Trunk Of A Tree Quotes

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To lose a brother is to lose someone with whom you can share the experience of growing old, who is supposed to bring you a sister-in-law and nieces and nephews, creatures who people the tree of your life and give it new branches. To lose your father is to lose the one whose guidance and help you seek, who supports you like a tree trunk supports its branches. To lose your mother, well, that is like losing the sun above you. It is like losing--I'm sorry, I would rather not go on.
Yann Martel (Life of Pi)
For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfil themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. And every young farmboy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow. Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life. A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail. A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live. When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. Let God speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent. You are anxious because your path leads away from mother and home. But every step and every day lead you back again to the mother. Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all. A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one's suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home. Every path leads homeward, every step is birth, every step is death, every grave is mother. So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.
Hermann Hesse (Bäume: Betrachtungen und Gedichte)
Listen to the trees as they sway in the wind. Their leaves are telling secrets. Their bark sings songs of olden days as it grows around the trunks. And their roots give names to all things. Their language has been lost. But not the gestures.
Vera Nazarian (The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration)
At that time, I often thought that if I had had to live in the trunk of a dead tree, with nothing to do but look up at the sky flowing overhead, little by little I would have gotten used to it.
Albert Camus (The Stranger)
Now this is the Law of the Jungle -- as old and as true as the sky; And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the Wolf that shall break it must die. As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk the Law runneth forward and back -- For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.
Rudyard Kipling
It is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to.
Elon Musk
I'd like to go by climbing a birch tree~ And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more, But dipped its top and set me down again. That would be good both going and coming back. One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.
Robert Frost
A tree may look as beautiful as ever; but when you notice the insects infesting it, and the tips of the branches that are brown from disease, even the trunk seems to lose some of its magnificence.
Arthur Golden (Memoirs of a Geisha)
I settled on the floor and whispered to Sam, “I want you to listen to me, if you can.” I leaned the side of my face against his ruff and remembered the golden wood he had shown me so long ago. I remembered the way the yellow leaves, the color of Sam’s eyes, fluttered and twisted, crashing butterflies, on their way to the ground. The slender white trunks of the birches, creamy and smooth as human skin. I remembered Sam standing in the middle of the wood, his arms stretched out, a dark, solid form in the dream of the trees. His coming to me, me punching his chest, the soft kiss. I remembered every kiss we’d ever had, and I remembered every time I’d curled in his human arms. I remembered the soft warmth of his breath on the back of my neck while we slept. I remembered Sam.
Maggie Stiefvater (Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #1))
Love is a tree with branches in forever with roots in eternity and a trunk nowhere at all
Richard Powers (The Overstory)
I seek truth and beauty in the transparency of an autumn leaf, in the perfect form of a seashell on the beach, in the curve of a woman's back, in the texture of an ancient tree trunk, but also in the elusive forms of reality.
Isabel Allende (Portrait in Sepia)
A number of years ago, when I was a freshly-appointed instructor, I met, for the first time, a certain eminent historian of science. At the time I could only regard him with tolerant condescension. I was sorry of the man who, it seemed to me, was forced to hover about the edges of science. He was compelled to shiver endlessly in the outskirts, getting only feeble warmth from the distant sun of science- in-progress; while I, just beginning my research, was bathed in the heady liquid heat up at the very center of the glow. In a lifetime of being wrong at many a point, I was never more wrong. It was I, not he, who was wandering in the periphery. It was he, not I, who lived in the blaze. I had fallen victim to the fallacy of the 'growing edge;' the belief that only the very frontier of scientific advance counted; that everything that had been left behind by that advance was faded and dead. But is that true? Because a tree in spring buds and comes greenly into leaf, are those leaves therefore the tree? If the newborn twigs and their leaves were all that existed, they would form a vague halo of green suspended in mid-air, but surely that is not the tree. The leaves, by themselves, are no more than trivial fluttering decoration. It is the trunk and limbs that give the tree its grandeur and the leaves themselves their meaning. There is not a discovery in science, however revolutionary, however sparkling with insight, that does not arise out of what went before. 'If I have seen further than other men,' said Isaac Newton, 'it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants.
Isaac Asimov (Adding a Dimension: Seventeen Essays on the History of Science)
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)
I've enjoyed every age I've been, and each has had its own individual merit. Every laugh line, every scar, is a badge I wear to show I've been present, the inner rings of my personal tree trunk that I display proudly for all to see. Nowadays, I don't want a "perfect" face and body; I want to wear the life I've lived.
Pat Benatar (Between a Heart and a Rock Place: A Memoir)
The tree is more than first a seed, then a stem, then a living trunk, and then dead timber. The tree is a slow, enduring force straining to win the sky.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (The Wisdom of the Sands (Citadelle))
For we are like tree trunks in the snow. In appearance they lie smoothly and a little push should be enough to set them rolling. No, it can't be done, for they are firmly wedded to the ground. But see, even that is only appearance.
Franz Kafka
The old poems said that lovers were made for each other. But that wasn't true for Kai and Elliot. They hadn't been made for each other at all—quite the opposite. But they'd grown together, the two of them, until they were like two trees from a single trunk, stronger together than either could have been alone.
Diana Peterfreund (For Darkness Shows the Stars (For Darkness Shows the Stars, #1))
She still remembers the effect a certain book can have on people at the right time in their lives. A book, at its most mundane,can be a loaded gun. At its most powerful, it can split the trunk of a tree, mend a broken heart, heal the sick, and topple a corrupt government.
Don Borchert (Free for All: Oddballs, Geeks, and Gangstas in the Public Library)
Something doesn't look right," Vee said. "Is the tire supposed to look like that?" I banged my head against the nearest tree trunk. "So we've got a flat," Vee said. "What now?
