Is there some particular reason that you're here?" ...
"Not this again."
"Not what again?" said Clary.
"Every time I annoy him, he retreats into his No Mundanes Allowed tree house." Simon pointed at Jace.
Cassandra Clare (City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments, #2))
Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you're there.
It doesn't matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that's like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.
Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)
It didn't matter in the end how old they had been, or that they were girls, but only that we had loved them, and that they hadn't heard us calling, still do not hear us, up here in the tree house, with our thinning hair and soft bellies, calling them out of those rooms where they went to be alone for all time, alone in suicide, which is deeper than death, and where we will never find the pieces to put them back together.
Jeffrey Eugenides (The Virgin Suicides)
Stupid rock gods!” Leo yelled from the helm. “That’s the third time I’ve had to replace that mast! You think they grow on trees?”
Nico frowned. “Masts are from trees.”
“That’s not the point!
Rick Riordan (The House of Hades (The Heroes of Olympus, #4))
I couldn't live where there were no trees--something vital in me would starve.
L.M. Montgomery (Anne's House of Dreams)
I thought the most beautiful thing in the world must be shadow, the million moving shapes and cul-de-sacs of shadow. There was shadow in bureau drawers and closets and suitcases, and shadow under houses and trees and stones, and shadow at the back of people's eyes and smiles, and shadow, miles and miles and miles of it, on the night side of the earth.
Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
I love New York, even though it isn't mine, the way something has to be, a tree or a street or a house, something, anyway, that belongs to me because I belong to it.
Every time I annoy him he retreats into his No Mundanes Allowed tree house." Simon pointed at Jace.
Cassandra Clare (City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments, #2))
Far over the misty mountains cold
To dungeons deep and caverns old
We must away ere break of day
To seek the pale enchanted gold.
The dwarves of yore made mighty spells,
While hammers fell like ringing bells
In places deep, where dark things sleep,
In hollow halls beneath the fells.
For ancient king and elvish lord
There many a gleaming golden hoard
They shaped and wrought, and light they caught
To hide in gems on hilt of sword.
On silver necklaces they strung
The flowering stars, on crowns they hung
The dragon-fire, in twisted wire
They meshed the light of moon and sun.
Far over the misty mountains cold
To dungeons deep and caverns old
We must away, ere break of day,
To claim our long-forgotten gold.
Goblets they carved there for themselves
And harps of gold; where no man delves
There lay they long, and many a song
Was sung unheard by men or elves.
The pines were roaring on the height,
The wind was moaning in the night.
The fire was red, it flaming spread;
The trees like torches blazed with light.
The bells were ringing in the dale
And men looked up with faces pale;
The dragon's ire more fierce than fire
Laid low their towers and houses frail.
The mountain smoked beneath the moon;
The dwarves, they heard the tramp of doom.
They fled their hall to dying fall
Beneath his feet, beneath the moon.
Far over the misty mountains grim
To dungeons deep and caverns dim
We must away, ere break of day,
To win our harps and gold from him!
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Hobbit (The Lord of the Rings, #0))
One time I saw a tiny Joshua tree sapling growing not too far from the old tree. I wanted to dig it up and replant it near our house. I told Mom that I would protect it from the wind and water it every day so that it could grow nice and tall and straight. Mom frowned at me. "You'd be destroying what makes it special," she said. "It's the Joshua tree's struggle that gives it its beauty.
Jeannette Walls (The Glass Castle)
But I feel as if I did know Rue, and she'll always be with me. Everything beautiful brings her to mind. I see her in the yellow flowers that grow in the Meadow by my house. I see her in the Mockingjays that sing in the trees. But most of all, I see her in my sister, Prim.
Suzanne Collins (Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2))
Once upon a time, there was a boy. He lived in a village that no longer exists, in a house that no longer exists, on the edge of a field that no longer exists, where everything was discovered, and everything was possible. A stick could be a sword, a pebble could be a diamond, a tree, a castle. Once upon a time, there was a boy who lived in a house across the field, from a girl who no longer exists. They made up a thousand games. She was queen and he was king. In the autumn light her hair shone like a crown. They collected the world in small handfuls, and when the sky grew dark, they parted with leaves in their hair.
Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering.
Nicole Krauss (The History of Love)
A dog comes to you and lives with you in your own house, but you do not therefore own her, as you do not own the rain, or the trees, or the laws which pertain to them
As she read, at peace with the world and happy as only a little girl could be with a fine book and a little bowl of candy, and all alone in the house, the leaf shadows shifted and the afternoon passed.
Betty Smith (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn)
If I stand here, I can see the Little Red Haired girl when she comes out of her house... Of course, if she sees me peeking around this tree, she'll think I'm the dumbest person in the world... But if I don't peek around the tree, I'll never see her... Which means I probably AM the dumbest person in the world... which explains why I'm standing in a batch of poison oak.
Charles M. Schulz
What miracle is this? This giant tree.
It stands ten thousand feet high
But doesn't reach the ground. Still it stands.
Its roots must hold the sky.
Mark Z. Danielewski (House of Leaves)
Denna is a wild thing," I explained. "Like a hind or a summer storm. If a storm blows down your house, or breaks a tree, you don't say the storm was mean. It was cruel. It acted according to its nature and something unfortunately was hurt. The same is true of Denna.
Patrick Rothfuss (The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #1))
I walk alone;
The midnight street
Spins itself from under my feet;
My eyes shut
These dreaming houses all snuff out;
Through a whim of mine
Over gables the moon's celestial onion
Make houses shrink
And trees diminish
By going far; my look's leash
Dangles the puppet-people
Who, unaware how they dwindle,
Laugh, kiss, get drunk,
Nor guess that if I choose to blink
When in good humour,
Give grass its green
Blazon sky blue, and endow the sun
Yet, in my wintriest moods, I hold
To boycott color and forbid any flower
Know you appear
Vivid at my side,
Denying you sprang out of my head,
Claiming you feel
Love fiery enough to prove flesh real,
Though it's quite clear
All your beauty, all your wit, is a gift, my dear,
"Soliloquy of the Solipsist", 1956
Sylvia Plath (The Collected Poems)
You were the one who changed us when you left me in the tree house; and you keep thinking that if you push hard enough, you can make everything go back to before that moment. It doesn't work that way. Give me a chance to choose you.
Kiera Cass (The Elite (The Selection, #2))
When I try to picture for myself what a happy life might look like, the picture hasn't changed very much since I was a child - a house with flowers and trees around it, and a river nearby, and a room full of books, and someone there to love me, that's all. Just to make a home there, and to care for my parents when they grow older. Never to move, never to board a plane again, just to live quietly and then be buried in the earth.
Sally Rooney (Beautiful World, Where Are You)
I see the past as it actually was," Maeve said. She was looking at the trees.
"But we overlay the present onto the past. We look back through the lens of what we know now, so we're not seeing it as the people we were, we're seeing it as the people we are, and that means the past has been radically altered.
Ann Patchett (The Dutch House)
I will love you as a thief loves a gallery and as a crow loves a murder, as a cloud loves bats and as a range loves braes. I will love you as misfortune loves orphans, as fire loves innocence and as justice loves to sit and watch while everything goes wrong. I will love you as a battlefield loves young men and as peppermints love your allergies, and I will love you as the banana peel loves the shoe of a man who was just struck by a shingle falling off a house. I will love you as a volunteer fire department loves rushing into burning buildings and as burning buildings love to chase them back out, and as a parachute loves to leave a blimp and as a blimp operator loves to chase after it.
I will love you as a dagger loves a certain person’s back, and as a certain person loves to wear dagger proof tunics, and as a dagger proof tunic loves to go to a certain dry cleaning facility, and how a certain employee of a dry cleaning facility loves to stay up late with a pair of binoculars, watching a dagger factory for hours in the hopes of catching a burglar, and as a burglar loves sneaking up behind people with binoculars, suddenly realizing that she has left her dagger at home. I will love you as a drawer loves a secret compartment, and as a secret compartment loves a secret, and as a secret loves to make a person gasp, and as a gasping person loves a glass of brandy to calm their nerves, and as a glass of brandy loves to shatter on the floor, and as the noise of glass shattering loves to make someone else gasp, and as someone else gasping loves a nearby desk to lean against, even if leaning against it presses a lever that loves to open a drawer and reveal a secret compartment. I will love you until all such compartments are discovered and opened, and until all the secrets have gone gasping into the world. I will love you until all the codes and hearts have been broken and until every anagram and egg has been unscrambled.
I will love you until every fire is extinguised and until every home is rebuilt from the handsomest and most susceptible of woods, and until every criminal is handcuffed by the laziest of policemen. I will love until M. hates snakes and J. hates grammar, and I will love you until C. realizes S. is not worthy of his love and N. realizes he is not worthy of the V. I will love you until the bird hates a nest and the worm hates an apple, and until the apple hates a tree and the tree hates a nest, and until a bird hates a tree and an apple hates a nest, although honestly I cannot imagine that last occurrence no matter how hard I try. I will love you as we grow older, which has just happened, and has happened again, and happened several days ago, continuously, and then several years before that, and will continue to happen as the spinning hands of every clock and the flipping pages of every calendar mark the passage of time, except for the clocks that people have forgotten to wind and the calendars that people have forgotten to place in a highly visible area. I will love you as we find ourselves farther and farther from one another, where we once we were so close that we could slip the curved straw, and the long, slender spoon, between our lips and fingers respectively.
I will love you until the chances of us running into one another slip from slim to zero, and until your face is fogged by distant memory, and your memory faced by distant fog, and your fog memorized by a distant face, and your distance distanced by the memorized memory of a foggy fog. I will love you no matter where you go and who you see, no matter where you avoid and who you don’t see, and no matter who sees you avoiding where you go. I will love you no matter what happens to you, and no matter how I discover what happens to you, and no matter what happens to me as I discover this, and now matter how I am discovered after what happens to me as I am discovering this.
Having a lover/friend who regards you as a living growing criatura, being, just as much as the tree from the ground, or a ficus in the house, or a rose garden out in the side yard... having a lover and friends who look at you as a true living breathing entity, one that is human but made of very fine and moist and magical things as well... a lover and friends who support the ciatura in you... these are the people you are looking for. They will be the friends of your soul for life. Mindful choosing of friends and lovers, not to mention teachers, is critical to remaining conscious, remaining intuitive, remaining in charge of the fiery light that sees and knows.
Clarissa Pinkola Estés (Women Who Run With the Wolves)
1. I’m lonely so I do lonely things
2. Loving you was like going to war; I never came back the same.
3. You hate women, just like your father and his father, so it runs in your blood.
4. I was wandering the derelict car park of your heart looking for a ride home.
5. You’re a ghost town I’m too patriotic to leave.
6. I stay because you’re the beginning of the dream I want to remember.
7. I didn’t call him back because he likes his girls voiceless.
8. It’s not that he wants to be a liar; it’s just that he doesn’t know the truth.
9. I couldn’t love you, you were a small war.
10. We covered the smell of loss with jokes.
11. I didn’t want to fail at love like our parents.
12. You made the nomad in me build a house and stay.
13. I’m not a dog.
14. We were trying to prove our blood wrong.
15. I was still lonely so I did even lonelier things.
16. Yes, I’m insecure, but so was my mother and her mother.
17. No, he loves me he just makes me cry a lot.
18. He knows all of my secrets and still wants to kiss me.
19. You were too cruel to love for a long time.
20. It just didn’t work out.
21. My dad walked out one afternoon and never came back.
22. I can’t sleep because I can still taste him in my mouth.
23. I cut him out at the root, he was my favorite tree, rotting, threatening the foundations of my home.
24. The women in my family die waiting.
25. Because I didn’t want to die waiting for you.
26. I had to leave, I felt lonely when he held me.
27. You’re the song I rewind until I know all the words and I feel sick.
28. He sent me a text that said “I love you so bad.”
29. His heart wasn’t as beautiful as his smile
30. We emotionally manipulated one another until we thought it was love.
31. Forgive me, I was lonely so I chose you.
32. I’m a lover without a lover.
33. I’m lovely and lonely.
34. I belong deeply to myself .
Look: the trees exist; the houses
we dwell in stand there stalwartly.
pass by it all, like a rush of air.
And everything conspires to keep quiet
half out of shame perhaps, half out of
some secret hope.
Rainer Maria Rilke (Duino Elegies)
Because I wanted you." He turned from the window to face me. "More than I ever wanted anything in my life," he added softly.
I continued staring at him, dumbstruck. Whatever I had been expecting, it wasn't this. Seeing my openmouthed expression, he continued lightly. "When I asked my da how ye knew which was the right woman, he told me when the time came, I'd have no doubt. And I didn't. When I woke in the dark under that tree on the road to Leoch, with you sitting on my chest, cursing me for bleeding to death, I said to myself, 'Jamie Fraser, for all ye canna see what she looks like, and for all she weighs as much as a good draft horse, this is the woman'"
I started toward him, and he backed away, talking rapidly. "I said to myself, 'She's mended ye twice in as many hours, me lad; life amongst the MacKenzies being what it is, it might be as well to wed a woman as can stanch a wound and set broken bones.' And I said to myself, 'Jamie, lad, if her touch feels so bonny on your collarbone, imagine what it might feel like lower down...'"
He dodged around a chair. "Of course, I thought it might ha' just been the effects of spending four months in a monastery, without benefit of female companionship, but then that ride through the dark together"--he paused to sigh theatrically, neatly evading my grab at his sleeve--"with that lovely broad arse wedged between my thighs"--he ducked a blow aimed at his left ear and sidestepped, getting a low table between us--"and that rock-solid head thumping me in the chest"--a small metal ornament bounced off his own head and went clanging to the floor--"I said to myself..."
He was laughing so hard at this point that he had to gasp for breath between phrases. "Jamie...I said...for all she's a Sassenach bitch...with a tongue like an adder's ...with a bum like that...what does it matter if she's a f-face like a sh-sh-eep?"
I tripped him neatly and landed on his stomach with both knees as he hit the floor with a crash that shook the house.
"You mean to tell me that you married me out of love?" I demanded. He raised his eyebrows, struggling to draw in breath.
"Have I not...just been...saying so?
Diana Gabaldon (Outlander (Outlander, #1))
All Daenerys wanted back was the big house with the red door, the lemon tree outside her window, the childhood she had never known.
George R.R. Martin (A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1))
A tree house, a free house,
A secret you and me house,
A high up in the leafy branches
Cozy as can be house.
A street house, a neat house,
Be sure to wipe your feet house
Is not my kind of house at all-
Let's go live in a tree house.
Shel Silverstein (Where the Sidewalk Ends)
It's come at last," she thought, "the time when you can no longer stand between your children and heartache. When there wasn't enough food in the house you pretended that you weren't hungry so they could have more. In the cold of a winter's night you got up and put your blanket on their bed so they wouldn't be cold. You'd kill anyone who tried to harm them - I tried my best to kill that man in the hallway. Then one sunny day, they walk out in all innocence and they walk right into the grief that you'd give your life to spare them from.
Betty Smith (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn)
I will be waiting by candlelight in our tree house of the mind.
Joe Hill (Horns)
Summer was on the way; Jem and I awaited it with impatience. Summer was our best season: it was sleeping on the back screened porch in cots, or trying to sleep in the tree house; summer was everything good to eat; it was a thousand colors in a parched landscape; but most of all, summer was Dill.
Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird)
I don't know about you, but I'm kind of fed up with realism. After all, there's enough reality already; why make more of it? Why not leave realism for the memoirs of drug addicts, the histories of salt, the biographies of porn stars? Why must we continue to read about the travails of divorced people or mildly depressed Canadians when we could be contemplating the shopping habits of zombies, or the difficulties that ensue when living and dead people marry each other? We should be demanding more stories about faery handbags and pyjamas inscribed with the diaries of strange women. We should not rest until someone writes about a television show that features the Free People's World-Tree Library, with its elaborate waterfalls and Forbidden Books and Pirate-Magicians. We should be pining for a house haunted by rabbits.
(from the review of Kelly Link's Magic for Beginners in The Guardian)
Learn to like what doesn't cost much.
Learn to like reading, conversation, music.
Learn to like plain food, plain service, plain cooking.
Learn to like fields, trees, brooks, hiking, rowing, climbing hills.
Learn to like people, even though some of them may be different...different from you.
Learn to like to work and enjoy the satisfaction doing your job as well as it can be done.
Learn to like the song of birds, the companionship of dogs.
Learn to like gardening, puttering around the house, and fixing things.
Learn to like the sunrise and sunset, the beating of rain on the roof and windows, and the gentle fall of snow on a winter day.
Learn to keep your wants simple and refuse to be controlled by the likes and dislikes of others.
Lowell C. Bennion
I will love you with no regard to the actions of our enemies or the jealousies of actors. I will love you with no regard to the outrage of certain parents or the boredom of certain friends. I will love you no matter what is served in the world’s cafeterias or what game is played at each and every recess. I will love you no matter how many fire drills we are all forced to endure, and no matter what is drawn upon the blackboard in blurry, boring chalk. I will love you no matter how many mistakes I make when trying to reduce fractions, and no matter how difficult it is to memorize the periodic table.
I will love you no matter what your locker combination was, or how you decided to spend your time during study hall. I will love you no matter how your soccer team performed in the tournament or how many stains I received on my cheerleading uniform. I will love you if I never see you again, and I will love you if I see you every Tuesday. I will love you if you cut your hair and I will love you if you cut the hair of others. I will love you if you abandon your baticeering, and I will love you if you if you retire from the theater to take up some other, less dangerous occupation. I will love you if you drop your raincoat on the floor instead of hanging it up and I will love you if you betray your father. I will love you even if you announce that the poetry of Edgar Guest is the best in the world and even if you announce that the work of Zilpha Keatley Snyder is unbearably tedious. I will love you if you abandon the theremin and take up the harmonica and I will love you if you donate your marmosets to the zoo and your tree frogs to M. I will love you as a starfish loves a coral reef and as a kudzu loves trees, even if the oceans turn to sawdust and the trees fall in the forest without anyone around to hear them. I will love you as the pesto loves the fettuccini and as the horseradish loves the miyagi, as the tempura loves the ikura and the pepperoni loves the pizza.
I will love you as the manatee loves the head of lettuce and as the dark spot loves the leopard, as the leech loves the ankle of a wader and as a corpse loves the beak of the vulture. I will love you as the doctor loves his sickest patient and a lake loves its thirstiest swimmer. I will love you as the beard loves the chin, and the crumbs love the beard, and the damp napkin loves the crumbs, and the precious document loves the dampness in the napkin, and the squinting eye of the reader loves the smudged print of the document, and the tears of sadness love the squinting eye as it misreads what is written. I will love you as the iceberg loves the ship, and the passengers love the lifeboat, and the lifeboat loves the teeth of the sperm whale, and the sperm whale loves the flavor of naval uniforms. i will love you as a child loves to overhear the conversations of its parents, and the parents love the sound of their own arguing voices, and as the pen loves to write down the words these voices utter in a notebook for safekeeping. I will love you as a shingle loves falling off a house on a windy day and striking a grumpy person across the chin, and as an oven loves malfunctioning in the middle of roasting a turkey.
I will love you as an airplane loves to fall from a clear blue sky and as an escalator loves to entangle expensive scarves in its mechanisms. I will love you as a wet paper towel loves to be crumpled into a ball and thrown at a bathroom ceiling and as an eraser loves to leave dust in the hairdos of people who talk too much. I will love you as a cufflink loves to drop from its shirt and explore the party for itself and as a pair of white gloves loves to slip delicately into the punchbowl. I will love you as the taxi loves the muddy splash of a puddle and as a library loves the patient tick of a clock.
All I really want is enough to live on, a little house in the country... and a tree in the garden with seven of my enemies hanging in it.
LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA: WHY IT'S A BAD TITLE
I admit that "Love in the time of . . ." is a great title, up to a point. You're reading along, you're happy, it's about love. I like the way the word time comes in - a nice, nice feeling. Then the morbid Cholera appears. I was happy till then. Why not "Love in the Time of the Blue, Blue, Bluebirds"? "Love in the Time of Oozing Sores and Pustules" is probably an earlier title the author used as he was writing in a rat-infested tree house on an old Smith Corona. This writer, whoever he is, could have used a couple of weeks in Pacific Daylight Time.
