however you got here,
this is exactly where you are supposed to be.
This moment has waited its whole life for you.
This moment is your lover and you are a soldier.
Come home, baby, it's over. You don't need
to suffer anymore. Dear you, this moment
is your surprise party. You are both hiding
in the dark and walking through the door.
This moment is a hallelujah. This moment
is your permission slip to finally open that love
letter you've been hiding from yourself,
the one you wrote when you were little
when you still danced like a sparkler at dusk.
Do you remember the moment you realized
they were watching? When you became
ashamed of how much light you were holding?
When you first learned how to unlove yourself?
Dear you, the word today means amen
in every language. Today, we made it. Today,
I'm going to love you. Today, I'm going
to love myself. Today, the boxcutter will rust
in the garbage. The noose will forget
how to hold you, today, today--
Dear you, and I have always meant you,
nothing would be the same if you
did not exist. You, whose voice is someone's
favorite voice, someone's favorite face
to wake up to. Nothing would be the same
if you did not exist. You, the teacher,
the starter's gun, the lantern in the night
who offers not a way home, but the courage
to travel farther into the dark. You, the lover,
who worships the taste of her body, who is
the largest tree ring in his heart, who does not
let fear ration your love. You, the friend,
the sacred chorus of how can I help.
You, who have felt more numb than holy,
more cracked than mosaic. Who have known
the tiles of a bathroom by heart, who have
forgotten what makes you worth it.
You, the forgiven, the forgiver, who belongs
right here in this moment. You, this clump
of cells, this happy explosion that happened
to start breathing, and by the grace of whatever
is up there, you got here. You made it
this whole way: through the nights
that swallowed you whole, the mornings
that arrived in pieces. The scabs, the gravel,
the doubt, the hurt, the hurt, the hurt
is over. Today, you made it. You made it.
You made it here.
Sierra DeMulder (Today Means Amen)
America for Me
'Tis fine to see the Old World and travel up and down
Among the famous palaces and cities of renown,
To admire the crumblyh castles and the statues and kings
But now I think I've had enough of antiquated things.
So it's home again, and home again, America for me!
My heart is turning home again and there I long to be,
In the land of youth and freedom, beyond the ocean bars,
Where the air is full of sunlight and the flag is full of stars.
Oh, London is a man's town, there's power in the air;
And Paris is a woman's town, with flowers in her hair;
And it's sweet to dream in Venice, and it's great to study Rome;
But when it comes to living there is no place like home.
I like the German fir-woods in green battalions drilled;
I like the gardens of Versailles with flashing foutains filled;
But, oh, to take your hand, my dear, and ramble for a day
In the friendly western woodland where Nature has her sway!
I know that Europe's wonderful, yet something seems to lack!
The Past is too much with her, and the people looking back.
But the glory of the Present is to make the Future free--
We love our land for what she is and what she is to be.
Oh, it's home again, and home again, America for me!
I want a ship that's westward bound to plough the rolling sea,
To the blessed Land of Room Enough, beyond the ocean bars,
Where the air is full of sunlight and the flag is full of stars.
Henry Van Dyke
Of course we will send postcards to Nutsawoo. And we shall bring him back a present as well. In fact,' she went on, with the instinctive knack every good governess has for turning something enjoyable into a lesson, and vice versa, 'I will expect all three of you to practice your writing by keeping a journal of our trip so that Nutsawoo may know how we spend our days. Why, by the time we return, he will think he has been to London himself! He will be the envy of all his little squirrel friends,' she declared.
Penelope had no way of knowing if this last statement was true. Could squirrels feel envy? Would they give two figs about London? Did Nutsawoo even have friends?
Maryrose Wood (The Hidden Gallery (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, #2))
Suppose you’re called on to navigate some particularly difficult life dilemma, your own, or that of a close confidant. You yearn to talk matters over with your mentor, spouse, or best friend. Yet, for whatever reason, you can’t get a hold of these valued others—perhaps they’re traveling, busy, or even deceased. Research shows that simply imagining having a conversation with them is as good as actually talking with them. So consult them in your mind. Ask them what advice they’d offer. In this way, a cherished parent or mentor, even if deceased, leaves you with an inner voice that guides you through challenging times. Your past moments of love and connection make you lastingly wiser.
Barbara L. Fredrickson (Love 2.0: How Our Supreme Emotion Affects Everything We Feel, Think, Do, and Become)
We are, after all, citizens of the world - a world filled with bacteria, some friendly, some not so friendly. Do we really want to travel in hermetically sealed popemobiles through the rural provinces of France, Mexico and the Far East, eating only in Hard Rock Cafes and McDonald's? Or do we want to eat without fear, tearing into the local stew, the humble taqueria's mystery meat, the sincerely offered gift of a lightly grilled fish head? I know what I want. I want it all. I want to try everything once. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt, Senor Tamale Stand Owner, Sushi-chef-san, Monsieur Bucket-head. What's that feathered game bird, hanging on the porch, getting riper by the day, the body nearly ready to drop off? I want some.
Anthony Bourdain (Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly)
You enjoy solitude?" she asked, leaning her cheek on her hand. "Traveling alone, eating alone, sitting off by yourself in lecture halls..."
"Nobody likes being alone that much. I don't go out of my way to make friends, that's all. It just leads to disappointment.”
The tip of one earpiece in her mouth, sunglasses dangling down, she mumbled, "'Nobody likes being alone. I just hate to be disappointed.' You can use that line if you ever write your autobiography."
"Thanks," I said.
"Do you like green?"
"Why do you ask?"
"You're wearing a green polo shirt."
"Not especially. I'll wear anything."
"'Not especially. I'll wear anything.' I love the way you talk. Like spreading plaster nice and smooth. Has anybody ever told you that?"
"Nobody," I said.
Haruki Murakami (Norwegian Wood)
We want lovers, friends, recruits, soldiers, and affiliations that support who we are. People, individuals, believe in themselves, want to survive, and on a Darwinistic level at least, want to have more, of ourselves. Initially, this is a visual choice. The where, what, when, and who…to our why. Upon closer inspection, which is the upfall of the politically correct culture of today, we learn to measure people on the competence of their values that we most value. When we do this, the politics of gender, race, and slanderous slang take a back seat to the importance of the values we share. The more we travel, the more we realize how similar our human needs are. We want to be loved, have a family, community, have something to look forward to. These basic needs are present in all socioeconomic and cultural civilizations. I have seen many tribes in the deserts of Northern Africa who, with nine children and no electricity, had more joy, love, honor, and laughter than the majority of the most materially rich people I’ve ever met. We have the choice to love, befriend, recruit, call to arms, associate, and support who we believe in, and more importantly, who, we believe, believes in us.