Becca Fitzpatrick (Crescendo (Hush, Hush, #2))
If you were perfect, I’d tattoo this on my chest. If you were beautiful, I’d carve this into a tree trunk. If you were nice, I’d write this in a letter. But you’re none of those—
Bo Burnham (Egghead: Or, You Can't Survive on Ideas Alone)
The tears that kept Buttercup company the remainder of the day were not at all like those that had blinded her into the tree trunk. Those were noisy and hot; they pulsed. These were silent and steady and all they did was remind her that she wasn’t good enough. She was seventeen, and every male she’d ever known had crumbled at her feet and it meant nothing. The one time it really mattered, she wasn’t good enough.
William Goldman (The Princess Bride)
Image: An Oak Tree. The oak that resists the wind loses its branches one by one, and with nothing left to protect it, the trunk fi nally snaps. The oak that bends lives long er, its trunk grow ing wider, its roots deeper and more tenacious.
Robert Greene (The 48 Laws of Power)
Some people find fall depressing, others hate spring. I've always been a spring person myself. All that growth, you can feel Nature groaning, the old bitch; she doesn't want to do it, not again, no, anything but that, but she has to. It's a fucking torture rack, all that budding and pushing, the sap up the tree trunks, the weeds and the insects getting set to fight it out once again, the seeds trying to remember how the hell the DNA is supposed to go, all that competition for a little bit of nitrogen; Christ, it's cruel.
John Updike (The Witches of Eastwick)
The works of the roots of the vines, of the trees, must be destroyed to keep up the price, and this is the saddest, bitterest thing of all. Carloads of oranges dumped on the ground. The people came for miles to take the fruit, but this could not be. How would they buy oranges at twenty cents a dozen if they could drive out and pick them up? And men with hoses squirt kerosene on the oranges, and they are angry at the crime, angry at the people who have come to take the fruit. A million people hungry, needing the fruit- and kerosene sprayed over the golden mountains. And the smell of rot fills the country. Burn coffee for fuel in the ships. Burn corn to keep warm, it makes a hot fire. Dump potatoes in the rivers and place guards along the banks to keep the hungry people from fishing them out. Slaughter the pigs and bury them, and let the putrescence drip down into the earth. There is a crime here that goes beyond denunciation. There is a sorrow here that weeping cannot symbolize. There is a failure here that topples all our success. The fertile earth, the straight tree rows, the sturdy trunks, and the ripe fruit. And children dying of pellagra must die because a profit cannot be taken from an orange. And coroners must fill in the certificate- died of malnutrition- because the food must rot, must be forced to rot. The people come with nets to fish for potatoes in the river, and the guards hold them back; they come in rattling cars to get the dumped oranges, but the kerosene is sprayed. And they stand still and watch the potatoes float by, listen to the screaming pigs being killed in a ditch and covered with quick-lime, watch the mountains of oranges slop down to a putrefying ooze; and in the eyes of the people there is the failure; and in the eyes of the hungry there is a growing wrath. In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage.
John Steinbeck (The Grapes of Wrath)
A lifetime can be spent in a Magellanic voyage around the trunk of a single tree.
Edward O. Wilson
There's the tree with the branches that everyone sees, and then there's the upside-down root tree, growing the opposite way. So Earth is the branches, growing in opposing but perfect symmetry. The branches don't think much about the roots, and maybe the roots don't think much about the branches, but all the time, they're connected by the trunk, you know?
Gabrielle Zevin (Elsewhere)
Now he saw another elephant emerge from the place where it had stood hidden in the trees. Very slowly it walked to the mutilated body and looked down. With its sinuous trunk it struck the huge corpse; then it reached up, broke some leafy branches with a snap, and draped them over the mass of torn thick flesh. Finally it tilted its massive head, raised its trunk, and roared into the empty landscape.
Lois Lowry (The Giver (The Giver, #1))
Lathis rattle against steel railings. Drenched half-naked men, some with torn shirts, jump up and down waving their fists. Some chant ‘Bande Mataram,’ others ‘Mazdur ki jai,’ whatever is their preference, the motherland or the brotherhood of workers. The hammer and sickle, red but limp, flaps like a half-dead fish against the trunk of a banyan tree. The sky cries monsoon tears; it has been crying all night.
Michael Tobert (Karna's Wheel)
the rotten tree-trunk, until the very moment when the storm-blast breaks it in two, has all the appearance of might it ever had.
Isaac Asimov (Foundation (Foundation, #1))
If you use a philosophy education well, you can get your foot in the door of any industry you please. Industries are like the blossoms on a tree while philosophy is the trunk - it holds the tree together, but it often goes unnoticed.
Criss Jami (Killosophy)
My mother, unlike yours, never exchanged sexual favors for a piece of silver," he said, addressing the first insult by banging the boy's head against the trunk of the tree. "And," he said with another resounding thump, "although I'm very familiar with that part of the female body, I take offense at being labeled one.
Melina Marchetta (Finnikin of the Rock (Lumatere Chronicles, #1))
We can't attack a thing we don't know. That's dangerous. And...foolish. It would be like trying to chop down a tree from the top of it. If we understand how the tree works, how the trunk and roots are where the power lies, and how gravity is on our side, we can attack it, each of us with small axes, and change the face of the the forest.