Steve Martin (Pure Drivel)
Books help to form us. If you cut me open, you will find volume after volume, page after page, the contents of every one I have ever read, somehow transmuted and transformed into me. Alice in Wonderland. the Magic Faraway Tree. The Hound of the Baskervilles. The Book of Job. Bleak House. Wuthering Heights. The Complete Poems of W H Auden. The Tale of Mr Tod. Howard''s End. What a strange person I must be. But if the books I have read have helped to form me, then probably nobody else who ever lived has read exactly the same books, all the same books and only the same books as me. So just as my genes and the soul within me make me uniquely me, so I am the unique sum of the books I have read. I am my literary DNA.
Susan Hill (Howards End Is on the Landing: A Year of Reading from Home)
There is no water and still less soap. We have no city, but lots of hope.
Mary Pope Osborne (Earthquake in the Early Morning (Magic Tree House, #24))
It was growing dark, and somehow the shadows made it feel as if all the trees had taken a collective step towards the house, edging in to shut out the sky.
Ruth Ware (In a Dark, Dark Wood)
He has his good side and his bad side. Very dark indeed is his majesty when he wants to be. When he was young, he made a choice, like a tree does when it decides to grow one way or the other. He grew large and green until he shadowed over the whole forest, but most of his branches are twisted.
Nancy Farmer (The House of the Scorpion (Matteo Alacran, #1))
He had never liked October. Ever since he had first lay in the autumn leaves before his grandmother's house many years ago and heard the wind and saw the empty trees. It had made him cry, without a reason. And a little of that sadness returned each year to him. It always went away with spring.
But, it was a little different tonight. There was a feeling of autumn coming to last a million years.
There would be no spring. ("The October Game")
Ray Bradbury (Long After Midnight)
Sadie, do you see this? This is a persimmon tree! This is my favorite fruit." Marx picked a fat orange persimmon from the tree, and he sat down on the now termite-free wooden deck, and he ate it, juice running down his chin. "Can you believe our luck?" Max said. "We bought a house with a tree that has my actual favorite fruit!"
Sam used to say that Marx was the most fortunate person he had ever met - he was lucky with lovers, in business, in looks, in life. But the longer Sadie knew Marx, the more she thought Sam hadn't truly understood the nature of Marx's good fortune. Marx was fortunate because he saw everything as if it were a fortuitous bounty. It was impossible to know - were persimmons his favorite fruit, or had hey just now become his favorite fruit because there they were, growing in his own backyard? He had certainly never mentioned persimmons before.
Gabrielle Zevin (Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow)
I was on acid and I looked at the trees and I realized that they all came to points, and the little branches came to points, and the houses came to point. I thought, 'Oh! Everything has a point, and if it doesn't, then there's a point to it.
I had always found comfort in the leaves, in their silence. They were like a parchment that holds words of wisdom. Simply holding them in my hand gave me some of the peace a tree possesses. To be like that-to just be-that's the most noble thing of all.
Silas House (A Parchment of Leaves)
I just listened to the music, and breathed in the day, and remembered things. Things like walking around the neighborhood and looking at the houses and the lawns and the colorful trees and having that be enough.
Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower)
There is something about Christmas that requires a rug rat. Little kids make Christmas fun. I wonder if could rent one for the holidays. When I was tiny we would by a real tree and stay up late drinking hot chocolate and finding just the right place for the special decorations. It seems like my parents gave up the magic when I figured out the Santa lie. Maybe I shouldn't have told them I knew where the presents really came from. It broke their hearts.
I bet they'd be divorced by now if I hadn't been born. I'm sure I was a huge disappointment. I'm not pretty or smart or athletic. I'm just like them- an ordinary drone dressed in secrets and lies. I can't believe we have to keep playacting till I graduate. It's a shame we just can't admit that we have failed at family living, sell the house, split up the money, and get on with our lives. Merry Christmas.
Laurie Halse Anderson (Speak)
Kings built tombs more splendid than the houses of the living and counted the names of their descent dearer than the names of their sons. Childless lords sat in aged halls musing on heraldry or in high cold towers asking questions of the stars. And so the kingdom of Gondor sank into ruin, the line of kings failed, the white tree withered and the rule of Gondor was given over to lesser men.
That is the earth, he thought. Not a globe thousands of kilometers around, but a forest with a shining lake, a house hidden at the crest of a hill, high in the trees, a grassy slope leading upwards from the water, fish leaping and birds strafing to take the bugs that lived at the border between water and sky. Earth was the constant noise of crickets, and winds, and birds
Orson Scott Card (Ender’s Game (Ender's Saga, #1))
My toaster could have a soul,and the walnut grove to the east of my house could be just a bunch of trees or could be made from the atoms of Elvis or Mussolini.Why not?
A.S. King (The Dust of 100 Dogs)
I love teaching. It's a job that lasts forever. Whatever you teach children today travels with them far into the future.
Mary Pope Osborne (Twister on Tuesday (Magic Tree House, #23))
The witch was as old as the mulberry tree
She lived in the house of a hundred clocks
She sold storms and sorrows and calmed the sea
And she kept her life in a box.
Neil Gaiman (Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances)
Someone could cut through the mess in our house and look at it like one might look at rings on a tree or layers of sediment. They'd find the black-and-white hairs of a dog we had when I was six, the acid-washed jeans my mother once wore, the seven blood-soaked pillowcases from the time I skinned my knee. All our family secrets rest in endless piles.
Holly Black (White Cat (Curse Workers, #1))
Daylight...In my mind, the night faded. It was daytime and the neighborhood was busy. Miss Stephenie Crawford crossed the street to tell the latest to Miss Rachel. Miss Maudie bent over the azaleas.
It was summertime, and two children scampered down the sidewalk toward a man approaching in the distance. The man waved, and the children raced each other to him. It was still summertime, and the children came closer. A boy trudged down the sidewalk dragging a fishingpole behind him. A man stood waiting with his hands on his hips. Summertime, and his children played in the front yeard with their friend, enacting a strange little drama of their own invention.
It was fall and his children fought ont he sidewalk in front of Mrs. Dubose's. The boy helped his sister to her feet and they made their way home. Fall, and his children trotted to and fro around the corner, the day's woe's and triymph's on their face. They stopped at an oak tree, delighted, puzzled apprehensive.
Winter, and his children shivered at the front gate, silhouetted against a blazing house. Winter and a man walked into the street, dropped his glasses, and show a dog.
Summer, and he watched his children's heart break.
Autumn again, and Boo's children needed him.
Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird)
It is not a Christmas tree!" said the King, so firmly that all the girls stopped jumping about. "This is a house of mourning. It is nothing more than a tree. I thought it would look nice. Inside. That is all.
Heather Dixon Wallwork (Entwined)
Franz Kafka is Dead
He died in a tree from which he wouldn't come down. "Come down!" they cried to him. "Come down! Come down!" Silence filled the night, and the night filled the silence, while they waited for Kafka to speak. "I can't," he finally said, with a note of wistfulness. "Why?" they cried. Stars spilled across the black sky. "Because then you'll stop asking for me." The people whispered and nodded among themselves. They put their arms around each other, and touched their children's hair. They took off their hats and raised them to the small, sickly man with the ears of a strange animal, sitting in his black velvet suit in the dark tree. Then they turned and started for home under the canopy of leaves. Children were carried on their fathers' shoulders, sleepy from having been taken to see who wrote his books on pieces of bark he tore off the tree from which he refused to come down. In his delicate, beautiful, illegible handwriting. And they admired those books, and they admired his will and stamina. After all: who doesn't wish to make a spectacle of his loneliness? One by one families broke off with a good night and a squeeze of the hands, suddenly grateful for the company of neighbors. Doors closed to warm houses. Candles were lit in windows. Far off, in his perch in the trees , Kafka listened to it all: the rustle of the clothes being dropped to the floor, or lips fluttering along naked shoulders, beds creaking along the weight of tenderness. It all caught in the delicate pointed shells of his ears and rolled like pinballs through the great hall of his mind.
That night a freezing wind blew in. When the children woke up, they went to the window and found the world encased in ice. One child, the smallest, shrieked out in delight and her cry tore through the silence and exploded the ice of a giant oak tree. The world shone.
They found him frozen on the ground like a bird. It's said that when they put their ears to the shell of his ears, they could hear themselves.
Nicole Krauss (The History of Love)
The whole idea of it makes me feel
like I'm coming down with something,
something worse than any stomach ache
or the headaches I get from reading in bad light--
a kind of measles of the spirit,
a mumps of the psyche,
a disfiguring chicken pox of the soul.
You tell me it is too early to be looking back,
but that is because you have forgotten
the perfect simplicity of being one
and the beautiful complexity introduced by two.
But I can lie on my bed and remember every digit.
At four I was an Arabian wizard.
I could make myself invisible
by drinking a glass of milk a certain way.
At seven I was a soldier, at nine a prince.
But now I am mostly at the window
watching the late afternoon light.
Back then it never fell so solemnly
against the side of my tree house,
and my bicycle never leaned against the garage
as it does today,
all the dark blue speed drained out of it.
This is the beginning of sadness, I say to myself,
as I walk through the universe in my sneakers.
It is time to say good-bye to my imaginary friends,
time to turn the first big number.
It seems only yesterday I used to believe
there was nothing under my skin but light.
If you cut me I could shine.
But now when I fall upon the sidewalks of life,
I skin my knees. I bleed.
It's so heartbreaking, violence, when it's in a house-like seeing the clothes in a tree after an explosion. You may be prepared to see death but not the clothes in the tree.
Philip Roth (The Plot Against America)
It is foolish
to let a young redwood
grow next to a house.
Even in this
you will have to choose.
That great calm being,
this clutter of soup pots and books--
Already the first branch-tips brush at the window.
Softly, calmly, immensity taps at your life.
Around her the trees and wild flowers, with that oddly courteous air of natural things suddenly interrupted in their pressing occupations of growing and dying, turned toward her with attention, as though, dull and imperceptive as she was, it was still necessary for them to be gentle to a creation so unfortunate as not to be rooted in the ground, forced to go from one place to another, heart-breakingly mobile.
Shirley Jackson (The Haunting of Hill House)
Oh, man," said Jack. "Everyone was nice to us when we looked rich. Now it feels like the whole world's against us.
Mary Pope Osborne (A Ghost Tale for Christmas Time (Magic Tree House, #44))
She look so stylish it like the trees all round the house draw themself up tall for a better look.
Alice Walker (The Color Purple)
One day many years ago a man walked along and stood in the sound of the ocean on a cold sunless shore and said, "We need a voice to call across the water, to warn ships; I'll make one. I'll make a voice like all of time and all of the fog that ever was; I'll make a voice that is like an empty bed beside you all night long, and like an empty house when you open the door, and like trees in autumn with no leaves. A sound like the birds flying south, crying, and a sound like November wind and the sea on the hard, cold shore. I'll make a sound that's so alone that no one can miss it, that whoever hears it will weep in their souls, and hearths will seem warmer, and being inside will seem better to all who hear it in the distant towns. I'll make me a sound and an apparatus and they'll call it a Fog Horn and whoever hears it will know the sadness of eternity and the briefness of life."
The Fog Horn blew.
Ray Bradbury (The Fog Horn (Classics Stories of Ray Bradbury))
How can it be?" she wondered. "I suppose I could understand it if men had simply forgotten unicorns (...) But not to see them at all, to look at them and see something else — what do they look to one another, then? What do trees look like to them, or houses, or real horses, or their own children?
Peter S. Beagle (The Last Unicorn (The Last Unicorn, #1))
Even though it walked and talked, even though it was bigger than his house and could swallow him in one bite, the monster was still, at the end of the day, just a yew tree.
Patrick Ness (A Monster Calls)
When you go out to paint, try to forget what objects you have before you, a tree, a house, a field or whatever. Merely think here is a little square of blue, here an oblong of pink, here a streak of yellow, and paint it just as it looks to you, the exact color and shape.
I love the stillness of the wood;
I love the music of the rill:
I love the couch in pensive mod
Upon some silent hill.
Scarce heard, beneath yon arching trees,
The silver-crested ripples pass;
and, like a mimic brook, the breeze
Whispers among the grass.
Here from the world I win release,
Nor scorn of men, nor footstep rude,
Break into mar the holy peace
Of this great solitude.
Here may the silent tears I weep
Lull the vested spirit into rest,
As infants sob themselves to sleep
Upon a mothers breast.
But when the bitter hour is gone,
And the keen throbbing pangs are still,
Oh, sweetest then to couch alone
Upon some silent hill!
To live in joys that once have been,
To put the cold world out of sight,
And deck life's drear and barren scene
With hues of rainbow-light.
For what to man the gift of breath,
If sorrow be his lot below;
If all the day that ends in death
Be dark with clouds of woe?
Shall the poor transport of an hour
Repay long years of sore distress-
The fragrance of a lonely flower
Make glad the wilderness?
Ye golden house of life's young spring,
Of innocence, of love and truth!
Bright, beyond all imagining,
Thou fairy-dream of youth!
I'd give all wealth that years have piled,
The slow result of Life's decay,
To be once more a little child
For on bright summers day.
Whoever you are: in the evening step out
of your room, where you know everything;
yours is the last house before the far-off:
whoever you are.
With your eyes, which in their weariness
barely free themselves from the worn-out threshold,
you lift very slowly one black tree
and place it against the sky: slender, alone.
And you have made the world. And it is huge
and like a word which grows ripe in silence.
And as your will seizes on its meaning,
tenderly your eyes let it go...
Rainer Maria Rilke (The Book of Images)
An old man in Gaza held a placard that read: “You take my water, burn my olive trees, destroy my house, take my job, steal my land, imprison my father, kill my mother, bombard my country, starve us all, humiliate us all, but I am to blame: I shot a rocket back.
Noam Chomsky (Because We Say So (City Lights Open Media))
It was muddy from all the rain. A few gray wooden houses on both sides and one old, tired store lined the road. Two dark mangy stray dogs, shivering in the damp cold, wandered the street and a few crows sat in the dead trees, waiting for who knew what.
L.M. Weeks (Bottled Lightning)
Man, Sub-creator, the refracted light
through whom is splintered from a single White
to many hues, and endlessly combined
in living shapes that move from mind to mind.
Though all the crannies of the world we filled
with Elves and Goblins, though we dared to build
Gods and their houses out of dark and light,
and sowed the seed of dragons, 'twas our right
(used or misused). The right has not decayed.
We make still by the law in which we're made.
J.R.R. Tolkien (Tree and Leaf; Smith of Wootton Major; The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth)
I'm not going to let anyone Wendy me."
"Wendy you? What the hell does that mean?"Talbot asked.
"Wendy, from Peter Pan! Peter and the lost boys set to go off fighting pirates while Wendy has to stay back and clean their stupid tree house. We'll, I'm not doing it. I'm fighting for my baby brother and that's final.
Bree Despain (The Savage Grace (The Dark Divine, #3))
In the construction of houses, choice of woods is made. Straight un-knotted timber of good appearance is used for the revealed pillars, straight timber with small defects is used for the inner pillars. Timbers of the finest appearance, even if a little weak, is used for the thresholds, lintels, doors, and sliding doors, and so on. Good strong timber, though it be gnarled and knotted, can always be used discreetly in construction.
Miyamoto Musashi (The Book of Five Rings: Miyamoto Musashi)
Paris had its sweetest smell, the smell of chestnut trees in bloom and of petrol with a few grains of dust that crack under your teeth like pepper. In the darknes the danger seemed to grow. You could smell the suffering in the air, in the silence. Everyone looked at their house and thought, "Tomorrow it will be in ruins, tomorrow I'l have nothing left.
Irène Némirovsky (Suite Française)
When I try to picture for myself what a happy life might look like, the picture hasn’t changed very much since I was a child—a house with flowers and trees around it, and a river nearby, and a room full of books, and someone there to love me, that’s all.
Sally Rooney (Beautiful World, Where Are You)
Kota!” I said, stepping away from my sisters and Lucy.
“You can sleep on the couch or in the garage or in the tree house for all I care; but if you don’t check your attitude, I’ll send you back to your apartment right now! Have some gratitude for the security you’ve been offered. Need I remind you that tomorrow we’re burying our father? Either stop the bickering or go home.” I turned on my heel and headed down the hall. Without checking, I knew Lucy was right behind me, suitcase in hand.
I opened the door to my room, waiting for her to come in with me. Once her skirts swished past the frame, I slammed it shut, heaving a sigh. “Was that too much?” I asked.
“It was perfect!” she replied with delight.
“You might as well be the princess already, miss. You’re ready for it.
Kiera Cass (The One (The Selection, #3))
My hands resemble some ancient tree: the roots that bind up the earth, the rock and the ceaselessly nibbling wordms.
Mark Z. Danielewski (House of Leaves)
Robert Liparulo (House of Dark Shadows (Dreamhouse Kings, #1))
In your name, the family name is at last because it's the family name that lasts.
Amit Kalantri (Wealth of Words)
Because we would not wear any clothes because it was so hot and the windows open and the swallows flying over the roofs of the houses and when it was dark afterward and you went to the window very small bats hunting over the houses and close down over the trees and we would drink capri and the door locked and it hot and only a sheet and the whole night and we would both love each other all night in the hot night in Milan. That was how it ought to be.
Ernest Hemingway (A Farewell to Arms)
The first thing you notice about New Orleans are the burying grounds - the cemeteries - and they're a cold proposition, one of the best things there are here. Going by, you try to be as quiet as possible, better to let them sleep. Greek, Roman, sepulchres- palatial mausoleums made to order, phantomesque, signs and symbols of hidden decay - ghosts of women and men who have sinned and who've died and are now living in tombs. The past doesn't pass away so quickly here. You could be dead for a long time.
The ghosts race towards the light, you can almost hear the heavy breathing spirits, all determined to get somewhere. New Orleans, unlike a lot of those places you go back to and that don't have the magic anymore, still has got it. Night can swallow you up, yet none of it touches you. Around any corner, there's a promise of something daring and ideal and things are just getting going. There's something obscenely joyful behind every door, either that or somebody crying with their head in their hands. A lazy rhythm looms in the dreamy air and the atmosphere pulsates with bygone duels, past-life romance, comrades requesting comrades to aid them in some way. You can't see it, but you know it's here. Somebody is always sinking. Everyone seems to be from some very old Southern families. Either that or a foreigner. I like the way it is.
There are a lot of places I like, but I like New Orleans better. There's a thousand different angles at any moment. At any time you could run into a ritual honoring some vaguely known queen. Bluebloods, titled persons like crazy drunks, lean weakly against the walls and drag themselves through the gutter. Even they seem to have insights you might want to listen to. No action seems inappropriate here. The city is one very long poem. Gardens full of pansies, pink petunias, opiates. Flower-bedecked shrines, white myrtles, bougainvillea and purple oleander stimulate your senses, make you feel cool and clear inside.
Everything in New Orleans is a good idea. Bijou temple-type cottages and lyric cathedrals side by side. Houses and mansions, structures of wild grace. Italianate, Gothic, Romanesque, Greek Revival standing in a long line in the rain. Roman Catholic art. Sweeping front porches, turrets, cast-iron balconies, colonnades- 30-foot columns, gloriously beautiful- double pitched roofs, all the architecture of the whole wide world and it doesn't move. All that and a town square where public executions took place. In New Orleans you could almost see other dimensions. There's only one day at a time here, then it's tonight and then tomorrow will be today again. Chronic melancholia hanging from the trees. You never get tired of it. After a while you start to feel like a ghost from one of the tombs, like you're in a wax museum below crimson clouds. Spirit empire. Wealthy empire. One of Napoleon's generals, Lallemaud, was said to have come here to check it out, looking for a place for his commander to seek refuge after Waterloo. He scouted around and left, said that here the devil is damned, just like everybody else, only worse. The devil comes here and sighs. New Orleans. Exquisite, old-fashioned. A great place to live vicariously. Nothing makes any difference and you never feel hurt, a great place to really hit on things. Somebody puts something in front of you here and you might as well drink it. Great place to be intimate or do nothing. A place to come and hope you'll get smart - to feed pigeons looking for handouts
Bob Dylan (Chronicles, Volume One)
She stood beside me for years, or was it a moment? I cannot remember. Maybe I loved her, maybe I didn't. There was a house, and then no house. There were trees, but none remain. When no one remembers, what is there? You, whose moments are gone, who drift like smoke in the afterlife, tell me something, tell me anything.
Mark Strand (Almost Invisible: Poems)
Some of us can live without a society but not without a family.