Matthew McConaughey (Greenlights)
I was blessed to be that person in school who was friends with everyone and got along with every group and cliques in school. I was never bullied in high school, and was in Drama, newspaper, sports, pep, and school politics. Guess I was popular enough too to be voted for things too. So where do all the angst and teenage books come from? From the rest of life, imagination, stepping into the shoes of someone, and some incidences in my own life...especially when it deals with romance. Been there and done that...now I'm happily married ever after to a man like the kind I write about and live in and travel to glamorous and exciting places. This wouldn't happen if I didn't have the confidence to believe in myself and to pursue what I love. - Kailin Gow in Interview.
There are hermit souls that live withdrawn
In the place of their self-content;
There are souls like stars, that dwell apart,
In a fellowless firmament;
There are pioneer souls that blaze their paths
Where highways never ran-
But let me live by the side of the road
And be a friend to man. -
Let me live in a house by the side of the road,
Where the race of men go by-
The men who are good and the men who are bad,
As good and as bad as I.
I would not sit in the scorner's seat,
Or hurl the cynic's ban-
Let me live in a house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man. -
I see from my house by the side of the road,
By the side of the highway of life,
The men who press with the ardor of hope,
The men who are faint with the strife.
But I turn not away from their smiles nor their tears,
Both parts of an infinite plan-
Let me live in a house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.
I know there are brook-gladdened meadows ahead
And mountains of wearisome height;
That the road passes on through the long afternoon
And stretches away to the night.
But still I rejoice when the travelers rejoice.
And weep with the strangers that moan,
Nor live in my house by the side of the road
Like a man who dwells alone. -
Let me live in my house by the side of the road-
It's here the race of men go by.
They are good, they are bad, they are weak, they are strong,
Wise, foolish- so am I;
Then why should I sit in the scorner's seat,
Or hurl the cynic's ban?
Let me live in my house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.
Sam Walter Foss
Friendship is a difficult thing to define. Oscar here is my oldest friend. How would you define friendship, Oscar?"
Oscar grunts slightly, as though the answer is obvious.
"Friendship is about choice and chemistry. It cannot be defined."
"But surely there's something more to it than that."
"It is a willingness to overlook faults and to accept them. I would let a friend hurt me without striking back," he says, smiling. "But only once."
De Souza laughs. "Bravo, Oscar, I can always rely on you to distill an argument down to its purest form. What do you think, Dayel?"
The Indian rocks his head from side to side, proud that he has been asked to speak next.
"Friendship is different for each person and it changes throughout our lives. At age six it is about holding hands with your best friend. At sixteen it is about the adventure ahead. At sixty it is about reminiscing." He holds up a finger. "You cannot define it with any one word, although honesty is perhaps the closest word-"
"No, not honesty," Farhad interrupts. "On the contrary, we often have to protect our friends from what we truly think. It is like an unspoken agreement. We ignore each other's faults and keep our confidences. Friendship isn't about being honest. The truth is too sharp a weapon to wield around someone we trust and respect. Friendship is about self-awareness. We see ourselves through the eyes of our friends. They are like a mirror that allows us to judge how we are traveling."
De Souza clears his throat now. I wonder if he is aware of the awe that he inspires in others. I suspect he is too intelligent and too human to do otherwise.
"Friendship cannot be defined," he says sternly. "The moment we begin to give reasons for being friends with someone we begin to undermine the magic of the relationship. Nobody wants to know that they are loved for their money or their generosity or their beauty or their wit. Choose one motive and it allows a person to say, 'is that the only reason?'"
The others laugh. De Souza joins in with them. This is a performance.
He continues: "Trying to explain why we form particular friendships is like trying to tell someone why we like a certain kind of music or a particular food. We just do.
Michael Robotham (The Night Ferry)
Knowing that wisdom waits to be gathered, I actively search her out. I will change my actions TODAY! I will train my eyes and ears to read and listen to books and recordings that bring about positive changes in my personal relationships and a greater understanding of my fellow man. I will read and listen only to what increases my belief in myself and my future.
I will seek wisdom. I will choose my friends with care.
I am who my friends are. I speak their language, and I wear their clothes. I share their opinions and their habits. From this moment forward, I will choose to associate with people whose lives and lifestyles I admire. If I associate with chickens, I will learn to scratch at the ground and squabble over crumbs. If I associate with eagles, I will learn to soar to great heights. I am an eagle. It is my destiny to fly.
I will seek wisdom. I will listen to the counsel of wise men.
The words of a wise man are like raindrops on dry ground. They are precious and can be quickly used for immediate results. Only the blade of grass that catches a raindrop will prosper and grow.
I will seek wisdom. I will be a servant to others.
A wise man will cultivate a servant’s spirit, for that particular attribute attracts people like no other. As I humbly serve others, their wisdom will be freely shared with me. He who serves the most grows the fastest.
I will become a humble servant. I will look to open the door for someone. I will be excited when I am available to help. I will be a servant to others. I will listen to the counsel of wise men. I will choose my friends with care.
I will seek wisdom.
Andy Andrews (The Traveler's Gift: Seven Decisions that Determine Personal Success)
Yes! And isn't that the root of every despicable action? Not selfishness, but precisely the absence of a self. Look at them. The man who cheats and lies, but preserves a respectable front. He knows himself to be dishonest, but others think he's honest and he derives his self-respect from that, second-hand. The man who takes credit for an achievement which is not his own. He knows himself to be mediocre, but he's great in the eyes of others. The frustrated wretch who professes love for the inferior and clings to those less endowed, in order to establish his own superiority by comparison. The man whose sole aim is to make money. Now I don't see anything evil in a desire to make money. But money is only a means to some end. If a man wants it for a personal purpose--to invest in his industry, to create, to study, to travel, to enjoy luxury--he's completely moral. But the men who place money first go much beyond that. Personal luxury is a limited endeavor. What they want is ostentation: to show, to stun, to entertain, to impress others. They're second-handers. Look at our so-called cultural endeavors. A lecturer who spouts some borrowed rehash of nothing at all that means nothing at all to him--and the people who listen and don't give a damn, but sit there in order to tell their friends that they have attended a lecture by a famous name. All second-handers.
Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead)
My little friend Grildrig; you have made a most admirable panegyrick upon your country. You have clearly proved that ignorance, idleness, and vice, are the proper ingredients for qualifying a legislator. That laws are best explained, interpreted, and applied by those whose interest and abilities lie in perverting, confounding, and eluding them. I observe among you, some lines of an institution, which in its original might have been tolerable; but these half erased, and the rest wholly blurred and blotted by corruptions. It doth not appear, from all you have said, how any one perfection is required towards the procurement of any one station among you...I cannot but conclude the bulk of your natives, to be the most pernicious race of little odious vermin that nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth.
Jonathan Swift (Gulliver's Travels: Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World.)