Jason Reynolds (Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You)
And there were carved hearts in the trunks of trees with the initials of couples who felt there was no more romantic thing they could do to celebrate their love than scar the local plant life
Kevin Hearne (Hunted (The Iron Druid Chronicles, #6))
When you look at a tree, se it for its leafs, its branches, its trunk and the roots, then and only then will you see the tree
Takuan Soho (The Unfettered Mind: Writings of the Zen Master to the Sword Master (The Way of the Warrior Series))
The full moon, well risen in a cloudless eastern sky, covered the high solitude with its light. We are not conscious of daylight as that which displaces darkness. Daylight, even when the sun is clear of clouds, seems to us simply the natural condition of the earth and air. When we think of the downs, we think of the downs in daylight, as with think of a rabbit with its fur on. Stubbs may have envisaged the skeleton inside the horse, but most of us do not: and we do not usually envisage the downs without daylight, even though the light is not a part of the down itself as the hide is part of the horse itself. We take daylight for granted. But moonlight is another matter. It is inconstant. The full moon wanes and returns again. Clouds may obscure it to an extent to which they cannot obscure daylight. Water is necessary to us, but a waterfall is not. Where it is to be found it is something extra, a beautiful ornament. We need daylight and to that extent it us utilitarian, but moonlight we do not need. When it comes, it serves no necessity. It transforms. It falls upon the banks and the grass, separating one long blade from another; turning a drift of brown, frosted leaves from a single heap to innumerable flashing fragments; or glimmering lengthways along wet twigs as though light itself were ductile. Its long beams pour, white and sharp, between the trunks of trees, their clarity fading as they recede into the powdery, misty distance of beech woods at night. In moonlight, two acres of coarse bent grass, undulant and ankle deep, tumbled and rough as a horse's mane, appear like a bay of waves, all shadowy troughs and hollows. The growth is so thick and matted that event the wind does not move it, but it is the moonlight that seems to confer stillness upon it. We do not take moonlight for granted. It is like snow, or like the dew on a July morning. It does not reveal but changes what it covers. And its low intensity---so much lower than that of daylight---makes us conscious that it is something added to the down, to give it, for only a little time, a singular and marvelous quality that we should admire while we can, for soon it will be gone again.
Richard Adams (Watership Down (Watership Down, #1))
However long it stays in the river the tree-trunk will never turn into a crocodile.
Ousmane Sembène (Xala)
The gingko tree leans lazily against the facing wall or perhaps it supports it; Stephen cannot be sure. The dense ridges of its bark now appear like rippled sand with, here and there, pools left behind by the tide. The bark is pocked with white spots, holed and crinkled with age, seemingly dead but for the life sprouting in its leaves, so smooth, so green, so deep. How remarkable this tree is, how changeable, how mysterious its leaves and branches and trunk … how infinite. Stephen reaches for another pipe. The smoke rubs out his yesterdays and tomorrows. There is only now, this tree, this pipe. Another pipe, ah, another pipe.
Michael Tobert (Karna's Wheel)
Let us have wine and woman, mirth and laughter, Sermons and soda water the day after. Man, being reasonable, must get drunk; The best of life is but intoxication: Glory, the grape, love, gold, in these are sunk The hopes of all men, and of every nation; Without their sap, how branchless were the trunk Of life's strange tree, so fruitful on occasion: But to return--Get very drunk; and when You wake with head-ache, you shall see what then.
Lord Byron (Don Juan)
During the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been passing alone, on horseback, through a singularly dreary tract of country; and at length found myself, as the shades of the evening drew on, within view of the melancholy House of Usher. I know not how it was--but, with the first glimpse of the building, a sense of insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit. I say insufferable; for the feeling was unrelieved by any of that half-pleasureable, because poetic, sentiment, with which the mind usually receives even the sternest natural images of the desolate or terrible. I looked upon the scene before me--upon the mere house, and the simple landscape features of the domain--upon the bleak walls--upon the vacant eye-like windows--upon a few rank sedges--and upon a few white trunks of decayed trees--with an utter depression of soul which I can compare to no earthly sensation more properly than to the after-dream of the reveller upon opium--the bitter lapse into everyday life--the hideous dropping off of the veil. There was an iciness, a sinking, a sickening of the heart--an unredeemed dreariness of thought which no goading of the imagination could torture into aught of the sublime.
Edgar Allan Poe (The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Tales)
One hand planted on the top rail, slick from a recent rain, I swung my legs sideways, up and over. Home free. Until my bottom foot clipped the post, and I spun as if caught in a crocodile’s death roll. Good news? The spongy forest floor cushioned my fall. Bad news? Momentum slammed my torso into a tree trunk. Couldn’t breathe. But good news again. I’d rolled under a fat, bushy pine, which, along with the fading twilight, concealed my position. I heard the beast fly overhead in pursuit, taking out a few treetops on its way by. Yeah, that was my plan all along. Man, I’m good. Except my body. It hurt.
A. Kirk (Demons at Deadnight (Divinicus Nex Chronicles, #1))
On Harpy’s Drive we passed a row of trees, each one with its trunk unnaturally bloated and covered with black fuzz. I had no idea what the fuzz did, but we steered clear of it. The law of navigating post-Shift Atlanta was simple: if you don’t know what it is, don’t touch it.
Ilona Andrews (Magic Breaks (Kate Daniels, #7))
At a well in a yard they met a man who was beating a boy. The stick burst into a flower in the mans hand. He tried to drop it, but it stuck to his hand. His arm became a branch, his body the trunk of a tree, his feet took root.
C.S. Lewis (Prince Caspian (Chronicles of Narnia, #4))
If you are looking for me I am beyond nowhere [ … ] Beyond nowhere there is a place desire opens like an umbrella, breeze like thirst sinks deep into the leaves. Bells of rain carol fresh watery tunes about how lonely humans are here where the shadows of tree trunks stream into endlessness. If you are looking for me, come soft and quietly, lest you crack the glass heart that cups my loneliness.
Sohrab Sepehri (The Oasis of Now: Selected Poems (Lannan Translations Selection Series))
Ty Walker opened the backdoor to his house and walked in to a big, seriously pissed off black man with tree trunk legs planted apart and beefy arms crossed on his chest. He knew he’d get that when he got home. He also didn’t give a fuck. He closed the door and looked Julius in the eye. “She gone?” he asked. “You are one serious dumb fuck.
Kristen Ashley (Lady Luck (Colorado Mountain, #3))
For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfil themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. And every young farmboy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow.
