I like storms. Thunder torrential rain, puddles, wet shoes. When the clouds roll in, I get filled with this giddy expectation. Everything is more beautiful in the rain. Don't ask me why. But it’s like this whole other realm of opportunity. I used to feel like a superhero, riding my bike over the dangerously slick roads, or maybe an Olympic athlete enduring rough trials to make it to the finish line. On sunny days, as a girl, I could still wake up to that thrilled feeling. You made me giddy with expectation, just like a symphonic rainstorm. You were a tempest in the sun, the thunder in a boring, cloudless sky. I remember I’d shovel in my breakfast as fast as I could, so I could go knock on your door. We’d play all day, only coming back for food and sleep. We played hide and seek, you’d push me on the swing, or we’d climb trees. Being your sidekick gave me a sense of home again. You see, when I was ten, my mom died. She had cancer, and I lost her before I really knew her. My world felt so insecure, and I was scared. You were the person that turned things right again. With you, I became courageous and free. It was like the part of me that died with my mom came back when I met you, and I didn’t hurt if I knew I had you. Then one day, out of the blue, I lost you, too. The hurt returned, and I felt sick when I saw you hating me. My rainstorm was gone, and you became cruel. There was no explanation. You were just gone. And my heart was ripped open. I missed you. I missed my mom. What was worse than losing you, was when you started to hurt me. Your words and actions made me hate coming to school. They made me uncomfortable in my own home. Everything still hurts, but I know none of it is my fault. There are a lot of words that I could use to describe you, but the only one that includes sad, angry, miserable, and pitiful is “coward.” I a year, I’ll be gone, and you’ll be nothing but some washout whose height of existence was in high school. You were my tempest, my thunder cloud, my tree in the downpour. I loved all those things, and I loved you. But now? You’re a fucking drought. I thought that all the assholes drove German cars, but it turns out that pricks in Mustangs can still leave scars.
Penelope Douglas (Bully (Fall Away, #1))
I drive as fast as four tire swings hanging from a tree branch in the middle of winter. I also make love with as much speed and rotation.
Jarod Kintz (This Book is Not for Sale)
And after a long time the boy came back again.
"I am sorry, Boy," said the tree, "but I have nothing left to give you-
My apples are gone."
"My teeth are too weak for apples," said the boy.
"My branches are gone," said the tree.
"You cannot swing on them-"
"I am too old to swing on branches," said the boy.
"My trunk is gone," said the tree.
"You cannot climb-"
"I am too tired to climb," said the boy.
"I am sorry," sighed the tree.
"I wish that I could give you something... but I have nothing left. I am an old stump. I am sorry..."
"I don't need very much now," said the boy, "just a quiet pleace to sit and rest. I am very tired."
"Well," said the tree, straightening herself up as much as she could,
"well, an old stump is a good for sitting and resting. Come, Boy, sit down. Sit down and rest."
And the boy did.
And the tree was happy.
Shel Silverstein (The Giving Tree)
It all seems so sad, so unbearably sad for a second, to think of the lovely old maple with the swing. We never told the tree how much we loved it. We never gave it a name, never did anything for it.
E. Lockhart (We Were Liars)
Then it came to me, my life. I remembered my life
the way an ax handle, mid-swing, remembers the tree.
& I was free.
Ocean Vuong (Time Is a Mother)
The tree of nonsense is watered with error, and from its branches swing the pumpkins of disaster.
An unbearable smug look came over his usually impassive face."Uh-huh. You just keep telling youself that. You looove me."
I took a swing at him, but he jumped back nimbly, and all I did was jar my left arm, making it hurt.
He laughed at me, then pointed at the woods ouside the window."Pick a tree. I'll go carve our initials in it.
James Patterson (Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports (Maximum Ride, #3))
The universe, which is not merely the stars and the moon and the planets, flowers, grass and trees, but other people, has evolved no terms for your existence, has made no room for you, and if love will not swing wide the gates, no other power will or can. And if one despairs-- as who has not?-- of human love, God's love alone is left.
James Baldwin (The Fire Next Time)
Somewhere there are gardens where peacocks sing like nightingales, somewhere there are caravans of separated lovers traveling to meet each other; there are ruby fires on distant mountains, and blue comets that come in spring like sapphires in the black sky. If this is not so, meet me in the shameful yard, and we will plant a gallows tree, and swing like sad pendulums, never once touching.
K.J. Bishop (The Etched City)
A Second Childhood.”
When all my days are ending
And I have no song to sing,
I think that I shall not be too old
To stare at everything;
As I stared once at a nursery door
Or a tall tree and a swing.
Wherein God’s ponderous mercy hangs
On all my sins and me,
Because He does not take away
The terror from the tree
And stones still shine along the road
That are and cannot be.
Men grow too old for love, my love,
Men grow too old for wine,
But I shall not grow too old to see
Unearthly daylight shine,
Changing my chamber’s dust to snow
Till I doubt if it be mine.
Behold, the crowning mercies melt,
The first surprises stay;
And in my dross is dropped a gift
For which I dare not pray:
That a man grow used to grief and joy
But not to night and day.
Men grow too old for love, my love,
Men grow too old for lies;
But I shall not grow too old to see
Enormous night arise,
A cloud that is larger than the world
And a monster made of eyes.
Nor am I worthy to unloose
The latchet of my shoe;
Or shake the dust from off my feet
Or the staff that bears me through
On ground that is too good to last,
Too solid to be true.
Men grow too old to woo, my love,
Men grow too old to wed;
But I shall not grow too old to see
Hung crazily overhead
Incredible rafters when I wake
And I find that I am not dead.
A thrill of thunder in my hair:
Though blackening clouds be plain,
Still I am stung and startled
By the first drop of the rain:
Romance and pride and passion pass
And these are what remain.
Strange crawling carpets of the grass,
Wide windows of the sky;
So in this perilous grace of God
With all my sins go I:
And things grow new though I grow old,
Though I grow old and die.
G.K. Chesterton (The Collected Poems of G. K. Chesterton)
Italian as a language, she thinks, suits children with its singsong cadences and rising lingering inflections, its quick swinging gait and easy adaptability to argument, to passionate outbursts.
Glenn Haybittle (The Memory Tree)
He had held out shakily, like a tree that had been hacked down to its breaking point. But that kiss was the last swing, the final impact, and he gave in finally, felled.
Sarah Blakley-Cartwright (Red Riding Hood)
I’ll tell you something,' he said, as if he had said nothing that day. 'You’re walking on gallows ground, and there’s a rope around your neck and a raven-bird on each shoulder waiting for your eyes, and the gallows tree has deep roots, for it stretches from heaven to hell, and our world is only the branch from which the rope is swinging.
Neil Gaiman (American Gods (American Gods, #1))
Garbage in, garbage out. Or rather more felicitously: the tree of nonsense is watered with error, and from its branches swing the pumpkins of disaster.
Nick Harkaway (The Gone-Away World)
She walks barefoot into the humid night, moonlight on her freckled shoulders. Near a huge, live oak tree on the edge of her father's cotton fields, Sidda looks up into the sky. In the crook of the crescent moon sits the Holy Lady, with strong muscles and a merciful heart. She kicks her splendid legs like the moon is her swing and the sky, her front porch. She waves down at Sidda like she has just spotted an old buddy.
Sidda stands in the moonlight and lets the Blessed Mother love every hair on her six-year-old head. Tenderness flows down from the moon and up from the earth. For one fleeting, luminous moment, Sidda Walker knows there has never been a time when she has not been loved.
Rebecca Wells (Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood)
Eyes I dare not meet in dreams
In death's dream kingdom
These do not appear:
There, the eyes are
Sunlight on a broken column
There, is a tree swinging
And voices are
In the wind's singing
More distant and more solemn
Than a fading star.
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)
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)
Everywhere the air had become a vibrant yellow drum. A heavy sunlight freighted the foliage of the trees. Each leaf was a shutter about to swing back and reveal a miniature sun, one window in the immense advent calendar of nature.
J.G. Ballard (The Unlimited Dream Company (Paladin Books))
Willy: Remember those two beautiful elm trees out there? When I and Biff hung the swings between them?
Linda: Yeah, like being a million miles from the city.
Arthur Miller (Death of a Salesman)
... Froncien cannot help but be amused at the sight of the little man, arms and legs spread out, gently swinging in his hitched up jacket, for all the world looking like a bauble for the tree.
Trevor Alan Foris (The Octunnumi Fosbit Files Prologue)
What no school prepares you for is the fact that when you finally get to enter the adult world you’re just one of seven billion primates swinging from the trees, hurling your excrement at each other and fighting over the same tiny pot of job vacancies. Instead school teaches you everything that you don’t need to know, hands over your exam results and tells you to fuck off into the jungle to fend for yourself. No more handouts; no more free passes. Get out there and make a miracle happen. Or die.
Rupert Dreyfus (The Rebel's Sketchbook)
If you stand a lantern under a tree every insect in the forest creeps up to it—a curious assembly, since though they scramble and swing and knock their heads against the glass, they seem to have no purpose—something senseless inspires them.
Virginia Woolf (Jacob's Room)
The icicles wreathing
On trees in festoon
Swing, swayed to our breathing:
They’re made of the moon.
As soon as I turned toward the steps, my vision filled with the magnificence of the large oak tree. And there, rocking from its branch, was the swing.
Rebecca Donovan (Out of Breath (Breathing, #3))
I think I'm beginning to understand
how hearts fit together.
Not like diseased carnations that lean against their crutches.
Not like vines that twine tight, throttling their hosts.
But like two trees:
two systems of deep, untangled roots,
two patterns of flowering branches,
whose leaves drink their own sunlight
and breathe their own air.
Two trees with something slung between them,
a hammock or a tapestry or a swing,
some third, beautiful thing
that neither would die without.
Hearts fit together like hands.
Not by necessity.
Riley Redgate (Seven Ways We Lie)
And over walls and earth and trees and swinging sprays and tendrils the fair green veil of tender little leaves had crept, and in the grass under the trees and the gray urns in the alcoves and here and there everywhere were touches or splashes of gold and purple and white and the trees were showing pink
and snow above his head and there were fluttering of wings and faint sweet pipes and humming and scents and scents.
Frances Hodgson Burnett (The Secret Garden)
The spaciousness of it astounds me; this is the kind of country you dream of running away to when you are very young and innocently hungry, before you learn that all land is owned by somebody, that you can get arrested for swinging through trees in a loincloth, and that you were born either too late or too poor for everything you want to do.
Peter S. Beagle (I See by My Outfit)
I personally have my own idea of an efficient house. It would be totally concrete with a big drain in the middle, a large fiberglass tree for my kids to swing from and a hose hanging in the corner.
Have you reached the peak of the mountain?
Is it everything you'd hope it would be?
I think if we were trees we'd be willows and we'd let children swing on our branches.
I'm whispering into the air hoping you will hear me:
Your soul is my soul's home
Emery Allen (Become)
When he heard light, rushing footfalls, he turned his head. Someone was racing along the second-floor balcony. Then laughter drifted down from above. Glorious feminine laughter.
He leaned out the archway and glanced at the grand staircase.
Bella appeared on the landing above, breathless, smiling, a black satin robe gathered in her hands. As she slowed at the head of the stairs, she looked over her shoulder, her thick dark hair swinging like a mane.
The pounding that came next was heavy and distant, growing louder until it was like boulders hitting the ground. Obviously, it was what she was waiting for. She let out a laugh, yanked her robe up even higher, and started down the stairs, bare feet skirting the steps as if she were floating. At the bottom, she hit the mosaic floor of the foyer and wheeled around just as Zsadist appeared in second-story hallway.
The Brother spotted her and went straight for the balcony, pegging his hands into the rail, swinging his legs up and pushing himself straight off into thin air. He flew outward, body in a perfect swan dive--except he wasn't over water, he was two floors up over hard stone.
John's cry for help came out as a mute, sustained rush of air--
Which was cut off as Zsadist dematerialized at the height of the dive. He took form twenty feet in front of Bella, who watched the show with glowing happiness.
Meanwhile, John's heart pounded from shock...then pumped fast for a different reason.
Bella smiled up at her mate, her breath still hard, her hands still gripping the robe, her eyes heavy with invitation. And Zsadist came forward to answer her call, seeming to get even bigger as he stalked over to her. The Brother's bonding scent filled the foyer, just as his low, lionlike growl did. The male was all animal at the moment....a very sexual animal.
"You like to be chased, nalla, " Z said in a voice so deep it distorted.
Bella's smile got even wider as she backed up into a corner. "Maybe."
"So run some more, why don't you." The words were dark and even John caught the erotic threat in them.
Bella took off, darting around her mate, going for the billiards room. Z tracked her like prey, pivoting around, his eyes leveled on the female's streaming hair and graceful body. As his lips peeled off his fangs, the white canines elongated, protruding from his mouth. And they weren't the only response he had to his shellan.
At his hips, pressing into the front of his leathers, was an erection the size of a tree trunk.
Z shot John a quick glance and then went back to his hunt, disappearing into the room, the pumping growl getting louder. From out of the open doors, there was a delighted squeal, a scramble, a female's gasp, and then....nothing.
He'd caught her.
......When Zsadist came out a moment later, he had Bella in his arms, her dark hair trailing down his shoulder as she lounged in the strength that held her. Her eyes locked on Z's face while he looked where he was going, her hand stroking his chest, her lips curved in a private smile.
There was a bite mark on her neck, one that had very definitely not been there before, and Bella's satisfaction as she stared at the hunger in her hellren's face was utterly compelling. John knew instinctively that Zsadist was going to finish two things upstairs: the mating and the feeding. The Brother was going to be at her throat and in between her legs. Probably at the same time.
God, John wanted that kind of connection.
J.R. Ward (Lover Revealed (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #4))
Your sister," I say evenly, "is incredibly sick. I'm sorry if that interferes with your dentist's appointment or your plan to go buy a pair of cleats. But those don't rate quite as high in the grand scheme of things right now. I'd think that since you're ten, you might be able to grow up enough to realize that the whole world doesn't always revolve around you."
Jesse looks out the window, where Kate straddles the arm of an oak tree, coaching Anna in how to climb up. "Yeah, right, she's sick," he says. "Why don't you grow up? Why don't you figure out that the world doesn't revolve around her?"
There is a scuffle on the other side of the door, and then it swings open. Blood covers Jesse's mouth, a vampire's lipstick; bits of wire stick out like a seamstress's pins. I notice the fork he is holding, and realize this is what he used to pull off his braces.
"Now you never have to take me anywhere," he says.
Jodi Picoult (My Sister's Keeper)
When I was a boy in the midwest I used to go out and look at the stars at night and wonder about them.
I guess every boy does that.
When I wasn't looking at the stars, I was running in the my old or my brand-new tennis shoes, on my way to swing in a tree, swim in a lake, or delve in the town library to read about dinosaurs or time machines.
I guess every boy has done that, too.
This is a book about those stars and those tennis shoes. Mainly about the stars, beacuse that is the way I grew up, getting more and more involved with rockets and space as I moved toward my twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth years.
Not that I have forgotten the tennis shoes and their powerful magic, as you will see in the last story here, which I have included not because it concerns the future, but because it gives you some sort of idea of the kind of boy I was when I was looking at the stars and thinking of the years ahead.
Nor have I forgetten the dinosaurs that all boys love; they are here, too, along with a machine that travels back in time to step on a butterfly.
This is a book then by a boy who grew up in a small illinois town and lived to see the space age arrive, as he hoped and dreamt it would.
I dedicate these stories to all boys who wonder about the past, run swiftly in the present, and have high hopes for our future.
The stars are yours, if you have the head, the hands, and the heart for them.
There's an enormous difference between being a story writer and being a regular person. As a person, it's your duty to stay on a straight and even keel, not to break down blubbering in the streets, not to pull rude drivers from their cars, not to swing from the branches of trees. But as a writer it's your duty to lie and to view everything in life, however outrageous, as an interesting possibility. You may need to be ruthless or amoral in your writing to be original. Telling a story straight from real life is only being a reporter, not a creator. You have to make your story bigger, better, more magical, more meaningful than life is, no matter how special or wonderful in real life the moment may have been.
If Daddy was a color, he would be a forest green—thick, lush, calm, whispering refreshing wisdom only few could hear. If Michael was a color, he would be bark brown—cocoa, mocha, chocolate, the color of earth. Quiet, supportive, but strong. A softness that love grows from. Together, they are the tree I lean on when I’m weary. The tree I swing from. The tree of life when surrounded by death.
Tiffany D. Jackson (Monday's Not Coming)
They hanged my mother. I watched her body swing from the lower branches of a silk cotton tree. She had committed a crime for which there is no pardon. She had struck a white man. She had not killed him, however. In her clumsy rage she had only managed to gash his shoulder
Maryse Condé (I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem)
Great engines crawled across the field; and in the midst was a huge ram, great as a forest-tree a hundred feet in length, swinging on mighty chains. Long had it been forging in the dark smithies of Mordor, and its hideous head, founded of black steel, was shaped in the likeness of a ravening wolf; on it spells of ruin lay. Grond they named it, in memory of the Hammer of the Underworld of old. Great beasts drew it, orcs surrounded it, and behind walked mountain-trolls to wield it.
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Lord of the Rings)
Desire For Thee"
My desire to love thee
is just like a tree,
must have one root
but several branches of fruit
I want to make you feel
as if you are horizon i steal
you are as free as wind
where my love flows in swing
i see thee in glaze shadow around
a graceful presence on passion ground
that is "THEE" you spark everywhere
Everywhere am far and near.
We also need to recognize that not all stress is bad, that children require challenges and risk as well as safety. It is natural to want to protect our children, but we need to ask ourselves when the desire for risk-free childhoods has gone too far. The safest playground, after all, would have no swings, no steep slides, no rough surfaces, no trees, no other children—and no fun. Children’s brains are shaped by what they do slowly and repeatedly over time. If they don’t have the chance to practice coping with small risks and dealing with the consequences of those choices, they won’t be well prepared for making larger and far more consequential decisions.
Bruce D. Perry (The Boy Who Was Raised As a Dog: And Other Stories from a Child Psychiatrist's Notebook)
A hedgehog flies from the safety of a bush, startling me. It darts past us in a terrible hurry. Kartik nods toward the furry little thing. "Don't mind him. He's off to meet his lady friend."
"How can you be sure?"
"He has on his best hedgehog suit."
"Ah, I should have noticed." I say, happy to be playing this game-any game-with him. I put my hand on the tree's trunk and swing myself around it slowly, letting my body feel gravity's pull. "And why has he worn his best?"
"He's been away in London, you see, and now he has returned to her," Kartik continues.
"And what if she is angry with him for being away so long?"
Kartik circles just behind me. "She will forgive him."
"Will she?" I say pointedly.
"It is his hope that she will, for he didn't mean to upset her." Kartik answers, and I am no longer sure we speak of the hedgehog.
"And is he happy to see her again?"
"Yes," Kartik says. "He should like to stay longer, but he cannot."
The bark chafes against my hand. "Why is that?"
"He has his reasons, and hopes his lady will understand them one day." Kartik has changed direction. He comes around the other side of the tree. We are face to face. A palm of moonglow reaches through the branches to caress his face.
"Oh," I say, heart beating fast.
"And what would the lady hedgehog say to that?" he asks. His voice soft and low.
"She would say..." I swallow hard.
Kartik steps closer. "Yes?"
"She would say," I whisper, "'If you please, I am not a hedgehog. I am a woodchuck.'"
A small smile plays at Kartik's lips.
"He is fortunate to have so witty a lady friend," he says, and I wish I could have the moment back again to play differently.
Libba Bray (The Sweet Far Thing (Gemma Doyle, #3))
I've always loved that three, I thought to myself as I watched her run her fingers around the trunk. Her eyes lifted to take it all in. She had always connected with that tree too, making it the perfect location for the swing I'd made for her. The swing that I'd hoped would keep her coming back here. Back to me.
Rebecca Donovan (Out of Breath (Breathing, #3))
The rain comes through their thin cotton clothes against their muscles. Alice sweeps back her wet hair. A sudden flinging of sheet lighting and Clara sees Alice subliminal in movement almost rising up into the air, shirt removed, so her body can meet the rain, the rest of her ascent lost to darkness till the next brief flutter of light when they hold a birch tree in their clasped hands, lean back and swing within the rain.
They crawl delirious together in the blackness. There is no moon. There is the moon flower in its small power of accuracy, like a compass, pointing to where the moon is, so they can bay towards its absence.
Michael Ondaatje (In the Skin of a Lion)
But this home over here: it needed paint but had flowers neatly planted all the way around it. That one over there had a tire swing out front, tied to a fat magnolia tree. Behind another, a lush vegetable garden. You got to fight not to give into despair, he told himself. You got to see the good that's mixed in with the bad.
Dan Baum (Nine Lives: Death and Life in New Orleans)
I looked over at Sara. "I like it," I declared, beaming at the image in front of me. The sun's bright rays filtering through the leaves made me want to squint. With the heavy strokes of the bark, I could imagine dragging my fingertips along the rough texture. "Of course you do," Sara stated, shooting me a look out of the corner of her eye. "She pained the tree in your backyard with the swing you made for her.
Rebecca Donovan (Out of Breath (Breathing, #3))
Southern trees bear strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.
Pastoral scene of the gallant south,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh,
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh.
Here is the fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.
He is a demon, Clarissa,” said Valentine, still in the same soft voice. “A demon with a man’s face. I know how deceptive such monsters can be. Remember, I spared him once myself.”