Amit Kalantri (Wealth of Words)
I sleep all day. Noises flit around the house- garbage truck in the alley, rain, tree rapping against the bedroom window. I sleep. I inhabit sleep firmly, willing it, wielding it, pushing away dreams, refusing, refusing. Sleep is my lover now, my forgetting, my opiate, my oblivion. [...] It is afternoon, it is night, it is morning. Everything is reduced to this bed, this endless slumber that makes the days into one day, makes time stop, stretches and compacts time until it is meaningless.
How many of these houses do you own?”
“We own, and all of them.”
“Do we own anything else?”
“We also own the woods directly behind us.”
Those woods extended for quite a while. There used to be a huge golf course and a shopping center behind us, but trees and brush had swallowed it long ago. “How many acres?”
“Five hundred and twelve.”
I opened my mouth and nothing came out.
“I thought of calling it the Five Hundred Acre Wood," Curran said.
Ilona Andrews (Magic Shifts (Kate Daniels, #8))
I invited Intuition to stay in my house when my roommates went North. I warned her that I am territorial and I keep the herb jars in alphabetical order. Intuition confessed that she has a ‘spotty employment record.’ She was fired from her last job for daydreaming.
When Intuition moved in, she washed all the windows, cleaned out the fireplace, planted fruit trees, and lit purple candles. She doesn’t cook much. She eats beautiful foods, artichokes, avocadoes, persimmons and pomegranates, wild rice with wild mushrooms, chrysanthemum tea. She doesn’t have many possessions. Each thing is special. I wish you could see the way she arranged her treasures on the fireplace mantle. She has a splendid collection of cups, bowls, and baskets.
Well, the herbs are still in alphabetical order, and I can’t complain about how the house looks. Since Intuition moved in, my life has been turned inside out.
J. Ruth Gendler (The Book of Qualities)
Afterwards, go to a pub for lunch. I've got $260 in my savings account and I really want you to use it for that. Really, I mean it--lunch is on me. Make sure you have pudding--sticky toffee, chocolate fudge cake, ice-cream sundae, something really bad for you. Get drunk too if you like (but don't scare Cal). Spend all the money.
And after that, when days have gone by, keep an eye out for me. I might write on the steam in the mirror when you're having a bath, or play with the leaves on the apple tree when you're out in the garden. I might slip into a dream.
Visit my grave when you can, but don't kick yourself if you can't, or if you move house and it's suddenly too far away. It looks pretty there in the summer (check out the website). You could bring a picnic and sit with me. I'd like that.
Jenny Downham (Before I Die)
And beyond the timeless meadows and emerald pastures, the rabbit holes and moss-covered oak and rowan trees and the "slippy sloppy" houses of frogs, the woodland-scented wind rushed between the leaves and blew around the gray veil that dipped below the fells, swirling up in a mist, blurring the edges of the distant forest.
(View from Windermere in the Lake District)
Susan Branch (A Fine Romance: Falling in Love with the English Countryside)
During the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been passing alone, on horseback, through a singularly dreary tract of country; and at length found myself, as the shades of the evening drew on, within view of the melancholy House of Usher. I know not how it was--but, with the first glimpse of the building, a sense of insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit. I say insufferable; for the feeling was unrelieved by any of that half-pleasureable, because poetic, sentiment, with which the mind usually receives even the sternest natural images of the desolate or terrible. I looked upon the scene before me--upon the mere house, and the simple landscape features of the domain--upon the bleak walls--upon the vacant eye-like windows--upon a few rank sedges--and upon a few white trunks of decayed trees--with an utter depression of soul which I can compare to no earthly sensation more properly than to the after-dream of the reveller upon opium--the bitter lapse into everyday life--the hideous dropping off of the veil. There was an iciness, a sinking, a sickening of the heart--an unredeemed dreariness of thought which no goading of the imagination could torture into aught of the sublime.
Edgar Allan Poe (The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Tales)
It took the Fire Brigade a day and a half to secure the remains of the house enough to recover Crew Cut’s body, which was described by Dr Jennifer Vaughan as ‘suffering from crush trauma’ and by Dr Walid as ‘mostly flat’.
Ben Aaronovitch (The Hanging Tree (Rivers of London, #6))
My youngest brother killed a lynx yesterday,” Rose said.
“Apparently it came into his territory and left some spray marks. He skinned it, smeared himself in its blood, and put its pelt on his shoulders like a cape. And that’s how he came dressed for breakfast.”
Cerise drank some beer. “My sister kills small animals and hangs their
corpses on a tree, because she thinks she is a monster and she’s convinced
we’ll eventually banish her from the house. They’re her rations. Just in case.”
Rose blinked. “I see. I think we’re going to get along just ﬁne, don’t you?”
“I think so, yes.
Ilona Andrews (Bayou Moon (The Edge, #2))
I KNEW IT WAS OVER
when tonight you couldn't make the phone ring
when you used to make the sun rise
when trees used to throw themselves
in front of you
to be paper for love letters
that was how i knew i had to do it
swaddle the kids we never had
against january's cold slice
bundle them in winter
clothes they never needed
so i could drop them off at my mom's
even though she lives on the other side of the country
and at this late west coast hour is
assuredly east coast sleeping
her house was lit like a candle
the way homes should be
warm and golden
and the kids ran in
and jumped at the bichon frise
that she never had
they hugged the dog
and the kids were happy
yours and mine
the ones we never had
and my mom was
grand maternal, which is to say, with style
that only comes when you've seen
enough to know grace
like when to pretend it's christmas or
a birthday so
she lit her voice with tiny
lights and pretended
she didn't see me crying
as i drove away
to the hotel connected to the bar
where i ordered the cheapest whisky they had
just because it shares your first name
because they don't make a whisky
and i only thought what i got
i toasted the hangover
inevitable as sun
that used to rise
in your name
i toasted the carnivals
we never went to
and the things you never won
the ferris wheels we never
kissed on and all the dreams
that sat there
like balloons on a carney's board
waiting to explode with passion
but slowly deflated
under the pin-
prick of a tack
when it doesn't
work, like me
at last call
after too many cheap
too many sweet
whisky makes me
sick, like the smell of cheap,
like the smell of
like the cheap, dead flowers
you never sent
that i never threw
out of the window
of a car
Daphne Gottlieb (Final Girl)
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)
The bowed head, the buried face. She is silent, she will never speak, never forgive, never reach a hand, never leave this frozen present tense. All waits, suspended. Suspended the autumn trees, the autumn sky, anonymous people. A blackbird, poor fool, sings out of season from the willows by the lake. A flight of pigeons over the houses; fragments of freedom, hazard, an anagram made flesh. And somewhere the stinging smell of burning leaves.
John Fowles (The Magus)
Contentment has learned how to find out what she needs to know. Last year she went on a major housecleaning spree. First she stood on her head until all the extra facts fell out. Then she discarded about half her house. Now she knows where every thing comes from—who dyed the yarn dark green and who wove the rug and who built the loom, who made the willow chair, who planted the apricot trees. She made the turquoise mugs herself with clay she found in the hills beyond her house.
When Contentment is sad, she takes a mud bath or goes to the mountains until her lungs are clear. When she walks through an unfamiliar neighborhood, she always makes friends with the local cats.
J. Ruth Gendler (The Book of Qualities)
It was a small town by a small river and a small lake in a small northern part of a Midwest state. There wasn't so much wilderness around you couldn't see the town. But on the other hand there wasn't so much town you couldn't see and feel and touch and smell the wilderness. The town was full of trees. And dry grass and dead flowers now that autumn was here. And full of fences to walk on and sidewalks to skate on and a large ravine to tumble in and yell across. And the town was full of...
And it was the afternoon of Halloween.
And all the houses shut against a cool wind.
And the town was full of cold sunlight.
But suddenly, the day was gone.
Night came out from under each tree and spread.
Ray Bradbury (The Halloween Tree)
In my mind, I built stairways. At the end of the stairways, I imagined rooms. These were high, airy places with big windows and a cool breeze moving through. I imagined one room opening brightly onto another room until I'd built a house, a place with hallways and more staircases. I built many houses, one after another, and those gave rise to a city -- a calm, sparkling city near the ocean, a place like Vancouver. I put myself there, and that's where I lived, in the wide-open sky of my mind. I made friends and read books and went running on a footpath in a jewel-green park along the harbour. I ate pancakes drizzled in syrup and took baths and watched sunlight pour through trees. This wasn't longing, and it wasn't insanity. It was relief. It got me through.
Amanda Lindhout (A House in the Sky)
And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors' eyes--a fresh, green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby's house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby)
Ty Walker opened the backdoor to his house and walked in to a big, seriously pissed off black man with tree trunk legs planted apart and beefy arms crossed on his chest. He knew he’d get that when he got home. He also didn’t give a fuck. He closed the door and looked Julius in the eye.
“She gone?” he asked.
“You are one serious dumb fuck.
Kristen Ashley (Lady Luck (Colorado Mountain, #3))
This is what people don’t see, wrapped up in their cities, with the noise and the smoke, and their tiny boxes for houses. Up there you can breathe. You can’t hear the town talking and talking. No eyes on you, ’cept God’s. It’s just you and the trees and the birds and the river and the sky and freedom . . . Out there, it’s good for the soul.
Jojo Moyes (The Giver of Stars)
The seven of us slipped onto the porch and down the deck stairs, finding lawn chairs to sit in under a giant oak tree. Kaidan leaned back in his chair, balancing it on the back two legs.
“How about a game of Truth or Dare?” Marna offered.
I was immediately apprehensive. Just as I was about to suggest something else, Kaidan spoke and my heart faltered.
“I'll go first,” he said. “I dare Kope to kiss Anna.”
Everything inside me flooded with fury and embarrassment. Kaidan leaned far back with his arms crossed, cocky. I stood up without thinking and hooked my foot under his chair, swiftly kicking upward and causing him to topple backward. He looked up at me from the ground with a stunned expression that morphed into a grin.
The twins and Blake were in hysterics. Blake laughed so hard he fell sideways out of his own chair, which made Jay join in the laughter. I couldn't sit there with them anymore. This whole night was a disaster. I turned and walked through the yard, toward the side of the house. I heard Ginger talk between gasps of mirth.
“Maybe she's not so bad after all!
Wendy Higgins (Sweet Evil (Sweet, #1))
My house here is painted the yellow colour of fresh butter on the outside, with glaringly green shutters; it stands in full sunlight in a square that has a green garden with plane trees, oleanders and acacias. It is completely whitewashed inside, with a floor made of red bricks. And over it there is the intensely blue sky. In this house I can love and breathe, meditate and paint.
Vincent van Gogh
Idris had been green and gold and russet in the autumn, when Clary had first been there. It had a stark grandeur in the winter: the mountains rose in the distance, capped white with snow, and the trees along the side of the road that led back to Alicante from the lake were stripped bare, their leafless branches making lace-like patterns against the bright sky.
Sometimes Jace would slow the horse to point out the manor houses of the richer Shadowhunter families, hidden from the road when the trees were full but revealed now. She felt his shoulders tense as they passed one that nearly melded with the forest around it: it had clearly been burned and rebuilt. Some of the stones still bore the black marks of smoke and fire. “The Blackthorn manor,” he said. “Which means that around this bend in the road is …” He paused as Wayfarer summited a small hill, and reined him in so they could look down to where the road split in two. One direction led back toward Alicante — Clary could see the demon towers in the distance — while the other curled down toward a large building of mellow golden stone, surrounded by a low wall. “ … the Herondale manor,” Jace finished.
The wind picked up; icy, it ruffled Jace’s hair. Clary had her hood up, but he was bare-headed and bare-handed, having said he hated wearing gloves when horseback riding. He liked to feel the reins in his hands. “Did you want to go and look at it?” she asked.
His breath came out in a white cloud. “I’m not sure.
Cassandra Clare (City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6))
A tree will stand in the scorching sun to give shade to others. A tree will bear the freezing cold of the winter and give wood to create heat for all. A tree will silently even give up its life to give its body to build a house for others to stay comfortably. That is tolerance.
Radhanath Swami (Evolve: Two Minute Wisdom)
Yes! I did [grow up on a Christmas Tree farm], so this is a good season for me. I was too young to help with the hauling of the trees up the hills and putting them onto cars. So, it was my job to pull off the preying mantis pods off of the Christmas trees. The problem with that is if you leave them on there, people bring them into their house. I forgot to check one time and they hatched all over these people’s house. And there were hundreds of thousands of them. And they had little kids, and they couldn’t kill of them because that’d be a bad Christmas.
Taylor Swift (Taylor Swift (Guitar Recorded Versions))
Where are we going, Walt Whitman? The doors close in an hour. Which way does your beard point tonight?
(I touch your book and dream of our odyssey in the supermarket and feel absurd.)
Will we walk all night through solitary streets? The trees add shade to shade, lights out in the houses, we'll both be lonely.
Will we stroll dreaming of the lost America of love past blue automobiles in driveways, home to our silent cottage?
Ah, dear father, graybeard, lonely old courage-teacher, what America did you have when Charon quit poling his ferry and you got out on a smoking bank and stood watching the boat disappear on the black waters of Lethe?
By now, the morning sun was just over the horizon and it came at me like a sidearm pitch between the houses of my old neighborhood. I shielded my eyes. This being early October, there were already piles of leaves pushed against the curb—more leaves than I remembered from my autumns here—andless open space in the sky. I think what you notice most when you haven’t been home in a while is how much the trees have grown around your memories.
Mitch Albom (For One More Day)
The summer ended. Day by day, and taking its time, the summer ended. The noises in the street began to change, diminish, voices became fewer, the music sparse. Daily, blocks and blocks of children were spirited away. Grownups retreated from the streets, into the houses. Adolescents moved from the sidewalk to the stoop to the hallway to the stairs, and rooftops were abandoned. Such trees as there were allowed their leaves to fall - they fell unnoticed - seeming to promise, not without bitterness, to endure another year. At night, from a distance, the parks and playgrounds seemed inhabited by fireflies, and the night came sooner, inched in closer, fell with a greater weight. The sound of the alarm clock conquered the sound of the tambourine, the houses put on their winter faces. The houses stared down a bitter landscape, seeming, not without bitterness, to have resolved to endure another year.
James Baldwin (Just Above My Head)
Then Olivia came back. She came back, dancing like a siren. I knew exactly what she was doing the night she came to my frat house and cocked her finger at me from the dance floor. If she hadn’t come to me, I would have gone to her. Forget all you know — I said to myself. This is the one you belong with. I don’t know how I knew that. Maybe our souls touched underneath that tree. Maybe I decided to love her. Maybe love wasn’t our choice. But when I looked at that woman, I saw myself differently. And it wasn’t in a good light. Not a thing would keep me from her. And that could make a person do things they never thought themselves capable of. What I felt for her scared the hell out of me. It was a consuming obsession.
In truth, I’d barely touched on the obsession. That was still coming.
Tarryn Fisher (Thief (Love Me with Lies, #3))
No duties. I don’t have to be profound.
I don’t have to be artistically perfect.
Or sublime. Or edifying.
I just wander. I say: ‘You were running,
That’s fine. It was the thing to do.’
And now the music of the worlds transforms me.
My planet enters a different house.
Trees and lawns become more distinct.
Philosophies one after another go out.
Everything is lighter yet not less odd.
Sauces, wine vintages, dishes of meat.
We talk a little of district fairs,
Of travels in a covered wagon with a cloud of dust behind,
Of how rivers once were, what the scent of calamus is.
That’s better than examining one’s private dreams.
And meanwhile it has arrived. It’s here, invisible.
Who can guess how it got here, everywhere.
Let others take care of it. Time for me to play hooky.
Buena notte. Ciao. Farewell.
The main hallway of the Sternwood place was two stories high. Over the entrance doors, which would have let in a troop of Indian elephants, there was a broad stained-glass panel showing a knight in dark armor rescuing a lady who was tied to a tree and didn’t have any clothes on but some very long and convenient hair. The knight had pushed the vizor of his helmet back to be sociable, and he was fiddling with the knots on the ropes that tied the lady to the tree and not getting anywhere. I stood there and thought that if I lived in the house, I would sooner or later have to climb up there and help him. He didn’t seem to be really trying.
Raymond Chandler (The Big Sleep (Philip Marlowe, #1))
The first place that I can well remember, was a large pleasant meadow with a pond of clear water in it. Some shady trees leaned over it, and rushes and water-lilies grew at the deep end. Over the hedge on one side we looked into a plowed field, and on the other we looked over a gate at our master's house, which stood by the roadside;
Anna Sewell (Black Beauty)
He had let Aunt Peg live in his house and married her, so clearly he had a thing for flaky American types who liked to sneak off in the dead of night. That was, as Ginny remembered it, how America won the Revolution in the first place. The English walked around in bright red coats in straight lines and took breaks for tea, and the Americans snuck around dressed in rags and hid in trees and stole their horses. Or something. Whatever. She had to do this-it was her birthright. It was what George Washington would have wanted.
Maureen Johnson (The Last Little Blue Envelope (Little Blue Envelope, #2))
Charles is going to be fine," said Annie.
"Yep," said Jack with a smile. "He never even knew that it was us who helped him."
"That's the best way to help someone, I think," said Annie.
"Why?" asked Jack.
"Then you know you're not helping them just to get a lot of credit," said Annie. "You're helping because it's the right thing to do.
Mary Pope Osborne (A Ghost Tale for Christmas Time (Magic Tree House, #44))
WHEN I GO ALONE AT NIGHT
WHEN I go alone at night to my love-tryst, birds do not sing, the wind does not stir, the houses on both sides of the street stand silent.
It is my own anklets that grow loud at every step and I am ashamed.
When I sit on my balcony and listen for his footsteps, leaves do not rustle on the trees, and the water is still in the river like the sword on the knees of a sentry fallen asleep.
It is my own heart that beats wildly -- I do not know how to quiet it.
When my love comes and sits by my side, when my body trembles and my eyelids droop, the night darkens, the wind blows out the lamp, and the clouds draw veils over the stars.
It is the jewel at my own breast that shines and gives light. I do not know how to hide it.
Well, make up your mind. I don’t have all night.” Fidelia set her beer on the porch and removed a set of keys from her skirt pocket. She fumbled with the key, trying to release the trigger lock on her pistol.
“Don’t do that,” Heather warned her. “You’ve had too much to drink.”
Fidelia snorted. “I’m not drunk. I’m in complete control.” She tore off the trigger lock.
Bang! The gun fired, ripping into a nearby oak tree.
The women screamed. Jean-Luc winced.
A squirrel plummeted from the tree and landed in the yard with a thud.
Fidelia shrugged. “I meant to do that. Damned rodent’s been gnawing on the house. And stealing all the nuts from our pecan tree.”
Heather planted her hands on her hips. “Haven’t I told you a million times to keep the locks on?”
Fidelia hung her head, looking properly remorseful. “I’ll be more careful.” She switched on the safety, then shot Jean-Luc a pointed look. “I know how to deal with a scumbag with nuts.
Kerrelyn Sparks (The Undead Next Door (Love at Stake, #4))
On the back part of the step, toward the right, I saw a small iridescent sphere of almost unbearable brilliance. At first I thought it was revolving; then I realised that this movement was an illusion created by the dizzying world it bounded. The Aleph's diameter was probably little more than an inch, but all space was there, actual and undiminished. Each thing (a mirror's face, let us say) was infinite things, since I distinctly saw it from every angle of the universe. I saw the teeming sea; I saw daybreak and nightfall; I saw the multitudes of America; I saw a silvery cobweb in the center of a black pyramid; I saw a splintered labyrinth (it was London); I saw, close up, unending eyes watching themselves in me as in a mirror; I saw all the mirrors on earth and none of them reflected me; I saw in a backyard of Soler Street the same tiles that thirty years before I'd seen in the entrance of a house in Fray Bentos; I saw bunches of grapes, snow, tobacco, lodes of metal, steam; I saw convex equatorial deserts and each one of their grains of sand; I saw a woman in Inverness whom I shall never forget; I saw her tangled hair, her tall figure, I saw the cancer in her breast; I saw a ring of baked mud in a sidewalk, where before there had been a tree; I saw a summer house in Adrogué and a copy of the first English translation of Pliny -- Philemon Holland's -- and all at the same time saw each letter on each page (as a boy, I used to marvel that the letters in a closed book did not get scrambled and lost overnight); I saw a sunset in Querétaro that seemed to reflect the colour of a rose in Bengal; I saw my empty bedroom; I saw in a closet in Alkmaar a terrestrial globe between two mirrors that multiplied it endlessly; I saw horses with flowing manes on a shore of the Caspian Sea at dawn; I saw the delicate bone structure of a hand; I saw the survivors of a battle sending out picture postcards; I saw in a showcase in Mirzapur a pack of Spanish playing cards; I saw the slanting shadows of ferns on a greenhouse floor; I saw tigers, pistons, bison, tides, and armies; I saw all the ants on the planet; I saw a Persian astrolabe; I saw in the drawer of a writing table (and the handwriting made me tremble) unbelievable, obscene, detailed letters, which Beatriz had written to Carlos Argentino; I saw a monument I worshipped in the Chacarita cemetery; I saw the rotted dust and bones that had once deliciously been Beatriz Viterbo; I saw the circulation of my own dark blood; I saw the coupling of love and the modification of death; I saw the Aleph from every point and angle, and in the Aleph I saw the earth and in the earth the Aleph and in the Aleph the earth; I saw my own face and my own bowels; I saw your face; and I felt dizzy and wept, for my eyes had seen that secret and conjectured object whose name is common to all men but which no man has looked upon -- the unimaginable universe.