Hermann Hesse (Wandering)
You can date the evolving life of a mind, like the age of a tree, by the rings of friendship formed by the expanding central trunk.
Mary McCarthy (How I Grew)
Let her out!" I screamed at the tree. I beat on its trunk with my muddy fists. "Let her out, or I'll bring you down! Fulmia!" I cried out in rage . . .
Naomi Novik (Uprooted)
As we age, we feel less like leaves and more like trees. We have roots that ground us and sturdy trunks that may sway, but don't break, in the wind.
Meg Jay (The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter - And How to Make the Most of Them Now)
And my father went back into the forest and chopped down a tree. The sound of the trunk fracturing and splintering and falling to earth was the sound his heart would have made, could it speak.
Sarah Winman (When God Was a Rabbit)
Or perhaps it is because it is so NECESSARY for you to win. It is like a drowning man catching at a straw. You yourself will agree that, unless he were drowning he would not mistake a straw for the trunk of a tree.
Fyodor Dostoevsky (The Gambler)
And then the rains came. They came down from the hills and up from the sound. And it rained a sickness. And it rained a fear. And it rained an odor. And it rained a murder. And it rained dangers and pale eggs of the beast. Rain poured for days, unceasing. Flooding occurred. The wells filled with reptiles. The basements filled with fossils. Mossy-haired lunatics roamed the dripping peninsulas. Moisture gleamed on the beak of the raven. Ancient Shaman's rained from their homes in dead tree trunks, clacked their clamshell teeth in the drowned doorways of forests. Rain hissed on the freeway. It hissed at the prows of fishing boats. It ate the old warpaths, spilled the huckleberries, ran into the ditches. Soaking. Spreading. Penetrating. And it rained an omen. And it rained a poison. And it rained a pigment. And it rained a seizure.
Tom Robbins (Another Roadside Attraction)
Concerning trees and leaves... there's a real power here. It is amazing that trees can turn gravel and bitter salts into these soft-lipped lobes, as if I were to bite down on a granite slab and start to swell, bud and flower. Every year a given tree creates absolutely from scratch ninety-nine percent of its living parts. Water lifting up tree trunks can climb one hundred and fifty feet an hour; in full summer a tree can, and does, heave a ton of water every day. A big elm in a single season might make as many as six million leaves, wholly intricate, without budging an inch; I couldn't make one. A tree stands there, accumulating deadwood, mute and rigid as an obelisk, but secretly it seethes, it splits, sucks and stretches; it heaves up tons and hurls them out in a green, fringed fling. No person taps this free power; the dynamo in the tulip tree pumps out even more tulip tree, and it runs on rain and air.
Annie Dillard
The higher that the monkey can climb, the more he shows his tail. Call no man happy till he dies, there's no milk at the bottom of the pail. God builds a church and the devil builds a chapel, like the thistles that are growing 'round the trunk of a tree. All the good in the world you could put inside a thimble, and still have room for you and me. If there's one thing you can say about mankind, there's nothing kind about man. You can drive out nature with a pitchfork, but it always coming roaring back again. Misery's the river of the world, misery's the river of the world. Everybody row, everybody row; misery's the river of the world.
Tom Waits
I became totally absorbed into this forest existence. It was an unparalleled period when aloneness was a way of life; a perfect opportunity, it might seem, for meditating on the meaning of existence and my role in it all. But I was far too busy learning about the chimpanzees'lives to worry about the meaning of my own. I had gone to Gombe to accomplish a specific goal, not to pursue my early preoccupation with philosophy and religion. Nevertheless, those months at Gombe helped to shape the person I am today-I would have been insensitive indeed if the wonder and the endless fascination of my new world had not had a major impact on my thinking. All the time I was getting closer to animals and nature, and as a result, closer to myself and more and more in tune with the spiritual power that I felt all around. For those who have experienced the joy of being alone with nature there is really little need for me to say much more; for those who have not, no words of mine can even describe the powerful, almost mystical knowledge of beauty and eternity that come, suddenly, and all unexpected. The beauty was always there, but moments of true awareness were rare. They would come, unannounced; perhaps when I was watching the pale flush preceding dawn; or looking up through the rustling leaves of some giant forest tree into the greens and browns and the black shadows and the occasionally ensured bright fleck of blue sky; or when I stood, as darkness fell, with one hand on the still warm trunk of a tree and looked at the sparkling of an early moon on the never still, softly sighing water of Lake Tanganyika.
Jane Goodall
All of these things had been stored away for her to pass along someday, relics to be carried up the branches of the family tree. But the family tree stopped growing long ago, its canopy thinned and frayed, not a single sap springing from the old rotting trunk. Some trees aren't meant to sprout tender new branches, but to stand stoically on the forest floor, silently decaying.
Shelby Van Pelt (Remarkably Bright Creatures)
...you'd be surprised how many people violate this simple principle every day of their lives and try to fit square pegs into round holes, ignoring the clear reality that Things Are As They Are. We will let a selection from the writings of Chuang-tse illustrate: Hui-tse said to Chuang-tse, "I have a large tree which no carpenter can cut into lumber. Its branches and trunk are crooked and tough, covered with bumps and depressions. No builder would turn his head to look at it. Your teachings are the same - useless, without value. Therefore, no one pays attention to them." ... "You complain that your tree is not valuable as lumber. But you could make use of the shade it provides, rest under its sheltering branches, and stroll beneath it, admiring its character and appearance. Since it would not be endangered by an axe, what could threaten its existence? It is useless to you only because you want to make it into something else and do not use it in its proper way.