Debarred from public worship, David was heartsick. Ease he did not seek, honour he did not covet, but the enjoyment of communion with God was an urgent need of his soul; he viewed it not merely as the sweetest of all luxuries, but as an absolute necessity, like water to a stag. Like the parched traveler in the wilderness, whose skin bottle is empty, and who finds the wells dry, he must drink or die – he must have his God or faint. His soul, his very self, his deepest life, was insatiable for a sense of the divine presence. . . . Give him his God and he is as content as the poor deer which at length slakes its thirst and is perfectly happy; but deny him his Lord, and his heart heaves, his bosom palpitates, his whole frame is convulsed, like one who gasps for breath, or pants with long running. Dear friend, dost thou know what this is, by personally having felt the same? It is a sweet bitterness. The next best thing to living in the light of the Lord’s love is to be unhappy till we have it, and to pant hourly after it – hourly, did I say? Thirst is a perpetual appetite, and not to be forgotten, and even thus continually is the heart’s longing after God. When it is as natural for us to long for God as for an animal to thirst, it is well with our souls, however painful our feelings
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
The faintness of the voice was pitiable and dreadful. It was not the faintness of physical weakness, though confinement and hard fare no doubt had their part in it. Its deplorable peculiarity was, that it was the faintness of solitude and disuse. It was like the last feeble echo of a sound made long long ago. So entirely had it lost the life and resonance of the human voice, that if affected the senses like a once beautiful colour faded away into a poor weak stain. So sunken and suppressed it was, that it was like a voice underground. So expressive it was, of a hopeless and lost creature, that a famished traveller, wearied out by lonely wandering in a wilderness, would remember home and friends in such a tone before lying down to die.
Charles Dickens (A Tale of Two Cities)
I enjoyed perfect health of body, and tranquillity of mind; I did not feel the treachery or inconstancy of a friend, nor the injuries of a secret or open enemy. I had no occasion of bribing, flattering, or pimping, to procure the favour of any great man, or of his minion; I wanted no fence against fraud or oppression: here was neither physician to destroy my body, nor lawyer to ruin my fortune; no informer to watch my words and actions, or forge accusations against me for hire: here were no gibers, censurers, backbiters, pickpockets, highwaymen, housebreakers, attorneys, bawds, buffoons, gamesters, politicians, wits, splenetics, tedious talkers, controvertists, ravishers, murderers, robbers, virtuosos; no leaders, or followers, of party and faction; no encouragers to vice, by seducement or examples; no dungeon, axes, gibbets, whipping-posts, or pillories; no cheating shopkeepers or mechanics; no pride, vanity, or affectation; no fops, bullies, drunkards, strolling whores, or poxes; no ranting, lewd, expensive wives; no stupid, proud pedants; no importunate, overbearing, quarrelsome, noisy, roaring, empty, conceited, swearing companions; no scoundrels raised from the dust upon the merit of their vices, or nobility thrown into it on account of their virtues; no lords, fiddlers, judges, or dancing-masters.
Jonathan Swift (Gulliver's Travels: Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World.)
All of these lines across my face
Tell you the story of who I am
So many stories of where I've been
And how I got to where I am
But these stories don't mean anything
When you've got no one to tell them to
It's true, I was made for you
I climbed across the mountaintops
Travel across the ocean blue
I cross over lines and I broke all the rules
And baby I broke them all for you
Oh because even when I was flat broke
You made me feel like a million bucks
You do, I was made for you
You see the smile that's on my mouth
It's hiding the words that don't come out
All of the friends who think that I'm blessed
They don't know my head's a mess
No they don't know who I really am
And they don't know what I've been through
Like you do, and I was made for you
All of these lines across my face
Tell you the story of who I am
So many stories of where I've been
And how I got to where I am
Oh but these stories don't mean anything
When you've got no one to tell them to
It's true, I was made for you
Oh yeah, and it's true that I was made for you
It is lonely behind these boundaries. Some people-particularly those whom psychiatrists call schizoid-because of unpleasant, traumatizing experiences in childhood, perceive the world outside of themselves as unredeemably dangerous, hostile, confusing and unnurturing. Such people feel their boundaries to be protecting and comforting and find a sense of safety in their loneliness. But most of us feel our loneliness to be painful and yearn to escape from behind the walls of our individual identities to a condition in which we can be more unified with the world outside of ourselves. The experience of falling in love allows us this escapetemporarily. The essence of the phenomenon of falling in love is a sudden collapse of a section of an individual's ego boundaries, permitting one to merge his or her identity with that of another person. The sudden release of oneself from oneself, the explosive pouring out of oneself into the beloved, and the dramatic surcease of loneliness accompanying this collapse of ego boundaries is experienced by most of us as ecstatic. We and our beloved are one! Loneliness is no more!
In some respects (but certainly not in all) the act of falling in love is an act of regression. The experience of merging with the loved one has in it echoes from the time when we were merged with our mothers in infancy. Along with the merging we also reexperience the sense of omnipotence which we had to give up in our journey out of childhood. All things seem possible! United with our beloved we feel we can conquer all obstacles. We believe that the strength of our love will cause the forces of opposition to bow down in submission and melt away into the darkness. All problems will be overcome. The future will be all light. The unreality of these feelings when we have fallen in love is essentially the same as the unreality of the two-year-old who feels itself to be king of the family and the world with power unlimited.
Just as reality intrudes upon the two-year-old's fantasy of omnipotence so does reality intrude upon the fantastic unity of the couple who have fallen in love. Sooner or later, in response to the problems of daily living, individual will reasserts itself. He wants to have sex; she doesn't. She wants to go to the movies; he doesn't. He wants to put money in the bank; she wants a dishwasher. She wants to talk about her job; he wants to talk about his. She doesn't like his friends; he doesn't like hers. So both of them, in the privacy of their hearts, begin to come to the sickening realization that they are not one with the beloved, that the beloved has and will continue to have his or her own desires, tastes, prejudices and timing different from the other's. One by one, gradually or suddenly, the ego boundaries snap back into place; gradually or suddenly, they fall out of love. Once again they are two separate individuals. At this point they begin either to dissolve the ties of their relationship or to initiate the work of real loving.
M. Scott Peck (The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth)
What is the spirit of Christmas, you ask? Let me give you the answer in a true story...
On a cold day in December, feeling especially warm in my heart for no other reason than it was the holiday season, I walked through the store sporting a big grin on my face. Though most people were far too busy going about their business to notice me, one elderly gentleman in a wheelchair brought his eyes up to meet mine as we neared each other traveling opposite directions. He slowed in passing just long enough to speak to me.
"Now that's a Christmas smile if I ever saw one," he said.
My lips stretched to their limit in response, and I thanked him for the compliment. Then we went our separate ways. But, as I thought about the man and how sweetly he'd touched me, I realized something simply wonderful! In that brief, passing interaction we'd exchanged heartfelt gifts!