“Monster?” echoed Clary. She thought of Luke, Luke pushing her on the swings when she was five years old, higher, always higher; Luke at her graduation from middle school, camera clicking away like a proud father’s; Luke sorting through each box of books as it arrived at his store, looking for anything she might like and putting it aside. Luke lifting her up to pull apples down from the trees near his farmhouse. Luke, whose place as her father this man was trying to take. “Luke isn’t a monster,” she said in a voice that matched Valentine’s, steel for steel. “Or a murderer. You are.”
“Clary!” It was Jace.
Clary ignored him. Her eyes were fixed on her father’s cold black ones. “You murdered your wife’s parents, not in battle but in cold blood,” she said. “And I bet you murdered Michael Wayland and his little boy, too. Threw their bones in with my grandparents’ so that my mother would think you and Jace were dead. Put your necklace around Michael Wayland’s neck before you burned him so everyone would think those bones were yours. After all your talk about the untainted blood of the Clave — you didn’t care at all about their blood or their innocence when you killed them, did you? Slaughtering old people and children in cold blood, that’s monstrous.
Cassandra Clare (City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1))
When will you let go and freely wander? When will you see the beauty of the flowers despite the stinging of the bees? When will you climb the tree of life for its fruits and high views instead of swinging your axe? When will you finally choose to be free?
Laren Grey Umphlett (The Power of Perception)
Through a bombed cemetery, long-forgotten Londoners unearthed and flung into trees, grinning in rotted formal wear. A curlicued swing set in a cratered playground. The horrors piled up, incomprehensible, the bombers now and then dropping flares to light it all with the pure, shining white of a thousand camera flashes. As if to say: Look. Look what we made.
Ransom Riggs (Hollow City (Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, # 2))
WHAT A CONCUBINE SHOULD NEVER SAY: You wanna swing? Fine! See that tree branch? The one with the rope...
Even now I steal outdoors in the dead of night to sit on the tree swing and watch the shadows breathe in the moonlight.
Debra K. Rodgers (Dear Maymie)
Four brothers,” Daphne said, shoving the wicket into the ground, “provide quite a marvelous education.”
“The things you must have learned,” Kate said, quite impressed. “Can you give a man a black eye? Knock him to the ground?”
Daphne grinned wickedly. “Ask my husband.”
“Ask me what?” the duke called out from where he and Colin were placing a wicket on a tree root on the opposite side of the tree.
“Nothing,” the duchess called out innocently. “I’ve also learned,” she whispered to Kate, “when it’s best just to keep one’s mouth shut. Men are much easier to manage once you understand a few basic facts about their nature.”
“Which are?” Kate prompted.
Daphne leaned forward and whispered behind her cupped hand, “They’re not as smart as we are, they’re not as intuitive as we are, and they certainly don’t need to know about fifty percent of what we do.”
She looked around. “He didn’t hear that, did he?”
Simon stepped out from behind the tree. “Every word.”
Kate choked on a laugh as Daphne jumped a foot.
“But it’s true,” Daphne said archly.
Simon crossed his arms. “I’ll let you think so.” He turned to Kate. “I’ve learned a thing or two about women over the years.”
“Really?” Kate asked, fascinated.
He nodded and leaned in, as if imparting a grave state secret. “They’re much easier to manage if one allows them to believe that they are smarter and more intuitive than men. And,” he added with a superior glance at his wife, “our lives are much more peaceful if we pretend that we’re only aware of about fifty percent of what they do.”
Colin approached, swinging a mallet in a low arc. “Are they having a spat?” he asked Kate.
“A discussion,” Daphne corrected.
“God save me from such discussions,” Colin muttered.
Julia Quinn (The Viscount Who Loved Me (Bridgertons, #2))
Colored people had it rough. Imagine: You’ve been brainwashed into believing that your blood is tainted. You’ve spent all your time assimilating and aspiring to whiteness. Then, just as you think you’re closing in on the finish line, some fucking guy named Nelson Mandela comes along and flips the country on its head. Now the finish line is back where the starting line was, and the benchmark is black. Black is in charge. Black is beautiful. Black is powerful. For centuries colored people were told: Blacks are monkeys. Don’t swing from the trees like them. Learn to walk upright like the white man. Then all of a sudden it’s Planet of the Apes, and the monkeys have taken over.
Trevor Noah (Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood)
Instructions for a Broken Heart
I will find a bare patch of earth, somewhere where the ruins have fallen away, somewhere where I can fit both hands, and I will dig a hole.
And into that hole, I will scream you, I will dump all the shadow places of my heart—the times you didn’t call when you said you’d call, the way you only half listened to my poems, your eyes on people coming through the swinging door of the café—not on me—your ears, not really turned toward me. For all those times I started to tell you about the fight with my dad or when my grandma died, and you said something about your car, something about the math test you flunked, as an answer. I will scream into that hole the silence of dark nights after you’d kissed me, how when I asked if something was wrong—and something was obviously so very wrong—how you said “nothing,” how you didn’t tell me until I had to see it in the dim light of a costume barn—so much wrong. I will scream all of it.
Then I will fill it in with dark earth, leave it here in Italy, so there will be an ocean between the hole and me.
Because then I can bring home a heart full of the light patches. A heart that sees the sunset you saw that night outside of Taco Bell, the way you pointed out that it made the trees seem on fire, a heart that holds the time your little brother fell on his bike at the fairgrounds and you had pockets full of bright colored Band-Aids and you kissed the bare skin of his knees. I will take that home with me. In my heart. I will take home your final Hamlet monologue on the dark stage when you cried closing night and it wasn’t really acting, you cried because you felt the words in you and on that bare stage you felt the way I feel every day of my life, every second, the way the words, the light and dark, the spotlight in your face, made you Hamlet for that brief hiccup of a moment, made you a poet, an artist at your core. I get to take Italy home with me, the Italy that showed me you and the Italy that showed me—me—the Italy that wrote me my very own instructions for a broken heart. And I get to leave the other heart in a hole.
We are over. I know this. But we are not blank. We were a beautiful building made of stone, crumbled now and covered in vines.
But not blank. Not forgotten. We are a history.
We are beauty out of ruins.
Kim Culbertson (Instructions for a Broken Heart)
Now the day is done,
Now the shepherd sun
Drives his white flocks from the sky;
Now the flowers rest
On their mother's breast,
Hushed by her low lullaby.
Now the glowworms glance,
Now the fireflies dance,
Under fern-boughs green and high;
And the western breeze
To the forest trees
Chants a tuneful lullaby.
Now 'mid shadows deep
Falls blessed sleep,
Like dew from the summer sky;
And the whole earth dreams,
In the moon's soft beams,
While night breathes a lullaby.
Now, birdlings, rest,
In your wind-rocked nest,
Unscared by the owl's shrill cry;
For with folded wings
Little Brier swings,
And singeth your lullaby.
Louisa May Alcott
Am I staring? Forgive me. It's only that I adore the way you laugh."
Pandora blushed up to her hairline. She went to the nearest target and began to jerk out arrows. "Please don't compliment me."
Gabriel went to the next target. "You don't like compliments?"
"No, they make me feel awkward. They never seem true."
"Perhaps they don't seem true to you, but that doesn't mean they're not." After sliding his arrows into a leather quiver, Gabriel came to help collect hers.
"In this case," Pandora said, "it's definitely not true. My laugh sounds like a serenading tree frog swinging on a rusty gate."
Gabriel smiled. "Like silver wind chimes in a summer breeze."
"That's not at all how it sounds," Pandora scoffed.
"But thats how it makes me feel." The intimate note in his voice seemed to vibrate along the network of fine, taut nerves strung all through her.
Lisa Kleypas (Devil in Spring (The Ravenels, #3))
The universe, which is not merely the stars and the moon and the planets, flowers, grass, and trees, but other people, has evolved no terms for your existence, has made no room for you, and if love will not swing wide the gates, no other power will or can. And if one despairs - as who has not? - of human love, God's love alone is left.
James Baldwin (The Fire Next Time)
As the wind swelled, my tree started to sway. Almost like a human body it swung back and around, gently at first, then more and more wildly. While the swaying intensified, so did my fears that the trunk might snap and hurl me to the ground. But in time my confidence returned. Amazed at how the tree could be at once so flexible and so sturdy, I held on tight as it bent and waved, twisted and swirled, slicing curves and arcs through the air. With each graceful swing, I felt less a creature of the land and more a part of the wind itself.
"The rain began falling, it's sound merging with the splashing river and the singing trees. Branches streamed like waterfalls of green. Tiny rivers cascaded down every trunk, twisting through moss meadows and bark canyons. All the while, I rode out the gale. I could not have felt wetter. I could not have felt freer.
"When, at last, the storm subsided, the entire world seemed newly born. Sunbeams danced on rain-washed leaves. Curling columns of mist rose from every glade. The forest's colors shown more vivid, its smells struck more fresh. And I understood, for the first time in my life, that the Earth was always being remade, that life was always being renewed. That it may have been the afternoon of this particular day, but it was still the very morning of Creation.
T.A. Barron (The Lost Years of Merlin (Merlin, #1))
So much of human suffering stems from having this self that needs to be psychologically defended at all costs. We’re trapped in a story that sees ourselves as independent, isolated agents acting in the world. But that self is an illusion. It can be a useful illusion, when you’re swinging through the trees or escaping from a cheetah or trying to do your taxes. But at the systems level, there is no truth to it. You can take any number of more accurate perspectives: that we’re a swarm of genes, vehicles for passing on DNA; that we’re social creatures through and through, unable to survive alone; that we’re organisms in an ecosystem, linked together on this planet floating in the middle of nowhere. Wherever you look, you see that the level of interconnectedness is truly amazing, and yet we insist on thinking of ourselves as individual agents.” Albert Einstein called the modern human’s sense of separateness “a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.
Michael Pollan (How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence)
When she had arranged her household affairs, she came to the library and bade me follow her. Then, with the mirror still swinging against her knees, she led me through the garden and the wilderness down to a misty wood. It being autumn, the trees were tinted gloriously in dusky bars of colouring. The rowan, with his amber leaves and scarlet berries, stood before the brown black-spotted sycamore; the silver beech flaunted his golden coins against my poverty; firs, green and fawn-hued, slumbered in hazy gossamer. No bird carolled, although the sun was hot. Marina noted the absence of sound, and without prelude of any kind began to sing from the ballad of the Witch Mother: about the nine enchanted knots, and the trouble-comb in the lady's knotted hair, and the master-kid that ran beneath her couch. Every drop of my blood froze in dread, for whilst she sang her face took on the majesty of one who traffics with infernal powers. As the shade of the trees fell over her, and we passed intermittently out of the light, I saw that her eyes glittered like rings of sapphires.
R. Murray Gilchrist (Terror by Gaslight: More Victorian Tales of Terror)
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 told her about the best and the worst. The slow and sleepy places where weekdays rolled past like weekends and Mondays didn’t matter. Battered shacks perched on cliffs overlooking the endless, rumpled sea. Afternoons spent waiting on the docks, swinging my legs off a pier until boats rolled in with crates full of oysters and crayfish still gasping. Pulling fishhooks out of my feet because I never wore shoes, playing with other kids whose names I never knew. Those were the unforgettable summers. There were outback towns where you couldn’t see the roads for red dust, grids of streets with wandering dogs and children who ran wild and swam naked in creeks. I remembered climbing ancient trees that had a heartbeat if you pressed your ear to them. Boomboom-boomboom. Dreamy nights sleeping by the campfire and waking up covered in fine ash, as if I’d slept through a nuclear holocaust. We were wanderers, always with our faces to the sun.
Vikki Wakefield (Friday Brown)
Little of that makes for love, but it does pump desire. The woman who churned a man's blood as she leaned all alone on a fence by a country road might not expect even to catch his eye in the City. But if she is clipping quickly down the big-city street in heels, swinging her purse, or sitting on a stoop with a cool beer in her hand, dangling her shoe from the toes of her foot, the man, reacting to her posture, to soft skin on stone, the weight of the building stressing the delicate, dangling shoe, is captured. And he'd think it was the woman he wanted, and not some combination of curved stone, and a swinging, high-heeled shoe moving in and out of sunlight. He would know right away the deception, the trick of shapes and light and movement, but it wouldn't matter at all because the deception was part of it too. Anyway, he could feel his lungs going in and out. There is no air in the City but there is breath, and every morning it races through him like laughing gas brightening his eyes, his talk, and his expectations. In no time at all he forgets little pebbly creeks and apple trees so old they lay their branches along the ground and you have to reach down or stoop to pick the fruit. He forgets a sun that used to slide up like the yolk of a good country egg, thick and red-orange at the bottom of the sky, and he doesn't miss it, doesn't look up to see what happened to it or to stars made irrelevant by the light of thrilling, wasteful street lamps.
That kind of fascination, permanent and out of control, seizes children, young girls, men of every description, mothers, brides, and barfly women, and if they have their way and get to the City, they feel more like themselves, more like the people they always believed they were.
Toni Morrison (Jazz (Beloved Trilogy, #2))
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))
I’ll tell you something,” he said, as if he had said nothing that day. “You’re walking on gallows ground, and there’s a hempen rope around your neck and a raven-bird on each shoulder, waiting for your eyes, and the gallows tree has deep roots, for it stretches from heaven to hell, and our world is only the branch from which the rope is swinging.
Neil Gaiman (American Gods)
She walked down the lawn and surveyed the world as they'd both seen it--the wild limbs of the leaning apple tree, the golden-brown evening sky, the black silhouettes of the mountains. The trunk and the branches of the tree had bent over the years, under the weight of the heavy fruit. One of the biggest branches had grown down from the canopy of the leaves, all the way to the ground and straight along the grass...the end of that same branch had begun growing up again, at a right angle, the wood bending toward the sky.
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)
It's the law of the jungle my man, if you are in the trees you got to swing
Stephen King (The Stand)
It’s hard to walk in the dress, it’s not easy
I’m swinging over like a heavy loaded fruit tree
swing attached to a big tree that went out over th
Jeff Kinney (The Deep End (Diary of a Wimpy Kid, #15))
keep searching for me, tell me what you see.
i'll wait here, on this branch of a maple tree
i'll swing my feet and watch you climb
into all of the grooves I've tried to hide
Kelsey Webb (Sapling: The Beginner's Guide to the Art of Modern Poetry)
Apples of Hesperides
Glinting golden through the trees,
Apples of Hesperides!
Through the moon-pierced warp of night
Shoot pale shafts of yellow light,
Swaying to the kissing breeze
Swings the treasure, golden-gleaming,
Apples of Hesperides!.
Far and lofty yet they glimmer,
Apples of Hesperides!
Blinded by their radiant shimmer,
Pushing forward just for these;
Poor duped mortal, travel-scarred,
Always thinking soon to seize
And possess the golden-glistening
Apples of Hesperides!.
Orbed, and glittering, and pendent,
Apples of Hesperides!
Not one missing, still transcendent,
Clustering like a swarm of bees.
Yielding to no man's desire,
Glowing with a saffron fire,
Splendid, unassailed, the golden
Apples of Hesperides!
Ah, the suburbs: that slice of America where we name subdivisions after the trees we've cut down to build them, where we've zoned out any hope of a bookstore or a restaurant within walking distance, where we slave over lawns that we seldom use, where our front porches are too shallow for a porch swing, where we walk the dogs but can't walk to lunch, where we don't really get to know the neighbors because nobody's planning to stick around for more than a few years, where the dominant feature of every house is the two-car garage door, where getting to know people is tougher than it needs to be because there's no village pub, no local bakery, no farmer's market—in other words, no casual gathering point where it's possible to bump into neighbors in an organic way.
Andrew Peterson (The God of the Garden: Thoughts on Creation, Culture, and the Kingdom)
It is not proof of anything. And it is nothing to boast about. It was simply a gift. I can’t reply to the thousands of emails with my own Five-Step Plan to Divine Health or series of powerful formulas, which guarantee results. I suppose I am like the man who wrote to me to say he had seen a friend swinging from a tree and felt the presence of God in the same long, dark night. Yes. That is the God I believe in.
Kate Bowler (Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I've Loved)
God can and does use anything God chooses to get our attention.
Who's to say the hawk wasn't sent as an agent of grace to catch my wandering attention and quiet what Buddhists might call my “monkey mind,” which is more often than not swinging wildly from branch to branch on intellectual and emotional trees.
On the way back down the hiking trail after my encounter with the hawk in Big Sky, I stopped thinking and started looking and listening. That's when I realized winter was turning into spring before me.
Change was happening.
Creation, and perhaps the Creator, was speaking.
I just needed to be outside to hear the voice.
Cathleen Falsani (Sin Boldly: A Field Guide for Grace)
He had fallen in love with Pagford, with the river and the fields and the solid-walled houses. He had fantasized about having a garden to play in, a tree from which to hang a swing, space and greenness everywhere.
J.K. Rowling (The Casual Vacancy)
You know, love isn't the twin-soul business. With you, for instance, women are like apples on a tree. You can have one that you can reach. Those that look best are overhead, but it's no good bothering with them. So you stretch up, perhaps you pull down a bough and just get your fingers round a good one. Then it swings back and you feel wild and you say your heart's broken. But there are plenty of apples as good for you no higher than your chest.
D.H. Lawrence (The Complete Short Stories: Volume 1)
Nina had been told regularly since she was a child that she needed more fresh air, at which she would take her book and clamber up the apple tree at the bottom of their tatty garden, away from the car her father was always tinkering with but had never driven in all the years of her childhood—she wondered what had happened to it—and hide there, braced against the trunk, her feet swinging, burying herself in Enid Blyton or Roald Dahl until she was allowed back inside again.
Jenny Colgan (The Bookshop on the Corner (Kirrinfief #1))
As Byron shouldered his way inside behind her, she gave him a friendly smile and stood on her toes to brush his chin with a kiss. Mikhail stiffened, then immediately wrapped a possessive arm around her waist. “Carpathian women do not do that kind of thing,” he reprimanded her.
She tilted her chin at him, in no way intimidated. “That’s because Carpathian males have such a territorial mentality—you know, a beat-their-chest, swing-from-the-trees sort of thing.” She turned her head to look at the couple lying on the floor. Her indrawn breath was audible.
“Jacques,” she whispered his name, tears in her voice and in her blue eyes. “It really is you.” Eluding Mikhail’s outstretched, detaining hand, she ran to him.
Let her, Gregori persuaded softly. Look at him.
Christine Feehan (Dark Desire (Dark, #2))
Anyone who knows baseball knows Ted Williams. He played professionally from 1939 to 1960 and is one of the undisputed greatest hitters of all time, right up there with Babe Ruth. But whether you’re familiar with him or not, I have news for you: Ted Williams never played baseball. Nope, he never did. The problem there is the verb: Williams wasn’t playing. To him, hitting a baseball wasn’t a game. He always took it very, very seriously. In a 1988 interview he said as a child he literally wished on a falling star that he would become the greatest hitter to ever live. But he didn’t sit around and wait for the dream to come true. His obsessive, perfectionist work ethic would bring him more success than any descending celestial body would. Williams said, “I . . . insist that regardless of physical assets, I would never have gained a headline for hitting if I [had not] kept everlastingly at it and thought of nothing else the year round . . . I only lived for my next time at bat.” Ten thousand hours to achieve expertise? Williams probably did that a few times over. He was obsessed. After school, he’d go to a local field and practice hitting until nine P.M., only stopping because that’s when they turned the lights out. Then he’d go home and practice in the backyard until his parents made him go to bed. He’d get to school early so he could fit in more swings before classes started. He’d bring his bat to class. He picked courses that had less homework, not because he was lazy but so he’d have more time for hitting.
Eric Barker (Barking Up the Wrong Tree: The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong)
The universe, which is not merely the stars and the moon and the planets, flowers, grass, and trees, but other people, has evolved no terms for your existence, has made no room for you, and if love will not swing wide the gates, no other power will or can.
James Baldwin (The Fire Next Time)
It’s like chopping down a huge tree of immense girth. You won’t accomplish it with one swing of your axe. If you keep chopping away at it, though, and do not let up, eventually, whether it wants to or not, it will suddenly topple down. When that time comes, you could round up everyone you could find and pay them to hold the tree up, but they wouldn’t be able to do it. It would still come crashing to the ground…. But if the woodcutter stopped after one or two strokes of his axe to ask the third son of Mr. Chang, “Why doesn’t this tree fall?” And after three or four more strokes stopped again to ask the fourth son of Mr. Li, “Why doesn’t this tree fall?” he would never succeed in felling the tree. It is no different for someone who is practicing the Way. —ZEN MASTER HAKUIN
Robert Greene (Mastery (The Modern Machiavellian Robert Greene Book 1))
The great oak tree had stood on a hill over the Hudson, in a lonely spot on the Taggart estate. Eddie Willers, aged seven, liked to come and look at that tree. It had stood there for hundreds of years, and he thought it would always stand there. Its roots clutched the hill like a fist with fingers sunk into the soil, and he thought that if a giant were to seize it by the top, he would not be able to uproot it, but would swing the hill and the whole of the earth with it, like a ball at the end of a string. He felt safe in the oak tree's presence; it was a thing that nothing could change or threaten; it was his greatest symbol of strength.
One night, lightning struck the oak tree. Eddie saw it next morning. It lay broken in half, and he looked into its trunk as into the mouth of a black tunnel. The trunk was only an empty shell; its heart had rotted away long ago; there was nothing inside-just a thin gray dust that was being dispersed by the whim of the faintest wind. The living power had gone, and the shape it left had not been able to stand without it.