Benjamin Hoff (The Tao of Pooh)
At other times, at the edge of a wood, especially at dusk, the trees themselves would assume strange shapes: sometimes they were arms rising heavenwards, , or else the trunk would twist and turn like a body being bent by the wind. At night, when I woke up and the moon and the stars were out, I would see in the sky things that filled me simultaneously with dread and longing. I remember that once, one Christmas Eve, I saw a great naked women, standing erect, with rolling eyes; she must have been a hundred feet high, but along she drifted, growing ever longer and ever thinner, and finally fell apart, each limb remaining separate, with the head floating away first as the rest of her body continued to waver
Gustave Flaubert (November)
Very slowly, she peeked around the tree trunk. Saw a slim, petite figure, flanked by two very large, very dangerous-looking soldier of fortune types picking their way through the bodies and the rubble. "Amy?" Oh, God. It was Amy. "Get away from her," Jenna ordered, stepping out from behind the conifer, wielding the iron pan like a club. Both men stopped. Glanced at her. Glanced at each other over Amy's head. "What?" The biggest one grunted out a surly laugh. "Or you'll souffle us?" Okay. She was definitely going after him first.
Cindy Gerard
The realization that I’d have nothing to take home had finally sunk in. My knees buckled and I slid down the tree trunk to its roots. It was too much. I was too sick and weak and tired, oh, so tired. Let them call the Peacekeepers and take us to the community home, I thought. Or better yet, let me die right here in the rain.
Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1))
We were in the autumnlands. Dim as it was, the forest glowed. The golden leaves flashing by blazed like sparks caught in the updraft of a fire. A scarlet carpet unrolled before us, rich and flawless as velvet. Rising from the forest floor, the black, tangled roots breathed a bluish mist that reduced the farthest trees' trunks to ghostly silhouettes, yet left their foliage's luminous hues untouched. Vivid moss speckled the branches like tarnished copper. The crisp spice of pine sap infused the cool air over a musty perfume of dry leaves. A knot swelled in my throat. I couldn't look away. There was too much of it, too fast. I'd never be able to drink it all in...
Margaret Rogerson (An Enchantment of Ravens)
Say the planet is born at midnight and it runs for one day. First there is nothing. Two hours are lost to lava and meteors. Life doesn’t show up until three or four a.m. Even then, it’s just the barest self-copying bits and pieces. From dawn to late morning—a million million years of branching—nothing more exists than lean and simple cells. Then there is everything. Something wild happens, not long after noon. One kind of simple cell enslaves a couple of others. Nuclei get membranes. Cells evolve organelles. What was once a solo campsite grows into a town. The day is two-thirds done when animals and plants part ways. And still life is only single cells. Dusk falls before compound life takes hold. Every large living thing is a latecomer, showing up after dark. Nine p.m. brings jellyfish and worms. Later that hour comes the breakout—backbones, cartilage, an explosion of body forms. From one instant to the next, countless new stems and twigs in the spreading crown burst open and run. Plants make it up on land just before ten. Then insects, who instantly take to the air. Moments later, tetrapods crawl up from the tidal muck, carrying around on their skin and in their guts whole worlds of earlier creatures. By eleven, dinosaurs have shot their bolt, leaving the mammals and birds in charge for an hour. Somewhere in that last sixty minutes, high up in the phylogenetic canopy, life grows aware. Creatures start to speculate. Animals start teaching their children about the past and the future. Animals learn to hold rituals. Anatomically modern man shows up four seconds before midnight. The first cave paintings appear three seconds later. And in a thousandth of a click of the second hand, life solves the mystery of DNA and starts to map the tree of life itself. By midnight, most of the globe is converted to row crops for the care and feeding of one species. And that’s when the tree of life becomes something else again. That’s when the giant trunk starts to teeter.
Richard Powers (The Overstory)
Soon the trees affected not only her mood but her understanding. Each year a trunk put on a new ring of growth, and within those rings she found the tree's own story. She listened to the scent of it, the feel, the sound, and her mind gave it words- soil, water, sap, light...and before, night and rain, dry and sun, wind and night...the drowsy stillness of leaves in a rainfall, the sparkling eagerness of leaves in the sun, and always the pulling up of the branches, the tugging down of the roots, the forever growing in tow directions, joing sky and soil, and a center to keep it strong... -Rin, Forest Born
Shannon Hale
Sometimes time cannot tick backwards. Sometimes you cannot put a dragon back in a forest, nor a witch back in a tree-trunk, nor the breath back into a friend when all the breath has gone.
Cressida Cowell (How to Betray a Dragon's Hero (How to Train Your Dragon, #11))
When you walk through a forest that has not been tamed and interfered with by man, you will see not only abundant life all around you, but you will also encounter fallen trees and decaying trunks, rotting leaves and decomposing matter at every step. Wherever you look, you will find death as well as life. Upon closer scrutiny, however, you will discover that the decomposing tree trunk and rotting leaves not only give birth to new life, but are full of life themselves. Microorganisms are at work. Molecules are rearranging themselves. So death isn't to be found anywhere. There is only the metamorphosis of life forms. What can you learn from this? Death is not the opposite of life. Life has no opposite. The opposite of death is birth. Life is eternal.
Eckhart Tolle (Stillness Speaks)
Can you hear the wind, father? Remember what mother used to say about the wind? The wind cannot defeat a tree with strong roots. You are still breathing.. As long as you can still grab a breath, you fight. You breathe. Keep breathing. When there is a storm.. And you stand in front of a tree.. If you look at its branches, you swear it will fall. But if you watch the trunk, you will see its stability.
Alejandro G. Iñárritu
One conceals oneself standing silently beside the trunk of a tree and what there is of a reflective tendency in his nature is intensified. One shudders at the thought of the meaninglessness of life while at the same instant, and if the people of the town are his people, one loves life so intensely that tears come into the eyes.