And that, my friend, is the spirit of Christ~mas.
Richelle E. Goodrich (Smile Anyway: Quotes, Verse, and Grumblings for Every Day of the Year)
During my travels in India I met a man at an ashram who was about 45-50. A little older than everyone else. He tells me a story. He had retired and he was traveling on a motorcycle with his wife on the back. While stopped at a red light, a truck ran into them from behind and killed his wife. He was badly injured and almost died. He went into a coma and it was unclear if he’d ever walk again.
When he finally came out of it and found out what had happened, he naturally was devastated and heartbroken. Not to mention physically broken. He knew that his road ahead of rehabilitation, both physically and psychologically, was going to be hard. While he had given up, he had one friend who was a yoga teacher who said, “We're going to get you started on the path to recovery.”
So, she kept going over to his place, and through yoga, helped him be able to walk again.
After he could walk and move around again, he decided to head to India and explore some yoga ashrams. While he was there he started to learn about meditation and Hinduism and Buddhism.
He told me that he never would have thought he’d ever go down this path. He would have probably laughed at anyone who goes to India to find themselves.
I asked, “Did you get what you were hoping for?”
He said, "Even though I lost my wife, it turned out to be the greatest thing that ever happened to me because it put me on this path.
Todd Perelmuter (Spiritual Words to Live by : 81 Daily Wisdoms and Meditations to Transform Your Life)
My first thought was, he lied in every word,
That hoary cripple, with malicious eye
Askance to watch the workings of his lie
On mine, and mouth scarce able to afford
Suppression of the glee, that pursed and scored
Its edge, at one more victim gained thereby.
What else should he be set for, with his staff?
What, save to waylay with his lies, ensnare
All travellers who might find him posted there,
And ask the road? I guessed what skull-like laugh
Would break, what crutch 'gin write my epitaph
For pastime in the dusty thoroughfare.
If at his counsel I should turn aside
Into that ominous tract which, all agree,
Hides the Dark Tower. Yet acquiescingly
I did turn as he pointed, neither pride
Now hope rekindling at the end descried,
So much as gladness that some end might be.
For, what with my whole world-wide wandering,
What with my search drawn out through years, my hope
Dwindled into a ghost not fit to cope
With that obstreperous joy success would bring,
I hardly tried now to rebuke the spring
My heart made, finding failure in its scope.
As when a sick man very near to death
Seems dead indeed, and feels begin and end
The tears and takes the farewell of each friend,
And hears one bit the other go, draw breath
Freelier outside, ('since all is o'er,' he saith
And the blow fallen no grieving can amend;')
When some discuss if near the other graves
be room enough for this, and when a day
Suits best for carrying the corpse away,
With care about the banners, scarves and staves
And still the man hears all, and only craves
He may not shame such tender love and stay.
Thus, I had so long suffered in this quest,
Heard failure prophesied so oft, been writ
So many times among 'The Band' to wit,
The knights who to the Dark Tower's search addressed
Their steps - that just to fail as they, seemed best,
And all the doubt was now - should I be fit?
So, quiet as despair I turned from him,
That hateful cripple, out of his highway
Into the path he pointed. All the day
Had been a dreary one at best, and dim
Was settling to its close, yet shot one grim
Red leer to see the plain catch its estray.
For mark! No sooner was I fairly found
Pledged to the plain, after a pace or two,
Than, pausing to throw backwards a last view
O'er the safe road, 'twas gone; grey plain all round;
Nothing but plain to the horizon's bound.
I might go on, naught else remained to do.
So on I went. I think I never saw
Such starved ignoble nature; nothing throve:
For flowers - as well expect a cedar grove!
But cockle, spurge, according to their law
Might propagate their kind with none to awe,
You'd think; a burr had been a treasure trove.
No! penury, inertness and grimace,
In some strange sort, were the land's portion. 'See
Or shut your eyes,' said Nature peevishly,
It nothing skills: I cannot help my case:
Tis the Last Judgement's fire must cure this place
Calcine its clods and set my prisoners free.
In the travellers’ world, social media have enlarged the generation gap. The internet has brought a change in the very concept of travel as a process taking one away from the familiar into the unknown. Now the familiar is not left behind and the unknown has become familiar even before one leaves home. Unpredictability – to my generation the salt that gave travelling its savour – seems unnecessary if not downright irritating to many of the young. The sunset challenge – where to sleep? – has been banished by the ease of booking into a hostel or organised campsite with a street plan provided by the internet. Moreover, relatives and friends evidently expect regular reassurance about the traveller’s precise location and welfare – and vice versa, the traveller needing to know that all is well back home.
Notoriously, dependence on instant communication with distant family and friends is known to stunt the development of self-reliance. Perhaps that is why, amongst younger travellers, one notices a new timidity.
Tis a funny thing, reflected the Count as he stood ready to abandon his suite. From the earliest age, we must learn to say good-bye to friends and family. We see our parents and siblings off at the station; we visit cousins, attend schools, join the regiment; we marry, or travel abroad. It is part of the human experience that we are constantly gripping a good fellow by the shoulders and wishing him well, taking comfort from the notion that we will hear word of him soon enough. But experience is less likely to teach us how to bid our dearest possessions adieu. And if it were to? We wouldn’t welcome the education. For eventually, we come to hold our dearest possessions more closely than we hold our friends. We carry them from place to place, often at considerable expense and inconvenience; we dust and polish their surfaces and reprimand children for playing too roughly in their vicinity—all the while, allowing memories to invest them with greater and greater importance. This armoire, we are prone to recall, is the very one in which we hid as a boy; and it was these silver candelabra that lined our table on Christmas Eve; and it was with this handkerchief that she once dried her tears, et cetera, et cetera. Until we imagine that these carefully preserved possessions might give us genuine solace in the face of a lost companion. But, of course, a thing is just a thing.
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
Later, long after my grandfather was dead, I would regret that I could never be the kind of man that he was. Though I adored him as a child and found myself attracted to the safe protectorate of his soft, uncritical maleness, I never wholly appreciated him. I did not know how to cherish sanctity, and I had no way of honoring, of giving small voice to the praise of such natural innocence, such a generous simplicity. Now I know that a part of me would like to have traveled the world as he traveled it, a jester of burning faith, a fool and a forest prince brimming with the love of God. I would like to walk his southern world, thanking God for oysters and porpoises, praising God for birdsongs and sheet lightning, and seeing God reflected in pools of creekwater and the eyes of stray cats. I would like to have talked to yard dogs and tanagers as if they were my friends and fellow travelers along the sun-tortured highways, intoxicated with a love of God, swollen with charity like a rainbow, in the thoughtless mingling of its hues, connecting two distant fields in its glorious arc. I would like to have seen the world with eyes incapable of anything but wonder, and a tongue fluent only in praise.