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
Kirby experienced movement in his bowels. A strange and eerie chanting reached his ears. He swigged another intake of rum and trembled. Above the chanting, he heard the creaking of the trees. Manifesting through the mist, he perceived around a dozen black, hooded figures, swinging from the trees, nooses tightened around their necks. The redness of the fog illuminated their female faces, their sockets eyeless and their long, purple tongues protruding from the gaping mouths. The scavenging crows converged on the corpses, feeding on the rotten carcases.
Anthony Hulse (Abyss of Sinners)
That day and night, the bleeding and the screaming, had knocked something askew for Esme, like a picture swinging crooked on a wall. She loved the life she lived with her mother. It was beautiful. It was, she sometimes thought, a sweet emulation of the fairy tales they cherished in their lovely, gold-edged books. They sewed their own clothes from bolts of velvet and silk, ate all their meals as picnics, indoors or out, and danced on the rooftop, cutting passageways through the fog with their bodies. They embroidered tapestries of their own design, wove endless melodies on their violins, charted the course of the moon each month, and went to the theater and the ballet as often as they liked--every night last week to see Swan Lake again and again. Esme herself could dance like a faerie, climb trees like a squirrel, and sit so still in the park that birds would come to perch on her. Her mother had taught her all that, and for years it had been enough. But she wasn't a little girl anymore, and she had begun to catch hints and glints of another world outside her pretty little life, one filled with spice and poetry and strangers.
Laini Taylor (Lips Touch: Three Times)
Every summer we strung the old hammock between two hearty apple trees that tempered summer’s humidity with the thick shade that they poured on those that lingered beneath them. And I would swing for hours, listlessly adrift in the quiet refuge that they afforded me. And yet, while I slept wrapped in the solace of their sanctuary they were busy fashioning sweeping canopies full of apples of the sweetest sort. And in my busyness, had I not paused under their canopies all I would see are the apples that fed by body, but I would have missed the solace that fed my soul.
Craig D. Lounsbrough
The bluish, pale
face of the house
rises above me
like a wall of ice
and the distant,
barking of an owl
floats toward me.
I half close my eyes.
Over the damp
dark of the garden
back and forth
like small balloons.
The solemn trees,
in a cloud of leaves,
seem lost in sleep.
It is late.
I like in the grass,
feeling at ease,
pretending the end
will be like this.
falls on my flesh.
A breeze circles my wrist.
I know that soon
the day will come
to wash away the moon's
that I shall walk
in the morning sun
Mark Strand (Reasons for Moving)
A single parrot locked in a cage is the saddest sight imaginable once you've sat under a fruiting rainforest tree full of chuckling birds, deftly plucking fruits, continuously chattering to each other, and occasionally taking a break from feeding to swing by their beaks from a branch just for the hell of it.
Steve Nicholls (Paradise Found: Nature in America at the Time of Discovery)
From his beach bag the man took an old penknife with a red handle and began to etch the signs of the letters onto nice flat pebbles. At the same time, he spoke to Mondo about everything there was in the letters, about everything you could see in them when you looked and when you listened. He spoke about A, which is like a big fly with its wings pulled back; about B, which is funny, with its two tummies; or C and D, which are like the moon, a crescent moon or a half-full moon; and then there was O, which was the full moon in the black sky. H is high, a ladder to climb up trees or to reach the roofs of houses; E and F look like a rake and a shovel; and G is like a fat man sitting in an armchair. I dances on tiptoes, with a little head popping up each time it bounces, whereas J likes to swing. K is broken like an old man, R takes big strides like a soldier, and Y stands tall, its arms up in the air, and it shouts: help! L is a tree on the river's edge, M is a mountain, N is for names, and people waving their hands, P is asleep on one paw, and Q is sitting on its tail; S is always a snake, Z is always a bolt of lightning, T is beautiful, like the mast on a ship, U is like a vase, V and W are birds, birds in flight; and X is a cross to help you remember.
J.M.G. Le Clézio (Mondo et autres histoires)
I turned to go home. Street lights winked down the street all the way to town. I
had never seen our neighborhood from this angle. There were Miss Maudie’s,
Miss Stephanie’s—there was our house, I could see the porch swing—Miss
Rachel’s house was beyond us, plainly visible. I could even see Mrs. Dubose’s.
I looked behind me. To the left of the brown door was a long shuttered window. I
walked to it, stood in front of it, and turned around. In daylight, I thought, you
could see to the postoffice corner.
Daylight… in my mind, the night faded. It was daytime and the neighborhood
was busy. Miss Stephanie Crawford crossed the street to tell the latest to Miss
Rachel. Miss Maudie bent over her 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 yard with their
friend, enacting a strange little drama of their own invention.
It was fall, and his children fought on the 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 woes and triumphs on their
faces. 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 shot a
Summer, and he watched his children’s heart break. Autumn again, and Boo’s
children needed him.
Atticus was right. One time he said you never really know a man until you stand
in his shoes and walk around in them. Just standing on the Radley porch was
Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird: York Notes for GCSE (New Edition))
In Coffeeville, Miss., at 6 p.m., there was a golden light and a child swinging in it, swinging from a big tree, over a big lawn, back and forth in front of a big airy house. To be a white middle-class child in a small southern town must be on certain levels the most golden way for a child to live in the United States.
Joan Didion (South and West: From a Notebook)
The universe, which is not merely the stars and the moon and the planets, flowers, grass, and trees, but other people, has evolved no terms for your existence, has made no room for you, and if love will not swing wide the gates, no other power will or can. And if one despairs—as who has not?—of human love, God’s love alone is left.
James Baldwin (The Fire Next Time)
Gavin stood within the trees, observing her from the shadows. He watched the basket rise to her nose as she closed her eyes to sniff at its contents. A smile told him it smelled delicious, but she didn’t open the container to pinch off a sample. Instead, the basket lowered to swing at her side as it had previously done.
All at once the air was filled with soft singing--a sweet, merry tune comprised of ludicrous lyrics. It was impossible not to grin at the words.
“Rainbows paint the sky ‘til the sun melts their colors.
Swinging in the wind, whiskered cattails purr.
The pigs gallop by and snort at the moon,
While frogs kiss the lizards and princesses too.”
Richelle E. Goodrich (Secrets of a Noble Key Keeper)
The setting sun that lights the tips
Of TV's giant paperclips
Upon the roof;
The shadow of the doorknob that
At sundown is a baseball bat
Upon the door,
The cardinal that likes to sit
And make chip-wit, chip-wit, chip-wit
Upon the tree;
The empty little swing that swings
Under the tree: these are the things
That break my heart.
Vladimir Nabokov (Pale Fire)
It’s odd God.
Time’s shoeless feet
sneaked up on me
and caught me by surprise. The days of youth I knew so well
are gone with the blink of an eye.
Innocent play and laughter,
tire swings and fun,
those days were too soon ended
when I thought they’d only begun. Backyard friends were many
Worries and fears were few.
Hopes and dreams were not yet dashed.
But life as it was then is through.
No longer tree swings,
now they’re blowouts
that complicate schedules and work
as I recklessly race down the freeway
in search of a paycheck and perks. How I long for the years of my childhood,
when life was uncluttered and free.
Perhaps there’s a way to reprogram my goals
and capture the me that was me.
Ravi Zacharias (Recapture the Wonder)
The Last Hero
The wind blew out from Bergen from the dawning to the day,
There was a wreck of trees and fall of towers a score of miles away,
And drifted like a livid leaf I go before its tide,
Spewed out of house and stable, beggared of flag and bride.
The heavens are bowed about my head, shouting like seraph wars,
With rains that might put out the sun and clean the sky of stars,
Rains like the fall of ruined seas from secret worlds above,
The roaring of the rains of God none but the lonely love.
Feast in my hall, O foemen, and eat and drink and drain,
You never loved the sun in heaven as I have loved the rain.
The chance of battle changes -- so may all battle be;
I stole my lady bride from them, they stole her back from me.
I rent her from her red-roofed hall, I rode and saw arise,
More lovely than the living flowers the hatred in her eyes.
She never loved me, never bent, never was less divine;
The sunset never loved me, the wind was never mine.
Was it all nothing that she stood imperial in duresse?
Silence itself made softer with the sweeping of her dress.
O you who drain the cup of life, O you who wear the crown,
You never loved a woman's smile as I have loved her frown.
The wind blew out from Bergen to the dawning of the day,
They ride and run with fifty spears to break and bar my way,
I shall not die alone, alone, but kin to all the powers,
As merry as the ancient sun and fighting like the flowers.
How white their steel, how bright their eyes! I love each laughing knave,
Cry high and bid him welcome to the banquet of the brave.
Yea, I will bless them as they bend and love them where they lie,
When on their skulls the sword I swing falls shattering from the sky.
The hour when death is like a light and blood is like a rose, --
You never loved your friends, my friends, as I shall love my foes.
Know you what earth shall lose to-night, what rich uncounted loans,
What heavy gold of tales untold you bury with my bones?
My loves in deep dim meadows, my ships that rode at ease,
Ruffling the purple plumage of strange and secret seas.
To see this fair earth as it is to me alone was given,
The blow that breaks my brow to-night shall break the dome of heaven.
The skies I saw, the trees I saw after no eyes shall see,
To-night I die the death of God; the stars shall die with me;
One sound shall sunder all the spears and break the trumpet's breath:
You never laughed in all your life as I shall laugh in death.
My turn,” Anthony barked. He gave the pink ball a disdainful glance, then gave it a good whack. It sailed splendidly over the grass, only to slam into a tree and drop like a stone to the ground.
“Brilliant!” Colin exclaimed, getting ready to take his turn.
Anthony muttered a few things under his breath, none of which were suitable for gentle ears.
Colin sent the yellow ball toward the first wicket, then stepped aside to let Kate try her hand.
“Might I have a practice swing?” she inquired.
“No.” It was a rather loud no, coming, as it did, from three mouths.
“Very well,” she grumbled. “Stand back, all of you. I won’t be held responsible if I injure anyone on the first try.” She drew back on her mallet with all her might and slammed it into the ball. It sailed through the air in a rather impressive arc, then smacked into the same tree that had foiled Anthony and plopped on the ground right next to his ball.
“Oh, dear,” Daphne said, setting her aim by drawing back on her mallet a few times without actually hitting the ball.
“Why ‘oh, dear’?” Kate asked worriedly, not reassured by the duchess’s faintly pitying smile.
“You’ll see.” Daphne took her turn, then marched off in the direction of her ball.
Kate looked over at Anthony. He looked very, very pleased with the current state of affairs.
“What are you going to do to me?” she asked.
He leaned forward devilishly. “What am I not going to do to you might be a more appropriate question.
Julia Quinn (The Viscount Who Loved Me (Bridgertons, #2))
You walk down a hallway papered in playing cards, row upon row of clubs and spades. Lanterns fashioned from additional cards hang above, swinging gently as you pass by. A door at the end of the hall leads to a spiraling iron staircase. The stairs go both up and down. You go up, finding a trapdoor in the ceiling. The room it opens into is full of feathers that flutter downward. When you walk through them, they fall like snow over the door in the floor, obscuring it from sight. There are six identical doors. You choose one at random, trailing a few feathers with you. The scent of pine is overwhelming as you enter the next room to find yourself in a forest full of evergreen trees. Only these trees are not green but bright and white, luminous in the darkness surrounding them. They are difficult to navigate. As soon as you begin walking the walls are lost in shadows and branches. There is a sound like a woman laughing nearby, or perhaps it is only the rustling of the trees as you push your way forward, searching for the next door, the next room. You feel the warmth of breath on your neck, but when you turn there is no one there.
Erin Morgenstern (The Night Circus)
That night, after we'd had our tea, Kevin and I went bird-watching. Not the usual sort, plodding round the fields with great binoculars round your neck (though I did take my work binoculars). No, we go up in the big trees in the wood, where the birds live. Right to the tops we go, where the branches sway and swing like a comfy bed, and you can look along the green billows of the tree-tops. In spring, we take the eggs out of the nests, handling them gentle, like, and putting them back afterwards of course. An' getting away quickly, so the hen-bird can come back and sit on them again. That's a wonder of life to me; to hold a speckled egg in the palm of your hand, and think what a marvellous thing it's going to become, a bird that flies and feeds and takes its chance with the cats, and breeds its own young and dies back into the dust in the end. Why does anyone need those crazy Christian dreams of Heaven, wi' angels playin' their harps on fleecy clouds, when they can have a wood at sunset, when you can look down from a low branch and see young rabbits playing, or even young foxes tumbling over and over and squeaking when they nip each other with their sharp little teeth?
Robert Westall (The Stones of Muncaster Cathedral)
For me, what a single firefly can do is this: it can light a memory I thought was long lost in roadsides overrun with Queen Anne’s lace and goldenrod, a peach pie cooling in the window of a distant house. It might make me feel like I’m traveling again to a gathering of loved ones dining seaside on a Greek island, listening to cicada song and a light wind rustling the mimosa trees. A single firefly might be the spark that sends us back to our grandmother’s backyard to listen for whip-poor-wills; the spark that sends us back to splashing in an ice-cold creek bed, with our jeans rolled up to our knees, until we shudder and gasp, our toes fully wrinkled. In that spark is a slowdown and tenderness. Listen: Boom. Can you hear that? The cassowary is trying to tell us something. Boom. Did you see that? A single firefly is, too. Such a tiny light, for such a considerable task. Its luminescence could very well be the spark that reminds us to make a most necessary turn- a shift and a swing and a switch- toward cherishing this magnificent and wondrous planet. Boom. Boom. You might think of a heartbeat- your own. A child’s. Someone else’s. Or some thing’s heart. And in that slowdown, you might think it’s a kind of love. And you’d be right.
Aimee Nezhukumatathil (World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments)
Each time Kostas pushed her on the swing, watching her fly away from him, up into the air, laughing and kicking her legs, Ada would shout, ‘Higher, Daddy, higher!’ Struggling with the fear that she might flip over or the metal chains might break off, he would push her harder, and then, as the swing came back, he would have to move out of the way to make space for her. And so it still was, this back and forth, with the father ceding space to his daughter so she could have her freedom.
Elif Shafak (The Island of Missing Trees)
I glance around the set—everyone is buzzing like worker bees getting ready for the shot. Cordelia’s getting primped and powdered by a makeup girl, Vanessa is speaking with a few of the cameramen, and the convertible I’m supposed to drive is just sitting there . . . all by its lonesome.
And look at that—someone left the keys in the ignition.
Stealthily, I sidle up to Sarah.
“Have you ever driven in a convertible?”
She looks up sharply, like she didn’t see me approach. “Of course I have.”
My hands slide into my pockets and I lean back on my heels.
“Have you ever been in a convertible driven by a prince?”
Her eyes are lighter in the sun, with a hint of gold. They crinkle as she smiles.
I nod. “Perfect. We do this in three.”
Now she looks nervous. “Do what?”
I spot James across the way, eyes scanning the crowd—far enough away that he’ll never get over here in time.
“Three . . .”
“I don’t know what you mean.”
“Two . . .”
“Henry . . .”
“I . . .”
“Go, go, go!”
“Go where?” she asks, loud enough to draw attention.
So I wrap my arm around her waist, lift her off her feet, carry her to the car, and swing her up and into the passenger seat. Then, I jump into the driver’s side.
“Shit!” James curses. But then the engine is roaring to life. I back out, knocking over a food service table, and the tires screech as I turn around and drive across the grounds . . . toward the woods.
“The road is that way!” Sarah yells, the wind making her long, dark hair dance and swirl.
“I know a shortcut. Buckle up.”
We fly into the woods, sending a flurry of leaves in our wake. The car bounces and jostles, and I feel Sarah’s hand wrapped around my arm—holding on. It feels good.
I push her head down and crouch at the same time, to avoid getting whipped in the face by the low-branch of a pine tree.
After we’re past it, Sarah sits up, owl-eyed, and looks back at the branch and then at me.
I smirk. “If you wanted me to push your head down, love, you could’ve just said so.”
I hit the gas hard, swerving around a stump. “What? You’re the only one who gets to make dirty jokes?”
We have a sharp turn coming up ahead. I lay my arm across Sarah’s middle. “Hold on.
Emma Chase (Royally Matched (Royally, #2))
Big Yellow Taxi
They paved paradise
Put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique
And a swinging hot spot
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got till it's gone?
They paved paradise
Put up a parking lot
They took all the trees
Put 'em in a tree museum
And they charged the people
A dollar and a half just to see 'em
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got till it's gone?
They paved paradise
Put up a parking lot
Hey farmer, farmer
Put away the DDT now
Give me spots on my apples
But leave me the birds and the bees, please
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got till it's gone?
They paved paradise
Put up a parking lot
Late last night
I heard the screen door slam
And a big yellow taxi
Took away my old man
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got till it's gone?
They paved paradise
Put up a parking lot
I said, "Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got till it's gone?
They paved paradise
Put up a parking lot"
They paved paradise
Put up a parking lot
They paved paradise
Put up a parking lot
Green, how I want you green.
Green wind. Green branches.
The ship out on the sea
and the horse on the mountain.
With the shade around her waist
she dreams on her balcony,
green flesh, her hair green,
with eyes of cold silver.
Green, how I want you green.
Under the gypsy moon,
all things are watching her
and she cannot see them.
Green, how I want you green.
Big hoarfrost stars
come with the fish of shadow
that opens the road of dawn.
The fig tree rubs its wind
with the sandpaper of its branches,
and the forest, cunning cat,
bristles its brittle fibers.
But who will come? And from where?
She is still on her balcony
green flesh, her hair green,
dreaming in the bitter sea.
—My friend, I want to trade
my horse for her house,
my saddle for her mirror,
my knife for her blanket.
My friend, I come bleeding
from the gates of Cabra.
—If it were possible, my boy,
I’d help you fix that trade.
But now I am not I,
nor is my house now my house.
—My friend, I want to die
decently in my bed.
Of iron, if that’s possible,
with blankets of fine chambray.
Don’t you see the wound I have
from my chest up to my throat?
—Your white shirt has grown
thirsty dark brown roses.
Your blood oozes and flees a
round the corners of your sash.
But now I am not I,
nor is my house now my house.
—Let me climb up, at least,
up to the high balconies;
Let me climb up! Let me,
up to the green balconies.
Railings of the moon
through which the water rumbles.
Now the two friends climb up,
up to the high balconies.
Leaving a trail of blood.
Leaving a trail of teardrops.
Tin bell vines
were trembling on the roofs.
A thousand crystal tambourines
struck at the dawn light.
Green, how I want you green,
green wind, green branches.
The two friends climbed up.
The stiff wind left
in their mouths, a strange taste
of bile, of mint, and of basil
My friend, where is she—tell me—
where is your bitter girl?
How many times she waited for you!
How many times would she wait for you,
cool face, black hair,
on this green balcony!
Over the mouth of the cistern
the gypsy girl was swinging,
green flesh, her hair green,
with eyes of cold silver.
An icicle of moon
holds her up above the water.
The night became intimate
like a little plaza.
Drunken “Guardias Civiles”
were pounding on the door.
Green, how I want you green.
Green wind. Green branches.
The ship out on the sea.
And the horse on the mountain.
Federico García Lorca (The Selected Poems)
The sound of summer is everywhere—in the passing breeze, in the hedge, in the broad branching trees, in the grass as it swings; all the myriad particles that together make the summer are in motion. The sap moves in the trees, the pollen is pushed out from grass and flower, and yet again these acres and acres of leaves and square miles of grass blades—for they would cover acres and square miles if reckoned edge to edge—are drawing their strength from the atmosphere. Exceedingly minute as these vibrations must be, their numbers perhaps may give them a volume almost reaching in the aggregate to the power of the ear
Richard Jefferies (The Life Of The Fields)
if they label you soft, feather weight and white-livered,
if the locker room tosses back its sweaty head,
and laughs at how quiet your hands stay,
if they come to trample the dandelions roaring in your throat,
you tell them that you were forged inside of a woman
who had to survive fifteen different species of disaster
to bring you here,
and you didn’t come to piss on trees.
you ain’t nobody’s thick-necked pitbull boy,
don’t need to prove yourself worthy of this inheritance
of street-corner logic, this
blood legend, this
index of catcalls, “three hundred ways to turn a woman
into a three course meal”, this
legacy of shame, and man,
and pillage, and man,
and rape, and man.
you won’t be some girl’s slit wrists dazzling the bathtub,
won’t be some girl’s,
“i didn’t ask for it but he gave it to me anyway”,
the torn skirt panting behind the bedroom door,
some father’s excuse to polish his gun.
if they say, “take what you want”, you tell them
you already have everything you need;
you come from scabbed knuckles
and women who never stopped swinging,
you come men who drank away their life savings,
and men who raised daughters alone.
you come from love you gotta put your back into,
elbow-grease loving like slow-dancing on dirty linoleum,
you come from that house of worship.
boy, i dare you to hold something like that.
love whatever feels most like your grandmother’s cooking.
love whatever music looks best on your feet.
whatever woman beckons your blood to the boiling point,
you treat her like she is the god of your pulse,
you treat her like you would want your father to treat me:
i dare you to be that much man one day.
that you would give up your seat on the train
to the invisible women, juggling babies and groceries.
that you would hold doors, and say thank-you,
and understand that women know they are beautiful
without you having to yell it at them from across the street.
the day i hear you call a woman a “bitch”
is the day i dig my own grave.
see how you feel writing that eulogy.
and if you are ever left with your love’s skin trembling under your nails,
if there is ever a powder-blue heart
left for dead on your doorstep,
and too many places in this city that remind you of her tears,
be gentle when you drape the remains of your lives in burial cloth.
don’t think yourself mighty enough to turn her into a poem,
or a song,
or some other sweetness to soften the blow,
i dare you to break like that.
you look too much like your mother not t
One Or Two Things
Don't bother me
The butterfly's loping flight
carries it through the country of the leaves
delicately, and well enough to get it
where it wants to go, wherever that is, stopping
here and there to fuzzle the damp throats
of flowers and the black mud; up
and down it swings, frenzied and aimless; and sometimes
for long delicious moments it is perfectly
lazy, riding motionless in the breeze of the soft stalk
of some ordinary flower
The god of dirt
came up to me many times and said
so many wise and delectable things; I lay
on the grass listening
to his dog voice,
frog voice; now
he said, and now,
and never once mentioned forever,
which has nevertheless always been,
like a sharp iron hoof,
at the center of my mind.