I felt infinite wonder, infinite pity.
Jorge Luis Borges
Tell me about the hands that broke you like tree branches. Tell me about the heart that made you a home, the barren soul that used your dry bones like kindling in the middle of winter. Tell me about the house fire, the ashes which you rose from. Tell me about your resurrection - but don't you dare tell me that you are not strong enough this time, don't you dare tell me that you cannot
Bianca Sparacino (Seeds Planted in Concrete)
Once upon a time, there was a boy. He lived in a village that no longer exists, on the edge of a field that no longer exists, where everything was discovered and everything was possible. A stick could be a sword. A pebble could be a diamond. A tree was a castle.
Once upon a time, there was a boy who lived in a house across the field from a girl who no longer exists. They made up a thousand games. She was the Queen and he was the King. In the autumn light, her hair shone like a crown. They collected the world in small handfuls. When the sky grew dark, they parted with leaves in their hair.
Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering. When they were ten he asked her to marry him. When they were eleven he kissed her for the first time. When they were thirteen they got into a fight and for three weeks they didn't talk. When they were fifteen she showed him the scar on her left breast. Their love was a secret they told no one. He promised her he would never love another girl as long as he lived. "What if I die?" she asked. "Even then," he said. For her sixteenth birthday, he gave her an English dictionary and together they learned the words. "What's this?" he'd ask, tracing his index finger around her ankle and she'd look it up. "And this?" he'd ask, kissing her elbow. "Elbow! What kind of word is that?" and then he'd lick it, making her giggle. "What about this," he asked, touching the soft skin behind her ear. "I don't know," she said, turning off the flashlight and rolling over, with a sigh, onto her back. When they were seventeen they made love for the first time, on a bed of straw in a shed. Later-when things happened that they could never have imagined-she wrote him a letter that said: When will you learn that there isn't a word for everything?
Nicole Krauss (The History of Love)
I am listening to Istanbul with my eyes closed
The drunkenness of old times
In the wooden seaside villa with its deserted boat house
The roaring Southwestern wind is trapped,
My thoughts are trapped.
I am listening to Istanbul with my eyes closed
A bird is flying around your skirt
I know if your forehead is hot or cold
Or your lips are wet or dry;
Or is a white moon is rising above the hazelnut tree
My heart's fluttering tells me
I am listening to Istanbul with my eyes closed
Orhan Veli Kanık (Bütün Şiirleri)
And out floated Eeyore.
"Eeyore!" cried everybody.
Looking very calm, very dignified, with his legs in the air, came Eeyore from beneath the bridge.
"It's Eeyore!" cried Roo, terribly excited.
"Is that so?" said Eeyore, getting caught up by a little eddy, and turning slowly round three times. "I wondered."
"I didn't know you were playing," said Roo.
"I'm not," said Eeyore.
"Eeyore, what are you doing there?" said Rabbit.
"I'll give you three guesses, Rabbit. Digging holes in the ground? Wrong. Leaping from branch to branch of a young oak-tree? Wrong. Waiting for somebody to help me out of the river? Right. Give Rabbit time, and he'll always get the answer."
"But, Eeyore," said Pooh in distress, "what can we--I mean, how shall we--do you think if we--"
"Yes," said Eeyore. "One of those would be just the thing. Thank you, Pooh.
A.A. Milne (The House at Pooh Corner (Winnie-the-Pooh #2))
What shall I give? and which are my miracles?
2. Realism is mine--my miracles--Take freely,
Take without end--I offer them to you wherever your feet can carry you or your eyes reach.
3. Why! who makes much of a miracle?
As to me, I know of nothing else but miracles,
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
Or wade with naked feet along the beach, just in the edge of the water,
Or stand under trees in the woods,
Or talk by day with any one I love--or sleep in the bed at night with any
one I love,
Or sit at the table at dinner with my mother,
Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car,
Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive, of a summer forenoon,
Or animals feeding in the fields,
Or birds--or the wonderfulness of insects in the air,
Or the wonderfulness of the sundown--or of stars shining so quiet and bright,
Or the exquisite, delicate, thin curve of the new moon in spring;
Or whether I go among those I like best, and that like me best--mechanics, boatmen, farmers,
Or among the savans--or to the _soiree_--or to the opera.
Or stand a long while looking at the movements of machinery,
Or behold children at their sports,
Or the admirable sight of the perfect old man, or the perfect old woman,
Or the sick in hospitals, or the dead carried to burial,
Or my own eyes and figure in the glass;
These, with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles,
The whole referring--yet each distinct and in its place.
4. To me, every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every inch of space is a miracle,
Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the same,
Every cubic foot of the interior swarms with the same;
Every spear of grass--the frames, limbs, organs, of men and women, and all that concerns them,
All these to me are unspeakably perfect miracles.
To me the sea is a continual miracle;
The fishes that swim--the rocks--the motion of the waves--the ships, with men in them,
What stranger miracles are there?
Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
And I think that it is certainly possible that the objective universe can be affected by the poet. I mean, you recall Orpheus made the trees and the stones dance and so forth, and this is something which is in almost all primitive cultures. I think it has some definite basis to it. I'm not sure what. It's like telekinesis, which I know very well on a pinball machine is perfectly possible.
Jack Spicer (The House That Jack Built: The Collected Lectures)
Here's the thing, say Shug. The thing I believe. God is inside you and inside everybody else. You come into the world with God. But only them that search for it inside find it. And sometimes it just manifest itself even if you not looking, or don't know what you looking for. Trouble do it for most folks, I think. Sorrow, lord. Feeling like shit.
It? I ast.
Yeah, It. God ain't a he or a she, but a It.
But what do it look like? I ast.
Don't look like nothing, she say. It ain't a picture show. It ain't something you can look at apart from anything else, including yourself. I believe God is everything, say Shug. Everything that is or ever was or ever will be. And when you can feel that, and be happy to feel that, you've found It.
Shug a beautiful something, let me tell you. She frown a little, look out cross the yard, lean back in her chair, look like a big rose. She say, My first step from the old white man was trees. Then air. Then birds. Then other people. But one day when I was sitting quiet and feeling like a motherless child, which I was, it come to me: that feeling of being part of everything, not separate
at all. I knew that if I cut a tree, my arm would bleed. And I laughed and I cried and I run all around the house. I knew just what it was. In fact, when it happen, you can't miss it. It sort of like you know what, she say, grinning and rubbing high up on my thigh.
Shug! I say.
Oh, she say. God love all them feelings. That's some of the best stuff God did. And when you know God loves 'em you enjoys 'em a lot more. You can just relax, go with everything that's going, and praise God by liking what you like.
God don't think it dirty? I ast.
Naw, she say. God made it. Listen, God love everything you love? and a mess of stuff you don't. But more than anything else, God love admiration.
You saying God vain? I ast.
Naw, she say. Not vain, just wanting to share a good thing. I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it.
What it do when it pissed off? I ast.
Oh, it make something else. People think pleasing God is all God care about. But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back.
Yeah? I say.
Yeah, she say. It always making little surprises and springing them on us when us least expect.
You mean it want to be loved, just like the bible say.
Yes, Celie, she say. Everything want to be loved. Us sing and dance, make faces and give flower bouquets, trying to be loved. You ever notice that trees do everything to git attention we do, except walk?
Well, us talk and talk bout God, but I'm still adrift. Trying to chase that old white man out of my head. I been so busy thinking bout him I never truly notice nothing God make. Not a blade of corn (how it do that?) not the color purple (where it come from?). Not the little wildflowers. Nothing. Now that my eyes opening, I feels like a fool. Next to any little scrub of a bush in my yard, Mr. ____s evil sort of shrink. But not altogether. Still, it is like Shug say, You have to git man off your eyeball, before you can see anything a'tall.
Man corrupt everything, say Shug. He on your box of grits, in your head, and all over the radio. He try to make you think he everywhere.
Soon as you think he everywhere, you think he God. But he ain't. Whenever you trying to pray, and man plop himself on the other end of it, tell him to git lost, say Shug. Conjure up flowers, wind,water, a big rock.
But this hard work, let me tell you. He been there so long, he don't want to budge. He threaten lightening, floods and earthquakes. Us fight. I hardly pray at all. Every time I conjure up a rock, I throw it.
Alice Walker (The Color Purple)
The pain is stronger than ever. I've seen bits of lost Paradises and I know I'll be hopelessly trying to return even if it hurts. The deeper I swing into the regions of nothingness the further I'm thrown back into myself, each time more and more frightening depths below me, until my very being becomes dizzy. There are brief glimpses of clear sky, like falling out of a tree, so I have some idea where I'm going, but there is still too much clarity and straight order of things, I am getting always the same number somehow. So I vomit out broken bits of words and syntaxes of the countries I've passed through, broken limbs, slaughtered houses, geographies. My heart is poisoned, my brain left in shreds of horror and sadness. I've never let you down, world, but you did lousy things to me.
(from "As I was moving ahead occasionally I saw brief glimpses of beauty", 2000)
Nothing will change, Alexias. No, that is false; there is change whenever there is life, and already we are not the two who met in Taureas' palaestra. But what kind of fool would plant an apple-slip, to cut it down at the season when the fruit is setting? Flowers you can get every year, but only with time the tree that shades your doorway and grows into the house with each year's sun and rain.
Mary Renault (The Last of the Wine)
The body of Homo sapiens had not evolved for such tasks. It was adapted to climbing apple trees and running after gazelles, not to clearing rocks and carrying water buckets. Human spines, knees, necks and arches paid the price. Studies of ancient skeletons indicate that the transition to agriculture brought about a plethora of ailments, such as slipped discs, arthritis and hernias. Moreover, the new agricultural tasks demanded so much time that people were forced to settle permanently next to their wheat fields. This completely changed their way of life. We did not domesticate wheat. It domesticated us. The word ‘domesticate’ comes from the Latin domus, which means ‘house’. Who’s the one living in a house? Not the wheat. It’s the Sapiens.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
You do what you can. What you'd done may do more than you can imagine for generations to come. You plant a seed and a tree grows from it; will there be fruit, shade, habitat for birds, more seeds, a forest, wood to build a cradle or a house? You don't know. A tree can live much longer than you. So will an idea, and sometimes the changes that result from accepting that new idea about what is true, or right, just might remake the world. You do what you can do; you do your best; what what you do does is not up to you.
Rebecca Solnit (Call Them by Their True Names: American Crises (and Essays))
Let's sum up... a little house, white and green or to be made so... with trees, preferably birch and spruce... a window looking seaward... on a hill. That sounds very possible... but there is one other requirement. There must be magic about it, Jane... lashings of magic... and magic houses are scarce, even on the Island. Have you any idea at all what I mean, Jane?"
"You want to feel that the house is yours before you buy it," she said.
"Jane," said dad, "you are too good to be true.
L.M. Montgomery (Jane of Lantern Hill)
The light struck upon the trees in the garden, making one leaf transparent and then another. One bird chirped high up; there was a pause; another chirped lower down. The sun sharpended the walls of the house, and rested like the tip of a fan upon a white blind and made a fingerprint of a shadow under the leaf by the bedroom window. The blind stirred slightly, but all within was dim and unsubstantial. The birds sang their blank melody outside.
Over everything—up through the wreckage of the city, in gutters, along the riverbanks, tangled among tiles and tin roofing, climbing on charred tree trunks—was a blanket of fresh, vivid, lush, optimistic green; the verdancy rose even from the foundations of ruined houses. Weeds already hid the ashes, and wild flowers were in bloom among the city’s bones. The bomb had not only left the underground organs of the plants intact; it had stimulated them.
John Hersey (Hiroshima)
Growing up spoiled a lot of things. It spoiled the nice game they had when there was nothing to eat in the house. When money gave out and food ran low, Katie and the children pretended they were explorers discovering the North Pole and had been trapped by a blizzard in a cave with just a little food. They had to make it last till help came. Mama divided up what food there was in the cupboard and called it rations and when the children were still hungry after a meal, she'd say, 'Courage, my men, help will come soon.' When some money came in and Mama bought a lot of groceries, she bought a little cake as celebration, and she'd stick a penny flag in it and say, 'We made it, men. We got to the North Pole.'
One day after one of the 'rescues' Francie asked Mama:
'When explorers get hungry and suffer like that, it's for a reason . Something big comes out of it. They discover the North Pole. But what big things comes out of us being hungry like that?'
Katie looked tired all of a sudden. She said something Francie didn't understand at the time. She said, 'You found the catch in it.
Betty Smith (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn)
What is there to see if I go outside? Don't tell me. I know. I can see other people. I don't want to see other people. They look awful. The men look like slobs and the women look like men. The men have mush faces framed by long hair and the women have big noses, big jaws, big heads, and stick-like bodies. That depresses me. Its no fun to people-watch anymore because there's so little variety in types.
You say it's good to get a change of scenery. What scenery? New buildings? New cars? New freeways? New shopping malls? Go to the woods or a park? I saw a tree once. The new ones look the same, which is fine. I even remember what the old ones look like. My memory isn't that short. But it's not worth going to see a squirrel grab a nut, or fish swimming around in a big tank if I must put up with the ugly contemporary human pollution that accompanies each excursion. The squirrel may enliven me and remind me of better vistas but the price in social interaction isn't worth it. If, on my way to visit the squirrel, I encounter a single person who gains stimulation by seeing me, I feel like I have given more than I've received and I get sore.
If every time I go somewhere to see a fish swimming, I become someone else's stimulation, I feel shortchanged. I'll buy my own fish and watch it swim. Then, I can watch the fish, the fish can watch me, we can be friends, and nobody else interferes with the interaction, like trying to hear what the fish and I are talking about. I won't have to get dressed a certain way to visit the fish. I needn't dress the way my pride dictates, because who's going to see me? I needn't wear any pants. The fish doesn't care. He doesn't read the tabloids. But, if I go out to see a fish other than my own, I'm right back where I started: entertaining others, which is more depleting than visiting the new fish is entertaining.
Maybe I should go to a coffee house. I find no stimulation in watching ordinary people trying to put the make on other uninteresting people. I can fix my own cup of coffee and not have to look at or talk to other people. No matter where I go, I stimulate others, and have been doing so all my life. It used to be I'd sometimes get stimulated back.
Anton Szandor LaVey
This life is a hospital in which each patient is possessed by the desire to change beds. One wants to suffer in front of the stove and another believes that he will get well near the window.
It always seems to me that I will be better off there where I am not, and this question of moving about is one that I discuss endlessly with my soul
"Tell me, my soul, my poor chilled soul, what would you think about going to live in Lisbon? It must be warm there, and you'll be able to soak up the sun like a lizard there. That city is on the shore; they say that it is built all out of marble, and that the people there have such a hatred of the vegetable, that they tear down all the trees. There's a country after your own heart -- a landscape made out of light and mineral, and liquid to reflect them!"
My soul does not reply.
"Because you love rest so much, combined with the spectacle of movement, do you want to come and live in Holland, that beatifying land? Perhaps you will be entertained in that country whose image you have so often admired in museums. What do you think of Rotterdam, you who love forests of masts and ships anchored at the foot of houses?"
My soul remains mute.
"Does Batavia please you more, perhaps? There we would find, after all, the European spirit married to tropical beauty."
Not a word. -- Is my soul dead?
Have you then reached such a degree of torpor that you are only happy with your illness? If that's the case, let us flee toward lands that are the analogies of Death. -- I've got it, poor soul! We'll pack our bags for Torneo. Let's go even further, to the far end of the Baltic. Even further from life if that is possible: let's go live at the pole. There the sun only grazes the earth obliquely, and the slow alternation of light and darkness suppresses variety and augments monotony, that half of nothingness. There we could take long baths in the shadows, while, to entertain us, the aurora borealis send us from time to time its pink sheaf of sparkling light, like the reflection of fireworks in Hell!"
Finally, my soul explodes, and wisely she shrieks at me: "It doesn't matter where! It doesn't matter where! As long as it's out of this world!
Charles Baudelaire (Paris Spleen)
If I had grown up in that house I couldn't have loved it more, couldn't have been more familiar with the creak of the swing, or the pattern of the clematis vines on the trellis, or the velvety swell of land as it faded to gray on the horizon, and the strip of highway visible -just barely – in the hills, beyond the trees. The very colors of the place had seeped into my blood: just as Hampden, in subsequent years, would always present itself immediately to my imagination in a confused whirl of white and green and red, so the country house first appeared as a glorious blur of watercolors, of ivory and lapis blue, chestnut and burnt orange and gold, separating only gradually into the boundaries of remembered objects: the house, the sky, the maple trees. But even that day, there on the porch, with Charles beside me and the smell of wood smoke in the air, it had the quality of a memory; there it was, before my eyes, and yet too beautiful to believe.
Donna Tartt (The Secret History)
The crying sounded even louder out of doors. It was as if all the pain in the world had found a voice. Yet had I known such pain was in the next room, and had it been dumb, I believe—I have thought since—I could have stood it well enough. It is when suffering finds a voice and sets our nerves quivering that this pity comes troubling us. But in spite of the brilliant sunlight and the green fans of the trees waving in the soothing sea-breeze, the world was a confusion, blurred with drifting black and red phantasms, until I was out of earshot of the house in the stone wall.
H.G. Wells (The Island of Dr. Moreau)
I just don't understand what you see in her," Sim said carefully. "I know she's charming. Fascinating and all of that. But she seems rather," he hesitated, "cruel."
I nodded. "She is."
Simmon watched me expectantly, finally said. "What? No defense for her?"
"No. Cruel is a good word for her. But I think you are saying cruel and thinking of something else. Denna is not wicked, or mean, or spiteful. She is cruel."
Sim was quiet for a long while before responding. "I think she might be some of those things, and cruel as well."
Good, honest gentle Sim. He could never bring himself to say bad things about another person, just imply them. Even that was hard for him.
He looked up at me. "I talked with Savoy. He's still not over her. He really loved her, you know. Treated her like a princess. He would have done anything for her. But she left him anyway, no explanation."
"Denna is a wild thing," I explained. "Like a hind or a summer storm. If a storm blows down your house, or breaks a tree, you don't say the storm was mean. It was cruel. It acted according to its nature and something unfortunately was hurt. The same is true of Denna."
"What's a hind?"
"I thought that was a hart?"
"A hind is a female deer. A wild deer. Do you know how much good it does you to chase a wild thing? None. It works against you. It startles the hind away. All you can do is stay gently where you are, and hope in time that the hind will come to you.
Patrick Rothfuss (The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #1))
Betsy was so full of joy that she had to be alone. She went upstairs to her bedroom and sat down on Uncle Keith's trunk. Behind Tacy's house the sun had set. A wind had sprung up and the trees, their color dimmed, moved under a brooding sky. All the stories she had told Tacy and Tib seemed to be dancing in those trees, along with all the stories she planned to write some day and all the stories she would read at the library. Good stories. Great stories. The classics. Not Rena's novels.
Maud Hart Lovelace (Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown (Betsy-Tacy, #4))
I lie down on many a station platform; I stand before many a soup kitchen; I squat on many a bench;--then at last the landscape becomes disturbing, mysterious, and familiar. It glides past the western windows with its villages, their thatched roofs like caps, pulled over the white-washed, half-timbered houses, its corn-fields, gleaming like mother-of-pearl in the slanting light, its orchards, its barns and old lime trees.