Sherwood Anderson
My eyelids are heavy as stone. But when I sleep, I'll have that dream again. I haven't wanted to tell you about it, until now. I'll be in the Separates, and I'll be digging with my bare hands. When I've made a hole deep enough to plant a tree, I'll place my fingers inside. I'll slip off the ring you gave me. It will catch the light and glint a rainbow of colors over my skin, but I will take my hands away, leaving it there. I'll sprinkle the earth back over it, and I will bury it. Back where it belongs. I'll rest against a tree's rough trunk. The sun will be setting, it's dazzling color threading through the sky, making my cheeks warm. Then I will wake up. Good-bye, Ty, Gemma
Lucy Christopher (Stolen (Stolen, #1))
The gold and scarlet leaves that littered the countryside in great drifts whispered and chuckled among themselves, or took experimental runs from place to place, rolling like coloured hoops among the trees. It was as if they were practising something, preparing for something, and they would discuss it excitedly in rustly voices as they crowded round the tree trunks.
Gerald Durrell (My Family and Other Animals (Corfu Trilogy, #1))
I am one of those who has no trouble imagining the sentient lives of trees, of their leaves in some fashion communicating or of the massy trunks and heavy branches knowing it is I who have come, as I always come, each morning, to walk beneath them, glad to be alive and glad to be there.
Mary Oliver (Winter Hours: Prose, Prose Poems, and Poems)
What a thing to acknowledge in your heart! To lose a brother is to lose someone with whom you can share the experience of growing old, who is supposed to bring you a sister-in-law and nieces and nephews, creatures to people the tree of your life and give it new branches. To lose your father is to lose the one whose guidance and help you seek, who supports you like a tree trunk supports its branches. To lose your mother, well, that is like losing the sun above you. It is like losing-I’m sorry, I would rather not go on.
Yann Martel (Life of Pi)
Char me the trunk of a redwood tree. Give me pages of white chalk cliffs to write upon. Magnify me thousands of times, and replace my trifling immodesties with a titanic megalomania — then might I write largely enough for our subjects.
Charles Fort (New Lands)
Over everything—up through the wreckage of the city, in gutters, along the riverbanks, tangled among tiles and tin roofing, climbing on charred tree trunks—was a blanket of fresh, vivid, lush, optimistic green; the verdancy rose even from the foundations of ruined houses. Weeds already hid the ashes, and wild flowers were in bloom among the city’s bones. The bomb had not only left the underground organs of the plants intact; it had stimulated them.
John Hersey (Hiroshima)
The trees they passed repeated on and on into the woods. None was remarkable when compared to the next, but each was individual in some small regard: the number of limbs, the girth of trunk, the circumference of shed leaves encircling the base. No more than minor peculiarities, but minor particularities were what transformed two eyes, a nose, and a mouth into a face.
Anthony Marra (A Constellation of Vital Phenomena)
Cut this tree I'm living in down. Hollow its trunk out. Make me all over again, with what you scooped out of its insides. Slide the new me back inside the old trunk. Burn me. Burn the tree. Spread the ashes, for luck, where you want next year's crops to grow. Birth me and the tree Next summer's sun Midwinter guarantee
Ali Smith (Autumn (Seasonal Quartet, #1))
Betsy was so full of joy that she had to be alone. She went upstairs to her bedroom and sat down on Uncle Keith's trunk. Behind Tacy's house the sun had set. A wind had sprung up and the trees, their color dimmed, moved under a brooding sky. All the stories she had told Tacy and Tib seemed to be dancing in those trees, along with all the stories she planned to write some day and all the stories she would read at the library. Good stories. Great stories. The classics. Not Rena's novels.
Maud Hart Lovelace (Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown (Betsy-Tacy, #4))
These were the trees he liked best, the kind that never lost their green, that always smelled of sap. In woods like these, it felt like summer was still alive, as if a sun were buried in every rough trunk like a warm, dormant heart.
Leigh Bardugo (The Demon in the Wood (Grishaverse, #0.1))
when my mother was pregnant with her second child i was four i pointed at her swollen belly confused at how my mother had gotten so big in such little time my father scooped me in his tree trunk arms and said the closest thing to god on this earth is a woman’s body it’s where life comes from and to have a grown man tell me something so powerful at such a young age changed me to see the entire universe rested at my mother’s feet
Rupi Kaur (Milk and Honey)
Live or die, but don't poison everything... Well, death's been here for a long time -- it has a hell of a lot to do with hell and suspicion of the eye and the religious objects and how I mourned them when they were made obscene by my dwarf-heart's doodle. The chief ingredient is mutilation. And mud, day after day, mud like a ritual, and the baby on the platter, cooked but still human, cooked also with little maggots, sewn onto it maybe by somebody's mother, the damn bitch! Even so, I kept right on going on, a sort of human statement, lugging myself as if I were a sawed-off body in the trunk, the steamer trunk. This became perjury of the soul. It became an outright lie and even though I dressed the body it was still naked, still killed. It was caught in the first place at birth, like a fish. But I play it, dressed it up, dressed it up like somebody's doll. Is life something you play? And all the time wanting to get rid of it? And further, everyone yelling at you to shut up. And no wonder! People don't like to be told that you're sick and then be forced to watch you come down with the hammer. Today life opened inside me like an egg and there inside after considerable digging I found the answer. What a bargain! There was the sun, her yolk moving feverishly, tumbling her prize -- and you realize she does this daily! I'd known she was a purifier but I hadn't thought she was solid, hadn't known she was an answer. God! It's a dream, lovers sprouting in the yard like celery stalks and better, a husband straight as a redwood, two daughters, two sea urchings, picking roses off my hackles. If I'm on fire they dance around it and cook marshmallows. And if I'm ice they simply skate on me in little ballet costumes. Here, all along, thinking I was a killer, anointing myself daily with my little poisons. But no. I'm an empress. I wear an apron. My typewriter writes. It didn't break the way it warned. Even crazy, I'm as nice as a chocolate bar. Even with the witches' gymnastics they trust my incalculable city, my corruptible bed. O dearest three, I make a soft reply. The witch comes on and you paint her pink. I come with kisses in my hood and the sun, the smart one, rolling in my arms. So I say Live and turn my shadow three times round to feed our puppies as they come, the eight Dalmatians we didn't drown, despite the warnings: The abort! The destroy! Despite the pails of water that waited, to drown them, to pull them down like stones, they came, each one headfirst, blowing bubbles the color of cataract-blue and fumbling for the tiny tits. Just last week, eight Dalmatians, 3/4 of a lb., lined up like cord wood each like a birch tree. I promise to love more if they come, because in spite of cruelty and the stuffed railroad cars for the ovens, I am not what I expected. Not an Eichmann. The poison just didn't take. So I won't hang around in my hospital shift, repeating The Black Mass and all of it. I say Live, Live because of the sun, the dream, the excitable gift.