One or two things are all you need
to travel over the blue pond, over the deep
roughage of the trees and through the stiff
flowers of lightning --- some deep
memory of pleasure, some cutting
knowledge of pain.
But to lift the hoof!
For that you need
For years and years I struggled
just to love my life. And then
rose, weightless, in the wind.
"Don't love your life
too much," it said,
into the world.
Mary Oliver (New and Selected Poems, Volume One)
Those people who shoot endless time-lapse films of unfurling roses and tulips have the wrong idea. They should train their cameras instead on the melting of pack ice, the green filling of ponds, the tidal swings…They should film the glaciers of Greenland, some of which creak along at such a fast clip that even the dogs bark at them. They should film the invasion of the southernmost Canadian tundra by the northernmost spruce-fir forest, which is happening right now at the rate of a mile every 10 years. When the last ice sheet receded from the North American continent, the earth rebounded 10 feet. Wouldn’t that have been a sight to see?
Annie Dillard (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek)
Contrary to her sister-in-law Janie’s claims, Celia hadn’t been in love with Kyle Gilchrist since her childhood—she’d simply loved to annoy him. ... Armed with childish logic, Celia made it her mission to get under Kyle’s skin as often as possible.
She’d drawn hearts emblazoned with her name on every one of his school notebooks.
He’d retaliated by stringing up her My Little Pony collection from a tree.
She’d pushed him into the stock tank.
He’d held her down and tickled her until she peed her pants.
She’d put a snapping turtle in his gym bag.
He’d tied her to the tire swing and spun her until she puked.
All harmless pranks that demanded retaliation.
Lorelei James (One Night Rodeo (Blacktop Cowboys, #4))
I walk outside and the green on the trees seems greener, so potent I can almost taste it. Maybe I can taste it, and it is like the grass I decided to chew when I was a child just to see what it was like. I almost fall down the stairs because of the swaying and burst into laughter when the grass tickles my bare feet. I wander toward the orchard.
“Four!” I call out. Why am I calling out a number? Oh yes. Because that’s his name. I call out again. “Four! Where are you?”
“Tris?” says a voice from the trees on my right. It almost sounds like the tree is talking to me. I giggle, but of course it’s just Tobias, ducking under a branch.
I run toward him, and the ground lurches to the side, so I almost fall. His hand touches my waist, steadies me. The touch sends a shock through my body, and all my insides burn like his fingers ignited them. I pull closer to him, pressing my body against his, and lift my head to kiss him.
“What did they--” he starts, but I stop him with my lips. He kisses me back, but too quickly, so I sigh heavily.
“That was lame,” I say. “Okay, no it wasn’t, but…”
I stand on my tiptoes to kiss him again, and he presses his finger to my lips to stop me.
“Tris,” he says. “What did they do to you? You’re acting like a lunatic.”
“That’s not very nice of you to say,” I say. “They put me in a good mood, that’s all. And now I really want to kiss you, so if you could just relax--”
“I’m not going to kiss you. I’m going to figure out what’s going on,” he says.
I pout my lower lip for a second, but then I grin as the pieces come together in my mind.
“That’s why you like me!” I exclaim. “Because you’re not very nice either! It makes so much more sense now.”
“Come on,” he says. “We’re going to see Johanna.”
“I like you, too.”
“That’s encouraging,” he replies flatly. “Come on. Oh, for God’s sake. I’ll just carry you.”
He swings me into his arms, one arm under my knees and the other around my back. I wrap my arms around his neck and plant a kiss on his cheek. Then I discover that the air feels nice on my feet when I kick them, so I move my feet up and down as he walks us toward the building where Johanna works.
Veronica Roth (Insurgent (Divergent, #2))
Affraig’s eyes moved to the oak tree that towered above her, its branches like antlers against the white sky. Her gaze travelled up to the weathered web that hung from one of the higher boughs, the slender noose swinging inside. In her mind she saw herself weaving it while she chanted words against Malachy’s wrathful curse. She remembered the lord’s hand settling on her shoulder, the hiss of the fire,
his breath on her neck and, outside, stars falling like fiery rain. Her gaze moved west towards Turnberry.
Her memory clouded with thoughts of the earl, but as she thought of his son her mind cleared. The stars had been falling too on the night he was born. She remembered seeing Mars, full and red, a bloody eye winking in the black.
Robyn Young (Insurrection (The Insurrection Trilogy, #1))
And under the cicadas, deeper down that the longest taproot, between and beneath the rounded black rocks and slanting slabs of sandstone in the earth, ground water is creeping. Ground water seeps and slides, across and down, across and down, leaking from here to there, minutely at a rate of a mile a year. What a tug of waters goes on! There are flings and pulls in every direction at every moment. The world is a wild wrestle under the grass; earth shall be moved.
What else is going on right this minute while ground water creeps under my feet? The galaxy is careening in a slow, muffled widening. If a million solar systems are born every hour, then surely hundreds burst into being as I shift my weight to the other elbow. The sun’s surface is now exploding; other stars implode and vanish, heavy and black, out of sight. Meteorites are arcing to earth invisibly all day long. On the planet, the winds are blowing: the polar easterlies, the westerlies, the northeast and southeast trades. Somewhere, someone under full sail is becalmed, in the horse latitudes, in the doldrums; in the northland, a trapper is maddened, crazed, by the eerie scent of the chinook, the sweater, a wind that can melt two feet of snow in a day. The pampero blows, and the tramontane, and the Boro, sirocco, levanter, mistral. Lick a finger; feel the now.
Spring is seeping north, towards me and away from me, at sixteen miles a day. Along estuary banks of tidal rivers all over the world, snails in black clusters like currants are gliding up and down the stems of reed and sedge, migrating every moment with the dip and swing of tides. Behind me, Tinker Mountain is eroding one thousandth of an inch a year. The sharks I saw are roving up and down the coast. If the sharks cease roving, if they still their twist and rest for a moment, they die. They need new water pushed into their gills; they need dance. Somewhere east of me, on another continent, it is sunset, and starlings in breathtaking bands are winding high in the sky to their evening roost. The mantis egg cases are tied to the mock-orange hedge; within each case, within each egg, cells elongate, narrow, and split; cells bubble and curve inward, align, harden or hollow or stretch. And where are you now?
Annie Dillard (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek)
When she thinks of Christmastime now she thinks of Carricklea, lights strung up over Main Street, the glowing plastic Santa Claus in the window of Kelleher’s with its animated arm waving a stiff, repetitive greeting. Tinfoil snowflakes hanging in the town pharmacy. The door of the butcher shop swinging open and shut, voices calling out on the corner. Breath rising as mist in the church car park at night. Foxfield in the evening, houses quiet as sleeping cats, windows bright. The Christmas tree in Connell’s front room, tinsel bristling, furniture cramped to make space, and the high, delighted sound of laughter. He said he would be sorry not to see her. Won’t be the same without you, he wrote. She felt stupid then and wanted to cry. Her life is so sterile now and has no beauty in it anymore
Sally Rooney (Normal People)
You’ll never be the heavyweight champion of the world,” he said, “but you should be able to duck anything Edward throws at you.”
Theo wanted his turn, but John said it was too hot for more lessons. He looked up into the tree where Hannah sat swinging her feet, and smiled. “Maybe your sister will come down from her perch and offer us a nice cold glass of lemonade.”
Hannah gave her hand to John and allowed him to help her. “Not that I need your assistance,” she said. “I’m merely practicing my manners.”
We watched John and Hannah walk away, still holding hands. “He’s as bad as diphtheria,” Theo muttered.
“What do you mean?”
“Diphtheria made you into a perfect gentleman,” Theo said, “and John makes Hannah into a perfect lady. I’m sure I don’t know which is worse--being sick or falling in love.
Mary Downing Hahn (Time for Andrew: A Ghost Story)
Once he had reached the top, he looked down on the town at his feet. Such repose, such tranquility, what a lesson in calmness! Seeing it, he was ashamed of his troubled existence. He renounced the love that brought him misery for the love of the town. It took hold of him again, suffusing his entire being as it had done during the first days of the Flemish Movement. How beautiful Bruges still was, seen from above, with its belfries, its pinnacles, its stepped gables like stairs to climb up to the land of dreams, to return to the great days of yesteryear. Among the roofs were canals fanned by the trees, quiet streets with a few women making their way in cloaks, swinging like silent bells. Lethargic peace! The sweetness of renunciation! A queen in exile, the widow of History whose only desire, basically, was to carve her own tomb.
Georges Rodenbach (The Bells of Bruges)
I took my solo and beat hell out of the skins. Then Spoof swiped at his mouth and let go with a blast and moved it up into that squeal and stopped and started playing. It was all headwork. All new to us.
New to anybody.
I saw Sonny get a look on his face, and we sat still and listened while Spoof made love to that horn.
Now like a scream, now like a laugh - now we're swinging in the trees, now the white men are coming, now we're in the boat and chains are hanging from our ankles and we're rowing, rowing - Spoof, what is it? - now we're sawing wood and picking cotton and serving up those cool cool drinks to the Colonel in his chair - Well, blow, man! - now we're free, and we're struttin' down Lenox Avenue and State & Madison and Pirate's Alley, laughing, crying - Who said free? - and we want to go back and we don't want to go back - Play it, Spoof! God, God, tell us all about it! Talk to us! - and we're sitting in a cellar with a comb wrapped up in paper, with a skin-barrel and a tinklebox - Don't stop, Spoof! Oh Lord, please don't stop! - and we're making something, something, what is it? Is it jazz? Why, yes, Lord, it's jazz. Thank you, sir, and thank you, sir, we finally got it, something that is ours, something great that belongs to us and to us alone, that we made, and that's why it's important and that's what it's all about and - Spoof! Spoof, you can;t stop now --
But it was over, middle of the trip. And there was Spoof standing there facing us and tears streaming out of those eyes and down over that coaldust face, and his body shaking and shaking. It's the first we ever saw that. It's the first we ever heard him cough, too - like a shotgun going off every two seconds, big raking sounds that tore up from the bottom of his belly and spilled out wet and loud. ("Black Country")
Charles Beaumont (American Fantastic Tales: Terror and the Uncanny from the 1940s to Now)
Falling isn’t like any other kind of stunt work. To fall, you have to understand the ground. You have to embrace not being on your feet. […] It’s about letting go. It might sound crazy, but it’s a kind of acceptance. A being right there and a not being there. […] It’s much more than the possibility of being hurt. It might have started out that way, when our ancestors were swinging from trees, but it’s become this whole moral metaphor. A fall from grace. Pride before a fall. Feeling good means you’re up, bad means you’re down.”
“Exactly. It’s the most basic prohibition of all: Do not fall. It’s drummed into us. We’re not as scared of the landing as we are the falling. Think about it. A fall from thirty feet can kill you just as dead as one from a hundred feet, but fewer stunters will do a hundred feet because it just feels more scary—and that’s because it takes longer to fall.
Nicola Griffith (Always (Aud Torvingen #3))
Rosie flicks out her second knife and takes aim. It spins out of her hand like a star, straight at the Alpha’s chest. But the Alpha knocks it away easily. He raises a clawed hand at my sister and I feel a scream erupting in my throat, recognizing the motion from seven years ago. The swing will take my sister’s eye. I storm through the still-transforming Fenris, swinging my hatchet as if I’m hacking at tree limbs. Rosie’s eyes widen in horror as the Alpha’s claws being to descend. I grit my teeth and force my body forward, now ignoring the other wolves, desperate to reach her.
A roaring scream, all human but as fierce as any Fenris howl, echoes through the parking lot. My head snaps to see its source: Silas is running toward Rosie, hunting knives in one hand, axe aloft in the other. His eyes burn brighter than any hellfire. He swings out just as the Alpha’s claws are about to reach Rosie’s face, knocking the monster out of the way.
Jackson Pearce (Sisters Red (Fairytale Retellings, #1))
The day we visited, mothers were chatting comfortably on one of the benches while their children ran around happily exploring and playing games. The beauty of natural playgrounds is that they tap directly into children’s passions. In traditional playspaces constructed of metal and plastic, decisions about what to play are made by the designers. First you swing. Then you go down the slide. Too often, the result is competition, with kids arguing over who gets to do what, followed by frustration and tears. Conversely, in natural play areas, the child is boss. Imaginations are fired up as kids invent games with the available loose parts. Studies show that interactions tend to be more cooperative as well. Bullying is greatly decreased, and both vandalism and aggressive behavior also go down if there is a tree canopy. And with greater engagement comes longer play intervals, about three times longer compared with old-style play equipment.
Scott D. Sampson (How to Raise a Wild Child: The Art and Science of Falling in Love with Nature)
To “put up a straw man” is to intentionally caricature a person’s argument with the aim of attacking the caricature rather than the actual argument. Misrepresenting, misquoting, misconstruing, and oversimplifying an opponent’s position are all means by which one can commit this fallacy. The straw man argument is usually more absurd than the actual argument, making it an easier target to attack. It may also lure the other person toward defending the more ridiculous argument rather than their original one. For example, a skeptic of Darwinism might say, “My opponent is trying to convince you that we evolved from chimpanzees who were swinging from trees, a truly ludicrous claim.” This is a misrepresentation of what evolutionary biology actually claims, which is that humans and chimpanzees shared a common ancestor millions of years ago. Misrepresenting the idea is much easier than refuting the evidence for it. Informal Fallacy › Red Herring › Straw Man
Ali Almossawi (An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments: Learn the Lost Art of Making Sense)
From: Audrey Griffin To: Soo-Lin Lee-Segal Hello, stranger! It turns out you were right. Hotel living has finally lost its luster. I’m taking you up on your offer to host us chez Lee-Segal. Don’t worry! I know you’re busy with your big new job, and I wouldn’t dream of inconveniencing you. I looked for you at drop-off today. Lincoln told me you’re working such long hours you don’t even have a Christmas tree! I’m going to swing by my garage and grab my bins of decorations. I’ll have your house trimmed by the time you return. Don’t try to stop me. You know Christmas is my favorite holiday! How’s this for irony? Remember when you were divorcing Barry, and Warren handled the whole thing for you gratis, saving you thirty thousand dollars? Remember when you literally sobbed in gratitude, promising you’d make it up to us? Here’s your chance! I’ll let myself in with the key under the cupid. One question. What do you want for dinner? I’m going to have a feast waiting when you get home.
Maria Semple (Where'd You Go, Bernadette)
The Shadow on the Stone
I went by the Druid stone
That stands in the garden white and lone,
And I stopped and looked at the shifting shadows
That at some moments there are thrown
From the tree hard by with a rhythmic swing,
And they shaped in my imagining
To the shade that a well-known head and shoulders
Threw there when she was gardening.
I thought her behind my back,
Yea, her I long had learned to lack,
And I said: “I am sure you are standing behind me,
Though how do you get into this old track?”
And there was no sound but the fall of a leaf
As a sad response; and to keep down grief
I would not turn my head to discover
That there was nothing in my belief.
Yet I wanted to look and see
That nobody stood at the back of me;
But I thought once more: “Nay, I’ll not unvision
A shape which, somehow, there may be.”
So I went on softly from the glade,
And left her behind me throwing her shade,
As she were indeed an apparition—
My head unturned lest my dream should fade.
Thomas Hardy (Moments of Vision and Miscellaneous Verses)
Ode to the Beloved’s Hips"
Bells are they—shaped on the eighth day—silvered
percussion in the morning—are the morning.
Swing switch sway. Hold the day away a little
longer, a little slower, a little easy. Call to me—
I wanna rock, I-I wanna rock, I-I wanna rock
right now—so to them I come—struck-dumb
chime-blind, tolling with a throat full of Hosanna.
How many hours bowed against this Infinity of Blessed
Trinity? Communion of Pelvis, Sacrum, Femur.
My mouth—terrible angel, ever-lasting novena,
O, the places I have laid them, knelt and scooped
the amber—fast honey—from their openness—
Ah Muzen Cab’s hidden Temple of Tulúm—licked
smooth the sticky of her hip—heat-thrummed ossa
coxae. Lambent slave to ilium and ischium—I never tire
to shake this wild hive, split with thumb the sweet-
dripped comb—hot hexagonal hole—dark diamond—
to its nectar-dervished queen. Meanad tongue—
come-drunk hum-tranced honey-puller—for her hips,
I am—strummed-song and succubus.
They are the sign: hip. And the cosign: a great book—
the body’s Bible opened up to its Good News Gospel.
Alleluias, Ave Marías, madre mías, ay yay yays,
Ay Dios míos, and hip-hip-hooray.
Cult of Coccyx. Culto de cadera.
Oracle of Orgasm. Rorschach’s riddle:
What do I see? Hips:
Innominate bone. Wish bone. Orpheus bone.
Transubstantiation bone—hips of bread,
wine-whet thighs. Say the word and healed I shall be:
Bone butterfly. Bone wings. Bone Ferris wheel.
Bone basin bone throne bone lamp.
Apparition in the bone grotto—6th mystery—
slick rosary bead—Déme la gracia of a decade
in this garden of carmine flower. Exile me
to the enormous orchard of Alcinous—spiced fruit,
laden-tree—Imparadise me. Because, God,
I am guilty. I am sin-frenzied and full of teeth
for pear upon apple upon fig.
More than all that are your hips.
They are a city. They are Kingdom—
Troy, the hollowed horse, an army of desire—
thirty soldiers in the belly, two in the mouth.
Beloved, your hips are the war.
At night your legs, love, are boulevards
leading me beggared and hungry to your candy
house, your baroque mansion. Even when I am late
and the tables have been cleared,
in the kitchen of your hips, let me eat cake.
O, constellation of pelvic glide—every curve,
a luster, a star. More infinite still, your hips are
kosmic, are universe—galactic carousel of burning
comets and Big Big Bangs. Millennium Falcon,
let me be your Solo. O, hot planet, let me
circumambulate. O, spiral galaxy, I am coming
for your dark matter.
Along las calles de tus muslos I wander—
follow the parade of pulse like a drum line—
descend into your Plaza del Toros—
hands throbbing Miura bulls, dark Isleros.
Your arched hips—ay, mi torera.
Down the long corridor, your wet walls
lead me like a traje de luces—all glitter, glowed.
I am the animal born to rush your rich red
muletas—each breath, each sigh, each groan,
a hooked horn of want. My mouth at your inner
thigh—here I must enter you—mi pobre
Manolete—press and part you like a wound—
make the crowd pounding in the grandstand
of your iliac crest rise up in you and cheer.
A sudden wind rustled through the birches; a gust of yellow leaves came storming down. I took a sip of my drink. 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)
I lie flat, the damp air above me like a lid. Like earth. I wish it would rain. Better still, a thunderstorm, black clouds, lightning, car-splitting sound. The electricity might go off. I could go down to the kitchen then, say I'm afraid, sit with Rita and Cora around the kitchen table, they would permit my fear because it's one they share, they'd let me in. There would be candles burning, we would watch each other's faces come and go in the flickering, in the white flashes of jagged light from outside the windows. Oh Lord, Cora would say. Oh Lord save us.
The air would be clear after that, and lighter.
I look up at the ceiling, the round circle of plaster flowers. Draw a circle, step into it, it will protect you. From the center was the chandelier, and from the chandelier a twisted strip of sheet was hanging down. That's where she was swinging, just lightly, like a pendulum; the way you could swing as a child, hanging by your hands from a tree branch. She was safe then, protected altogether, by the time Cora opened the door. Sometimes I think she's still in here, with me.
I feel buried.
Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid’s Tale (The Handmaid's Tale, #1))
I lie flat, the damp air above me like a lid. Like earth. I wish it would rain. Better still, a thunderstorm, black clouds, lightning, ear-splitting sound. The electricity might go off. I could go down to the kitchen then, say I’m afraid, sit with Rita and Cora around the kitchen table, they would permit my fear because it’s one they share, they’d let me in. There would be candles burning, we would watch each other’s faces come and go in the flickering, in the white flashes of jagged light from outside the windows. Oh Lord, Cora would say. Oh Lord save us. The air would be clear after that, and lighter. I look up at the ceiling, the round circle of plaster flowers. Draw a circle, step into it, it will protect you. From the center was the chandelier, and from the chandelier a twisted strip of sheet was hanging down. That’s where she was swinging, just lightly, like a pendulum; the way you could swing as a child, hanging by your hands from a tree branch. She was safe then, protected altogether, by the time Cora opened the door. Sometimes I think she’s still in here, with me. I feel buried.
Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid's Tale (The Handmaid's Tale, #1))
She went to move around Jacques, strongly objecting to the this woman label. She did have a name. She was a person. She had a feeling they all thought her the hysterical type. She certainly hadn’t managed to show them her normal calm self.
Jacques stepped backward and his arm swept behind him to pin her against the wall. He never took his eyes from the trio before them. He knew he was unstable, still fighting to hold on to reason when his every instinct was to attack. He trusted none of them and would not allow Shea to be put in any danger.