The names of the stations begin to take on meaning and my heart trembles. The train stamps and stamps onward. I stand at the window and hold on to the frame. These names mark the boundaries of my youth.
Erich Maria Remarque (All Quiet on the Western Front)
In the late summer of that year we lived in a house in a village that looked across the river and the plain to the mountains. In the bed of the river there were pebbles and boulders, dry and white in the sun, and the water was clear and swiftly moving and blue in the channels. Troops went by the house and down the road and the dust they raised powdered the leaves of the trees. The trunks of the trees too were dusty and the leaves fell early that year and we saw the troops marching along the road and the dust rising and leaves, stirred by the breeze, falling and the soldiers marching and afterward the road bare and white except for the leaves.
Ernest Hemingway (A Farewell to Arms)
It was hard to stay angry when I felt so sad. I would rather have felt angry, but instead, all I could do was sob. Even though people had been coming over all day, the house seemed so lonely that I couldn't stand it.
The room grew somewhat dimmer. I didn't move as it grew dimmer still. Then, with a start, I hurried outside and ran to the alley in back of our house. Through a break between the buildings, I saw that the sun hung low over the horizon. I watched it until it started to hide between two trees in the distance. Then I climbed on a car and watched until only half of the sun was visible, and then a quarter, and then I felt a huge sickening panic inside of me and ran as hard as I could to a ladder I saw down the alley. I rushed up the ladder and climbed on the roof of somebody's garage. I saw the sun again, a quarter of it, and then a slice, and then it disappeared, the last time ever that the sun would set on a day my sister had lived.
Cynthia Kadohata (Kira-Kira)
I do love it. But I want you two to have it. Today, you taught me- no, you taught all of us- an important lesson. It is a dark day in the deep sea when we cause innocent creatures to suffer. The professor said we can conquer our fears through knowledge. But you taught us that our fears can best be conquered through compassion. Even we scientists must never forget to have compassion for all living creatures. My compassion for the little creature that once lived in this shell made me very happy.
Mary Pope Osborne (Dark Day in the Deep Sea (Magic Tree House, #39))
You took a walk on a Sunday afternoon and came to a nice neighborhood, very refined. You saw a small one of these trees through the iron gate leading to someone's yard and you knew that soon that section of Brooklyn would get to be a tenement district. The tree knew. It came there first. Afterwards, poor foreigners seeped in and the quiet old brownstone houses were hacked up into flats, feather beds were pushed out on the window sills to air and the Tree of Heaven flourished. That was the kind of tree it was. It liked poor people.
Betty Smith (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn)
Eventually the Woodsman spoke. ‘We all have our routines,’ he said softly. ‘But they must have a purpose and provide an outcome that we can see and take some comfort from, or else they have no use at all. Without that, they are like the endless pacings of a caged animal. If they are not madness itself, then they are a prelude to it.’
The Woodsman stood and showed David his axe.
‘See here,’ he said, pointing with his finger at the blade. Every morning, I make certain that me axe is clean and keen. I look to my house and check that its windows and doors remain secure. I tend to my land, disposing of weeds and ensuring that the soil is watered. I walk through the forest, clearing those paths that need to be kept open. Where trees have been damaged, I do my best to repair what has been harmed. these are my routines and I enjoy doing them well.’
He laid a hand gently on David’s shoulder, and David saw understanding in his face. ‘Rules and routines are good, but they must give you satisfaction. Can you truly say you gain that from touching and counting?’
David shook his head. ‘No,’ he said, ‘but I get scared when I don’t do them. I’m afraid of what might happen.’
‘Then find routines that allow you to feel secure when they are done. You told me that you have a new brother: look to him each morning. Look to your father, and your stepmother. Tend to the flowers in the garden, or in the pots upon the window sill. Seek others who are weaker than you are, and try to give them comfort where you can. Let these be your routines, and the rules that govern your life.
John Connolly (The Book of Lost Things (The Book of Lost Things, #1))
The sidewalks were haunted by dust
ghosts all night as the furnace wind summoned them up,
swung them about, and gentled them down in a warm spice on
the lawns. Trees, shaken by the footsteps of late-night strol-
lers, sifted avalanches of dust. From midnight on, it seemed a
volcano beyond the town was showering red-hot ashes every-
where, crusting slumberless night watchmen and irritable
dogs. Each house was a yellow attic smoldering with spon-
taneous combustion at three in the morning.
Dawn, then, was a time where things changed element for
element. Air ran like hot spring waters nowhere, with no
sound. The lake was a quantity of steam very still and deep
over valleys of ﬁsh and sand held baking under its serene
vapors. Tar was poured licorice in the streets, red bricks were
brass and gold, roof tops were paved with bronze. The high-
tension wires were lightning held forever, blazing, a threat
above the unslept houses.
The cicadas sang louder and yet louder.
The sun did not rise, it overﬂowed.
Ray Bradbury (Dandelion Wine)
And in all those escapes he could not help being astonished by the beauty of this land that was not his. He his in its breast, fingered its earth for food, clung to its banks to lap water and tried not to love it. On nights when the sky was personal, weak with the weight of its own stars, he made himself not love it. Its graveyards and its low-lying rivers. Or just a house - solitary under a chinaberry tree; maybe a mule tethered and the light hitting its hide just so. Anything could stir him and he tried hard not to love it.
Toni Morrison (Beloved)
We all received invitations, made by hand from construction paper, with balloons containing our names in Magic Marker. Our amazement at being formally invited to a house we had only visited in our bathroom fantasies was so great that we had to compare one another's invitations before we believed it. It was thrilling to know that the Lisbon girls knew our names, that their delicate vocal cords had pronounced their syllables, and that they meant something in their lives. They had had to labor over proper spellings and to check our addresses in the phone book or by the metal numbers nailed to the trees.
Jeffrey Eugenides (The Virgin Suicides)
And no matter where you are right now, you can come on out and stand in the middle of it as the sun is going down, and you can know that right in the spot where you are standing, there used to be someone else, that at some other point in time, someone stood where you are standing, thinking their own thoughts. And someday in the future someone will stand there and wonder about you, wonder if there was ever anybody else.
Keep in mind that you are making memories.
Consider that something you take for granted today may be the one thing you might pine for someday, and there might not be any more of it left, but you'll remember its sweetness. Remember the curve of the sun in your bedroom window late in the day, the way your little brother's hair smelled after his bath, and the sound of your mother and father talking in the kitchen.
Make sure you notice if the trees meet in an arch over your street, or if there's a certain sound that you hear at a particular time every day. Take note of those people who are so familiar to you, and consider memorizing them for a time when they are gone.
And know that if anyone ever says to you, "What will you always remember about this place?" you will know just exactly which story it is that you would tell them.
Pam Conrad (Our House)
My old friend, what are you looking for?
After years abroad you’ve come back
with images you’ve nourished
under foreign skies
far from you own country.’
‘I’m looking for my old garden;
the trees come to my waist
and the hills resemble terraces
yet as a child
I used to play on the grass
under great shadows
and I would run for hours
breathless over the slopes.’
‘My old friend, rest,
you’ll get used to it little by little;
together we will climb
the paths you once knew,
we will sit together
under the plane trees’ dome.
They’ll come back to you little by little,
your garden and your slopes.’
‘I’m looking for my old house,
the tall windows
darkened by ivy;
I’m looking for the ancient column
known to sailors.
How can I get into this coop?
The roof comes to my shoulders
and however far I look
I see men on their knees
as though saying their prayers.’
‘My old friend, don’t you hear me?
You’ll get used to it little by little.
Your house is the one you see
and soon friends and relatives
will come knocking at the door
to welcome you back tenderly.’
‘Why is your voice so distant?
Raise your head a little
so that I understand you.
As you speak you grow
as though you’re sinking into the ground.’
‘My old friend, stop a moment and think:
you’ll get used to it little by little.
Your nostalgia has created
a non-existent country, with laws
alien to earth and man.’
‘Now I can’t hear a sound.
My last friend has sunk.
Strange how from time to time
they level everything down.
Here a thousand scythe-bearing chariots go past
and mow everything down
...Until they stood at last by a crumbling wall, looking up and up and still farther up at the great tombyard top of the old house. For that's what it seemed. The high mountain peak of the mansion was littered with what looked like black bones or iron rods, and enough chimneys to choke out smoke signals from three dozen fires on sooty hearths hidden far below in dim bowels of this monster place. With so many chimneys, the roof seemed a vast cemetery, each chimney signifying the burial place of some old god of fire or enchantress of steam, smoke, and firefly spark. even as they watched, a kind of bleak exhalation of soot breathed up out of some four dozen flues, darkening the sky still more, and putting out some few stars.
Ray Bradbury (The Halloween Tree)
Who wants to die? Everything struggles to live. Look at that tree growing up there out of that grating. It gets no sun, and water only when it rains. It's growing out of sour earth. And it's strong because its hard struggle to live is making it strong. My children will be strong that way," said Katie.
Aw, somebody ought to cut that tree down, the homely thing," said the midwife.
If there was only one tree like that in the whole world, you would think it was beautiful," said Katie. "But because there are so many, you just can't see how beautiful it really is. Look at those children." She pointed to a swarm of dirty children playing in the gutter. "You could take any one of them and wash him good and dress him up and sit him in a fine house and you would think he was beautiful.
Many were the tears shed by them in their last adieus to a place so much beloved. "Dear, dear Norland!" said Marianne, as she wandered alone before the house, on the last evening of their being there; "when shall I cease to regret you!—when learn to feel a home elsewhere!—Oh! happy house, could you know what I suffer in now viewing you from this spot, from whence perhaps I may view you no more!—And you, ye well-known trees!—but you will continue the same.—No leaf will decay because we are removed, nor any branch become motionless although we can observe you no longer!—No; you will continue the same; unconscious of the pleasure or the regret you occasion, and insensible of any change in those who walk under your shade!—But who will remain to enjoy you?
Jane Austen (Sense and Sensibility)
Well, surely, you will agree that a great improvement could be made simply by cutting down those trees that crowd about the house so much and darken every room? They grow just as they please – just where the acorn or seed fell, I suppose.” “What?” asked Strange, whose eyes had wandered back to his book during the latter part of the conversation. “The trees,” said Henry. “Which trees?” “Those,” said Henry, pointing out of the window to a whole host of ancient and magnificent oaks, ashes and beech trees. “As far as neighbours go, those trees are quite exemplary. They mind their own affairs and have never troubled me. I rather think that I will return the compliment.” “But they are blocking the light.” “So are you, Henry, but I have not yet taken an axe to you.
Susanna Clarke (Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell)
Words do not come easily for so many men. We are taught to be strong, to provide, to put away our emotions. A father can work his way through his days and never see that his years are going by. If I could go back in time, I would say some things to that young father as he holds, somewhat uncertainly, his daughter for the very first time. These are the things I would say:
When you hear the first whimper in the night, go to the nursery leaving your wife sleeping. Rock in a chair, walk the floor, sing a lullaby so that she will know a man can be gentle.
When Mother is away for the evening, come home from work, do the babysitting. Learn to cook a hotdog or a pot of spaghetti, so that your daughter will know a man can serve another's needs.
When she performs in school plays or dances in recitals, arrive early, sit in the front seat, devote your full attention. Clap the loudest, so that she will know a man can have eyes only for her.
When she asks for a tree house, don't just build it, but build it with her. Sit high among the branches and talk about clouds, and caterpillars, and leaves. Ask her about her dreams and wait for her answers, so that she will know a man can listen.
When you pass by her door as she dresses for a date, tell her she is beautiful. Take her on a date yourself. Open doors, buy flowers, look her in the eye, so that she will know a man can respect her.
When she moves away from home, send a card, write a note, call on the phone. If something reminds you of her, take a minute to tell her, so that she will know a man can think of her even when she is away.
Tell her you love her, so that she will know a man can say the words.
If you hurt her, apologize, so that she will know a man can admit that he's wrong.
These seem like such small things, such a fraction of time in the course of two lives. But a thread does not require much space. It can be too fine for the eye to see, yet, it is the very thing that binds, that takes pieces and laces them into a whole.
Without it, there are tatters.
It is never too late for a man to learn to stitch, to begin mending.
These are the things I would tell that young father, if I could.
A daughter grown up quickly. There isn't time to waste.
I love you,
Lisa Wingate (Dandelion Summer (Blue Sky Hill #4))
The morning of that day, as Gabriel rose and started out to work, the sky was low and nearly black and the air too thick to breath. Late in the afternoon the wind rose, the skies opened, and the rain came. The rain came down as though once more in Heaven the Lord had been persuaded of the good uses of a flood. It drove before it the bowed wanderer, clapped children into houses, licked with fearful anger against the high, strong wall, and the wall of the lean-to, and the wall of the cabin, beat against the bark and the leaves of trees, trampled the broad grass, and broke the neck of the flower. The world turned dark, forever, everywhere, and windows ran as though their glass panes bore all the tears of eternity, threatening at every instant to shatter inward against this force, uncontrollable, so abruptly visited on the earth.
James Baldwin (Go Tell It on the Mountain)
The earth is our origin and destination. The ancient rhythms of the earth have insinuated themselves into the rhythms of the human heart. The earth is not outside us; it is within: the clay from where the tree of the body grows. When we emerge from our offices, rooms and houses, we enter our natural element. We are children of the earth: people to whom the outdoors is home. Nothing can separate us from the vigour and vibrancy of this inheritance. In contrast to our frenetic, saturated lives, the earth offers a calming stillness. Movement and growth in nature takes time. The patience of nature enjoys the ease of trust and hope. There is something in our clay nature that needs to continually experience this ancient, outer ease of the world. It helps us remember who we are and why we are here.
John O'Donohue (Beauty: The Invisible Embrace)
The Waystone Inn lay in silence, and it was a silence of three parts.
The most obvious part was a hollow, echoing quiet, made by things that were lacking. If there had been a wind it would have sighed trough the trees, set the inn’s sign creaking on its hooks, and brushed the silence down the road like trailing autumn leaves. If there had been a crowd, even a handful of men inside the inn, they would have filled the silence with coversation and laughter, the clatter and clamour one expects from a drinking house during the dark hours of the night. If there had been music…but no, of curse there was no music. In fact there were none of these things, and so the silence remained.
Inside the Waystone a pair of men huddled at one corner of the bar. they drank with quiet determination, avoiding serious discussions of troubling news. In doing these they added a small, sullen silenceto the lager, hollow one. it made an alloy of sorts, a counterpoint.
The third silence was not an easy thing to notice. If you listened for an hour, you might begin to feel it in the wooden floor underfoot and in the rough, splintering barrels behind the bar. It was in the weight of the black stone heart that held the heat of a long-dead fire. It was in the slow back and forth of a white linen cloth rubbing along the grain of the bar. and it was in the hands of the man who stood there, polishing a strech of mahogany that already gleamed in the lamplight.
The man had true-red hair, red as flame. his eyes was dark and distant, and he moved with the subtle certainty that comes from knowing many things.
The Waystone was is, just as the third silence was his. This was appropriate, as it was the greatest silence of the three, wapping the other inside itself. It was deep and wide as autumn’s ending. It was heavy as a great river-smooth stone. It was the patient, cut-flower sound of a man who is waiting to die.
Patrick Rothfuss (The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #1))
A cloud, hitherto unseen, came upon the moon, and hovered an instant like a dark hand before a face.The illusion went with it, and the lights in the windows were extinguished. I looked upon a desolate shell, soulless at last, unhaunted, with no whisper of the past about its staring walls.
The house was a sepulchre, our fear and suffering lay buried in the ruins. There would be no resurrection. When I thought of Manderley in my waking hours I would not be bitter. I should think of it as it might have been, could I have lived there without fear. I should remember the rose-garden in summer, and the birds that sang at dawn.Tea under the chestnut tree, and the murmur of the sea coming up to us from the lawns below.
I would think of the blown lilac, and the Happy Valley. These things were permanent, they could not be dissolved.They were memories that cannot hurt.
Daphne du Maurier (Rebecca)
He was a baby once. He must have been sweet and clean and his mother kissed his little pink toes. Maybe when it thundered at night she came to his crib and fixed his blanket better and whispered that he mustn't be afraid, that mother was here. Then she picked him up and put her cheek on his head and said that he was her own sweet baby. He might have been a boy like my brother, running in and out of the house and slamming the door. And while his mother scolded him she was thinking that maybe he'll be president some day. Then he was a young man, strong and happy. When he walked down the street, the girls smiled and turned to watch him. He smiled back and maybe he winked at the prettiest one. I guess he must have married and had children and they thought he was the most wonderful papa in the world the way he worked hard and bought them toys for Christmas. Now his children are getting old too, like him, and they have children and nobody wants the old man any more and they are waiting for him to die. But he don't want to die. He wants to keep living even though he's so old and there's nothing to be happy about anymore.
Betty Smith (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn)
The time of dangling insects arrived. White houses with caterpillars dangling from the eaves. White stones in driveways. You can walk at night down the middle of the street and hear women talking on the telephone. Warmer weather produces voices in the dark. They are talking about their adolescent sons. How big, how fast. The sons are almost frightening. The quantities they eat. The way they loom in doorways. These are the days that are full of wormy bugs. They are in the grass, stuck to the siding, hanging in the hair, hanging from the trees and eaves, stuck to the window screens. The women talk long-distance to grandparents of growing boys. They share the Trimline phone, beamish old folks in hand-knit sweaters on fixed incomes.
What happens to them when the commercial ends?
Don DeLillo (White Noise)
What is the colour of Christmas?
The red of the toyshops on a dark winter’s afternoon,
Of Father Christmas and the robin’s breast?
Green of holly and spruce and mistletoe in the house,
dark shadow of summer in leafless winter?
One might plainly add a romance of white,
fields of frost and snow;
thus white, green, red- reducing the event to the level of a Chianti bottle.
But many will say that the significant colour is gold,
gold of fire and treasure, of light in the winter dark; and this gets closer,
For the true colour of Christmas is Black.
Black of winter, black of night, black of frost and of the east wind,
black of dangerous shadows beyond the firelight.
I am not sure who wrote this. I got it from page nine of “A Book of Christmas” by William Sansom. Google didn’t help. It is rather true I think, that the true color of Christmas is black. For like the author said in succeeding sentences “The table yellow with electric light, the fire by which stories are told, the bright spangle of the tree- they all blazé out of shadow and out of a darkness of winter
Have I not already told you', replied Don Quixote, 'that I intend to imitate Amadis, and to act the desperate, foolish, furious lover so as also to imitate the valiant Orlando, when he found signs by a spring that the fair Angelica had disgraced herself with Medoro, and the grief turned him mad, and he uprooted trees, sullied the waters of clear springs, slew shepherds, destroyed flocks, burned cottages, tore down houses, dragged away mares and performed a hundred other excesses, worthy to be recorded on the tablets of eternal fame?' [...]
'But to my mind', said Sancho, 'the knights who did all that were pushed into it and had their reasons for their antics and their penances, but what reason have you got for going mad?'
'That is the whole point', replied Don Quixote, 'and therein lies the beauty of my enterprise. A Knight Errant going mad for a good reason - there is neither pleasure nor merit in that. The thing is to become insane without a cause and have my lady think: If I do all this when dry, what would I not do when wet?
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (Don Quixote)
But Arwen went forth from the House, and the light of her eyes was quenched, and it seemed to her people that she had become cold and grey as nightfall in winter that comes without a star. Then she said farewell to Eldarion, and to her daughters, and to all whom she had loved; and she went out from the city of Minas Tirith and passed away to the land of Lórien, and dwelt there alone under the fading trees until winter came. Galadriel had passed away and Celeborn also was gone, and the land was silent.
'There at last when the mallorn-leaves were falling, but spring had not yet come, she laid herself to rest upon Cerin Amroth; and there is her green grave, until the world is changed, and all the days of her life are utterly forgotten by men that come after, and elanor and niphredil bloom no more east of the Sea.