Anne Sexton (The Complete Poems)
Nancy waded out to her own rocks and searched her own pools and let that couple look after themselves. She crouched low down and touched the smooth rubber-like sea anemones, who were stuck like lumps of jelly to the side of the rock. Brooding, she changed the pool into the sea, and made the minnows into sharks and whales, and cast vast clouds over this tiny world by holding her hand against the sun, and so brought darkness and desolation, like God himself, to millions of ignorant and innocent creatures, and then took her hand away suddenly and let the sun stream down. Out on the pale criss-crossed sand, high-stepping, fringed, gauntleted, stalked some fantastic leviathan (she was still enlarging the pool), and slipped into the vast fissures of the mountain side. And then, letting her eyes slide imperceptibly above the pool and rest on that wavering line of sea and sky, on the tree trunks which the smoke of steamers made waver on the horizon, she became with all that power sweeping savagely in and inevitably withdrawing, hypnotised, and the two senses of that vastness and this tininess (the pool had diminished again) flowering within it made her feel that she was bound hand and foot and unable to move by the intensity of feelings which reduced her own body, her own life, and the lives of all the people in the world, for ever, to nothingness. So listening to the waves, crouching over the pool, she brooded.
Virginia Woolf (To the Lighthouse)
In the late summer of that year we lived in a house in a village that looked across the river and the plain to the mountains. In the bed of the river there were pebbles and boulders, dry and white in the sun, and the water was clear and swiftly moving and blue in the channels. Troops went by the house and down the road and the dust they raised powdered the leaves of the trees. The trunks of the trees too were dusty and the leaves fell early that year and we saw the troops marching along the road and the dust rising and leaves, stirred by the breeze, falling and the soldiers marching and afterward the road bare and white except for the leaves.
Ernest Hemingway (A Farewell to Arms)
Just as I can't see a clear brook without at least stopping to dangle my feet in it, I can't see a meadow in May and simply pass by. There is nothing more seductive then such fragrant earth, the blossoms of clover swaying above it like a light foam, and the petal-bedecked branches of the fruit trees reaching upward, as if they wanted to rescue themselves from this tranquil sea. No, I have to turn from my path and immerse myself in this richness . . . When I turn my head, my cheek grazes the rough trunk of the apple tree next to me. How protectively it spreads its good branches over me. Without ceasing the sap rises from its roots, nuturing even the smallest of leaves. Do I hear, perhaps, a secret heartbeat? I press my face against its dark, warm bark and think to myself: homeland, and am so indescribably happy in this instant.
Sophie Scholl
When trees grow together, nutrients and water can be optimally divided among them all so that each tree can grow into the best tree it can be. If you "help" individual trees by getting rid of their supposed competition, the remaining trees are bereft. They send messages out to their neighbors in vain, because nothing remains but stumps. Every tree now muddles along on its own, giving rise to great differences in productivity. Some individuals photosynthesize like mad until sugar positively bubbles along their trunk. As a result, they are fit and grow better, but they aren't particularly long-lived. This is because a tree can be only as strong as the forest that surrounds it. And there are now a lot of losers in the forest. Weaker members, who would once have been supported by the stronger ones, suddenly fall behind. Whether the reason for their decline is their location and lack of nutrients, a passing malaise, or genetic makeup, they now fall prey to insects and fungi. But isn't that how evolution works? you ask. The survival of the fittest? Their well-being depends on their community, and when the supposedly feeble trees disappear, the others lose as well. When that happens, the forest is no longer a single closed unit. Hot sun and swirling winds can now penetrate to the forest floor and disrupt the moist, cool climate. Even strong trees get sick a lot over the course of their lives. When this happens, they depend on their weaker neighbors for support. If they are no longer there, then all it takes is what would once have been a harmless insect attack to seal the fate even of giants.
Peter Wohlleben (The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate: Discoveries from a Secret World)
The forest stretched on seemingly forever with the most monotonous predictability, each tree just like the next - trunk, branches, leaves; trunk, branches, leaves. Of course a tree would have taken a different view of the matter. We all tend to see the way others are alike and how we differ, and it's probably just as well we do, since that prevents a great deal of confusion. But perhaps we should remind ourselves from time to time that ours is a very partial view, and that the world is full of a great deal more variety than we ever manage to take in.
Thomas M. Disch (The Brave Little Toaster)
Upon closer scrutiny, however, you will discover that the decomposing tree trunk and rotting leaves not only give birth to new life, but are full of life themselves. Microorganisms are at work.
Eckhart Tolle (Stillness Speaks)
The warmth grew uncomfortable. She gripped the tree trunk tighter and prayed, “Christ, my God, set my heart on fire with love of you. That in its flame, I may love you with all my heart, all my mind, all my soul, and all my strength, and my neighbor as myself. So that by keeping your commandments, I may glorify you, the giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.” Set my heart on fire. It was almost funny, given what was about to happen.
John Patrick Kennedy (Princess Dracula (Princess Dracula #1))
It was one of those moments when everything is out of balance, I suppose, and just watching an odd thing seems to make sense. The squirrel scampered up a tree trunk, the sound of its nails like water in a tub.