Shea retaliated with a hard pinch. She was not going to cower behind her wild man like some seventeenth-century heroine fainting with the vapors. So she was surrounded by a few vampires. Big deal.
Carpathians. Jacques sounded amused.
If you laugh at me, Jacques, I might find another wooden stake and come after you myself, she warned him silently. “Well, for heaven’s sake.” Shea sounded exasperated as she addressed the group. “We’re all civilized, aren’t we?” She shoved at Jacques’ broad back. “Aren’t we?”
“Absolutely.” Raven stepped forward, ignoring Mikhail’s restraining hand. “At least the women are. The men around here haven’t quite graduated from the swinging-through-trees stage yet.
Christine Feehan (Dark Desire (Dark, #2))
them—or something like it. They even got the Doctor some tobacco one day, when he had finished what he had brought with him and wanted to smoke. At night they slept in tents made of palm leaves, on thick, soft beds of dried grass. And after a while they got used to walking such a lot and did not get so tired and enjoyed the life of travel very much. But they were always glad when the night came and they stopped for their resting time. Then the Doctor used to make a little fire of sticks; and after they had had their supper, they would sit round it in a ring, listening to Polynesia singing songs about the sea, or to Chee-Chee telling stories of the jungle. And many of the tales that Chee-Chee told were very interesting. Because although the monkeys had no history books of their own before Doctor Dolittle came to write them for them, they remember everything that happens by telling stories to their children. And Chee-Chee spoke of many things his grandmother had told him—tales of long, long, long ago, before Noah and the Flood—of the days when men dressed in bearskins and lived in holes in the rock and ate their mutton raw because they did not know what cooking was, never having seen a fire. And he told them of the great mammoths, and lizards as long as a train, that wandered over the mountains in those times, nibbling from the treetops. And often they got so interested listening that when he had finished they found their fire had gone right out, and they had to scurry around to get more sticks and build a new one. Now, when the King’s army had gone back and told the King that they couldn’t find the Doctor, the King sent them out again and told them they must stay in the jungle till they caught him. So all this time, while the Doctor and his animals were going along toward the Land of the Monkeys, thinking themselves quite safe, they were still being followed by the King’s men. If Chee-Chee had known this, he would most likely have hidden them again. But he didn’t know it. One day Chee-Chee climbed up a high rock and looked out over the treetops. And when he came down he said they were now quite close to the Land of the Monkeys and would soon be there. And that same evening, sure enough, they saw Chee-Chee’s cousin and a lot of other monkeys, who had not yet gotten sick, sitting in the trees by the edge of a swamp, looking and waiting for them. And when they saw the famous doctor really come, these monkeys made a tremendous noise, cheering and waving leaves and swinging out of the branches to greet him. They wanted to carry his bag and his trunk and everything he had. And one of the bigger ones even carried Gub-Gub, who had gotten
Hugh Lofting (The Story of Doctor Dolittle (Doctor Dolittle Series))
The last summer of his life he sat hours together on the old chintz-covered swing-bed in front of the willow tree, chain-smoking Woodbines and watching the shadows flood the lawn until they swallowed him and only the tip of his ciggarette still showed, a faint red pulse. How she had longed to bring him in, to rescue him as he had rescued his sergeant. Her mother wasn't up to it, sitting all day in the kitchen listening to Alma Cogan and Ronnie Hilton on the wireless, biting her nails until they bled. So, it was she who had gone, crossing the lawn at dusk to stand in front of him, waiting for the right words to come into her head, for a dove that would bring her the gift of speech. But nothing came, and he had gazed at her through the smoke of his ciggarette as though from the far side of a pane of glass. He felt sorry for her perhaps, knowing why she had come out, knowing the impossibility of it. But instead of saying, sit down beside me Alice, sit down, daughter, and we will try to understand together the unbearable truth that love is not always enough, that people cannot always be brought back in, he had said, very conservatively, as though in reference to a discussion he had been having with her in his head for weeks, 'They used flame-throwers, you know'. And she had nodded, yes, Daddy, and left him, and gone to her room, and pushed her face into the pillow and bawled. Because she should have done it, should have, and she had failed.
Straight off, we were in the country. It was most lovely and pleasant in those sylvan solitudes in the early cool morning in the first freshness of autumn. From hilltops we saw fair green valleys lying spread out below, with streams winding through them, and island groves of trees here and there, and huge lonely oaks scattered about and casting black blots of shade; and beyond the valleys we saw the ranges of hills, blue with haze, stretching away in billowy perspective to the horizon, with at wide intervals a dim fleck of white or gray on a wave-summit, which we knew was a castle. We crossed broad natural lawns sparkling with dew, and we moved like spirits, the cushioned turf giving out no sound of footfall; we dreamed along through glades in a mist of green light that got its tint from the sun-drenched roof of leaves overhead, and by our feet the clearest and coldest of runlets went frisking and gossiping over its reefs and making a sort of whispering music, comfortable to hear; and at times we left the world behind and entered into the solemn great deeps and rich gloom of the forest, where furtive wild things whisked and scurried by and were gone before you could even get your eye on the place where the noise was; and where only the earliest birds were turning out and getting to business with a song here and a quarrel yonder and a mysterious far-off hammering and drumming for worms on a tree trunk away somewhere in the impenetrable remotenesses of the woods. And by and by out we would swing again into the glare.
Mark Twain (A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court)
I was a kid in Florida, in Sarasota, and the New York Giants trained in Sarasota. When teams would come, we’d stand outside the ballpark, and we would get the balls they hit over the fence during batting practice. We’d sell them to the tourists. And we made a stepladder so we could climb a pine tree out there. That way we could look into the ballpark.
The Yanks were in town. I’m out there behind the fence, and I hear this sound. I’d never heard THAT sound off the bat before. Instead of me running to get the ball, I ran up the ladder to see who was hitting it. Well, it was a barrel-chested sucker, with skinny legs, with the best swing I’d ever seen. That was Babe Ruth hitting that ball. Yeah.
I don’t hear that sound again until 1938, I’m with the Monarchs, we’re at Griffith Stadium in Washington D.C. We’re upstairs, changing clothes, and the Grays are taking batting practice. I’ve got nothing on but my jock. And I hear that sound. I ran down the runway, ran out on the field, and there’s a pretty black sucker with a big chest and about 34 in the waist, prettiest man I’d ever seen. That was Josh Gibson hitting that ball.
And I don’t hear the sound again until I’m a scout with the Cubs. I’m scouting the Royals. When I opened the door to go downstairs, I heard that sound again. I rushed down on the field, and here’s another pretty black sucker hitting that ball. That was Bo Jackson. That’s three times I heard the sound. Three times. But I want to hear it a fourth. I go to the ballpark every day. I want to hear that sound again.
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. It was getting dark; soon it would be time for dinner. I finished my drink in a swallow. The idea of living there, of not having to go back ever again to asphalt and shopping malls and modular furniture; of living there with Charles and Camilla and Henry and Francis and maybe even Bunny; of no one marrying or going home or getting a job in a town a thousand miles away or doing any of the traitorous things friends do after college; of everything remaining exactly as it was, that instant—the idea was so truly heavenly that I’m not sure I thought, even then, it could ever really happen, but I like to believe I did.
Donna Tartt (The Secret History)
I soon found my feet, and was much less homesick than I was at prep school. Thank God. I learned that with plenty of free time on our hands, and being encouraged to fill the time with “interests,” I could come up with some great adventures.
A couple of my best friends and I started climbing the huge old oak trees around the grounds, finding monkey routes through the branches that allowed us to travel between the trees, high up above the ground.
It was brilliant.
We soon had built a real-life Robin Hood den, with full-on branch swings, pulleys, and balancing bars high up in the treetops.
We crossed the Thames on the high girders above a railway bridge, we built rafts out of old Styrofoam and even made a boat out of an old bathtub to go down the river in. (Sadly this sank, as the water came in through the overflow hole, which was a fundamental flaw. Note to self: Test rafts before committing to big rivers in them.)
We spied on the beautiful French girls who worked in the kitchens, and even made camps on the rooftops overlooking the walkway they used on their way back from work. We would vainly attempt to try and chat them up as they passed.
In between many of these antics we had to work hard academically, as well as dress in ridiculous clothes, consisting of long tailcoats and waistcoats. This developed in me the art of making smart clothes look ragged, and ever since, I have maintained a lifelong love of wearing good-quality clothes in a messy way. It even earned me the nickname of “Scug,” from the deputy-headmaster. In Eton slang this roughly translates as: “A person of no account, and of dirty appearance.
Bear Grylls (Mud, Sweat and Tears)
Tiffany’s basket was on the table. It had a present in it, of course. Everyone knew you took a small present along when you went visiting, but the person you were visiting was supposed to be surprised when you gave it to her, and say things like “Oooh, you shouldn’t have.”
“I brought you something,” said Tiffany, swinging the big black kettle onto the fire.
“You’ve got no call to be bringing me presents, I’m sure,” said Granny sternly.
“Yes, well,” said Tiffany, and left it at that.
She heard Granny lift the lid of the basket. There was a kitten in it.
“Her mother is Pinky, the Widow Cable’s cat,” said Tiffany, to fill the silence.
“You shouldn’t have,” growled the voice of Granny Weatherwax.
“It was no trouble.” Tiffany smiled at the fire.
“I can’t be havin’ with cats.”
“She’ll keep the mice down,” said Tiffany, still not turning around.
“Don’t have mice.”
Nothing for them to eat, thought Tiffany. Aloud, she said, “Mrs. Earwig’s got six big black cats.”
In the basket, the white kitten would be staring up at
Granny Weatherwax with the sad, shocked expression of all kittens.
You test me, I test you, Tiffany thought.
“I don’t know what I shall do with it, I’m sure. It’ll have to sleep in the goat shed,” said Granny Weatherwax. Most witches had goats.
When Tiffany left, later on, Granny Weatherwax said good-bye at the door and very carefully shut the kitten outside.
Tiffany went across the clearing to where she’d tied up Miss Treason’s broomstick. But she didn’t get on, not yet. She stepped back up against a holly bush, and
went quiet until she wasn’t there anymore, until everything about her said: I’m not here.
Everyone could see pictures in the fire and in clouds. You just turned that the other way around. You turned off that bit of yourself that said you were there. You dissolved. Anyone looking at you would find you very hard to see. Your face became a bit of leaf and shadow, your body a piece of tree and bush. The other person’s mind would fill in the gaps.
Looking like just another piece of holly bush, she watched the door. The wind had got up, warm but worrisome, shaking the yellow and red leaves off the
sycamore trees and whirring them around the clearing. The kitten tried to bat a few of them out of the air and then sat there, making sad little mewling noises.
Any minute now, Granny Weatherwax would think Tiffany had gone and would open the door and—
“Forgot something?” said Granny by her ear.
She was the bush.
“Er...it’s very sweet. I just thought you might, you know, grow to like it,” said Tiffany, but she was thinking: Well, she could have got here if she ran, but
why didn’t I see her? Can you run and hide at the same time?
“Never you mind about me, my girl,” said the witch. “You run along back to Miss Treason and give her my best wishes, right now. But”—and her voice softened a little—“that was good hiding you did just then. There’s many as would not have seen you. Why, I hardly heard your hair growin’!”
When Tiffany’s stick had left the clearing, and Granny Weatherwax had satisfied herself in other little ways that she had really gone, she went back inside, carefully ignoring the kitten again.
After a few minutes, the door creaked open a little. It may have been just a draft. The kitten trotted inside...
Terry Pratchett (Wintersmith (Discworld, #35; Tiffany Aching, #3))
Do you remember the time we tied a lasso to a tree limb and decided to swing across the creek like Tarzan?" Wyatt tipped up his frosty bottle and took a long pull.
"Yeah." Zane was already laughing. "As usual,you two decided that I'd be the one to try it out first.That way,if it broke,I'd be the one tossed into the creek."
"It stands to reason." Jesse chuckled. "You were the youngest. That's just the price you had to pay to hang out with us."
"And," Wyatt added, "you were always willing to go along with whatever we decided."
Zane shook his head. "Not when I used it to fly across the creek."
"And not when I followed him," Wyatt said with a laugh. "But Jesse, assured that it was safe,grabbed hold and was flying through the air when the branch snapped."
Amy looked over at her husband. "You landed in the creek?"
"Yeah? On the day after one of our biggest storms,with the water spilling over its banks and rushing so fast it carried me downstream half a mile or more."
She put a hand to her mouth to cover her shock and saw Cora do the same.
Wyatt laughed. "He was lucky Zane and I had our horses tethered nearby.We chased along the banks of the creek until we could get far enough ahead to toss him a tree branch to catch. By the time we hauled him out,he looked like a drowned rat and was spitting mad."
"I had a right to be.I swallowed half the creek."
Zane laughed. "But think how lucky we were that it happened to you instead of me. At least you could swim."
Marilee's eyes rounded. "They had you test the rope when they knew you couldn't swim?"
Wyatt was laughing even harder. "We figured it was one way for him to learn."
"How old were you?"
They thought a minute before Wyatt answered. "I was eight,so that would make Jesse ten and Zane seven."
"You could have all drowned."
"Yeah.Looking back,we were lucky to have surrived so many foolish adventures. But," Wyatt added, "I wouldn't have missed a single one of them."
R.C. Ryan (Montana Destiny)
I like storms. Thunder, torrential rain, puddles, wet shoes. When the clouds roll in, I get filled with this giddy expectation. Everything is more beautiful in the rain. Don't ask me why. But it’s like this whole other realm of opportunity.
I used to feel like a superhero, riding my bike over the dangerously slick roads, or maybe an Olympic athlete enduring rough trials to make it to the finish line. On sunny days, as a girl, I could still wake up to that thrilled feeling. You made me giddy with expectation, just like a symphonic rainstorm. You were a tempest in the sun, the thunder in a boring, cloudless sky. I remember I’d shovel in my breakfast as fast as I could, so I could go knock on your door. We’d play all day, only coming back for food and sleep. We played hide and seek, you’d push me on the swing, or we’d climb trees. Being your sidekick gave me a sense of home again.
You see, when I was ten, my mom died. She had cancer, and I lost her before I really knew her. My world felt so insecure, and I was scared. You were the person that turned things right again. With you, I became courageous and free. It was like the part of me that died with my mom came back when I met you, and I didn’t hurt if I knew I had you. Then one day, out of the blue, I lost you, too. The hurt returned, and I felt sick when I saw you hating me. My rainstorm was gone, and you became cruel. There was no explanation. You were just gone. And my heart was ripped open. I missed you. I missed my mom.
What was worse than losing you, was when you started to hurt me. Your words and actions made me hate coming to school. They made me uncomfortable in my own home. Everything still hurts, but I know none of it is my fault. There are a lot of words that I could use to describe you, but the only one that includes sad, angry, miserable, and pitiful is “coward.” I a year, I’ll be gone, and you’ll be nothing but some washout whose height of existence was in high school. You were my tempest, my thunder cloud, my tree in the downpour. I loved all those things, and I loved you. But now? You’re a fucking drought.
Penelope Douglas (Bully (Fall Away, #1))
Isn't there something in Genesis about not looking back? A stupid glance over my shoulder showed her expression relaxing, glad I wasn't taking anything that couldn't be replaced and glad I didn't destroy anything that couldn't be repaired. "Do you care for me, Georgia?" I asked her. "Tell me you don't and I'm out of your life forever." She stood in the driveway with her arms wrapped around herself like she was freezing. "Andre is on his way."
"I didn't ask you about no Andre."
"He'll be here in a minute."
My head hurt, but I pressed her. "It's a yes-or-no question."
"Can we talk when Andre gets back? We can-"
"Stop talking about him. I want to know if you love me."
She said his name one time too many. For what happened next, she would have to take some of the blame. I asked her a simple question and she refused to give me a simple answer. I turned from her and made a sharp left turn, pounding across the yard, feeling the dry grass crunch under my shoes. Six long strides put me at the base of the massive tree. I touched the rough bark, an instant of reflection, to give Old Hickey the benefit of the doubt. But in reality, a hickory tree was a useless hunk of wood. Tall, and that's all. To break the shell of a hickory nut, you needed a hammer and an act of Congress, and even then you needed a screwdriver to get at the meat, which was about as tasty as a clod of limestone. Nobody would ever mourn a hickory tree except Celestial, and maybe Andre. When I was a boy, so little I couldn't manage much more than a George Washington hatcher, Big Roy taught me how to take down a tree. Bend your knees, swing hard and low, follow up with a straight chop. Celestial was crying like the baby we never had, yelping and mewing with every swing. Believe me when I say that I didn't slow my pace, even though my shoulders burned and my arms strained and quivered. With every blow, wedges of fresh wood flew from the wounded trunk peppering my face with hot bites. "Speak up, Georgia," I shouted, hacking at the thick grey bark, experiencing pleasure and power with each stroke. "I asked you if you loved me.
Tayari Jones (An American Marriage)
I still remember a small story from the Pañca Tantra which I was told as a small child. One rainy day, a monkey was sitting on a tree branch getting completely drenched. Right opposite on another branch of the same tree there was a small sparrow sitting in its hanging nest. Normally a sparrow builds its nest on the edge of a branch so it can hang down and swing around gently in the breeze. It has a nice cabin inside with an upper chamber, a reception room, a bedroom down below and even a delivery room if it is going to give birth to little ones. Oh yes, you should see and admire a sparrow’s nest sometime. It was warm and cozy inside its nest and the sparrow peeped out and, seeing the poor monkey, said, “Oh, my dear friend, I am so small; I don’t even have hands like you, only a small beak. But with only that I built a nice house, expecting this rainy day. Even if the rain continues for days, I will be warm inside. I heard Darwin saying that you are the forefather of human beings, so why don’t you use your brain? Build a nice, small hut somewhere to protect yourself during the rain.” You should have seen the face of that monkey. It was terrible! “Oh, you little devil! How dare you try to advise me? Because you are warm and cozy in your nest you are teasing me. Wait, you will see where you are!” The monkey proceeded to tear the nest to pieces, and the poor bird had to fly out and get drenched like the monkey. This is a story I was told when I was quite young and I still remember it. Sometimes we come across such monkeys, and if you advise them they take it as an insult. They think you are proud of your position. If you sense even a little of that tendency in somebody, stay away. He or she will have to learn by experience. By giving advice to such people, you will only lose your peace of mind. Is there any other category you can think of? Patañjali groups all individuals in these four ways: the happy, the unhappy, the virtuous and the wicked. So have these four attitudes: friendliness, compassion, gladness and indifference. These four keys should always be with you in your pocket. If you use the right key with the right person you will retain your peace. Nothing in the world can upset you then. Remember, our goal is to keep a serene mind. From the very beginning of Patañjali’s Sūtras we are reminded of that. And this sūtra will help us a lot.
Satchidananda (The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: Commentary on the Raja Yoga Sutras by Sri Swami Satchidananda)
You aren’t worried about tomorrow, are you?”
“What do you think?”
He propped himself up on his elbows and studied my face. “You told me last spring it was the easiest thing in the whole wide world. You could hardly wait to jump. Why, even when you got sick you worried you’d die without having a chance to do it.”
“I must have been a raving lunatic,” I muttered.
Theo scowled, but the sound of a Model T chugging up the driveway stopped him from saying more. Its headlamps lit the trees and washed across the house.
“It’s John again,” Theo said. “Papa will start charging him room and board soon.”
Hidden in the shadows, we watched John jump out of the car and run up the porch steps. Hannah met him at the door. From inside the house, their laughter floated toward us as silvery as moonlight, cutting into my heart like a knife.
“Hannah has a beau.” Theo sounded as if he were trying out a new word, testing it for rightness. He giggled. “Do you think she lets him kiss her?”
I spat in the grass, a trick I’d learned from Edward. “Don’t be silly.”
“What’s silly about smooching? When I’m old enough, I plan to kiss Marie Jenkins till our lips melt.” Making loud smacking sounds with his mouth, Theo demonstrated. Pushing him away, I wrestled him to the ground and started tickling him.
As he pleaded for mercy, we heard the screen door open. Thinking Mama was about to call us inside, we broke apart and lay still. It was Hannah and John.
“They’re sitting in the swing,” Theo whispered. “Come on, let’s spy on them. I bet a million zillion dollars they start spooning.”
Stuffing his jar of fireflies into his shirt, Theo dropped to his knees and crawled across the lawn toward the house. I followed him, sure he was wrong. Hannah wasn’t old enough for kissing. Or silly enough.
We reached the bushes beside the porch without being seen. Crouched in the dirt, we were so close I could have reached up and grabbed Hannah’s ankle. To keep from giggling, Theo pressed his hands over his mouth.
Sick with jealousy, I watched John put his arm around Hannah and draw her close. As his lips met hers, I felt Theo jab my side. I teetered and lost my balance. The bushes swayed, the leaves rustled, a twig snapped under my feet.
“Be quiet,” Theo hissed in my ear. “Do you want to get us killed?”
We backed out of the bushes, hoping to escape, but it was too late. Leaving John in the swing, Hannah strode down the porch steps, grabbed us each by an ear, and shook us like rats. “Can’t a body have a second of privacy?
Mary Downing Hahn (Time for Andrew: A Ghost Story)
I told you before--you mustn’t let Edward scare you. He’s a bully and a coward. What would Frank Merriwell do if he were you?”
Frank Merriwell--I was thoroughly sick of hearing that name. “I don’t care what some dumb guy in a story would do. I’m not going to fight Edward.”
“Fight me then.” Hannah raised her fists and danced around on her bare feet, bouncing, ducking, and swinging at the air around my head. “Pretend I’m Edward!”
I ducked a punch, and she swung again. “Put up your dukes,” she ordered, “defend yourself, sir.”