What if something were to happen? What if something suddenly started throbbing? Then they would notice it was there and they'd think their hearts were going to burst. Then what good would their dykes, bulwarks, power houses, furnaces and pile drivers be to them? It can happen any time, perhaps right now: the omens are present. For example, the father of a family might go out for a walk, and, across the street, he'll see something like a red rag, blown towards him by the wind. And when the rag has gotten close to him he'll see that it is a side of rotten meat, grimy with dust, dragging itself along by crawling, skipping, a piece of writhing flesh rolling in the gutter, spasmodically shooting out spurts of blood. Or a mother might look at her child's cheek and ask him: "What's that, a pimple?" and see the flesh puff out a little, split, open, and at the bottom of the split an eye, a laughing eye might appear. Or they might feel things gently brushing against their bodies, like the caresses of reeds to swimmers in a river. And they will realize that their clothing has become living things. And someone else might feel something scratching in his mouth. He goes to the mirror, opens his mouth: and his tongue is an enormous, live centipede, rubbing its legs together and scraping his palate. He'd like to spit it out, but the centipede is a part of him and he will have to tear it out with his own hands. And a crowd of things will appear for which people will have to find new names, stone eye, great three cornered arm, toe crutch, spider jaw. And someone might be sleeping in his comfortable bed, in his quiet, warm room, and wake up naked on a bluish earth, in a forest of rustling birch trees, rising red and white towards the sky like the smokestacks of Jouxtebouville, with big bumps half way out of the ground, hairy and bulbous like onions. And birds will fly around these birch trees and pick at them with their beaks and make them bleed. Sperm will flow slowly, gently, from these wounds, sperm mixed with blood, warm and glassy with little bubbles.
Jean-Paul Sartre (Nausea)
I'm pretty sure that when babies are born in Oregon, they leave the hospital with birth certificates - and teeny-tiny sleeping bags. Everyone in the state camps. The hippies and the rednecks. The hunters and the tree huggers. Rich people. Poor people. Even rock musicians. Especially rock musicians. Our band had perfected the art of punk-rock camping, throwing a bunch of crap into the van with, like, an hour's notice and just driving out into the mountains, where we'd drink beer, burn food, jam on our instruments around the campfire, and sack out under the open sky. Sometimes, on tour, back in the early hardscrabble days, we'd even camp as an alternative to crashing in another crowded, roach-infested rock 'n' roll house.
I don't know if it's because no matter where you live, the wilderness is never that far off, but it just seemed like everyone in Oregon camped.
Gayle Forman (Where She Went (If I Stay, #2))
He wondered about the people in houses like those. They would be, for example, small clerks, shop-assistants, commercial travellers, insurance touts, tram conductors. Did they know that they were only puppets dancing when money pulled the strings? You bet they didn’t. And if they did, what would they care? They were too busy being born, being married, begetting, working, dying. It mightn’t be a bad thing, if you could manage it, to feel yourself one of them, one of the ruck of men. Our civilization is founded on greed and fear, but in the lives of common men the greed and fear are mysteriously transmuted into something nobler. The lower-middle-class people in there, behind their lace curtains, with their children and their scraps of furniture and their aspidistras — they lived by the money-code, sure enough, and yet they contrived to keep their decency. The money-code as they interpreted it was not merely cynical and hoggish. They had their standards, their inviolable points of honour. They ‘kept themselves respectable’— kept the aspidistra flying. Besides, they were alive. They were bound up in the bundle of life. They begot children, which is what the saints and the soul-savers never by any chance do.
The aspidistra is the tree of life, he thought suddenly.
George Orwell (Keep the Aspidistra Flying)
The king was silent. "Ents!" he said at length. "Out of the shadows of legend I begin a little to understand the marvel of the trees, I think. I have lived to see strange days. Long we have tended our beasts and our fields, built our houses, wrought our tools, or ridden away to help in the wars of Minas Tirith. And that we called the life of Men, the way of the world.
We cared little for what lay beyond the borders of our land. Songs we have that tell of these things, but we are forgetting them, teaching them only to children, as a careless custom. And now the songs have come down among us out of the strange places, and walk visible under the Sun."
"You should be glad," Théoden King," said Gandalf. "For not only the little life of Men is now endangered, but the life also of those thing which you have deemed the matter of legend. You are not without allies, even if you know them not."
"Yet also I should be sad," said Théoden. "For however the fortune of war shall go, may it not so end that much that was fair and wonderful shall pass for ever out of Middle-earth?
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Two Towers (The Lord of the Rings, #2))
MOTHER – By Ted Kooser
Mid April already, and the wild plums
bloom at the roadside, a lacy white
against the exuberant, jubilant green
of new grass and the dusty, fading black
of burned-out ditches. No leaves, not yet,
only the delicate, star-petaled
blossoms, sweet with their timeless perfume.
You have been gone a month today
and have missed three rains and one nightlong
watch for tornadoes. I sat in the cellar
from six to eight while fat spring clouds
went somersaulting, rumbling east. Then it poured,
a storm that walked on legs of lightning,
dragging its shaggy belly over the fields.
The meadowlarks are back, and the finches
are turning from green to gold. Those same
two geese have come to the pond again this year,
honking in over the trees and splashing down.
They never nest, but stay a week or two
then leave. The peonies are up, the red sprouts,
burning in circles like birthday candles,
for this is the month of my birth, as you know,
the best month to be born in, thanks to you,
everything ready to burst with living.
There will be no more new flannel nightshirts
sewn on your old black Singer, no birthday card
addressed in a shaky but businesslike hand.
You asked me if I would be sad when it happened
and I am sad. But the iris I moved from your house
now hold in the dusty dry fists of their roots
green knives and forks as if waiting for dinner,
as if spring were a feast. I thank you for that.
Were it not for the way you taught me to look
at the world, to see the life at play in everything,
I would have to be lonely forever.
Ted Kooser (Delights and Shadows)
[Nikola Tesla’s favorite childhood companion] was the family’s black cat, Macak. Macak followed young Nikola everywhere, and they spent many happy hours rolling on the grass.
It was Macak the cat who introduced Tesla to electricity on a dry winter evening. “As I stroked Macak’s back,” he recalled, “I saw a miracle that made me speechless with amazement. Macak’s back was a sheet of light and my hand produced a shower of sparks loud enough to be heard all over the house.” Curious, he asked his father what caused the sparks. Puzzled at first, [his father] finally answered, “Well, this is nothing but electricity, the same thing you see through the trees in a storm.” His father’s answer, equating the sparks with lightning, fascinated the young boy. As Tesla continued to stroke Macak, he began to wonder, “Is nature a gigantic cat? If so, who strokes its back? It can only be God,” he concluded.
W. Bernard Carlson (Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age)
So Janie began to think of Death. Death, that strange being with the huge square toes who lived way in the West. The great one who lived in the straight house like a platform without sides to it, and without a roof. What need has Death for a cover, and what winds can blow against him? He stands in his high house that overlooks the world. Stands watchful and motionless all day with his sword drawn back, waiting for the messenger to bid him come. Been standing there before there was a where or a when or a then. She was liable to find a feather from his wings lying in her yard any day now. She was sad and afraid too. Poor Jody! He ought not to have to wrassle in there by himself. She sent Sam in to suggest a visit, but Jody said No. These medical doctors wuz all right with the Godly sick, but they didn't know a thing about a case like his. He'd be all right just as soon as the two-headed man found what had been buried against him. He wasn't going to die at all. That was what he thought. But Sam told her different, so she knew. And then if he hadn't the next morning she was bound to know, for people began to gather in the big yard under the palm and china-berry trees. People who would not have dared to foot the place before crept in and did not come to the house. Just squatted under the trees and waited. Rumor, that wingless bird, had shadowed over the town.
Zora Neale Hurston (Their Eyes Were Watching God)
I always wondered what your type was, but I never imagined it would be a hard-core rocker!”
Here we go. I had been hoping he'd be too sleepy for this conversation.
“He's not my type. If I had a type it would be...nice. Not some hotheaded, egocentric male slut.”
“Did you just call him a male slut?” Jay laughed. “Dang, that's, like, the worst language I've ever heard you use.”
I glowered at him, feeling ashamed, and he laughed even harder.
“Oh, hey, I've got a joke for you. What do you call someone who hangs out with musicians?”
He raised his eyebrows and I shrugged. “I don't know. What?”
“A drummer!” I shook my head while he cracked up at his joke for another minute before hounding me again about Kaidan. “All right, so you talked about my CDs, you had some cultural confusion with some of his lingo, then you talked about hot dogs? That can't be everything. You looked seriously intense.”
“That's because he was intense, even though we weren't really talking about anything. He made me nervous.”
“You thought he was hot, didn't you?”
I stared out my window at the passing trees and houses. We were almost to school.
“I knew it!” He smacked the steering wheel, loving every second of my discomfort. “This is so weird. Anna Whitt has a crush.”
“Fine, yes. He was hot. But it doesn't matter, because there's something about him I don't like. I can't explain it. He's...scary.”
“He's not the boy next door, if that's what you mean. Just don't get the good-girl syndrome.”
“You know. When a good girl falls for a bad boy and hopes the boy will fall in love and magically want to change his ways. But the only one who ends up changing is the girl.
Wendy Higgins (Sweet Evil (Sweet, #1))
If I were the Devil . . . I mean, if I were the Prince of Darkness, I would of course, want to engulf the whole earth in darkness. I would have a third of its real estate and four-fifths of its population, but I would not be happy until I had seized the ripest apple on the tree, so I should set about however necessary to take over the United States. I would begin with a campaign of whispers. With the wisdom of a serpent, I would whisper to you as I whispered to Eve: “Do as you please.” “Do as you please.” To the young, I would whisper, “The Bible is a myth.” I would convince them that man created God instead of the other way around. I would confide that what is bad is good, and what is good is “square”. In the ears of the young marrieds, I would whisper that work is debasing, that cocktail parties are good for you. I would caution them not to be extreme in religion, in patriotism, in moral conduct. And the old, I would teach to pray. I would teach them to say after me: “Our Father, which art in Washington” . . .
If I were the devil, I’d educate authors in how to make lurid literature exciting so that anything else would appear dull an uninteresting. I’d threaten T.V. with dirtier movies and vice versa. And then, if I were the devil, I’d get organized. I’d infiltrate unions and urge more loafing and less work, because idle hands usually work for me. I’d peddle narcotics to whom I could. I’d sell alcohol to ladies and gentlemen of distinction. And I’d tranquilize the rest with pills. If I were the devil, I would encourage schools to refine yound intellects but neglect to discipline emotions . . . let those run wild. I would designate an athiest to front for me before the highest courts in the land and I would get preachers to say “she’s right.” With flattery and promises of power, I could get the courts to rule what I construe as against God and in favor of pornography, and thus, I would evict God from the courthouse, and then from the school house, and then from the houses of Congress and then, in His own churches I would substitute psychology for religion, and I would deify science because that way men would become smart enough to create super weapons but not wise enough to control them.
If I were Satan, I’d make the symbol of Easter an egg, and the symbol of Christmas, a bottle. If I were the devil, I would take from those who have and I would give to those who wanted, until I had killed the incentive of the ambitious. And then, my police state would force everybody back to work. Then, I could separate families, putting children in uniform, women in coal mines, and objectors in slave camps. In other words, if I were Satan, I’d just keep on doing what he’s doing.
(Speech was broadcast by ABC Radio commentator Paul Harvey on April 3, 1965)
I am made to sow the thistle for wheat; the nettle for a nourishing dainty
I have planted a false oath in the earth, it has brought forth a poison tree
I have chosen the serpent for a councellor & the dog for a schoolmaster to my children
I have blotted out from light & living the dove & the nightingale
And I have caused the earthworm to beg from door to door
I have taught the thief a secret path into the house of the just
I have taught pale artifice to spread his nets upon the morning
My heavens are brass my earth is iron my moon a clod of clay
My sun a pestilence burning at noon & a vapor of death in night
What is the price of Experience do men buy it for a song
Or wisdom for a dance in the street? No it is bought with the price
Of all that a man hath his house his wife his children
Wisdom is sold in the desolate market where none come to buy
And in the withered field where the farmer plows for bread in vain
It is an easy thing to triumph in the summers sun
And in the vintage & to sing on the waggon loaded with corn
It is an easy thing to talk of patience to the afflicted
To speak the laws of prudence to the houseless wanderer
To listen to the hungry ravens cry in wintry season
When the red blood is filled with wine & with the marrow of lambs
It is an easy thing to laugh at wrathful elements
To hear a dog howl at the wintry door, the ox in the slaughter house moan
To see a god on every wind & a blessing on every blast
To hear the sounds of love in the thunder storm that destroys our enemies house
To rejoice in the blight that covers his field, & the sickness that cuts off his children
While our olive & vine sing & laugh round our door & our children bring fruits and flowers
Then the groans & the dolor are quite forgotten & the slave grinding at the mill
And the captive in chains & the poor in the prison, & the soldier in the field
When the shattered bone hath laid him groaning among the happier dead
It is an easy thing to rejoice in the tents of prosperity
Thus could I sing & thus rejoice, but it is not so with me!
William Blake (The Complete Poems)
You can be a rich person alone. You can be a smart person alone. But you cannot be a complete person alone. For that you must be part of, and rooted in, an olive grove. This truth was once beautifully conveyed by Rabbi Harold S. Kushner in his interpretation of a scene from Gabriel García Márquez’s classic novel One Hundred Years of Solitude: Márquez tells of a village where people were afflicted with a strange plague of forgetfulness, a kind of contagious amnesia. Starting with the oldest inhabitants and working its way through the population, the plague causes people to forget the names of even the most common everyday objects. One young man, still unaffected, tries to limit the damage by putting labels on everything. “This is a table,” “This is a window,” “This is a cow; it has to be milked every morning.” And at the entrance to the town, on the main road, he puts up two large signs. One reads “The name of our village is Macondo,” and the larger one reads “God exists.” The message I get from that story is that we can, and probably will, forget most of what we have learned in life—the math, the history, the chemical formulas, the address and phone number of the first house we lived in when we got married—and all that forgetting will do us no harm. But if we forget whom we belong to, and if we forget that there is a God, something profoundly human in us will be lost.
Thomas L. Friedman (The Lexus and the Olive Tree)
From the earliest days of man there has endured the conviction that there is an order of existence which is entirely strange to him. It does indeed seem that the strict order of the visible world is only a semblance, one providing certain gross materials which become the basis for subtle improvisations of invisible powers. Hence, it may appear to some that a leafless tree is not a tree but a signpost to another realm; that an old house is not a house but a thing possessing a will of its own; that the dead may throw off that heavy blanket of earth to walk in their sleep, and in ours. And these are merely a few of the infinite variations on the themes of the natural order as it is usually conceived.
But is there really a strange world? Of course. Are there, then, two worlds? Not at all. There is only our own world and it alone is alien to us, intrinsically so by virtue of its lack of mysteries. If only it actually were deranged by invisible powers, if only it were susceptible to real strangeness, perhaps it would seem more like a home to us, and less like an empty room filled with the echoes of this dreadful improvising. To think that we might have found comfort in a world suited to our nature, only to end up in one so resoundingly strange!
Thomas Ligotti (The Nightmare Factory)
After the torchlight red on sweaty faces
After the frosty silence in the gardens
After the agony in stony places
The shouting and the crying
Prison and palace and reverberation
Of thunder of spring over distant mountains
He who was living is now dead
We who were living are now dying
With a little patience
Here is no water but only rock
Rock and no water and the sandy road
The road winding above among the mountains
Which are mountains of rock without water
If there were water we should stop and drink
Amongst the rock one cannot stop or think
Sweat is dry and feet are in the sand
If there were only water amongst the rock
Dead mountain mouth of carious teeth that cannot spit
Here one can neither stand nor lie nor sit
There is not even silence in the mountains
But dry sterile thunder without rain
There is not even solitude in the mountains
But red sullen faces sneer and snarl
From doors of mudcracked houses
If there were water
And no rock
If there were rock
And also water
A pool among the rock
If there were the sound of water only
Not the cicada
And dry grass singing
But sound of water over a rock
Where the hermit-thrush sings in the pine trees
Drip drop drip drop drop drop drop
But there is no water
- The Waste Land (ll. 322-358)
On my notebooks from school
On my desk and the trees
On the sand, on the snow
I write your name
On every page read
On all the white sheets
Stone blood paper or ash
I write your name
On the golden images
On the soldier’s weapons
On the crowns of kings
I write your name
On the jungle, the desert
The nests and the bushes
On the echo of childhood
I write your name
On the wonder of nights
On the white bread of days
On the seasons engaged
I write your name
On all my blue rags
On the pond mildewed sun
On the lake living moon
I write your name
On the fields, the horizon
The wings of the birds
On the windmill of shadows
I write your name
On the foam of the clouds
On the sweat of the storm
On dark insipid rain
I write your name
On the glittering forms
On the bells of colour
On physical truth
I write your name
On the wakened paths
On the opened ways
On the scattered places
I write your name
On the lamp that gives light
On the lamp that is drowned
On my house reunited
I write your name
On the bisected fruit
Of my mirror and room
On my bed’s empty shell
I write your name
On my dog greedy tender
On his listening ears
On his awkward paws
I write your name
On the sill of my door
On familiar things
On the fire’s sacred stream
I write your name
On all flesh that’s in tune
On the brows of my friends
On each hand that extends
I write your name
On the glass of surprises
On lips that attend
High over the silence
I write your name
On my ravaged refuges
On my fallen lighthouses
On the walls of my boredom
I write your name
On passionless absence
On naked solitude
On the marches of death
I write your name
On health that’s regained
On danger that’s past
On hope without memories
I write your name
By the power of the word
I regain my life
I was born to know you
And to name you
I bumped into something and was knocked to the ground. It took me several breaths to gather myself together, at first I thought I’d walked into a tree, but then that tree became a person, who was also recovering on the ground, and then I saw that it was her, and she saw that it was me, ‘Hello,’ I said, brushing myself off, ‘Hello,’ she said. ‘This is so funny.’ ‘Yes.’ How could it be explained? ‘Where are you going?’ I asked. ‘Just for a walk,’ she said, ‘and you?’ ‘Just for a walk.’ We helped each other up, she brushed leaves from my hair, I wanted to touch her hair, ‘That’s not true,’ I said, not knowing what the next words out of my mouth would be, but wanting them to be mine, wanting, more than I’d ever wanted anything, to express the center of me and be understood. ‘I was walking to see you.’ I told her, ‘I’ve come to your house each of the last six days. For some reason I needed to see you again.’ She was silent, I had made a fool of myself, there’s nothing wrong with not understanding yourself and she started laughing, laughing harder than I’d ever felt anyone laugh, the laughter brought on tears, and the tears brought on more tears, and then I started laughing, out of the most deep and complete shame, ‘I was walking to you,’ I said again, as if to push my nose into my own shit, ‘because I wanted to see you again,’ she laughed and laughed, ‘That explains it,’ she said when she was able to speak. ‘It?’ ‘That explains why, each of the last six days, you weren’t at your house.’ We stopped laughing, I took the world into me, rearranged it, and sent it back out as a question: ‘Do you like me?
Jonathan Safran Foer (Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close)
Most of the big shore places were closed now and there were hardly any lights except the shadowy, moving glow of a ferryboat across the Sound. And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors’ eyes — a fresh, green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby’s house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder.
And as I sat there brooding on the old, unknown world, I thought of Gatsby’s wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night.
Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter — to-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther… . And one fine morning ——
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby)
THE MOON AND THE YEW TREE
This is the light of the mind, cold and planetary.
The trees of the mind are black. The light is blue.
The grasses unload their griefs on my feet as if I were God,
Prickling my ankles and murmuring of their humility.
Fumy, spiritous mists inhabit this place
Separated from my house by a row of headstones.
I simply cannot see where there is to get to.
The moon is no door. It is a face in its own right,
White as a knuckle and terribly upset.
It drags the sea after it like a dark crime; it is quiet
With the O-gape of complete despair. I live here.
Twice on Sunday, the bells startle the sky
Eight great tongues affirming the Resurrection.
At the end, they soberly bong out their names.
The yew tree points up. It has a Gothic shape.
The eyes lift after it and find the moon.
The moon is my mother. She is not sweet like Mary.
Her blue garments unloose small bats and owls.
How I would like to believe in tenderness
The face of the effigy, gentled by candles,
Bending, on me in particular, its mild eyes.
I have fallen a long way. Clouds are flowering
Blue and mystical over the face of the stars.
Inside the church, the saints will be all blue,
Floating on their delicate feet over the cold pews,
Their hands and faces stiff with holiness.
The moon sees nothing of this. She is bald and wild.
And the message of the yew tree is blackness -- blackness and silence.