Pat Conroy (The Prince of Tides)
"Turn my back on the world..." the historian repeated softly and slowly, his head moving to face the mage. "Turn my back on the world!" Emotion rarely marred the surface of Astinus's cold voice, but now anger struck the placid calm of his soul like a rock hurled into still water.
"I? Turn my back on the world?" Astinus's voice rolled around the library as the thunder had rolled previously. "I am the world, as you well know, old friend! Countless times I have been born! Countless deaths I have died! Every tear shed - mine have flowed! Every drop of blood spilled - mine has drained! Every agony, every joy ever felt has been mine to share!
"I sit with my hand on the Sphere of Time, the sphere you made for me, old friend, and I travel the length and breadth of this world chronicling its history. I have committed the blackest deeds! I have made the noblest sacrifices. I am human, elf, and ogre. I am male and female. I have borne children. I have murdered children. I saw you as you were. I see you as you are. If I seem cold and unfeeling, it is because that is how I survive without losing my sanity! My passion goes into my words.
Many people in this room have an Etsy store where they create unique, unreplicable artifacts or useful items to be sold on a small scale, in a common marketplace where their friends meet and barter. I and many of my friends own more than one spinning wheel. We grow our food again. We make pickles and jams on private, individual scales, when many of our mothers forgot those skills if they ever knew them. We come to conventions, we create small communities of support and distributed skills--when one of us needs help, our village steps in. It’s only that our village is no longer physical, but connected by DSL instead of roads. But look at how we organize our tribes--bloggers preside over large estates, kings and queens whose spouses’ virtues are oft-lauded but whose faces are rarely seen. They have moderators to protect them, to be their knights, a nobility of active commenters and big name fans, a peasantry of regular readers, and vandals starting the occasional flame war just to watch the fields burn. Other villages are more commune-like, sharing out resources on forums or aggregate sites, providing wise women to be consulted, rabbis or priests to explain the world, makers and smiths to fashion magical objects. Groups of performers, acrobats and actors and singers of songs are traveling the roads once more, entertaining for a brief evening in a living room or a wheatfield, known by word of mouth and secret signal. Separate from official government, we create our own hierarchies, laws, and mores, as well as our own folklore and secret history. Even my own guilt about having failed as an academic is quite the crisis of filial piety--you see, my mother is a professor. I have not carried on the family trade.
We dwell within a system so large and widespread, so disorganized and unconcerned for anyone but its most privileged and luxurious members, that our powerlessness, when we can summon up the courage to actually face it, is staggering. So we do not face it. We tell ourselves we are Achilles when we have much more in common with the cathedral-worker, laboring anonymously so that the next generation can see some incremental progress. We lack, of course, a Great Work to point to and say: my grandmother made that window; I worked upon the door. Though, I would submit that perhaps the Internet, as an object, as an aggregate entity, is the cathedral we build word by word and image by image, window by window and portal by portal, to stand taller for our children, if only by a little, than it does for us. For most of us are Lancelots, not Galahads. We may see the Grail of a good Classical life, but never touch it. That is for our sons, or their daughters, or further off.
And if our villages are online, the real world becomes that dark wood on the edge of civilization, a place of danger and experience, of magic and blood, a place to make one’s name or find death by bear. And here, there be monsters.
Catherynne M. Valente
They hang around, hitting on your friends
or else you never hear from them again.
They call when they’re drunk, or finally get sober,
they’re passing through town and want dinner,
they take your hand across the table, kiss you
when you come back from the bathroom.
They were your loves, your victims,
your good dogs or bad boys, and they’re over
you now. One writes a book in which a woman
who sounds suspiciously like you
is the first to be sadistically dismembered
by a serial killer. They’re getting married
and want you to be the first to know,
or they’ve been fired and need a loan,
their new girlfriend hates you,
they say they don’t miss you but show up
in your dreams, calling to you from the shoe boxes
where they’re buried in rows in your basement.
Some nights you find one floating into bed with you,
propped on an elbow, giving you a look
of fascination, a look that says I can’t believe
I’ve found you. It’s the same way
your current boyfriend gazed at you last night,
before he pulled the plug on the tiny white lights
above the bed, and moved against you in the dark
broken occasionally by the faint restless arcs
of headlights from the freeway’s passing trucks,
the big rigs that travel and travel,
hauling their loads between cities, warehouses,
following the familiar routes of their loneliness.
I was asked to talk to a roomful of undergraduates in a university in a beautiful coastal valley. I talked about place, about the way we often talk about love of place, but seldom how places love us back, of what they give us. They give us continuity, something to return to, and offer familiarity that allows some portion of our lives to remain collected and coherent.
They give us an expansive scale in which our troubles are set into context, in which the largeness of the world is a balm to loss, trouble, and ugliness.
And distant places give us refuge in territories where our own histories aren't so deeply entrenched and we can imagine other stories, other selves, or just drink up quiet and respite.
The bigness of the world is redemption.
Despair compresses you into a small space, and a depression is literally a hollow in the ground. To dig deeper into the self, to go underground, is sometimes necessary, but so is the other route of getting out of yourself, into the larger world, into the openness in which you need not clutch your story and your troubles so tightly to your chest.
Being able to travel in both ways matters, and sometimes the way back into the heart of the question begins by going outward and beyond. This is the expansiveness that comes literally in a landscape or that tugs you out of yourself in a story.....
I told the student that they were at an age when they might begin to choose the places that would sustain them the rest of their lives, that places were much more reliable than human beings, and often much longer-lasting, and I asked each of them where they felt at home. They answered, each of them, down the rows, for an hour, the immigrants who had never stayed anywhere long or left a familiar world behind, the teenagers who'd left the home they'd spent their whole lives in for the first time, the ones who loved or missed familiar landscapes and the ones who had not yet noticed them.
I found books and places before I found friends and mentors, and they gave me a lot, if not quite what a human being would. As a child, I spun outward in trouble, for in that inside-out world [of my family], everywhere but home was safe. Happily, the oaks were there, the hills, the creeks, the groves, the birds, the old dairy and horse ranches, the rock outcroppings, the open space inviting me to leap out of the personal into the embrace of the nonhuman world.
Rebecca Solnit (The Faraway Nearby)
In the end, a person is only know by the impact he or she has on others.
The Gift of Work: He who loves his work never labors.
The Gift of Money: Money is nothing more than a tool. It can be a force for good, a force for evil, or simple be idle.
The Gift of Friends: It is a wealthy person, indeed, who calculates riches not in gold but in friends.
The Gift of Learning: Education is a lifelong journey whose destination expands as you travel. The desire and hunger for education is the key to real learning.
The Gift of Problems: Problems can only be avoided by exercising good judgment. Good judgment can only be gained by experiencing life's problems.