This time Hannah clipped my chin hard enough to knock me down. Her shirtwaist was completely untucked, her face was smudged, her hair was tumbling down her back and hanging in her eyes.
“On your feet, sir,” she shouted. “Let’s see your fighting spirit!”
Hannah was making so much noise she didn’t hear John Larkin push aside the branches and enter the grove. When he saw her take another swing at me, he started laughing.
Hannah whirled around, her face scarlet, and stared at John. “What do you mean by sneaking up on us like a common Peeping Tom?”
“With the noise you’ve been making, you wouldn’t have noticed a herd of rampaging elephants.” John was still laughing, but Hannah was furious.
Putting her fists on her hips, she scowled at him. “Well, now you know the truth about me. I’m no lady and I never claimed to be one. I suppose you’ll start taking Amelia Carter for rides in your precious tin lizzie and treating her to sodas at your father’s drugstore. I’m sure she’d never brawl with her brothers.”
Theo and I looked at each other. We were both hoping Hannah would make John leave. Before he came along and ruined everything, we’d been having fun.
To my disappointment, John didn’t seem to realize he was unwanted. Leaning against a tree, he watched Hannah run her hands through her hair. “I don’t know what you’re so fired up about,” he said. “Why should I want to take Amelia anywhere? I’ve never met a more boring girl. As for her brothers--a little brawling wouldn’t hurt them. Or Amelia either.”
Hannah turned away, her face flushed, and John winked at me. “Your sister’s first rate,” he said, “but I wager I know a sight more about boxing than she does. Why not let me show you a thing or two?”
Happy again, Hannah smiled at John. “What a grand idea! But go slow, Andrew’s still weak.”
When John took off his jacket, I edged closer to Hannah. “I like your lessons,” I said to her, scowling at John. He was rolling up his sleeves, probably to show off his muscles. Next to him, I was nothing but a skinny little baby. He’d knock me flat and everyone would laugh at me.
Mary Downing Hahn (Time for Andrew: A Ghost Story)
Through the open doorway suddenly stepped a small woman, long ebony hair braided intricately, huge blue eyes flashing at Mikhail. As Byron shouldered his way inside behind her, she gave him a friendly smile and stood on her toes to brush his chin with a kiss.
Mikhail stiffened, then immediately wrapped a possessive arm around her waist. “Carpathian women do not do that kind of thing,” he reprimanded her.
She tilted her chin at him, in no way intimidated. “That’s because Carpathian males have such a territorial mentality— you know, a beat-their-chest, swing-from-the-trees sort of thing.” She turned her head to look at the couple lying on the floor. Her indrawn breath was audible.
“Jacques.” She whispered his name, tears in her voice and in her blue eyes. “It really is you.” Eluding Mikhail’s outstretched, detaining hand, she ran to him.
Let her, Gregori persuaded softly. Look at him.
Jacques’ gaze was fastened on the woman’s face, the red flames receding from his eyes as she approached.
“I’m Raven, Jacques. Don’t you remember me? Mikhail, your brother, is my lifemate.” Raven dropped to her knees beside the couple. “Thank God you’re alive. I can’t believe how lucky we are. Who did this to you? Who took you from us?”
Shea felt the ripple of awareness in her mind. Jacques’ shock. His curiosity. He recognized those tear-filled blue eyes. Shea caught a glimpse, a fragment of memory, the woman bending over him, her hands clamped to his throat, pressing soil and saliva into a pumping wound. Shea held her breath, waiting. Jacques’ silent cry of despair echoed in her head. She forced herself to move, found his hand with hers, silently supporting him as she regarded the woman kneeling beside her.
You didn’t tell me she was so beautiful, Shea reprimanded deliberately.
In the midst of Jacques’ pain and agony, his possessive fury and maniacal madness, something seemed to melt the ice-cold core of murderous resolve. The urge to smile at that feminine, edgy tone came out of nowhere. Something snarling to be set free retreated, and the tension in him eased visibly. Is she? Jacques asked innocently.
Shea’s green eyes touched his face, and warmth spread further inside him. And the beast was temporarily leashed.
“Is this your lifemate, Jacques?” Raven asked softly.
Shea looked at her then, this woman who had been a part of Jacques’ life. “I’m Shea O’Halloran.” Her voice was husky and ragged. “Jacques has been unable to use his voice since I found him.”
Raven touched Shea’s bruised throat with gentle fingers. “Someone had better tell me what happened here.” Her blue eyes were studying the dark smudges closely.
“Help her to the bed,” Gregori interceded, distracting Raven from her study. You owe me one, old friend, he sent to Mikhail.
Christine Feehan (Dark Desire (Dark, #2))
One can take the ape out of the jungle, but not the jungle out of the ape.
This also applies to us, bipedal apes. Ever since our ancestors swung from tree to tree, life in small groups has been an obsession of ours. We can’t get enough of politicians thumping their chests on television, soap opera stars who swing from tryst to tryst, and reality shows about who’s in and who’s out. It would be easy to make fun of all this primate behavior if not for the fact that our fellow simians take the pursuit of power and sex just as seriously as we do.
We share more with them than power and sex, though. Fellow-feeling and empathy are equally important, but they’re rarely mentioned as part of our biological heritage. We would much rather blame nature for what we don’t like in ourselves than credit it for what we do like. As Katharine Hepburn famously put it in The African Queen, ”Nature, Mr. Allnut, is what we are put in this world to rise above.”
This opinion is still very much with us. Of the millions of pages written over the centuries about human nature, none are as bleak as those of the last three decades, and none as wrong. We hear that we have selfish genes, that human goodness is a sham, and that we act morally only to impress others. But if all that people care about is their own good, why does a day-old baby cry when it hears another baby cry? This is how empathy starts. Not very sophisticated perhaps, but we can be sure that a newborn doesn’t try to impress. We are born with impulses that draw us to others and that later in life make us care about them.
The possibility that empathy is part of our primate heritage ought to make us happy, but we’re not in the habit of embracing our nature. When people commit genocide, we call them ”animals”. But when they give to the poor, we praise them for being ”humane”. We like to claim the latter behavior for ourselves. It wasn’t until an ape saved a member of our own species that there was a public awakening to the possibility of nonhuman humaneness. This happened on August 16, 1996, when an eight-year-old female gorilla named Binti Jua helped a three-year-old boy who had fallen eighteen feet into the primate exhibit at Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo. Reacting immediately, Binti scooped up the boy and carried him to safety. She sat down on a log in a stream, cradling the boy in her lap, giving him a few gentle back pats before taking him to the waiting zoo staff. This simple act of sympathy, captured on video and shown around the world, touched many hearts, and Binti was hailed as a heroine. It was the first time in U.S. history that an ape figured in the speeches of leading politicians, who held her up as a model of compassion.
That Bintiâ€™s behavior caused such surprise among humans says a lot about the way animals are depicted in the media. She really did nothing unusual, or at least nothing an ape wouldnâ€™t do for any juvenile of her own species. While recent nature documentaries focus on ferocious beasts (or the macho men who wrestle them to the ground), I think itâ€™s vital to convey the true breadth and depth of our connection with nature. This book explores the fascinating and frightening parallels between primate behavior and our own, with equal regard for the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Frans de Waal (Our Inner Ape: A Leading Primatologist Explains Why We Are Who We Are)
At the Fishhouses
Although it is a cold evening,
down by one of the fishhouses
an old man sits netting,
his net, in the gloaming almost invisible,
a dark purple-brown,
and his shuttle worn and polished.
The air smells so strong of codfish
it makes one's nose run and one's eyes water.
The five fishhouses have steeply peaked roofs
and narrow, cleated gangplanks slant up
to storerooms in the gables
for the wheelbarrows to be pushed up and down on.
All is silver: the heavy surface of the sea,
swelling slowly as if considering spilling over,
is opaque, but the silver of the benches,
the lobster pots, and masts, scattered
among the wild jagged rocks,
is of an apparent translucence
like the small old buildings with an emerald moss
growing on their shoreward walls.
The big fish tubs are completely lined
with layers of beautiful herring scales
and the wheelbarrows are similarly plastered
with creamy iridescent coats of mail,
with small iridescent flies crawling on them.
Up on the little slope behind the houses,
set in the sparse bright sprinkle of grass,
is an ancient wooden capstan,
cracked, with two long bleached handles
and some melancholy stains, like dried blood,
where the ironwork has rusted.
The old man accepts a Lucky Strike.
He was a friend of my grandfather.
We talk of the decline in the population
and of codfish and herring
while he waits for a herring boat to come in.
There are sequins on his vest and on his thumb.
He has scraped the scales, the principal beauty,
from unnumbered fish with that black old knife,
the blade of which is almost worn away.
Down at the water's edge, at the place
where they haul up the boats, up the long ramp
descending into the water, thin silver
tree trunks are laid horizontally
across the gray stones, down and down
at intervals of four or five feet.
Cold dark deep and absolutely clear,
element bearable to no mortal,
to fish and to seals . . . One seal particularly
I have seen here evening after evening.
He was curious about me. He was interested in music;
like me a believer in total immersion,
so I used to sing him Baptist hymns.
I also sang "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God."
He stood up in the water and regarded me
steadily, moving his head a little.
Then he would disappear, then suddenly emerge
almost in the same spot, with a sort of shrug
as if it were against his better judgment.
Cold dark deep and absolutely clear,
the clear gray icy water . . . Back, behind us,
the dignified tall firs begin.
Bluish, associating with their shadows,
a million Christmas trees stand
waiting for Christmas. The water seems suspended
above the rounded gray and blue-gray stones.
I have seen it over and over, the same sea, the same,
slightly, indifferently swinging above the stones,
icily free above the stones,
above the stones and then the world.
If you should dip your hand in,
your wrist would ache immediately,
your bones would begin to ache and your hand would burn
as if the water were a transmutation of fire
that feeds on stones and burns with a dark gray flame.
If you tasted it, it would first taste bitter,
then briny, then surely burn your tongue.
It is like what we imagine knowledge to be:
dark, salt, clear, moving, utterly free,
drawn from the cold hard mouth
of the world, derived from the rocky breasts
forever, flowing and drawn, and since
our knowledge is historical, flowing, and flown.
Not liking to think of him so, and wondering if they had guessed at dinner why he suddenly became irritable when they talked about fame and books lasting, wondering if the children were laughing at that, she twitched the stockings out, and all the fine gravings came drawn with steel instruments about her lips and forehead, and she grew still like a tree which has been tossing and quivering and now, when the breeze falls, settles, leaf by leaf, into quiet.
It didn't matter, any of it, she thought. A great man, a great book, fame—who could tell? She knew nothing about it. But it was his way with him, his truthfulness—for instance at dinner she had been thinking quite instinctively, If only he would speak! She had complete trust in him. And dismissing all this, as one passes in diving now a weed, now a straw, now a bubble, she felt again, sinking deeper, as she had felt in the hall when the others were talking, There is something I want—something I have come to get, and she fell deeper and deeper without knowing quite what it was, with her eyes closed. And she waited a little, knitting, wondering, and slowly rose those words they had said at dinner, "the China rose is all abloom and buzzing with the honey bee," began washing from side to side of her mind rhythmically, and as they washed, words, like little shaded lights, one red, one blue, one yellow, lit up in the dark of her mind, and seemed leaving their perches up there to fly across and across, or to cry out and to be echoed; so she turned and felt on the table beside her for a book.
And all the lives we ever lived
And all the lives to be,
Are full of trees and changing leaves,
she murmured, sticking her needles into the stocking. And she opened the book and began reading here and there at random, and as she did so, she felt that she was climbing backwards, upwards, shoving her way up under petals that curved over her, so that she only knew this is white, or this is red. She did not know at first what the words meant at all.
Steer, hither steer your winged pines, all beaten Mariners
she read and turned the page, swinging herself, zigzagging this way and that, from one line to another as from one branch to another, from one red and white flower to another, until a little sound roused her—her husband slapping his thighs. Their eyes met for a second; but they did not want to speak to each other. They had nothing to say, but something seemed, nevertheless, to go from him to her. It was the life, it was the power of it, it was the tremendous humour, she knew, that made him slap his thighs. Don't interrupt me, he seemed to be saying, don't say anything; just sit there. And he went on reading. His lips twitched. It filled him. It fortified him. He clean forgot all the little rubs and digs of the evening, and how it bored him unutterably to sit still while people ate and drank interminably, and his being so irritable with his wife and so touchy and minding when they passed his books over as if they didn't exist at all. But now, he felt, it didn't matter a damn who reached Z (if thought ran like an alphabet from A to Z). Somebody would reach it—if not he, then another. This man's strength and sanity, his feeling for straight forward simple things, these fishermen, the poor old crazed creature in Mucklebackit's cottage made him feel so vigorous, so relieved of something that he felt roused and triumphant and could not choke back his tears. Raising the book a little to hide his face, he let them fall and shook his head from side to side and forgot himself completely (but not one or two reflections about morality and French novels and English novels and Scott's hands being tied but his view perhaps being as true as the other view), forgot his own bothers and failures completely in poor Steenie's drowning and Mucklebackit's sorrow (that was Scott at his best) and the astonishing delight and feeling of vigour that it gave him.
Virginia Woolf (To the Lighthouse)
Just FYI. It’s not like other rocket scientists were huge idiots who wanted to throw their rockets away all the time. It’s fucking hard to make something like this. One of the hardest engineering problems known to man is making a reusable orbital rocket. Nobody has succeeded. For a good reason. Our gravity is a bit heavy. On Mars this would be no problem. Moon, piece of cake. On Earth, fucking hard. Just barely possible. It’s stupidly difficult to have a fully reusable orbital system. It would be one of the biggest breakthroughs in the history of humanity. That’s why it’s hard. Why does this hurt my brain? It’s because of that. Really, we’re just a bunch of monkeys. How did we even get this far? It beats me. We were swinging through the trees, eating bananas not long ago.
Eric Berger (Liftoff: Elon Musk and the Desperate Early Days That Launched SpaceX)
Todorki turned his attention back to the game of cat and mouse playing before them. "Why is Bakugou so angry?"
"He's not. He's happy." replied Izuku with an affectionate look in his eyes as he watched Shinsou swing up into a tree still taunting the blond with his quick tongue, and Bakugou shoot right after him yelling expletives.
"How can you tell?"
"Can't you see? He's smiling."
Todoroki squinted and sure enough, spread across Bakugou's face was the most malicious smirk he'd ever seen. Smiling was not the verb that came to mind.
whimsical_girl_357 (The Emerald Prince)
SERENNA - "The scene before me resembles a vista from an E.M. Forster novel, a quintessentially English countryside. A meandering brook winds through the meadow catching glittering sunlight from above as it passes through the boughs of weeping willows. To my right, a tall oak tree stands solitary on a rise. I can see a rope swing hanging from one of its boughs
Dean Mayes (The Night Fisher Elegies)
Summer is fading:
The leaves fall in ones and twos
From trees bordering
The new recreation ground.
In the hollows of afternoons
Young mothers assemble
At swing and sandpit
Setting free their children.
Behind them, at intervals,
Stand husbands in skilled trades,
An estateful of washing,
And the albums, lettered
Our Wedding, lying
Near the television:
Before them, the wind
Is ruining their courting-places
That are still courting-places
(But the lovers are all in school),
And their children, so intent on
Finding more unripe acorns,
Expect to be taken home.
Their beauty has thickened.
Something is pushing them
To the side of their own lives.
Stranger's Park by Stewart Stafford
Up the empty, welcoming path,
Half grass/gravel in composition,
Past ruined cottage foundations,
And tree trunk with vaginal cleft.
Swings sway, empty playground,
Birds serenading wraith children,
Roundhead bins stand as sentries,
Keeping errant litter off the grass.
Army truck and wailing ambulance,
Shatter the tranquility as they pass,
Blaring car horn joins the cacophony,
Turning on my heel, I journey home.
© Stewart Stafford, 2022. All rights reserved.
Forget detaining them. Forget throwing them in a dungeon. Forget killing them, although I will enjoy getting to that part when it comes. To cut down a tree, you have cut notches on both sides before it falls. I will make sure that those notches are as deep as I can get them. I will make each swing count. I will do whatever it takes as long that tree falls. There will be no mercy, no sympathy, no feelings involved. Consider any involvement with them from the past few days and my childhood gone. I will swing, and swing, and swing until that tree falls and Ombretta and Blake are dead.
Bella M. Rose
You have to wonder about these settlers of the Great Plains. These white people who in olden times killed the natives and laid claim to this dirt and stuck to it; who stranded their children and grandchildren with a birthright of dust. A collection of clapboard shacks with backyards full of unmown pigweed and junked cars and abandoned swing sets and withered, thirsty trees. Was the genocide worth it?
Dan Chaon (Sleepwalk)
Monkeys may swing from trees, but gorillas will make a mockery of their heritage.
Anthony T. Hincks
That was effortless, the topics springing from nowhere, and we'd move from one to the next in a way that made me think of a monkey gracefully swinging through the branches of a tree.
David Sedaris (Calypso)
I might swing from branch to branch, but always in the same tree.
So much of human suffering stems from having this self that needs to be psychologically defended at all costs. We’re trapped in a story that sees ourselves as independent, isolated agents acting in the world. But that self is an illusion. It can be a useful illusion, when you’re swinging through the trees or escaping from a cheetah or trying to do your taxes. But at the systems level, there is no truth to it. You can take any number of more accurate perspectives: that we’re a swarm of genes, vehicles for passing on DNA; that we’re social creatures through and through, unable to survive alone; that we’re organisms in an ecosystem, linked together on this planet floating in the middle of nowhere.
Michael Pollan (How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence)
Midtown was a war zone. We flew over little skirmishes everywhere. A giant was ripping up trees in Bryant Park while dryads pelted him with nuts. Outside the Waldorf Astoria, a bronze statue of Benjamin Franklin was whacking a hellhound with a rolled-up newspaper. A trio of Hephaestus campers fought a squad of dracaenae in the middle of Rockefeller Center.
I was tempted to stop and help, but I could tell from the smoke and noise that the real action had moved farther south. Our defenses were collapsing. The enemy was closing in on the Empire State Building.
We did a quick sweep of the surrounding area. The Hunters had set up a defensive line on 37th, just three blocks north of Olympus. To the east on Park Avenue, Jake Mason and some other Hephaestus campers were leading an army of statues against the enemy. To the west, the Demeter cabin and Grover's nature spirits had turned Sixth Avenue into a jungle that was hampering a squadron of Kronos's demigods. The south was clear for now, but the flanks of the enemy army were swinging around. A few more minutes and we'd be totally surrounded.
Percy Jackson, The Last Olympian
The plains drift on through the deep daylight. I watch the snow bees sent mad by the sun. The limbs of the hickory trees swing loose in the noontide, Feathery, stretching their necks. The wind blows through its own hair forever. If something is due me still —Firedogs, ashes, the soap of another life— I give it back. And this hive Of shelved combs, my wax in its little box.
Charles Wright (Oblivion Banjo: The Poetry of Charles Wright)
You are going to give us man lessons.”
Ariana let out a sharp bark of laughter, her eyes twinkling. “Him? Are you kidding? He’s going to give us man lessons?”
“We don’t need to look super convincing as men close up,” Kyra said. “We just need to give the impression of men Fred’s taken into his service. If you saw a potion bottle with a red stamp on it, your brain would make you think it was a red skull, and you’d think it was dangerous even if the stamp was actually a grinning squirrel.” Kyra looked at Fred skeptically. “I’m sure Fred can give us a few tips, at least, of how to act like men.”
“Hey! I am more than capable of giving man lessons.” Fred smiled broadly at Kyra. “What do you want to know?”
“For one thing, we need to know how to walk.”
“No problem. I’ve been walking most of my life.” Fred held up a hand. “Stop and watch.”
The girls leaned up against an apple tree with Rosie at their feet.
“First, you aren’t just acting like any kind of men; you’re going to be especially manly men. I picked you up to work for me, after all, and I wouldn’t choose just any men for that sort of thing. I need men who can fight and lift heavy things. You might want to spit occasionally.”
“It helps keep you from looking too smart. Now, because you are so manly, it naturally follows that you have large upper-arm muscles. Huge muscles, really. The way you let people know this is by slightly bending your elbows and holding your arms out from your body, like your muscles are so big they’re getting in the way.”
Kyra and Ariana bent their elbows and pushed their arms a couple of inches away from their bodies.
The edges of Fred’s lips quirked as though he was trying to restrain a smile. “Then you need to let them know that not only are you muscular, you’re confident of your abilities in all areas. You accomplish this by swaggering when you walk. Langley, stay.” He pointed for the dog to sit next to the girls.
Fred sauntered away from them under the lacey white boughs of the trees in a masculine strut.
The girls copied Fred’s walk while he stood back and watched.
“A little less hip swinging, Kyra.”
“And don’t walk so close together. Imagine there’s at least one invisible guy between you at all times.”
Ariana leaned over and whispered in Kyra’s ear. “He wants us to imagine him between us. Guys are so weird.”
“Men don’t whisper, but if you have to do it, at least do it the right way.”
Ariana and Kyra stopped walking and turned back to Fred.
“If you find you need to whisper, you don’t get up close to the other person and lean into their ear. Stay where you are, a person’s-width apart, and put a hand up on the far side of your face like a shield.” He demonstrated with his hand out straight from one side of his face. “Then turn your head slightly to the other person and say what you need to say.”
The girls exchanged a look.
“No ‘best friends’ glances at each other like that, either. Or ‘dears’ and ‘darlings.’ Men insult each other every chance they get.”