--written 22 October 1961
Sylvia Plath (Ariel)
Think of a globe, a revolving globe on a stand. Think of a contour globe, whose mountain ranges cast shadows, whose continents rise in bas-relief above the oceans. But then: think of how it really is. These heights are just suggested; they’re there….when I think of walking across a continent I think of all the neighborhood hills, the tiny grades up which children drag their sleds. It is all so sculptured, three-dimensional, casting a shadow. What if you had an enormous globe that was so huge it showed roads and houses- a geological survey globe, a quarter of a mile to an inch- of the whole world, and the ocean floor! Looking at it, you would know what had to be left out: the free-standing sculptural arrangement of furniture in rooms, the jumble of broken rocks in the creek bed, tools in a box, labyrinthine ocean liners, the shape of snapdragons, walrus. Where is the one thing you care about in earth, the molding of one face? The relief globe couldn’t begin to show trees, between whose overlapping boughs birds raise broods, or the furrows in bark, where whole creatures, creatures easily visible, live our their lives and call it world enough. What do I make of all this texture? What does it mean about the kind of world in which I have been set down? The texture of the world, its filigree and scrollwork, means that there is a possibility for beauty here, a beauty inexhaustible in its complexity, which opens to my knock, which answers in me a call I do not remember calling, and which trains me to the wild and extravagant nature of the spirit I seek.
Annie Dillard (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek)
The sliding door opened, and then Michael was clomping across the porch. Gabriel didn’t look at him, just kept his gaze on the tree line.
Michael dropped into the chair beside him. “Here."
Gabriel looked over. His brother was holding out a bottle of Corona.
Shock almost knocked him out of the chair. They never had alcohol of any kind in the house. When Michael had turned twenty-one, they’d all spent about thirty seconds entertaining thoughts of wild parties supplied by their older brother.
Then they’d remembered it was Michael, a guy who said if he ever caught them drinking, he’d call the cops himself. Really, he’d driven the point home so thoroughly that by the time he and Nick started going to parties, they rarely touched the stuff.
Gabriel took the bottle from his hand. "Who are you, and what have you done with my brother?”
Michael tilted the botle back and took a long draw. "I thought you could use one. I sure can."
Gabriel took a sip, but tentatively, like Michael was going to slap it out of his hand and say Just kidding. "Where did this even come from?"
Well, that was typical Michael. "No, jackass, I meant-"
"I know what you meant." Michael paused to take another drink. "There's a mini-fridge in the back corner of the garage, under the old tool bench.
Brigid Kemmerer (Spark (Elemental, #2))
And then a man of forty or so, with a French accent, asked, "How do you achieve the presence of mind to initiate the writing of a poem?" And something cracked open in me, and I finally stopped hoarding and told them my most useful secret. The only secret that has helped me consistently over all the years that I've written. I said, "Well, I'll tell you how. I ask a simple question. I ask myself: What was the very best moment of your day??" The wonder of it was, I told them that this one question could lift out from my life exactly what I will want to write a poem about. Something I hadn't known was important will leap out and hover there in front of me, saying I am— I am the best moment of the day. I noticed two people were writing down what I was saying. Often, I went on, it's a moment when you're waiting for someone, or you're driving somewhere, or maybe you're just walking across a parking lot and admiring the oil stains and the dribbled tar patterns. One time it was when I was driving past a certain house that was screaming with sunlitness on its white clapboards, and then I plunged through tree shadows that splashed and splayed across the windshield. I thought, Ah, of course— I'd forgotten. You, windshield shadows, you are the best moment of the day. "And that's my secret, such as it is," I said.
Nicholson Baker (The Anthologist (The Paul Chowder Chronicles #1))
At first he told them that everything was just the same, that the pink snails were still in the house where he had been born, that the dry herring still had the same taste on a piece of toast, that the waterfalls in the village still took on a perfumed smell at dusk. They were the notebook pages again, woven with the purple scribbling, in which he dedicated a special paragraph to each one. Nevertheless, and although he himself did not seem to notice it, those letters of recuperation and stimulation were slowly changing into pastoral letters of disenchantment. One winter night while the soup was boiling in the fireplace, he missed the heat of the back of his store, the buzzing of the sun on the dusty almond trees, the whistle of the train during the lethargy of siesta time, just as in Macondo he had missed the winter soup in the fireplace, the cries of the coffee vendor, and the fleeting larks of springtime. Upset by two nostalgias facing each other like two mirrors, he lost his marvelous sense of unreality and he ended up recommending to all of them that they leave Macondo, that they forget everything he had taught then about the world and the human heart, that they shit on Horace, and that wherever they might be they always remember that the past was a lie, that memory has no return, that every spring gone by could never be recovered, and that the wildest and most tenacious love was an ephemeral truth in the end.
Gabriel García Márquez
There was no Disney World then, just rows of orange trees. Millions of them. Stretching for miles And somewhere near the middle was the Citrus Tower, which the tourists climbed to see even more orange trees. Every month an eighty-year-old couple became lost in the groves, driving up and down identical rows for days until they were spotted by helicopter or another tourist on top of the Citrus Tower. They had lived on nothing but oranges and come out of the trees drilled on vitamin C and checked into the honeymoon suite at the nearest bed-and-breakfast.
"The Miami Seaquarium put in a monorail and rockets started going off at Cape Canaveral, making us feel like we were on the frontier of the future. Disney bought up everything north of Lake Okeechobee, preparing to shove the future down our throats sideways.
"Things evolved rapidly! Missile silos in Cuba. Bales on the beach. Alligators are almost extinct and then they aren't. Juntas hanging shingles in Boca Raton. Richard Nixon and Bebe Rebozo skinny-dipping off Key Biscayne. We atone for atrocities against the INdians by playing Bingo. Shark fetuses in formaldehyde jars, roadside gecko farms, tourists waddling around waffle houses like flocks of flightless birds. And before we know it, we have The New Florida, underplanned, overbuilt and ripe for a killer hurricane that'll knock that giant geodesic dome at Epcot down the trunpike like a golf ball, a solid one-wood by Buckminster Fuller.
"I am the native and this is my home. Faded pastels, and Spanish tiles constantly slipping off roofs, shattering on the sidewalk. Dogs with mange and skateboard punks with mange roaming through yards, knocking over garbage cans. Lunatics wandering the streets at night, talking about spaceships. Bail bondsmen wake me up at three A.M. looking for the last tenant. Next door, a mail-order bride is clubbed by a smelly ma in a mechanic's shirt. Cats violently mate under my windows and rats break-dance in the drop ceiling. And I'm lying in bed with a broken air conditioner, sweating and sipping lemonade through a straw. And I'm thinking, geez, this used to be a great state.
"You wanna come to Florida? You get a discount on theme-park tickets and find out you just bough a time share. Or maybe you end up at Cape Canaveral, sitting in a field for a week as a space shuttle launch is canceled six times. And suddenly vacation is over, you have to catch a plane, and you see the shuttle take off on TV at the airport. But you keep coming back, year after year, and one day you find you're eighty years old driving through an orange grove.
Tim Dorsey (Florida Roadkill (Serge Storms, #1))
And an old priest said, Speak to us of Religion.
And he said:
Have I spoken this day of aught else?
Is not religion all deeds and all reflection,
And that which is neither deed nor reflection, but a wonder and a surprise ever springing in the soul, even while the hands hew the stone or tend the loom?
Who can separate his faith from his actions, or his belief from his occupations?
Who can spread his hours before him, saying, "This for God and this for myself; This for my soul and this other for my body"?
All your hours are wings that beat through space from self to self.
He who wears his mortality but as his best garment were better naked.
The wind and the sun will tear no holes in his skin.
And he who defines his conduct by ethics imprisons his song-bird in a cage.
The freest song comes not through bars and wires.
And he to whom worshiping is a window, to open but also to shut, has not yet visited the house of his soul whose windows are from dawn to dawn.
Your daily life is your temple and your religion.
Whenever you enter into it take with you your all.
Take the plough and the forge and the mallet and the lute,
The things you have fashioned in necessity or for delight.
For in reverie you cannot rise above your achievements nor fall lower than your failures.
And take with you all men:
For in adoration you cannot fly higher than their hopes nor humble yourself lower than their despair.
And if you would know God, be not therefore a solver of riddles.
Rather look about you and you shall see Him playing with your children.
And look into space; you shall see Him walking in the cloud, outstretching His arms in the lightning and descending in rain.
You shall see Him smiling in flowers, then rising and waving His hands in trees.
Put it on record
--I am an Arab
And the number of my card is fifty thousand
I have eight children
And the ninth is due after summer.
What's there to be angry about?
Put it on record.
--I am an Arab
Working with comrades of toil in a quarry.
I have eight childern
For them I wrest the loaf of bread,
The clothes and exercise books
From the rocks
And beg for no alms at your doors,
--Lower not myself at your doorstep.
--What's there to be angry about?
Put it on record.
--I am an Arab.
I am a name without a tide,
Patient in a country where everything
Lives in a whirlpool of anger.
--Took hold before the birth of time
--Before the burgeoning of the ages,
--Before cypess and olive trees,
--Before the proliferation of weeds.
My father is from the family of the plough
--Not from highborn nobles.
And my grandfather was a peasant
--Without line or genealogy.
My house is a watchman's hut
--Made of sticks and reeds.
Does my status satisfy you?
--I am a name without a surname.
Put it on Record.
--I am an Arab.
Color of hair: jet black.
Color of eyes: brown.
My distinguishing features:
--On my head the 'iqal cords over a keffiyeh
--Scratching him who touches it.
--I'm from a village, remote, forgotten,
--Its streets without name
--And all its men in the fields and quarry.
--What's there to be angry about?
Put it on record.
--I am an Arab.
You stole my forefathers' vineyards
--And land I used to till,
--I and all my childern,
--And you left us and all my grandchildren
--Nothing but these rocks.
--Will your government be taking them too
--As is being said?
--Put it on record at the top of page one:
--I don't hate people,
--I trespass on no one's property.
And yet, if I were to become starved
--I shall eat the flesh of my usurper.
--Beware, beware of my starvation.
--And of my anger!
Of the Three Rings that the Elves had preserved unsullied no open word was ever spoken among the Wise, and few even of the Eldar knew where they were bestowed. Yet after the fall of Sauron their power was ever at work, and where they abode there mirth also dwelt and all things were unstained by the griefs of time. Therefore ere the Third Age was ended the Elves perceived that the Ring of Sapphire was with Elrond, in the fair valley of Rivendell, upon whose house the stars of heaven most brightly shone; whereas the Ring of Adamant was in the Land of Lórien where dwelt the Lady Galadriel. A queen she was of the woodland Elves, the wife of Celeborn of Doriath, yet she herself was of the Noldor and remembered the Day before days in Valinor, and she was the mightiest and fairest of all the Elves that remained in Middle-earth. But the Red Ring remained hidden until the end, and none save Elrond and Galadriel and Cirdan knew to whom it had been committed.
Thus it was that in two domains the bliss and beauty of the Elves remained still undiminished while that Age endured: in Imladris; and in Lothlórien, the hidden land between Celebrant and Anduin, where the trees bore flowers of gold and no Orc or evil thing dared ever come. Yet many voices were heard among the Elves foreboding that, if Sauron should come again, then either he would find the Ruling Ring that was lost, or at the best his enemies would discover it and destroy it; but in either chance the powers of the Three must then fail and all things maintained by them must fade, and so the Elves should pass into the twilight and the Dominion of Men begin. And so indeed it has since befallen: the One and the Seven and the Nine are destroyed; and the Three have passed away, and with them the Third Age is ended, and the Tales of the Eldar in Middle-earth draw to then-close.
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Silmarillion)
The perturbations, anxieties, depravations, deaths, exceptions in the physical or moral order, spirit of negation, brutishness, hallucinations fostered by the will, torments, destruction, confusion, tears, insatiabilities, servitudes, delving imaginations, novels, the unexpected, the forbidden, the chemical singularities of the mysterious vulture which lies in wait for the carrion of some dead illusion, precocious & abortive experiences, the darkness of the mailed bug, the terrible monomania of pride, the inoculation of deep stupor, funeral orations, desires, betrayals, tyrannies, impieties, irritations, acrimonies, aggressive insults, madness, temper, reasoned terrors, strange inquietudes which the reader would prefer not to experience , cants, nervous disorders, bleeding ordeals that drive logic at bay, exaggerations, the absence of sincerity, bores, platitudes, the somber, the lugubrious, childbirths worse than murders, passions, romancers at the Courts of Assize, tragedies,-odes, melodramas, extremes forever presented, reason hissed at with impunity, odor of hens steeped in water, nausea, frogs, devilfish, sharks, simoon of the deserts, that which is somnambulistic, squint-eyed, nocturnal, somniferous, noctambulistic, viscous, equivocal, consumptive, spasmodic, aphrodisiac, anemic, one-eyed, hermaphroditic, bastard, albino, pederast, phenomena of the aquarium, & the bearded woman, hours surfeited with gloomy discouragement, fantasies, acrimonies, monsters, demoralizing syllogisms, ordure, that which does not think like a child, desolation, the intellectual manchineel trees, perfumed cankers, stalks of the camellias, the guilt of a writer rolling down the slope of nothingness & scorning himself with joyous cries, that grind one in their imperceptible gearing, the serious spittles on inviolate maxims, vermin & their insinuating titillations, stupid prefaces like those of Cromwell, Mademoiselle de Maupin & Dumas fils, decaying, helplessness, blasphemies, suffocation, stifling, mania,--before these unclean charnel houses, which I blush to name, it is at last time to react against whatever disgusts us & bows us down.
Comte de Lautréamont (Chants de Maldoror)
Instructions for Dad.
I don't want to go into a fridge at an undertaker's. I want you to keep me at home until the funeral. Please can someone sit with me in case I got lonely? I promise not to scare you.
I want to be buried in my butterfly dress, my lilac bra and knicker set and my black zip boots (all still in the suitcase that I packed for Sicily). I also want to wear the bracelet Adam gave me.
Don't put make-up on me. It looks stupid on dead people.
I do NOT want to be cremated. Cremations pollute the atmosphere with dioxins,k hydrochloric acid, hydrofluoric acid, sulphur dioxide and carbon dioxide. They also have those spooky curtains in crematoriums.
I want a biodegradable willow coffin and a woodland burial. The people at the Natural Death Centre helped me pick a site not for from where we live, and they'll help you with all the arrangements.
I want a native tree planted on or near my grave. I'd like an oak, but I don't mind a sweet chestnut or even a willow. I want a wooden plaque with my name on. I want wild plants and flowers growing on my grave.
I want the service to be simple. Tell Zoey to bring Lauren (if she's born by then). Invite Philippa and her husband Andy (if he wants to come), also James from the hospital (though he might be busy).
I don't want anyone who doesn't know my saying anything about me. THe Natural Death Centre people will stay with you, but should also stay out of it. I want the people I love to get up and speak about me, and even if you cry it'll be OK. I want you to say honest things. Say I was a monster if you like, say how I made you all run around after me. If you can think of anything good, say that too! Write it down first, because apparently people often forget what they mean to say at funerals.
Don't under any circumstances read that poem by Auden. It's been done to death (ha, ha) and it's too sad. Get someone to read Sonnet 12 by Shakespeare.
Music- "Blackbird" by the Beatles. "Plainsong" by The Cure. "Live Like You Were Dying" by Tim McGraw. "All the Trees of the Field Will Clap Their Hands" by Sufian Stevens. There may not be time for all of them, but make sure you play the last one. Zoey helped me choose them and she's got them all on her iPod (it's got speakers if you need to borrow it).
Afterwards, go to a pub for lunch. I've got £260 in my savings account and I really want you to use it for that. Really, I mean it-lunch is on me. Make sure you have pudding-sticky toffee, chocolate fudge cake, ice-cream sundae, something really bad for you. Get drunk too if you like (but don't scare Cal). Spend all the money.
And after that, when days have gone by, keep an eye out for me. I might write on the steam in the mirror when you're having a bath, or play with the leaves on the apple tree when you're out in the garden. I might slip into a dream.
Visit my grave when you can, but don't kick yourself if you can't, or if you move house and it's suddenly too far away. It looks pretty there in the summer (check out the website). You could bring a picnic and sit with me. I'd like that.
OK. That's it.
I love you.
Reader: Will you not admit that you are arguing against yourself? You know that what the English obtained in their own country they obtained by using brute force. I know you have argued that what they have obtained is useless, but that does not affect my argument. They wanted useless things and they got them. My point is that their desire was fulfilled. What does it matter what means they adopted? Why should we not obtain our goal, which is good, by any means whatsoever, even by using violence? Shall I think of the means when I have to deal with a thief in the house? My duty is to drive him out anyhow. You seem to admit that we have received nothing, and that we shall receive nothing by petitioning. Why, then, may we do not so by using brute force? And, to retain what we may receive we shall keep up the fear by using the same force to the extent that it may be necessary. You will not find fault with a continuance of force to prevent a child from thrusting its foot into fire. Somehow or other we have to gain our end.
Editor: Your reasoning is plausible. It has deluded many. I have used similar arguments before now. But I think I know better now, and I shall endeavour to undeceive you. Let us first take the argument that we are justified in gaining our end by using brute force because the English gained theirs by using similar means. It is perfectly true that they used brute force and that it is possible for us to do likewise, but by using similar means we can get only the same thing that they got. You will admit that we do not want that. Your belief that there is no connection between the means and the end is a great mistake. Through that mistake even men who have been considered religious have committed grievous crimes. Your reasoning is the same as saying that we can get a rose through planting a noxious weed. If I want to cross the ocean, I can do so only by means of a vessel; if I were to use a cart for that purpose, both the cart and I would soon find the bottom. "As is the God, so is the votary", is a maxim worth considering. Its meaning has been distorted and men have gone astray. The means may be likened to a seed, the end to a tree; and there is just the same inviolable connection between the means and the end as there is between the seed and the tree. I am not likely to obtain the result flowing from the worship of God by laying myself prostrate before Satan. If, therefore, anyone were to say : "I want to worship God; it does not matter that I do so by means of Satan," it would be set down as ignorant folly. We reap exactly as we sow. The English in 1833 obtained greater voting power by violence. Did they by using brute force better appreciate their duty? They wanted the right of voting, which they obtained by using physical force. But real rights are a result of performance of duty; these rights they have not obtained. We, therefore, have before us in English the force of everybody wanting and insisting on his rights, nobody thinking of his duty. And, where everybody wants rights, who shall give them to whom? I do not wish to imply that they do no duties. They don't perform the duties corresponding to those rights; and as they do not perform that particular duty, namely, acquire fitness, their rights have proved a burden to them. In other words, what they have obtained is an exact result of the means they adapted. They used the means corresponding to the end. If I want to deprive you of your watch, I shall certainly have to fight for it; if I want to buy your watch, I shall have to pay you for it; and if I want a gift, I shall have to plead for it; and, according to the means I employ, the watch is stolen property, my own property, or a donation. Thus we see three different results from three different means. Will you still say that means do not matter?
There was music from my neighbor's house through the summer nights. In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars. At high tide in the afternoon I watched his guests diving from the tower of his raft, or taking the sun on the hot sand of his beach while his two motor-boats slit the waters of the Sound, drawing aquaplanes over cataracts of foam. On week-ends his Rolls-Royce became an omnibus, bearing parties to and from the city between nine in the morning and long past midnight, while his station wagon scampered like a brisk yellow bug to meet all trains. And on Mondays eight servants, including an extra gardener, toiled all day with mops and scrubbing-brushes and hammers and garden-shears, repairing the ravages of the night before.
Every Friday five crates of oranges and lemons arrived from a fruiterer in New York--every Monday these same oranges and lemons left his back door in a pyramid of pulpless halves. There was a machine in the kitchen which could extract the juice of two hundred oranges in half an hour if a little button was pressed two hundred times by a butler's thumb.
At least once a fortnight a corps of caterers came down with several hundred feet of canvas and enough colored lights to make a Christmas tree of Gatsby's enormous garden. On buffet tables, garnished with glistening hors-d'oeuvre, spiced baked hams crowded against salads of harlequin designs and pastry pigs and turkeys bewitched to a dark gold. In the main hall a bar with a real brass rail was set up, and stocked with gins and liquors and with cordials so long forgotten that most of his female guests were too young to know one from another.