The Gift of Family: Some people are born into wonderful families. Others have to find or create them. Being a member of a family is a priceless privilege which costs nothing but love.
The Gift of Laughter: Laughter is good medicine for the soul. Our world is desperately in need of more such medicine.
The Gift of Dreams: Faith is all that dreamers need to see into the future.
The Gift of Giving: The only way you can truly get more out of life for yourself is to give part of yourself away. One of the key principles in giving, is that the gift must be yours to give-either something you earned or created or maybe, simply, part of yourself.
The Gift of Gratitude: In those times when we yearn to have more in our lives, we should dwell on the things we already have. In doing so, we will often find that our lives are already full to overflowing.
The Golden List: Every morning before getting up visualize a golden tablet on which is written ten things in your life you are especially thankful for.
The Gift of a Day: Life at its essence boils down to one day at a time. Today is the Day! If we can learn how to live one day to its fullest, our lives will be rich and meaningful.
The Gift of Love: Love is a treasure for which we can never pay. The only way we keep it is to give it away.
The Ultimate Gift: In the end, life lived to its fullest is its own ultimate gift.
Jim Stovall (The Ultimate Gift)
It’s like um… I’ve become used to change I think from my life, when I was younger when I lived with my mum for awhile, we used to move house every like six months, you know, and I sort of became used to things changing all the time… It was like, I learned to like it. It got the point where you travel, like you start to reduce the amount of possessions you have… You start to, you know… If you live in one place, same house, same friends, same job for years and years and years, and the same possessions and everything, then you start to believe that is your identity. Um… I have none of those things, I have no consistency, and I like that. Everything’s changing all the time so, when everything does change around you and you become used to changing, you become in-touch with the one thing that is consistent… And the thing that is consistent is something inside you which is like, not really that individual, it’s not like a pure individual, it’s something that everyone has inside them I think. And you realize that there’s no such thing as an individual, we’re just all a collection of each other’s influence on each other. Everyone says things to each other, the television, your parents, your friends, that’s all we are, is a collection of intermingling ideas as a collective.
People who have never canoed a wild river, or who have done so only with a guide in the stern, are apt to assume that novelty, plus healthful exercise, account for the value of the trip. I thought so too, until I met the two college boys on the Flambeau.
Supper dishes washed, we sat on the bank watching a buck dunking for water plants on the far shore. Soon the buck raised his head, cocked his ears upstream, and then bounded for cover.
Around the bend now came the cause of his alarm: two boys in a canoe. Spying us, they edged in to pass the time of day.
‘What time is it?’ was their first question. They explained that their watches had run down, and for the first time in their lives there was no clock, whistle, or radio to set watches by. For two days they had lived by ‘sun-time,’ and were getting a thrill out of it. No servant brought them meals: they got their meat out of the river, or went without. No traffic cop whistled them off the hidden rock in the next rapids. No friendly roof kept them dry when they misguessed whether or not to pitch the tent. No guide showed them which camping spots offered a nightlong breeze, and which a nightlong misery of mosquitoes; which firewood made clean coals, and which only smoke.
Before our young adventurers pushed off downstream, we learned that both were slated for the Army upon the conclusion of their trip. Now the motif was clear. This trip was their first and last taste of freedom, an interlude between two regimentations: the campus and the barracks. The elemental simplicities of wilderness travel were thrills not only because of their novelty, but because they represented complete freedom to make mistakes. The wilderness gave them their first taste of those rewards and penalties for wise and foolish acts which every woodsman faces daily, but against which civilization has built a thousand buffers. These boys were ‘on their own’ in this particular sense.
Perhaps every youth needs an occasional wilderness trip, in order to learn the meaning of this particular freedom.
Aldo Leopold (A Sand County Almanac; with essays on conservation from Round River)
He was perfectly astonished with the historical account gave him of our affairs during the last century; protesting “it was only a heap of conspiracies, rebellions, murders, massacres, revolutions, banishments, the very worst effects that avarice, faction, hypocrisy, perfidiousness, cruelty, rage, madness, hatred, envy, lust, malice, and ambition, could produce.”
His majesty, in another audience, was at the pains to recapitulate the sum of all I had spoken; compared the questions he made with the answers I had given; then taking me into his hands, and stroking me gently, delivered himself in these words, which I shall never forget, nor the manner he spoke them in: “My little friend Grildrig, you have made a most admirable panegyric upon your country; you have clearly proved, that ignorance, idleness, and vice, are the proper ingredients for qualifying a legislator; that laws are best explained, interpreted, and applied, by those whose interest and abilities lie in perverting, confounding, and eluding them. I observe among you some lines of an institution, which, in its original, might have been tolerable, but these half erased, and the rest wholly blurred and blotted by corruptions. It does not appear, from all you have said, how any one perfection is required toward the procurement of any one station among you; much less, that men are ennobled on account of their virtue; that priests are advanced for their piety or learning; soldiers, for their conduct or valour; judges, for their integrity; senators, for the love of their country; or counsellors for their wisdom. As for yourself,” continued the king, “who have spent the greatest part of your life in travelling, I am well disposed to hope you may hitherto have escaped many vices of your country. But by what I have gathered from your own relation, and the answers I have with much pains wrung and extorted from you, I cannot but conclude the bulk of your natives to be the most pernicious race of little odious vermin that nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth.
Jonathan Swift (Gulliver's Travels: Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World.)
But later, just as we're turning the corner into my road, and I'm beginning to panic about the pain and difficulty of the impending conversation, I see a woman on her own, Saturday-night-smart, off to meet somebody somewhere, friends, or a lover. And when I was living with Laura, I missed... what? Maybe I missed somebody traveling on a bus or tube or cab, *going out of her way*, to meet me, maybe dressed up a little, wearing more makeup than usual, maybe even slightly nervous; when I was younger, the knowledge that I was responsible for any of this, even the bus ride, made me feel pathetically grateful. When you're with someone permanently, you don't get that: if Laura wanted to see me, she only had to turn her head, or walk from the bathroom to the bedroom, and she never bothered to dress up for the trip. And when she came home, she came home because she lived in my flat, not because we were lovers, and when we went out, she sometimes dressed up and sometimes didn't, depending on where we were going, but again, it was nothing whatsoever to do with me. Anyway, all this is by way of saying that the woman I saw out of the cab window inspired me and consoled me, momentarily: maybe I am not too old to provoke a trip from one part of London to another, and if I ever do have another date, and I arrange to meet that date in, say, Islington, and she has to come all the way from Stoke Newington, a journey of some three to four miles, I will thank her from the bottom of my wretched thirty-five-year-old heart.