“Men don’t have best friends?” Kyra asked.
“You’d only know it by the ferocity of the insults. If a guy’s your really good pal, you let him have it at every opportunity.”
“Got it, fathead,” Ariana said.
“Perfect.” Fred plucked two blossoms from the tree above him and tucked one behind each girl’s ear, then grabbed another and tucked it behind his own ear. “You have officially completed man lessons. Now that you know how to act like manly men, what’s the plan?
Bridget Zinn (Poison)
We didn’t find him for three days because we didn’t realize he was missing. That’s the saddest part of this story. He’d hanged himself from a tree, one of several that grew in a small sliver of land between my parents’ house and the neighbors’, out by a swing set untouched for years. He timbered over like a sapling when my father cut him down, his body gone stiff.
Samantha Hunt (The Dark Dark)
We fight for mass especially with a reusable upper stage, which nobody has ever succeeded in,” he said. “Just FYI. It’s not like other rocket scientists were huge idiots who wanted to throw their rockets away all the time. It’s fucking hard to make something like this. One of the hardest engineering problems known to man is making a reusable orbital rocket. Nobody has succeeded. For a good reason. Our gravity is a bit heavy. On Mars this would be no problem. Moon, piece of cake. On Earth, fucking hard. Just barely possible. It’s stupidly difficult to have a fully reusable orbital system. It would be one of the biggest breakthroughs in the history of humanity. That’s why it’s hard. Why does this hurt my brain? It’s because of that. Really, we’re just a bunch of monkeys. How did we even get this far? It beats me. We were swinging through the trees, eating bananas not long ago.
Eric Berger (Liftoff: Elon Musk and the Desperate Early Days That Launched SpaceX)
A sudden wind rustled through the birches; a gust of yellow leaves came storming down. I took a sip of my drink. 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 in 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.
Gibson paused. Turned to her. Gave her another look, up and down. “When elephant trainers catch a baby elephant in the wild, they tie it to a tree. That baby elephant fights and thrashes to break free, but it’s not strong enough. Within a couple of days, it gives up. So even as the elephant gets bigger, it doesn’t believe it can break the rope. And then you get a full-grown elephant tied to a tree with a piece of rope it could snap with a simple swing of its leg. It’s called learned helplessness. Everything here is built on people who don’t think the rope will break. Which means the most dangerous thing in the world for my business model is someone who recognizes how fragile the rope really is.
Rob Hart (The Warehouse)
There were about 20 pikeys surrounding this bloke who looked like he should be in a cage. I swear he was 6ft 8in and about the same across. His boat had been shifted around so often he didn’t look human.
I whispered to Kenny. ‘Hope you got a better deal than 500.’
He said, ‘We’ll walk away with two grand from this one. He ain’t as tough as he looks.’
I said, ‘How do you know?’
I just got that big grin again. ‘I don’t, I’m just trying to cheer you up.’
We all moved back away from the flashing lights of the rides, and they formed a large ring. No formalities, no bell. Just, ‘Go on, boys.’
I steamed straight in putting all my weight behind four or five solid belts. Every “one connected on his arms. I tried to come up under and do his ribs in but I couldn’t get round those massive arms. It was like he was holding sandbags up in front. He threw a couple but his eyes gave him away before he even started to swing.
I tried again. Bang. Bang. Bang. This time I got through and put a nice split in his forehead; good bit of claret. Then he grabs me, pins my arms to my sides, and nuts me full in the face, trying to get his teeth into my nose. I could smell his breath – a mixture of shit and beer. I brought my knee up into his sack and he let go with a surprised look on his bloody face. Got you now, you bastard. I slammed into him, but he’d got those fucking great arms up and I’m punching sandbags again.
Round and round we went. I had him sussed now. He’s not a fighter, he’s a steamroller. He wanted to tire me out then drop 20 stone on top of me. He’s got the right idea; I’m knackered. It’s dead quiet except for faint music from the fair. No one was cheering encouragement, just a ring of brown faces watching us both with cold eyes.
Kenny’s looking worried. Fuck it. I shouldn’t have looked round; he’s caught me with a right-hander full in the side of the head. My head’s ringing, I’ve gone deaf on that side and now I’m really pissed off. This has gone on for long enough. I had to take a risk.
I turned my back on him, raised my arms in Kenny’s direction and said, ‘When are you going to ring the fucking bell?’ At the same time, I spun round and, as I’d hoped, the big animal was so surprised at me turning my back he dropped his arms. Everything I’ve got went into a straight punch to the heart. He fell backwards and down like a falling tree.
Lenny McLean (The Guv'nor: The Autobiography of Lenny McLean)
She could have him swinging from the trees by nightfall--he wanted to do so much more than kiss her now.
Allie Ray (Suffering Fools)
‘This land is beautiful, but the people are horrible.’ The people took this beautiful land and raped it, and put up a bunch of ugly boxes, however, my home is in the Victorian-style and it is old and has a handcrafted personality. There is an ancient oak tree outside my window, sometimes I step out my window then onto the roof of the porch, and sit in the tree branch that hangs over, and watches all the stars as they appear to turn on and off. Yes, I have wished upon a shooting star, that things will change, and that the towers will be no more. Looking straight ahead, I can see all the lights that go on the horizon, some days the sunsets are blazing before the lights turn on. Then there are some days that the window is shut because it is cold windy while everything is chilled with the color of blue.
(Frame of mind)
My mood can change just like this and that it seems. Yes, just like all the summer turns into winter, and the winters turn into spring, and all of these thoughts running in my mind fall like the leaves through my brain, and they most likely do not mean a thing. I guess you could blame it on my ADD, ADHD, dyslexia, bipolar disorder, or OCD. I do not have any of these… I do not have anything wrong with me. But, if you are like one of the sisters or someone from my school, you would say my mood changes are because of my- STD’s, HIV, or being as they say GAY or BI, and LEZ-BO. They have also said, I am a pedophile and a child stocker, and I get moody if I do not get some from them. That is why I am so sober at times, or so they say.
Whatever…! They also have said that I am a schizophrenic- psycho and that I could not even buy love. I would not try that anyways. I think that having money does not give you happiness; I am okay being a humble farm- girl, the guy that finds me… needs to be happy with that also. I am sure there are more things they say.
However, those are just some of them that I can dredge up as of now, off the top of my head. They have murdered me and my life, in so many ways. So now, do you wonder as to why I am afraid of talking to people or even looking at them? You know you and they can try to destroy me, and my life. However, I do not have any of those listed either; none of these random arrangements of letters defines me as the person I truly am.
Looking out the windows, I can see the golden hayfields of ecstasy, I see the windmills that twist and tumble. I can see the abandoned railroad track that lies not far from my home. I can hear the cries of the swing as the wind gusts in spurts. But yet I am still in my room, but that is just okay with me. Because I know that there will someday soon be someone there for me.
My room is a land of peace and tranquility without all the gloom, with a bed and a canopy overhead but still, I am not truly happy? There is nothing- like the sounds of the crickets speaking up often in the cool August night breeze. It is relaxing to me, however; it is a reminder to me of how the last glimmers of summer are ending. Besides the sounds slowly fade away, yes- I can hear this music from my bedroom window. It is just like in the spring the birds sing in the morning and leave in the cool gusts to come. It is just like the hummingbirds that flutter by, and then before I know it, all has changed; so, it seems by the time I walk out my bedroom door, to start my day. ‘Life goes in cycles of tunes it seems, and nature is its synchronization in its symphony you just have to listen.
Marcel Ray Duriez (Nevaeh The Lusting Sapphire Blue Eyes)
Dear Nan: It's a confounded, full-grown shame that not a soul of us all got home for Christmas—except yours truly, and he only for a couple of hours. What have the blessed old folks done to us that we treat them like this? I was invited to the Sewalls' for the day, and went, of course—you know why. We had a ripping time, but along toward evening I began to feel worried. I really thought Ralph was home—he wrote me that he might swing round that way by the holidays—but I knew the rest of you were all wrapped up in your own Christmas trees and weren't going to get there.
Grace S. Richmond (On Christmas Day in the Morning)
The ability to swing over the wall also corresponded well with our general spy-worthiness. Erica and Catherine both performed the feat with the deft grace of Cirque du Soleil cast members. (I almost felt as though I should applaud for them afterward.) Mike and Zoe handled it well, if a bit clumsily. I didn’t embarrass myself, though I did slip on a wet patch of sod on the landing and tumbled to my knees. Murray missed landing on his feet entirely, belly flopping in the mud. Alexander fell out of the oak tree. Twice. When he finally managed to grab the rope and swing over, he somehow got his ankle tangled in it and ended up oscillating helplessly while dangling upside down until Catherine—who seemed to have come prepared for this—threw a kitchen knife at the rope, severing it cleanly just below the branch when Alexander was on the proper side of the wall. Alexander came crashing down into a gorse bush and emerged spitting out leaves.
Stuart Gibbs (Spy School British Invasion)
So it is with humans. We cannot hear the trees talking, except as a vague noise of roaring and hushing which we attribute to the wind in the leaves, because they talk too slowly for us. These noises are really the syllables and vowels of the trees. "You may speak for yourselves," said Athene.
Oak spoke first, as became the noblest of all. He stood throbbing his leaves in the twilight, to which Time had mixed down day and night; stretching out his great muscular branches; yawning, as it were, like a noble giant of the earth who cracks his limbs in the morning when he wakes. "Ah," said the oak. "It's good to be alive. Look at my biceps, will you? Do you see how the other trees are afraid of Gravity, afraid that he will break their branches off? They point
them up in the air, or down at the ground, so as to give the old earth-giant his least purchase upon them. Now I am ready to challenge Gravity, and I can stretch my branches straight out in a line parallel to the earth. He may
swing on them for all I care, but, bless you, they won't break. Do you know how long I live? A thousand years is my expectation. Three hundred years to grow, three hundred years to live, and three hundred years to die. And
when I am dead, what of that? They make me into timber, into ships and house beams that will be good for another thousand. My leaves come the last and go the last. I am a conservative, I am; and out of my apples they
make ink, whose words may live as long as me, even as me, the oak.
T.H. White (The Sword in the Stone (The Once and Future King, #1))
The rusty hinge of a grackle sounds from the trees overhead. He’s about to apologize, to say that he made a mistake and go home, when she offers him the ice cream sandwich. For the first time all afternoon, she lowers her guard, with something like a smile. “Look,” she says. “I played along a little. I waited with those other women and let you buy me ice cream like we were just another hetero couple out on our hetero Sunday date with the boringly hetero idea to go to the park. Now have some ice cream, I don’t want to eat all of it.” He takes a bite, and she pulls it back. “One thing I’ll tell you, though,” she says. “You move differently than before.” “Move differently?” “Yeah, you were always graceful, but you used to be so careful to swing your hips. You were a languid boy, who learned to move like a woman, who then learned to move like a boy again, but without wiping your hard drive each time. You’ve got all these glitches in the way you move. I was watching you in the ice cream line—you slither.” “Wow, Reese, just wow.” “No! It’s charismatic. Remember how Johnny Depp pretended to be a drunk Keith Richards pretending to be a fey pirate? You can’t help but be a little drawn in, like: What’s going on with that one?” She smiles at him and takes a lick of ice cream, mock innocent. “I forget what it’s like being around trans women,” he admits. “That for once, I’m not the only one constantly analyzing the gender dynamics of every situation to play my role.” “Welcome back,” she says, seeming considerably cheered. “You must have also forgotten that I taught you everything you know.” “Please. The student surpassed the master long ago.” “Girl, you wish.” It’s like coming home, that quick “girl.” Something warmer and sweeter than the spring sun heating his neck and the ice cream lingering on his tongue. It’s scary-seductive, emphasis on scary. Start looking for that kind of comfort and he’s bound to make a fool of himself.
Torrey Peters (Detransition, Baby)
So much of human suffering stems from having this self that needs to be psychologically defended at all costs. We’re trapped in a story that sees ourselves as independent, isolated agents acting in the world. But that self is an illusion. It can be a useful illusion, when you’re swinging through the trees or escaping from a cheetah or trying to do your taxes. But at the systems level, there is no truth to it. You can take any number of more accurate perspectives: that we’re a swarm of genes, vehicles for passing on DNA; that we’re social creatures through and through, unable to survive alone; that we’re organisms in an ecosystem, linked together on this planet floating in the middle of nowhere. Wherever you look, you see that the level of interconnectedness is truly amazing, and yet we insist on thinking of ourselves as individual agents.” Albert Einstein called the modern human’s sense of separateness “a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.”*
Michael Pollan (How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence)
Benny sits next to me on the porch swing, and we rock back and forth in aware silence. I can barely make out the shape of the house next door through the trees but can see the smoke curling from the chimney, the glow of their outdoor Christmas lights through the branches.
I look up warily. Across the yard, I think I spot the snow-covered branch that cracked me on the head, and I point at it, growling, “You will not get me tomorrow, you fucker.”
Benny goes still. “Are you gonna tell me what’s going on?”
“It won’t matter.”
He studies me. “Why not?”
“Because this is the fourth time I’ve been in this day, and no matter what I try to do differently, I keep coming back.”
“Like Groundhog Day?”
“Is that a movie?”
He scrubs a hand down his face. “God, you’re young. I still think it’s one of the weirdest traditions, believing spring is determined by a groundhog’s shadow. Spring starts on the same day every year where I’m from.”
I must be staring at him in bewilderment, because he nods. “Yes, Maelyn, Groundhog Day is a movie.”
“Then yes. No matter what I do, I keep getting clobbered and waking up on the plane.
Christina Lauren (In a Holidaze)
In 1908 Tom Spence, a black man, was tried for rape of a black woman; no black man had been charged with raping a white woman in Harris County since Boy George at the start of the Civil War. Spence was sentenced to hang, but the Georgia Supreme Court gave him a new trial and found him innocent. The week before, clumps of white men had sat around the jailhouse waiting for him to swing and had now been let down by the decision.
Karen Branan (The Family Tree: A Lynching in Georgia, a Legacy of Secrets, and My Search for the Truth)
darted into the trees, quickly losing sight of the police station. He didn’t think anyone had seen him enter the woods, so hopefully he’d bought them a few minutes. He zigzagged through the woods, stepping on fallen trees and swinging from branches to avoid leaving footprints.
Kellie McAllen (Captured by the Vampire (Vampire Enforcement Agency #0.5))
Matt- ‘If you run from me, I will get you; but you know that I love you! Do not stray away because if you do, I will nail every one of your toes and wrists to this tree right here, and you can hang from it, in the air, and you can think about what you did wrong- my baby.’ He said- (In a spineless, bone-chilling, creeper voice!) Matt- ‘Truly, I will do it, and you will be awake to see it all, as well as feel it go through one by one, and swing by hammering swing. You see all of these corroded nine-inch nails there for you- my baby!’ He said- (I did not think his voice could get any creepier, however, it did! As he was showing me the hammer and nails. He was utterly insane and mad.)
Marcel Ray Duriez (Nevaeh Struggle with Affections)
Siamangs—large black members of the gibbon family—swing high up in the tallest trees of the Asian Jungle. Every morning, the male and female burst into spectacular duets. Their song begins with a few loud whoops, which gradually build into ever louder, more elaborate sequences. Amplified by balloonlike throat sacs, the sound carries far and wide. I have heard them in Indonesia, where the whole forest echoed with their sound. The siamangs listen to one another during breaks. Whereas most territorial animals need only to know where their boundaries run and how strong and healthy their neighbors are, siamangs face the added complexity that territories are jointly defended by pairs. This means that pair-bonds matter. Troubled pairs will be weak defenders, while bonded pairs will be strong ones. Since the song of a pair reflects their marriage, the more beautiful it is, the more their neighbors realize not to mess with them. A close-harmony duet communicates not only “stay out!” but also “we’re one!” If a pair duets poorly, on the other hand, uttering discordant vocalizations that interrupt one another, neighbors hear an opportunity to move in and exploit the pair’s troubled relationship.
Frans de Waal (Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?)
With the help of these and other commonplace objects—with the help also of the two big elm trees that shaded the house from the heat of the sun, and the trumpet vine by the back door, and the white lilac bush by the dining-room window, and the comfortable wicker porch furniture and the porch swing that contributed its creak…creak…to the sounds of the summer night—I got from one day to the next.
William Maxwell (So Long, See You Tomorrow)
There’s a way of triumphant accomplishment that comes from lowering dead or unwanted trees. (Not to say the joys of yelling, But that feeling fades pretty quickly once you look down and see unsightly—and very stubborn—Stump milling.
If you hire a landscaper or arborist to chop down the trees, they typically leave the stumps behind, unless you pay a further fee. Stump-removal prices vary widely across the country and are supported by the diameter of the stump, but it typically costs between $100 and $200 to get rid of a stump that’s 24 inches in diameter or smaller. And that’s a good price if you’ve only got one stump to get rid of . But, if you've got two or more stumps, you'll save a substantial amount of cash by renting a stump grinder.
A gas-powered stump grinder rents for about $100 per day, counting on the dimensions of the machine. And if you share the rental expense with one or two stump-plagued neighbors, renting is certainly the more economical thanks to going. you will need a vehicle with a trailer hitch to tow the machine, which weighs about 1,000 pounds. Or, for a nominal fee, most rental dealers will drop off and devour the grinder.
To remove the 30-in.-dia. scarlet maple stump, I rented a Vermeer Model SC252 stump grinder. it's a strong 25-hp engine and 16-in.-dia. cutting wheel that's studded with 16 forged-steel teeth. this is often a loud, powerful machine with a classy mechanism , but it's surprisingly simple to work . But, before you crank up the motor and begin grinding away, it’s important to prep the world for the stumpectomy.
Start by ensuring all kids and pets are indoors, or if they’re outdoors, keep them well faraway from the world and under constant adult supervision. Then, use a round-point shovel or garden mattock to get rid of any rocks from round the base of the stump . this is often important because if the spinning cutting wheel hits a rock, it can shoot out sort of a missile and cause serious injury. Plus, rocks can dull or damage the teeth on the cutting wheel, which are expensive to exchange.
Next, check the peak of the stump. If it’s protruding out of the bottom quite 6 inches approximately, use a sequence saw to trim it as on the brink of the bottom as possible . While this step isn’t absolutely necessary, it'll prevent quite little bit of time because removing 6 inches of the Stump grinding with a chainsaw is far quicker than using the grinder.
After donning the acceptable safety gear, start the grinder and drive it to within 3 feet of the stump. Use the hydraulic lever to boost the cutting wheel until it’s a couple of inches above the stump. Slowly drive the machine forward to position the wheel directly over the stump's front edge . Engage the facility lever to start out the wheel spinning, then slowly lower it about 3 in. in to the stump grinding.
Next, use the hydraulic lever to slowly swing the wheel from side to side to filter out all the wood within the cutting range. Then, raise the wheel, advance the machine forward a couple of inches, and repeat the method. While operating the machine, always stand at the instrument panel, which is found near the rear of the machine and well faraway from the cutting wheel.
Little by little, continue grinding and advancing your way through to the opposite side of the stump. Raise the cutting wheel, shift into reverse, and return to the starting spot. Repeat the grinding process until the surface of the Stump removal is a minimum of 4 in. below the extent of the encompassing ground. At now, you'll drive the grinder off to at least one side, far away from the excavated hole.
Now, discover all the wood chips and fill the crater with screened topsoil . (The wood chips are often used as mulch in flowerbeds and around trees and shrubs.) Lightly rake the soil, opened up a good layer of grass seed, then rake the seeds into the soil . Water the world and canopy the seeds with mulch hay.
Meanwhile, in the government school, I guess that children were awaiting the arrival of their teachers from the plusher suburbs of Accra, caught in the snarled traffic on the Cape Coast highway, reluctant conscripts to the poor fishing village. No matter, the children could patiently wait, playing on the swings and roundabouts thoughtfully provided by their American donors.
James Tooley (The Beautiful Tree: A personal journey into how the world's poorest people are educating themselves)
She sees washing lines and women squatting by a stream, and the creaking ropes of a swing beneath a big tree, and a big dog, cowering from the taunts of the village boys, and a hawk-nosed man digging a ditch, shirt plastered to his back with sweat, and a veiled woman bent over a cooking fire.
He was free-free to choose to swing from a tree for the afternoon rather than mend fences or train horses. He was free to live.
Elizabeth Michels (How To Lose A Lord In 10 Days Or Less (Tricks Of The Ton, #3))
It’s the law of the jungle, my man, if you’re in the trees you got to swing ...
The Blind Men and the Elephant9 It was six men of Indostan To learning much inclined, Who went to see the Elephant (Though all of them were blind), That each by observation Might satisfy his mind. The First approached the Elephant, And happening to fall Against his broad and sturdy side, At once began to bawl: “God bless me! but the Elephant Is very like a wall!” The Second, feeling of the tusk Cried, “Ho! what have we here, So very round and smooth and sharp? To me `tis mighty clear This wonder of an Elephant Is very like a spear!” The Third approached the animal, And happening to take The squirming trunk within his hands, Thus boldly up he spake: “I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant Is very like a snake!” The Fourth reached out an eager hand, And felt about the knee: “What most this wondrous beast is like Is mighty plain,” quoth he; “’Tis clear enough the Elephant Is very like a tree!” The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear, Said: “E’en the blindest man Can tell what this resembles most; Deny the fact who can, This marvel of an Elephant Is very like a fan!” The Sixth no sooner had begun About the beast to grope, Than, seizing on the swinging tail That fell within his scope. “I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant Is very like a rope!” And so these men of Indostan Disputed loud and long, Each in his own opinion Exceeding stiff and strong, Though each was partly in the right, And all were in the wrong! Moral So oft in theologic wars, The disputants, I ween, Rail on in utter ignorance Of what each other mean, And prate about an Elephant Not one of them has seen!