By seven o'clock the orchestra has arrived, no thin five-piece affair, but a whole pitful of oboes and trombones and saxophones and viols and cornets and piccolos, and low and high drums. The last swimmers have come in from the beach now and are dressing up-stairs; the cars from New York are parked five deep in the drive, and already the halls and salons and verandas are gaudy with primary colors, and hair shorn in strange new ways, and shawls beyond the dreams of Castile. The bar is in full swing, and floating rounds of cocktails permeate the garden outside, until the air is alive with chatter and laughter, and casual innuendo and introductions forgotten on the spot, and enthusiastic meetings between women who never knew each other's names.
The lights grow brighter as the earth lurches away from the sun, and now the orchestra is playing yellow cocktail music, and the opera of voices pitches a key higher. Laughter is easier minute by minute, spilled with prodigality, tipped out at a cheerful word. The groups change more swiftly, swell with new arrivals, dissolve and form in the same breath; already there are wanderers, confident girls who weave here and there among the stouter and more stable, become for a sharp, joyous moment the centre of a group, and then, excited with triumph, glide on through the sea-change of faces and voices and color under the constantly changing light.
Suddenly one of the gypsies, in trembling opal, seizes a cocktail out of the air, dumps it down for courage and, moving her hands like Frisco, dances out alone on the canvas platform. A momentary hush; the orchestra leader varies his rhythm obligingly for her, and there is a burst of chatter as the erroneous news goes around that she is Gilda Gray's understudy from the FOLLIES. The party has begun.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby)
I will love you with no regard to the actions of our enemies or the jealousies of actors. I will love you with no regard to the outrage of certain parents or the boredom of certain friends. I will love you no matter what is served in the world’s cafeterias or what game is played at each and every recess. I will love you no matter how many fire drills we are all forced to endure, and no matter what is drawn upon the blackboard in a blurring, boring chalk. I will love you no matter how many mistakes I make when trying to reduce fractions, and no matter how difficult it is to memorize the periodic table. I will love you no matter what your locker combination was, or how you decided to spend your time during study hall. I will love you no matter how your soccer team performed in the tournament or how many stains I received on my cheerleading uniform. I will love you if I never see you again, and I will love you if I see you every Tuesday. I will love you if you cut your hair and I will love you if you cut the hair of others. I will love you if you abandon your baticeering, and I will love you if you retire from the theater to take up some other, less dangerous occupation. I will love you if you drop your raincoat on the floor instead of hanging it up and I will love you if you betray your father. I will love you even if you announce that the poetry of Edgar Guest is the best in the world and even if you announce that the work of Zilpha Keatley Snyder is unbearably tedious. I will love you if you abandon the theremin and take up the harmonica and I will love you if you donate your marmosets to the zoo and your tree frogs to M. I will love you as the starfish loves a coral reef and as kudzu loves trees, even if the oceans turn to sawdust and the trees fall in the forest without anyone around to hear them. I will love you as the pesto loves the fetuccini and as the horseradish loves the miyagi, as the tempura loves the ikura and the pepperoni loves the pizza. I will love you as the manatee loves the head of lettuce and as the dark spot loves the leopard, as the leech loves the ankle of a wader and as a corpse loves the beak of the vulture. I will love you as the doctor loves his sickest patient and a lake loves its thirstiest swimmer. I will love you as the beard loves the chin, and the crumbs love the beard, and the damp napkin loves the crumbs, and the precious document loves the dampness in the napkin, and the squinting eye of the reader loves the smudged print of the document, and the tears of sadness love the squinting eye as it misreads what is written. I will love you as the iceberg loves the ship, and the passengers love the lifeboat, and the lifeboat loves the teeth of the sperm whale, and the sperm whale loves the flavor of naval uniforms. I will love you as a child loves to overhear the conversations of its parents, and the parents love the sound of their own arguing voices, and as the pen loves to write down the words these voices utter in a notebook for safekeeping. I will love you as a shingle loves falling off a house on a windy day and striking a grumpy person across the chin, and as an oven loves malfunctioning in the middle of roasting a turkey. I will love you as an airplane loves to fall from a clear blue sky and as an escalator loves to entangle expensive scarves in its mechanisms. I will love you as a wet paper towel loves to be crumpled into a ball and thrown at a bathroom ceiling and an eraser loves to leave dust in the hairdos of the people who talk too much. I will love you as a taxi loves the muddy splash of a puddle and as a library loves the patient tick of a clock. I will love you as a thief loves a gallery and as a crow loves a murder, as a cloud loves bats and as a range loves braes. I will love you as misfortune loves orphans, as fire loves innocence and as justice loves to sit and watch while everything goes wrong.
Lemony Snicket (The Beatrice Letters)
After dinner, I went upstairs and found Ren standing on the veranda again, looking at the sunset. I approached him shyly and stood behind him. “Hello, Ren.”
He turned and openly studied my appearance. His gaze drifted ever so slowly down my body. The longer he looked, the wider his smile got. Eventually, his eyes worked their way back up to my bright red face.
He sighed and bowed deeply. “Sundari. I was standing here thinking nothing could be more beautiful than this sunset tonight, but I was mistaken. You standing here in the setting sun with your hair and skin aglow is almost more than a man can…fully appreciate.”
I tried to change the subject. “What does sundari mean?”
“It means ‘most beautiful.’”
I blushed again, which made him laugh. He took my hand, tucked it under his arm, and led me to the patio chairs. Just then, the sun dipped below the trees leaving its tangerine glow in the sky for just a few more moments.
We sat again, but this time he sat next to me on the swinging patio seat and kept my hand in his.
I ventured shyly, “I hope you don’t mind, but I explored your house today, including your room.”
“I don’t mind. I’m sure you found my room the least interesting.”
“Actually, I was curious about the note I found. Did you write it?”
“A note? Ah, yes. I just scribbled a few notes to help me remember what Phet had said. It just says seek Durga’s prophecy, the Cave of Kanheri, Kelsey is Durga’s favored one, that sort of thing.”
“Oh. I…also noticed a ribbon. Is it mine?”
“Yes. If you’d like it back, you can take it.”
“Why would you want it?”
He shrugged, looking embarrassed. “I wanted a memento, a token from the girl who saved my life.”
“A token? Like a fair maiden giving her handkerchief to a knight in shining armor?”
He grinned. “Exactly.”
I jested wryly, “Too bad you didn’t wait for Cathleen to get a little older. She’s going to be very pretty.”
He frowned. “Cathleen from the circus?” He shook his head. “You were the chosen one, Kelsey. And if I had the option of choosing the girl to save me, I still would have picked you.”
“A number of reasons. I liked you. You are interesting. I enjoyed listening to your voice. I felt like you saw through the tiger skin to the person underneath. When you spoke, it felt like you were saying exactly the things I needed to hear. You’re smart. You like poetry, and you’re very pretty.”
I laughed at his statement. Me, pretty? He can’t be serious. I was average in so many ways. I didn’t really concern myself with current makeup, hairstyles, or fashionable, but uncomfortable, clothes like other teenagers. My complexion was pale, and my eyes were so brown that they were almost black. By far, my best feature was my smile, which my parents paid dearly for and so did I-with three years of metal braces.
Still, I was flattered. “Okay, Prince Charming, you can keep your memento.” I hesitated, and then said softly, “I wear those ribbons in memory of my mom. She used to brush out my hair and braid ribbons through it while we talked.”
Ren smiled understandingly. “Then it means even more to me.
Colleen Houck (Tiger's Curse (The Tiger Saga, #1))
To begin with, there is the frightful debauchery of taste that has already been effected by a century of mechanisation. This is almost too obvious and too generally admitted to need pointing out. But as a single instance, take taste in its narrowest sense - the taste for decent food. In the highly mechanical countries, thanks to tinned food, cold storage, synthetic flavouring matters, etc., the palate it almost a dead organ. As you can see by looking at any greengrocer’s shop, what the majority of English people mean by an apple is a lump of highly-coloured cotton wool from America or Australia; they will devour these things, apparently with pleasure, and let the English apples rot under the trees. It is the shiny, standardized, machine-made look of the American apple that appeals to them; the superior taste of the English apple is something they simply do not notice. Or look at the factory-made, foil wrapped cheeses and ‘blended’ butter in an grocer’s; look at the hideous rows of tins which usurp more and more of the space in any food-shop, even a dairy; look at a sixpenny Swiss roll or a twopenny ice-cream; look at the filthy chemical by-product that people will pour down their throats under the name of beer. Wherever you look you will see some slick machine-made article triumphing over the old-fashioned article that still tastes of something other than sawdust. And what applies to food applies also to furniture, houses, clothes, books, amusements and everything else that makes up our environment. These are now millions of people, and they are increasing every year, to whom the blaring of a radio is not only a more acceptable but a more normal background to their thoughts than the lowing of cattle or the song of birds. The mechanisation of the world could never proceed very far while taste, even the taste-buds of the tongue, remained uncorrupted, because in that case most of the products of the machine would be simply unwanted. In a healthy world there would be no demand for tinned food, aspirins, gramophones, gas-pipe chairs, machine guns, daily newspapers, telephones, motor-cars, etc. etc.; and on the other hand there would be a constant demand for the things the machine cannot produce. But meanwhile the machine is here, and its corrupting effects are almost irresistible. One inveighs against it, but one goes on using it. Even a bare-arse savage, given the change, will learn the vices of civilisation within a few months. Mechanisation leads to the decay of taste, the decay of taste leads to demand for machine-made articles and hence to more mechanisation, and so a vicious circle is established.
George Orwell (The Road to Wigan Pier)
She took a puff, put the cigarette in the ashtray and stared at it. Without looking up, she said, But do you believe in love, Mr Evans? She rolled the cigarette end around in the ash tray. Do you? Outside, he thought, beyond this mountain and its snow, there was a world of countless millions of people. He could see them in their cities, in the heat and the light. And he could see this house, so remote and isolated, so far away, and he had a feeling that it once must have seemed to her and Jack, if only for a short time, like the universe with the two of them at its centre. And for a moment he was at the King of Cornwall with Amy in the room they thought of as theirs—with the sea and the sun and the shadows, with the white paint flaking off the French doors and with their rusty lock, with the breezes late of an afternoon and of a night the sound of the waves breaking—and he remembered how that too had once seemed the centre of the universe. I don’t, she said. No, I don’t. It’s too small a word, don’t you think, Mr Evans? I have a friend in Fern Tree who teaches piano. Very musical, she is. I’m tone-deaf myself. But one day she was telling me how every room has a note. You just have to find it. She started warbling away, up and down. And suddenly one note came back to us, just bounced back off the walls and rose from the floor and filled the place with this perfect hum. This beautiful sound. Like you’ve thrown a plum and an orchard comes back at you. You wouldn’t believe it, Mr Evans. These two completely different things, a note and a room, finding each other. It sounded … right. Am I being ridiculous? Do you think that’s what we mean by love, Mr Evans? The note that comes back to you? That finds you even when you don’t want to be found? That one day you find someone, and everything they are comes back to you in a strange way that hums? That fits. That’s beautiful. I’m not explaining myself at all well, am I? she said. I’m not very good with words. But that’s what we were. Jack and me. We didn’t really know each other. I’m not sure if I liked everything about him. I suppose some things about me annoyed him. But I was that room and he was that note and now he’s gone. And everything is silent.
Richard Flanagan (The Narrow Road to the Deep North)
Hypercritical, Shaming Parents
Hypercritical and shaming parents send the same message to their children as perfectionistic parents do - that they are never good enough. Parents often deliberately shame their children into minding them without realizing the disruptive impact shame can have on a child's sense of self. Statements such as "You should be ashamed of yourself" or "Shame on you" are obvious examples. Yet these types of overtly shaming statements are actually easier for the child to defend against than are more subtle forms of shaming, such as contempt, humiliation, and public shaming.
There are many ways that parents shame their children. These include belittling, blaming, contempt, humiliation, and disabling expectations.
-BELITTLING. Comments such as "You're too old to want to be held" or "You're just a cry-baby" are horribly humiliating to a child. When a parent makes a negative comparison between his or her child and another, such as "Why can't you act like Jenny? See how she sits quietly while her mother is talking," it is not only humiliating but teaches a child to always compare himself or herself with peers and find himself or herself deficient by comparison.
-BLAMING. When a child makes a mistake, such as breaking a vase while rough-housing, he or she needs to take responsibility. But many parents go way beyond teaching a lesson by blaming and berating the child: "You stupid idiot! Do you think money grows on trees? I don't have money to buy new vases!" The only thing this accomplishes is shaming the child to such an extent that he or she cannot find a way to walk away from the situation with his or her head held high.
-CONTEMPT. Expressions of disgust or contempt communicate absolute rejection. The look of contempt (often a sneer or a raised upper lip), especially from someone who is significant to a child, can make him or her feel disgusting or offensive. When I was a child, my mother had an extremely negative attitude toward me. Much of the time she either looked at me with the kind of expectant expression that said, "What are you up to now?" or with a look of disapproval or disgust over what I had already done. These looks were extremely shaming to me, causing me to feel that there was something terribly wrong with me.
-HUMILIATION. There are many ways a parent can humiliate a child, such as making him or her wear clothes that have become dirty. But as Gershen Kaufman stated in his book Shame: The Power of Caring, "There is no more humiliating experience than to have another person who is clearly the stronger and more powerful take advantage of that power and give us a beating." I can personally attest to this. In addition to shaming me with her contemptuous looks, my mother often punished me by hitting me with the branch of a tree, and she often did this outside, in front of the neighbors. The humiliation I felt was like a deep wound to my soul.
-DISABLING EXPECTATIONS. Parents who have an inordinate need to have their child excel at a particular activity or skill are likely to behave in ways that pressure the child to do more and more. According to Kaufman, when a child becomes aware of the real possibility of failing to meet parental expectations, he or she often experiences a binding self-consciousness. This self-consciousness - the painful watching of oneself - is very disabling. When something is expected of us in this way, attaining the goal is made harder, if not impossible.
Yet another way that parents induce shame in their children is by communicating to them that they are a disappointment to them. Such messages as "I can't believe you could do such a thing" or "I am deeply disappointed in you" accompanied by a disapproving tone of voice and facial expression can crush a child's spirit.
Beverly Engel (The Nice Girl Syndrome: Stop Being Manipulated and Abused -- And Start Standing Up for Yourself)
One night he sits up. In cots around him are a few dozen sick or wounded. A warm September wind pours across the countryside and sets the walls of the tent rippling.
Werner’s head swivels lightly on his neck. The wind is strong and gusting stronger, and the corners of the tent strain against their guy ropes, and where the flaps at the two ends come up, he can see trees buck and sway. Everything rustles. Werner zips his old notebook and the little house into his duffel and the man beside him murmurs questions to himself and the rest of the ruined company sleeps. Even Werner’s thirst has faded. He feels only the raw, impassive surge of the moonlight as it strikes the tent above him and scatters. Out there, through the open flaps of the tent, clouds hurtle above treetops. Toward Germany, toward home.
Silver and blue, blue and silver.
Sheets of paper tumble down the rows of cots, and in Werner’s chest comes a quickening. He sees Frau Elena kneel beside the coal stove and bank up the fire. Children in their beds. Baby Jutta sleeps in her cradle. His father lights a lamp, steps into an elevator, and disappears.
The voice of Volkheimer: What you could be.
Werner’s body seems to have gone weightless under his blanket, and beyond the flapping tent doors, the trees dance and the clouds keep up their huge billowing march, and he swings first one leg and then the other off the edge of the bed.
“Ernst,” says the man beside him. “Ernst.” But there is no Ernst; the men in the cots do not reply; the American soldier at the door of the tent sleeps. Werner walks past him into the grass.
The wind moves through his undershirt. He is a kite, a balloon.
Once, he and Jutta built a little sailboat from scraps of wood and carried it to the river. Jutta painted the vessel in ecstatic purples and greens, and she set it on the water with great formality. But the boat sagged as soon as the current got hold of it. It floated downstream, out of reach, and the flat black water swallowed it. Jutta blinked at Werner with wet eyes, pulling at the battered loops of yarn in her sweater.
“It’s all right,” he told her. “Things hardly ever work on the first try. We’ll make another, a better one.”
Did they? He hopes they did. He seems to remember a little boat—a more seaworthy one—gliding down a river. It sailed around a bend and left them behind. Didn’t it?
The moonlight shines and billows; the broken clouds scud above the trees. Leaves fly everywhere. But the moonlight stays unmoved by the wind, passing through clouds, through air, in what seems to Werner like impossibly slow, imperturbable rays. They hang across the buckling grass.
Why doesn’t the wind move the light?
Across the field, an American watches a boy leave the sick tent and move against the background of the trees. He sits up. He raises his hand.
“Stop,” he calls.
“Halt,” he calls.
But Werner has crossed the edge of the field, where he steps on a trigger land mine set there by his own army three months before, and disappears in a fountain of earth.
Anthony Doerr (All the Light We Cannot See)
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.
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)
The end of this short story could be a rather disturbing thing, if it came true. I hope you like it, and if you do, be sure to COMMENT and SHARE.
Paradoxes of Destiny?
Dani! My boy! Are you all right? Where are you? Have you hurt yourself? Are you all right? Daniiii! Why won’t you answer? It’s so cold and dark here. I can’t see a thing… It’s so silent. Dani? Can you hear me? I shouldn’t have looked at that text message while I was driving… I shouldn’t have done it! I'm so stupid sometimes! Son, are you all right?... We really wrecked the car when we rolled it! I can’t see or hear a thing… Am I in hospital? Am I dead…? Dani? Your silence is killing me… Are you all right?! I can see a glimmer of light. I feel trapped. Dani, are you there? I can’t move. It’s like I’m wrapped in this mossy green translucent plastic. I have to get out of here. The light is getting more and more intense. I think I can tear the wrapping that’s holding me in. I'm almost out. The light is blinding me. What a strange place. I've never seen anything like it. It doesn’t look like Earth. Am I dead? On another planet? Oh God, look at those hideous monsters! They’re so creepy and disgusting! They look like extraterrestrials. They’re aliens! I'm on another planet! I can’t believe it. I need to get the hell out here. Those monsters are going to devour me. I have to get away. I’m so scared. Am I floating? Am I flying? I’m going to go higher to try to escape. I can’t see the aliens anymore and the landscape looks less terrifying. I think I've made it. It’s very windy. Is that a highway? I think I can see some vehicles down there. Could they be the extraterrestrials’ transport? I’m going to go down a bit. I see people! Am I on Earth? Could this be a parallel universe? Where could Dani be? I shouldn’t have looked at that text message while I was driving. I shouldn’t…
That tower down there looks a lot like the water tank in my town… It’s identical. But the water tank in my town doesn’t have that huge tower block next to it. It all looks very similar to my neighborhood, but it isn’t exactly the same: there are a lot of tower blocks here. There’s the river… and the factory. It’s definitely my neighborhood, but it looks kind of different. I must be in a parallel universe…
It’s amazing that I can float. People don’t seem to notice my presence. Am I a ghost?
I have to get back home and see if Dani’s there. God, I hope he’s safe and sound. Gabriela must be out of her mind with the crash.
There’s my house! Home sweet home. And whose are those cars? The front of the house has been painted a different color… This is all so strange! There’s someone in the garden… Those trees I planted in the spring have really grown.
Is… is that… Dani? Yes, yes! It’s Dani. But he looks so different… He looks older, he looks… like a big boy! What’s important is that he’s OK. I need to hug him tight and tell him how much I love him. Can he see me if I’m a ghost? I'll go up to him slowly so I don’t scare him. I need to hold him tight.
He can’t see me, I won’t get any closer. He moved his head, I think he’s started to realize I’m here…
Wow I’m so hungry all of a sudden! I can’t stop! How are you doing, son?! It’s me! Your dad! My dear boy? I can’t stop! I'm too hungry! Ahhhh, so delicious! What a pleasure! Nooo Daniii! Nooooo!.... I’m your daaaad!...
“Mum, bring the insect repellent, the garden’s full of mosquitoes,” grunted Daniel as he wiped the blood from the palm of his hand on his trousers. Gabriela was just coming out. She did an about turn and went back into her house, and shouted “Darling, bring the insect repellent, it’s on the fireplace…”
Absolute cold and silence…
(1) This note is for those who have read EQUINOX—WHISPERS OF DESTINY. This story is a spin-off of the novel EQUINOX—WHISPERS OF DESTINY and revolves around Letus’s curious theories about the possibility of animal reincarnation.
Gonzalo Guma (Equinoccio. Susurros del destino)