Nick Hornby (High Fidelity)
You will encounter resentful, sneering non-readers who will look at you from their beery, leery eyes, as they might some form of sub-hominid anomaly, bookimus maximus. You will encounter redditters, youtubers, blogspotters, wordpressers, twitterers, and facebookers with wired-open eyes who will shout at from you from their crazy hectoring mouths about the liberal poison of literature. You will encounter the gamers with their twitching fingers who will look upon you as a character to lock crosshairs on and blow to smithereens. You will encounter the stoners and pill-poppers who will ignore you, and ask you if you have read Jack Keroauc’s On the Road, and if you haven’t, will lecture you for two hours on that novel and refuse to acknowledge any other books written by anyone ever. You will encounter the provincial retirees, who have spent a year reading War & Peace, who strike the attitude that completing that novel is a greater achievement than the thousands of books you have read, even though they lost themselves constantly throughout the book and hated the whole experience. You will encounter the self-obsessed students whose radical interpretations of Agnes Grey and The Idiot are the most important utterance anyone anywhere has ever made with their mouths, while ignoring the thousands of novels you have read. You will encounter the parents and siblings who take every literary reference you make back to the several books they enjoyed reading as a child, and then redirect the conversation to what TV shows they have been watching. You will encounter the teachers and lecturers, for whom any text not on their syllabus is a waste of time, and look upon you as a wayward student in need of their salvation. You will encounter the travellers and backpackers who will take pity on you for wasting your life, then tell you about the Paulo Coelho they read while hostelling across Europe en route to their spiritual pilgrimage to New Delhi. You will encounter the hard-working moaners who will tell you they are too busy working for a living to sit and read all day, and when they come home from a hard day’s toil, they don’t want to sit and read pretentious rubbish. You will encounter the voracious readers who loathe competition, and who will challenge you to a literary duel, rather than engage you in friendly conversation about your latest reading. You will encounter the slack intellectuals who will immediately ask you if you have read Finnegans Wake, and when you say you have, will ask if you if you understood every line, and when you say of course not, will make some point that generally alludes to you being a halfwit. Fuck those fuckers.
M.J. Nicholls (The 1002nd Book to Read Before You Die)
It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Matched with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.
I cannot rest from travel; I will drink
life to the lees. All times I have enjoyed
Greatly, have suffered greatly, both with those
that loved me, and alone; on shore, and when
Through scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vexed the dim sea. I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known---cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honored of them all---
And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough
Gleams that untraveled world whose margin fades
Forever and forever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end.
To rust unburnished, not to shine in use!
As though to breathe were life! Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains; but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.
This is my son, my own Telemachus,
To whom I leave the scepter and the isle---
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfill
This labor, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and through soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.
Most blameless is he, centered in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.
There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail;
There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toiled, and wrought, and thought with me---
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads---you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honor and his toil.
Death closes all; but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks;
The long day wanes; the slow moon climbs; the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends.
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
the sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down;
It may be that we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are---
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
The summer our marriage failed
we picked sage to sweeten our hot dark car.
We sat in the yard with heavy glasses of iced tea,
talking about which seeds to sow
when the soil was cool. Praising our large, smooth spinach
leaves, free this year of Fusarium wilt,
downy mildew, blue mold. And then we spoke of flowers,
and there was a joke, you said, about old florists
who were forced to make other arrangements.
Delphiniums flared along the back fence.
All summer it hurt to look at you.
I heard a woman on the bus say, “He and I were going
in different directions.” As if it had something to do
with a latitude or a pole. Trying to write down
how love empties itself from a house, how a view
changes, how the sign for infinity turns into a noose
for a couple. Trying to say that weather weighed
down all the streets we traveled on, that if gravel sinks,
it keeps sinking. How can I blame you who kneeled day
after day in wet soil, pulling slugs from the seedlings?
You who built a ten-foot arch for the beans, who hated
a bird feeder left unfilled. You who gave
carrots to a gang of girls on bicycles.
On our last trip we drove through rain
to a town lit with vacancies.
We’d come to watch whales. At the dock we met
five other couples—all of us fluorescent,
waterproof, ready for the pitch and frequency
of the motor that would lure these great mammals
near. The boat chugged forward—trailing a long,
creamy wake. The captain spoke from a loudspeaker:
In winter gray whales love Laguna Guerrero; it’s warm
and calm, no killer whales gulp down their calves.
Today we’ll see them on their way to Alaska. If we
get close enough, observe their eyes—they’re bigger
than baseballs, but can only look down. Whales can
communicate at a distance of 300 miles—but it’s
my guess they’re all saying, Can you hear me?
His laughter crackled. When he told us Pink Floyd is slang
for a whale’s two-foot penis, I stopped listening.
The boat rocked, and for two hours our eyes
were lost in the waves—but no whales surfaced, blowing
or breaching or expelling water through baleen plates.
Again and again you patiently wiped the spray
from your glasses. We smiled to each other, good
troopers used to disappointment. On the way back
you pointed at cormorants riding the waves—
you knew them by name: the Brants, the Pelagic,
the double-breasted. I only said, I’m sure
whales were swimming under us by the dozens.
Trying to write that I loved the work of an argument,
the exhaustion of forgiving, the next morning,
washing our handprints off the wineglasses. How I loved
sitting with our friends under the plum trees,
in the white wire chairs, at the glass table. How you
stood by the grill, delicately broiling the fish. How
the dill grew tall by the window. Trying to explain
how camellias spoil and bloom at the same time,
how their perfume makes lovers ache. Trying
to describe the ways sex darkens
and dies, how two bodies can lie
together, entwined, out of habit.
Finding themselves later, tired, by a fire,
on an old couch that no longer reassures.
The night we eloped we drove to the rainforest
and found ourselves in fog so thick
our lights were useless. There’s no choice,
you said, we must have faith in our blindness.
How I believed you. Trying to imagine
the road beneath us, we inched forward,
honking, gently, again and again.
There’s something else I’m curious about, Kelsey.”
I smiled at him. “Sure, what else do you want to know?”
“What exactly is going on between you and Ren?”
A vise clamped down on my chest, but I tried to play it cool. “What do you mean?”
“I mean, are you two more than just traveling companions? Are you together?”
I clipped off a fast, “No. Definitely not.”
He grinned. “Good!” He grabbed my hand and kissed it. “Then that means you’re free to go out with me. No girl in her right mind would want to be with Ren, anyway. He’s very…stuffy. Cold, as far as relationships go.”
My mouth hung open for a minute, shocked, and then I felt anger shove the shock aside and take over. “First of all, I am not going to be with either one of you. Second, a girl would have to be crazy not to want Ren. You’re wrong about him. He’s not stuffy or cold. In fact, he’s considerate, warm, drop-dead gorgeous, dependable, loyal, sweet, and charming.”
He raised an eyebrow and measure me thoughtfuly for a minute. I squirmed under his gaze, knowing that I had spoken too quickly and said way too much.