Douglas N. Graham (The 80/10/10 Diet: Balancing Your Health, Your Weight, and Your Life, One Luscious Bite at a Time)
So consciousness is best left uninvited from most of the parties. When it does get included, it’s usually the last one to hear the information. Take hitting a baseball. On August 20, 1974, in a game between the California Angels and the Detroit Tigers, the Guinness Book of World Records clocked Nolan Ryan’s fastball at 100.9 miles per hour (44.7 meters per second). If you work the numbers, you’ll see that Ryan’s pitch departs the mound and crosses home plate, sixty-feet, six inches away, in four-tenths of a second. This gives just enough time for light signals from the baseball to hit the batter’s eye, work through the circuitry of the retina, activate successions of cells along the loopy superhighways of the visual system at the back of the head, cross vast territories to the motor areas, and modify the contraction of the muscles swinging the bat. Amazingly, this entire sequence is possible in less than four-tenths of a second; otherwise no one would ever hit a fastball. But the surprising part is that conscious awareness takes longer than that: about half a second, as we will see in Chapter 2. So the ball travels too rapidly for batters to be consciously aware of it. One does not need to be consciously aware to perform sophisticated motor acts. You can notice this when you begin to duck from a snapping tree branch before you are aware that it’s coming toward you, or when you’re already jumping up when you first become aware of the phone’s ring.
Meet the bonobos, the rare and marvelous “make love not war” great apes who swing through the trees as well as with each other.
Susan Block (The Bonobo Way)
Then I’m thinking about shipwrecks on Caribbean islands, which I’m sure never happen. But I think about them anyway, as if they could. There’s this horrible situation, and about a million very real things that could happen, and you’re not exactly happy to be shipwrecked and you’ve got a lot of problems to solve and shit to work out. But you’re on this island, and in the middle of building your hut and hunting for fish and, like, doing basic first aid on your injured friend, you take a break and lie in the sand and look at the way the palm trees swing a little in the warm wind. And the sound of the ocean hitting the shore is lovely, and you’re in maybe the most beautiful place you’ve ever been.
So in the same moment you’re terrified and amazed at the sobering reality of the world around you and the purity of the beauty.
Would you trade in that moment? Would you risk being shipwrecked, to be able to see the most beautiful section of the human world?
I guess that’s just a long way of saying I’m happy to be here.
Corey Ann Haydu (OCD Love Story)
Ironically both of them were on the pavement that night to escape their past and all that had circumscribed their lives so far. And yet, in order to arm themselves for battle, they retreated right back into what they sought to escape, into what they were used to, into what they really were. He, a revolutionary trapped in an accountant’s mind. She, a woman trapped in a man’s body. He, raging at a world in which the balance sheets did not tally. She, raging at her glands, her organs, her skin, the texture of her hair, the width of her shoulders, the timbre of her voice. He, fighting for a way to impose fiscal integrity on a decaying system. She, wanting to pluck the very stars from the sky and grind them into a potion that would give her proper breasts and hips and a long, thick plait of hair that would swing from side to side as she walked, and yes, the thing she longed for most of all, that most well stocked of Delhi’s vast stock of invectives, that insult of all insults, a Maa ki Choot, a mother’s cunt. He, who had spent his days tracking tax dodges, pay-offs and sweetheart deals. She, who had lived for years like a tree in an old graveyard, where, on lazy mornings and late at night, the spirits of the old poets whom she loved, Ghalib, Mir and Zauq, came to recite their verse, drink, argue and gamble. He, who filled in forms and ticked boxes. She, who never knew which box to tick, which queue to stand in, which public toilet to enter (Kings or Queens? Lords or Ladies? Sirs or Hers?). He, who believed he was always right. She, who knew she was all wrong, always wrong. He, reduced by his certainties. She, augmented by her ambiguity. He, who wanted a law. She, who wanted a baby. A circle formed around
Arundhati Roy (Ministry of Utmost Happiness)
A moment later, she and The Little Guy disappear into the trees. I didn't know exactly what was going on. I thought maybe she was going to eat him in privacy, because it had crossed my mind to do just that. There wouldn't have been a lot of preparation and very little hair to spit out. Just swing him by the feet, whack him on a rock, and a hot dinner was served.
Joe R. Lansdale
We folded up newspapers and made them into boats. We'd see whose would float the longest before it got bogged down, soggy, and sank. My father gave us a few pennies each day, which we'd toss and try to land on rocks.We'd wade in and get them again and again.Then we'd flip them in one final time to make a wish. Bliss and I could keep ourselves entertained for hours, but of course we became more and more aware that the whole forest was right there -- waiting for us to explore.
We didn't go far at first, not beyond where we could hear Mom call for us from the back door of the barn, but it gave us a whole new playground. We found a fallen log that we walked like a plank. There was a tree with a low straight branch that we could dangle and swing from. We gathered pine cones and tossed and batted them with twigs.
Riel Nason (All the Things We Leave Behind)
He could not escape that feeling when he was alone with Anita. It was there, just like when you took a walk in the forest and the trees suddenly opened to a glade. Fighting for a place in a swing band, conversing with Aunt Hilda about the decay of today's youth, and biking through the city with errands from Akesson's grocery: all that was real life and demanded effort. With Anita, he could close his eyes and feel his pulse slow. He sat down on a chair. She sat down at her desk and turned toward him.
Sara Lövestam (Hjärta av jazz)
The ground recoiled, shocked. The worktable swooped beneath him as though it were a swing whose rope had broken. He turned over, grinding his belly against the table, holding the sides with his outstretched hands to kill the fear. The figure was standing now, and his feet held the ground flatly, directly on the damp, breathing earth. As trees do, he sought strength with grasping, rock-splitting notes. The first step shook the earth almost as the standing had. After
Gene Wolfe (The Devil In A Forest)
We go back to our silent fishing, but I'm smiling the whole time. The tension has dimmed. Well, until Blake shoves Graham into the river. A gasp leaves me, my mouth hanging open as I watch my roommate sputter to the surface of the dirty water. I drop my fishing pole, frozen in place.
My dad mutters, “What the hell?”
Blake throws his head back and laughs like I have never seen nor heard him laugh before. The loud and hearty sound is cut off short when Graham comes barreling out of the water, his body aimed straight for him, his eyes daggers of retribution. He lunges for his brother, wrapping his arms around his stomach and heaving him toward the water. Blake stumbles back, landing on his rear just inside the water. The sound of jeans smacking into water is sharp. He swipes water out of his eyes as Graham smirks at him.
“What is wrong with you two?” I demand, more annoyed than worried. They seem to be getting along, even if they are being brutish about it.
Suddenly I have the attention of two wet men, twin calculating gleams in their eyes. Graham is closest, his steps slow and purposeful as he approaches me.
“Don't even think about it.” I put my hands out in front of me to ward him off.
His grin deepens as he reaches me. Water drips from his hair down his face to become one with his soggy clothes. “Don't think about what?”
A glance over my shoulder tells me a tree, the first form of cover I think of, is too far away. Not one to give up, I move for it anyway, but a wet, strong hand grabs the back of my shirt and pulls me away from where I want to go until I am flush with a cold chest. Cold clothes; warm body, I should say. His skin is burning through the dampness of his shirt.
“Graham, I swear, if you throw me in that water, I will never speak to you again.”
His voice is low and close as he says, “You make it sound like that wouldn't be a good thing.”
I haven't even finished my sound of incredulity before I am gathered into his arms, my arms unconsciously going around his neck to anchor me to him. His touch is gentle, his eyes are smiling.
“I mean it. This won't be good for you.”
“Oh, I don't know about that.” His arms swing out, and I tighten my hold on him, threatening him even as he is laughing at me. He does it again as we move closer to the water and I glare all my irk at him.
“If I go, you go.”
He tilts his head as he studies me. His voice is unnaturally sober as he tells me, “That's fine with me.”
I don't have time to process that before he lets go of me. I hit the water, refusing to let go of his neck, and we both go under. Lucky for me, the water is only a couple feet deep. Unlucky for Graham, I twist around until I am straddling him, keeping him down with my weight so the only thing above water is his head.
I give him a sweet smile. He doesn't return it.
“Hi,” I purr.
He grunts in response.
“Fancy meeting you here.”
“What can I say? Where you go, I follow.”
I pat his cheek. “That's so sweet.”
“I'm a sweet guy.”
“So sweet,” I agree.
“Hey! You're scaring the fish away.” This from Blake, who is now standing near my father.
“The fish love me!” I declare, sweeping my arms out wide and losing my balance. I splash into the water, first laughing, and then choking as water goes down my throat.
Graham lifts me out of the water by my shirt. “The weight of your arrogance obviously tipped you over.”
“It was more like the air couldn't handle all my splendor.”
Half of his mouth lifts. “Something like that.”
“Fishing with the three of you is impossible,” Dad grumbles and stomps to the cooler, opening a can of soda and gulping it down
Lindy Zart (Roomies)
Look. This is a Christmas tree. It’s a decoration. Why do you think everything is a toy, Cat?”
“I thought it was a toy ball, not a toy cat, and this thing here looks like a mouse-toy,” Trouble said, pointing to a mouse dressed in elf clothes that hung on the tree.
“That is a toy mouse, not a mouse-toy for cats!” I said sternly.
“What’s the difference?” said Roger, poking at it and getting it swinging.
Trouble added in wonder, “You think the people of the house did not put this mouse and these balls here for us to play with?”
“So we’re playing. What’s the problem?”
“No, Cat!” I stammered. “I mean. Yes, they did not.”
Roger-That said, “I think you are confused black and white Patch Dog.”
Finally, I said, “I am finished with this head-ache!”
Trouble said, “Ok. What head-ache do you want?”
“No. I mean you are the head-ache.”
“Wrong.” he said, “I am Trouble.”
“You got that right, Cat!” I said. “You should watch what comes out of your mouth!”
“At least what comes out of my mouth isn’t dog drool!
Opening the back door to make my way towards the swinging bench I walk on the stone path beneath the dripping forest behind the house. I stroll with my hands inside of my pockets looking into the distance where the trees are the most thick. I sit on the swinging bench beside the stream as the grumbling storm begins to settle into a raining mist that is barely felt to the touch. A luminance from the soft and clouded atmosphere above appears down from the tops of the trees as if I am perched at the bottom of heaven looking upward. Slowly rocking the bench I stare up into the sky thanking God for the love inside of me that exists. Mesmerized I am by that force that causes my soul to be still whenever she is near. Simplicity by definition has made me in good spirits as I sit thinking on how I never thought I could be this happy.
I then feel a muted resonance as a presence then comes across the small wooden bridge behind me that channels the sounds of the water trickling beneath it. I turn my head to look over my shoulder seeing her step towards me as she quietly emerges from out of the morning mist.
On our return from the bush, we went straight back to work at the zoo. A huge tree behind the Irwin family home had been hit by lightning some years previously, and a tangle of dead limbs was in danger of crashing down on the house. Steve thought it would be best to take the dead tree down.
I tried to lend a hand. Steve’s mother could not watch as he scrambled up the tree. He had no harness, just his hat and a chainsaw. The tree was sixty feet tall. Steve looked like a little dot way up in the air, swinging through the tree limbs with an orangutan’s ease, working the chainsaw.
Then it was my turn. After he pruned off all the limbs, the last task was to fell the massive trunk. Steve climbed down, secured a rope two-thirds of the way up the tree, and tied the other end to the bull bar of his Ute.
My job was to drive the Ute. “You’re going to have to pull it down in just the right direction,” he said, chopping the air with his palm. He studied the angle of the tree and where it might fall.
Steve cut the base of the tree. As the chainsaw snarled, Steve yelled, “Now!” I put the truck in reverse, slipped the clutch, and went backward at a forty-five-degree angle as hard as I could. With a groan and a tremendous crash, the tree hit the ground.
We celebrated, whooping and hollering. Steve cut the downed timber into lengths and I stacked it. The whole project took us all day. By late in the afternoon, my back ached from stacking tree limbs and logs. As the long shadows crossed the yard, Steve said four words very uncharacteristic of him: “Let’s take a break.”
I wondered what was up. We sat under a big fig tree in the yard with a cool drink. We were both covered in little flecks of wood, leaves, and bark. Steve’s hair was unkempt, a couple of his shirt buttons were missing, and his shorts were torn. I thought he was the best-looking man I had ever seen in my life.
“I am not even going to walk for the next three days,” I said, laughing.
Steve turned to me. He was quiet for a moment. “So, do you want to get married?”
Casual, matter-of-fact. I nearly dropped the glass I was holding. I had twigs in my hair an dirt caked on the side of my face. I’d taken off my hat, and I could feel my hair sticking to the sides of my head.
My first thought was what a mess I must look. My second, third, and fourth thoughts were lists of every excuse in the world why I couldn’t marry Steve Irwin.
I could not possibly leave my job, my house, my wildlife work, my family, my friends, my pets--everything I had worked so hard for back in Oregon.
He never looked concerned. He simply held my gaze.
As all these things flashed through my mind, a little voice from somewhere above me spoke.
“Yes, I’d love to.”
With those four words my life changed forever.
Terri Irwin (Steve & Me)
Hal—come sit!” Rachel is looking back. She motions toward a sliver of space between Jonah and Madison. “There’s room.”
“No. There’s not.” Luke says it without even turning around. “How do you and Hallie know each other, anyway?”
“We met in the bathroom. Earlier tonight. She seems cool.” Rachel smiles at Hallelujah. Hallelujah can’t bring herself to smile back.
“Sure, if you like the strong, silent type. I don’t. No offense.” Luke laughs, and Brad laughs, and the girls from Knoxville take that as their cue to laugh too. Like it was actually funny.
Rachel doesn’t laugh. She’s still smiling, but now it’s like she’s not sure whether she should be. “Come on, Hal,” she says. “We’ll make room.”
But Luke’s shaking his head. “Sorry. Guess I’m not being clear. There might be room for someone. But there’s not room for Hallie. Hal. Whatever you wanna call her. Besides. She has to get back. Curfew.”
Rachel looks from Luke to Hallelujah, confused. “We’re all breaking curfew.”
“Yeah, but it’s Hallie’s fault we have early curfew in the first place. And it’s her fault we have so many chaperones to deal with.” Luke’s counting on his fingers, holding them in the air. “Plus, they’ll probably be checking up on her. So she can’t stay.”
“How is all of that her fault?” Rachel asks. “What’d she do?”
“Yeah, Luke. What’d she do?” It’s Jonah. Hallelujah is kind of shocked to hear his voice. It’s low, with a dark undercurrent that’s unfamiliar to her. Then again, it’s been months since they talked. And a lot has changed. “If I remember it right,” Jonah goes on, still staring into the fire, “she wasn’t the only one.”
Luke looks over at him. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Nothing,” Jonah says. “Just making an observation.”
“An observation,” Luke repeats.
There’s a moment of silence. It’s uncomfortable. Hallelujah feels like the night sounds get louder to compensate. The wind rustling tree branches. The hum of cicadas. Birdcalls. They’re suffocating her.
Then Luke shakes his head and laughs. “Whatever. Hallie still has to go.” He swings around to look at her directly. “What are you waiting for?”
Hallelujah blinks, wishing that small movement could make her vanish. Everyone in the circle is staring. Waiting for her to leave. Their eyes cut into her. She takes two steps backward, tears clouding her vision.
Don’t cry. Don’t cry.
She turns and starts walking away. Walking, not running. She doesn’t want to give Luke that satisfaction.
The waves lapped onto the shore in quiet, relentless ripples. A seagull screeched from somewhere down the shoreline, and another bird replied. She missed home, the comfort of her padded swing, her tall shade trees and scented lilac bushes. If she closed her eyes and blocked out the sound of the waves, she could almost imagine that she was back home in her garden, dozing on her swing under the tall oak— “Hey, Meri!” Jake’s voice shattered the illusion. She craned her head around, following the sound of his voice to an upstairs window. His elbows perched lazily on the ledge. She glared up at him. “Meridith.” “Wanna come take a look?” She’d rather beat the smug grin off his face. “Be right there.” Her bones ached as she climbed the main stairway, a repercussion of her night on the hard floor. Just beyond the guest loft, Jake stood in front of the doorway, making some final adjustment to the latch. It looked different with the area closed off from the hall. The smell of wood and some kind of chemical hung in the air. “What do you think?” He’d already hung the drywall, and the patching was drying, which explained the smell. He swung the door open, showing her the thumb-turn on the other side, then closed the door and demonstrated the lock with the key. Thank you, Vanna. “Are both doors keyed the same?” “Yep.” He threw her the new set of keys, and she caught it clumsily. She’d keep one set in her room and find a hiding spot in the kitchen for the other. He gathered his tools and supplies. Now that he was finished, maybe she could take the kids to the driving range. She could teach them how to tee off. Jake capped the drywall compound, then walked through the new doorway toward the family suite. “Where are you going?” Meridith followed him down the hall. “Patching up the other partition.” “I thought you were done.” “If I get them both patched, they’ll be ready to sand and paint on Monday. You got any more of this green?” “What? I don’t know.” He trotted down the back stairway and unlocked the new door’s thumb-turn. Meridith stopped at the top of the steps, sighing. The sooner he finished, the sooner he’d be out of her life. Out of the house, she corrected herself. That man was not in her life.
Denise Hunter (Driftwood Lane (Nantucket, #4))
Never comes the trader, never floats an European flag,—
Slides the bird o’er lustrous woodland, swings the trailer from the crag,—
Droops the heavy-blossomed bower, hangs the heavy-fruited tree,—
Summer isles of Eden lying in dark-purple spheres of sea.
Throw me the ball,” I say. Sam looks at me like I’m nuts, so I say, “What? Are you afraid to play with a girl?” He smiles and hurls the ball at me. I take off running with it cradled in my arm. Logan runs after me, but I’m faster than any of them expected. Just before I reach the bench Matt’s sitting on, Logan snakes an arm around my waist, swinging me around. While he holds me tightly, Sam wrestles the ball from me. “That’s cheating!” I scream. “Cheating is allowed!” Sam yells back. “In whose rule book?” I ask, stamping my foot. “What rule book?” Matt says with a chuckle. He hefts himself to his feet. “Me and you against them?” he says. He grins at me. “We can take them any day,” I say, throwing my arms around him. He squeezes me gently and sets me away from him. He rubs my head, messing my hair all up. Logan runs down the field, and I chase him. He turns to catch the ball Sam throws, and as soon as he has it, I tackle him. I hit him as hard as I can. He stumbles with me holding his shirt until I can wrap around his legs. He goes down like a big oak tree falling. He lies on his stomach, but he’s smiling at me. I climb on his back and sit on him, plucking the ball from his grip. I hold it in the air and cheer, flailing my feet wildly. He lets me sit there on top of him for a minute as his breath heaves in and out under me. But then he upends me. He rolls me under him. “You cheated,” he says. His hands hold my wrists in a strong grip. “There’s no rule book, remember?” I giggle when he tickles beneath my ribs. “Stop!” I cry. He looks into my eyes. “I think I might be falling in love with you,” he says softly. My breath catches. “Yeah, me too,” I say. He smiles and gets to his feet, tugging me up beside him. His face is flushed, and he’s grinning. “If you two are done playing lovey-dovey,” Matt yells, “we have a game to win.” He waggles his eyebrows at me.
Tammy Falkner (Tall, Tatted and Tempting (The Reed Brothers, #1))
Huygens noticed one day that a set of pendulum clocks placed against a wall happened to be swinging in perfect chorus-line synchronization. He knew that the clocks could not be that accurate. Nothing in the mathematical description then available for a pendulum could explain this mysterious propagation of order from one pendulum to another. Huygens surmised, correctly, that the clocks were coordinated by vibrations transmitted through the wood. This phenomenon, in which one regular cycle locks into another, is now called entrainment, or mode locking. Mode locking explains why the moon always faces the earth, or more generally why satellites tend to spin in some whole-number ratio of their orbital period: 1 to 1, or 2 to 1, or 3 to 2. When the ratio is close to a whole number, nonlinearity in the tidal attraction of the satellite tends to lock it in. Mode locking occurs throughout electronics, making it possible, for example, for a radio receiver to lock in on signals even when there are small fluctuations in their frequency. Mode locking accounts for the ability of groups of oscillators, including biological oscillators, like heart cells and nerve cells, to work in synchronization. A spectacular example in nature is a Southeast Asian species of firefly that congregates in trees during mating periods, thousands at one time, blinking in a fantastic spectral harmony.
James Gleick (Chaos: Making a New Science)
Nothing about living in Odessa was easy. Finding a scrubby tree that could barely serve as a Christmas tree took two days. Even dealings with cattle rustlers and horse thieves had to be compromised; they were shot instead of hanged because there weren’t any trees tall enough from which to let them swing.
H.G. Bissinger (Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream)
I swing again and again, ignoring the strain in my arms. Each successive blow cracks a bit more of the bark, spraying out shards of wood and bits of blood. The tree continues to shriek, its canopy rustling. I’m covered in gore. It speckles my hair and paints my face, reminding me of that fateful night years and years ago when I stood up to my stepfather … stood up and watched him die. Slowly but surely the hardened bark of the oak gives way to its soft core. I begin using my claws to rip it away, studiously ignoring the fact that my hands are now coated with blood. With one final rip, I unearth exactly what I feared. In the heart of the tree, covered in gore and a web of roots, is a sleeping man.
Laura Thalassa (A Strange Hymn (The Bargainer #2))