He ventured carefully. “I see. You may be right. The Dhiren I know has surely changed in the past couple of hundred years. However, despite that and your insistent claim that you will not be with either one of us, I would like to propose that we go out and celebrate tonight, if not as my..what is the correct word?”
“The word is date.”
“Date. If not as my date…then, as my friend.”
Kishan continued, pressing his point, “Surely, you won’t leave me to fend for myself on my first night back in the real world?”
He smiled at me, encouraging my acceptance. I did want to be his friend, but I wasn’t sure what to say to his request. And for just a moment, I wondered how Ren would feel about it and what the consequences might be.
I questioned, “Where exactly do you want to go to celebrate?”
“Mr. Kadam said there’s a nightclub in town nearby with dinner and dancing. I thought we could celebrate there, maybe get something to eat, and you can teach me how to dance.”
I laughed nervously. “This is my first time in India, and I don’t know a thing about dancing or the music here.”
Kisham seemed even more delighted by that news. “Fantastic! Then we will learn together. I won’t take no for an answer.” He jumped up to rush off.
I yelled, “Wait, Kishan! I don’t even know what to wear!”
He shouted back over his shoulder, “Ask Kadam. He knows everything!
Colleen Houck (Tiger's Curse (The Tiger Saga, #1))
I skipped between the dancers, twirling my skirts. The seated, masked musicians didn’t look up at me as I leaped before them, dancing in place. No chains, no boundaries—just me and the music, dancing and dancing. I wasn’t faerie, but I was a part of this earth, and the earth was a part of me, and I would be content to dance upon it for the rest of my life.
One of the musicians looked up from his fiddling, and I halted.
Sweat gleamed on the strong column of his neck as he rested his chin upon the dark wood of the fiddle. He’d rolled up the sleeves of his shirt, revealing the cords of muscle along his forearms. He had once mentioned that he would have liked to be a traveling minstrel if not a warrior or a High Lord—now, hearing him play, I knew he could have made a fortune from it.
“I’m sorry, Tam,” Lucien panted, appearing from nowhere. “I left her alone for a little at one of the food tables, and when I caught up to her, she was drinking the wine, and—”
Tamlin didn’t pause in his playing. His golden hair damp with sweat, he looked marvelously handsome—even though I couldn’t see most of his face. He gave me a feral smile as I began to dance in place before him. “I’ll look after her,” Tamlin murmured above the music, and I glowed, my dancing becoming faster. “Go enjoy yourself.” Lucien fled.
I shouted over the music, “I don’t need a keeper!” I wanted to spin and spin and spin.
“No, you don’t,” Tamlin said, never once stumbling over his playing. How his bow did dance upon the strings, his fingers sturdy and strong, no signs of those claws that I had come to stop fearing … “Dance, Feyre,” he whispered.
So I did.
I was loosened, a top whirling around and around, and I didn’t know who I danced with or what they looked like, only that I had become the music and the fire and the night, and there was nothing that could slow me down.
Through it all, Tamlin and his musicians played such joyous music that I didn’t think the world could contain it all. I sashayed over to him, my faerie lord, my protector and warrior, my friend, and danced before him. He grinned at me, and I didn’t break my dancing as he rose from his seat and knelt before me in the grass, offering up a solo on his fiddle to me.
Sarah J. Maas (A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1))
BOWLS OF FOOD
Moon and evening star do their
slow tambourine dance to praise
this universe. The purpose of
every gathering is discovered:
to recognize beauty and love
what’s beautiful. “Once it was
like that, now it’s like this,”
the saying goes around town, and
serious consequences too. Men
and women turn their faces to the
wall in grief. They lose appetite.
Then they start eating the fire of
pleasure, as camels chew pungent
grass for the sake of their souls.
Winter blocks the road. Flowers
are taken prisoner underground.
Then green justice tenders a spear.
Go outside to the orchard. These
visitors came a long way, past all
the houses of the zodiac, learning
Something new at each stop. And
they’re here for such a short time,
sitting at these tables set on the
prow of the wind. Bowls of food
are brought out as answers, but
still no one knows the answer.
Food for the soul stays secret.
Body food gets put out in the open
like us. Those who work at a bakery
don’t know the taste of bread like
the hungry beggars do. Because the
beloved wants to know, unseen things
become manifest. Hiding is the
hidden purpose of creation: bury
your seed and wait. After you die,
All the thoughts you had will throng
around like children. The heart
is the secret inside the secret.
Call the secret language, and never
be sure what you conceal. It’s
unsure people who get the blessing.
Climbing cypress, opening rose,
Nightingale song, fruit, these are
inside the chill November wind.
They are its secret. We climb and
fall so often. Plants have an inner
Being, and separate ways of talking
and feeling. An ear of corn bends
in thought. Tulip, so embarrassed.
Pink rose deciding to open a
competing store. A bunch of grapes
sits with its feet stuck out.
Narcissus gossiping about iris.
Willow, what do you learn from running
water? Humility. Red apple, what has
the Friend taught you? To be sour.
Peach tree, why so low? To let you
reach. Look at the poplar, tall but
without fruit or flower. Yes, if
I had those, I’d be self-absorbed
like you. I gave up self to watch
the enlightened ones. Pomegranate
questions quince, Why so pale? For
the pearl you hid inside me. How did
you discover my secret? Your laugh.
The core of the seen and unseen
universes smiles, but remember,
smiles come best from those who weep.
Lightning, then the rain-laughter.
Dark earth receives that clear and
grows a trunk. Melon and cucumber
come dragging along on pilgrimage.
You have to be to be blessed!
Pumpkin begins climbing a rope!
Where did he learn that? Grass,
thorns, a hundred thousand ants and
snakes, everything is looking for
food. Don’t you hear the noise?
Every herb cures some illness.
Camels delight to eat thorns. We
prefer the inside of a walnut, not
the shell. The inside of an egg,
the outside of a date. What about
your inside and outside? The same
way a branch draws water up many
feet, God is pulling your soul
along. Wind carries pollen from
blossom to ground. Wings and
Arabian stallions gallop toward
the warmth of spring. They visit;
they sing and tell what they think
they know: so-and-so will travel
to such-and-such. The hoopoe
carries a letter to Solomon. The
wise stork says lek-lek. Please
translate. It’s time to go to
the high plain, to leave the winter
house. Be your own watchman as
birds are. Let the remembering
beads encircle you. I make promises
to myself and break them. Words are
coins: the vein of ore and the
mine shaft, what they speak of. Now
consider the sun. It’s neither
oriental nor occidental. Only the
soul knows what love is. This
moment in time and space is an
eggshell with an embryo crumpled
inside, soaked in belief-yolk,
under the wing of grace, until it
breaks free of mind to become the
song of an actual bird, and God.
Rumi (The Soul of Rumi: A New Collection of Ecstatic Poems)