Colum McCann (Let the Great World Spin)
A hundred years or more, she's bent her crown in storm, in sun, in moonsplashed midnight breeze. surviving all the random vagaries of this harsh world. A dense - twigged veil drifts down from crown along her trunk - mourning slow wood that rustles tattered, in a hint of wind this January dusk, cloudy, purpling the ground with sudden shadows. How she broods - you speculate - on dark surprise and loss, alone these many years, despondent, bent, her bolt-cracked mate transformed to splinters, moss. Though not alone, you feel the sadness of a twilight breeze. There's never enough love; the widow nods to you. Her branches moan.
Lauren Lipton
THE WILD BOAR AND THE FOX A Wild Boar was engaged in whetting his tusks upon the trunk of a tree in the forest when a Fox came by and, seeing what he was at, said to him, "Why are you doing that, pray? The huntsmen are not out to-day, and there are no other dangers at hand that I can see." "True, my friend," replied the Boar, "but the instant my life is in danger I shall need to use my tusks. There'll be no time to sharpen them then.
Aesop (Aesop's Fables)
Our scars are like the rings in a tree trunk, showing its progress through life. How we heal and move forward through adversity . . . that is what makes the difference. We can’t run from our problems; we need to face them.
Morgan Rhodes (Crimson Dagger (Falling Kingdoms, #0.1))
the shade of the raining tree where the sky fell and was lost in autumn leaves and crept down at last in shining rivers along the branches and trunk
Ray Bradbury (Something Wicked This Way Comes (Green Town, #2))
She heard Rowan awake with a start before he reconciled himself to his surroundings. His back scraped across the trunk of the tree as he slid sideways--trying to see around the branch she was sitting on to get a look at her. "Are you awake?" he asked, his voice still rough from sleep. "Yeah." "Did you sleep at all?" "No." She heard him mumble something to himself and decided to cut him off before he could scold her again. "My butt did, though. Slept like a log all night." "Well, obviously, your butt has more sense than you do." "You're a funny man, Rowan whatever your last name is." "Fall." "I'd rather not." She managed to get a tiny chuckle out of him, which she considered a huge achievement. Rowan stood up on his branch, bringing his head level with Lily's, and started to untie her. His lips were still pursed in a near smile. "My name is Rowan Fall.
Josephine Angelini (Trial by Fire (Worldwalker, #1))
And suddenly something unforgettable occurred: suddenly she felt a desire to go to him and hear his voice, his words. If he spoke to her in a soft, deep voice her soul would take courage and rise to the surface of her body, and she would burst our crying. She would put her arms around him the way she had put her arms around the chestnut tree's thick trunk in her dream.
Milan Kundera (The Unbearable Lightness of Being)
It's just one more thing she hadn't considered, and as the idea of it settles over her, she realizes again how entwined their lives are. They're like two trees whose branches have grown together. Even if you pull them out by the trunks, they're still going to be twisted and tangled and nearly impossible to separate at the roots.
Jennifer E. Smith
Mr. Advocate, the rotten tree-trunk, until the very moment when the storm-blast breaks it in two, has all the appearance of might it ever had. The storm-blast whistles through the branches of the Empire even now. Listen with the ears of psychohistory, and you will hear the creaking.
Isaac Asimov (Foundation (Foundation, #1))
​There is a crime here that goes beyond denunciation. There is a sorrow here that weeping cannot symbolize. There is a failure here that topples all our success. The fertile earth, the straight tree rows, the sturdy trunks, and the ripe fruit. And the children dying of pellagra must die because a profit cannot be taken from an orange. And coroners must fill the certificates - died of malnutrition - because the food must rot, must be forced to rot. ...and in the eyes of the hungry there is a growing wrath. In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage.
John Steinbeck (The Grapes of Wrath)
Inside that tiny seed, lives the roots, branches, bark, trunk, leaves, twigs and apple fruit of that apple tree. You can’t see, feel, hear, taste or smell any of that yet; nevertheless, it is all inside that seed. The moment the seed is in your hand— all of that is in your hand, too, from the root to the bark to the fruit! All you have to do is to push the seed into the soil. And what makes anyone plant any apple seed? It is the belief that in the seed, there is the tree. So, believe. To have a seed, is to have everything.
C. JoyBell C.
It [realization of Oneness] means being constantly open to the possibility that we are like two flowers looking at each other from two different branches of the same tree, so that if we were to go deep enough inside to the trunk, we would realize that we are one. Just being open to this possibility will have a profound effect on your relationships and on your experience of the world.
Francis Lucille (The Perfume of Silence)
She sat very still, listening to a stream gurgling, the breeze soughing through upper branches, the melodious kloo-klack of ravens, the nyeep-nyeep of nuthatches - all sounds chokingly beautiful. She felt she could hear the cool clean breath of growing things - fern fronds, maple leaves, white trillium petals, tree trunks, each in its rightful place.
Susan Vreeland (The Forest Lover)
There is something memorable in the experience to be had by going to a fair ground that stands at the edge of a Middle Western town on a night after the annual fair has been held. The sensation is one never to be forgotten. On all sides are ghosts, not of the dead, but of living people. Here, during the day just passed, have come the people pouring in from the town and the country around. Farmers with their wives and children and all the people from the hundreds of little frame houses have gathered within these board walls. Young girls have laughed and men with beards have talked of the affairs of their lives. The place has been filled to overflowing with life. It has itched and squirmed with life and now it is night and the life has all gone away. The silence is almost terrifying. One conceals oneself standing silently beside the trunk of a tree and what there is of a reflective tendency in his nature is intensified. One shudders at the thought of the meaningless of life while at the same instant, and if the people of the town are his people, one loves life so intensely that tears come into the eyes.
Sherwood Anderson (Winesburg, Ohio)
As I sit, my back leaning against a damp, moss-covered tree trunk, my eyes sweeping the canopy above, my ears straining to catch the crack of a distant branch that betrays an orangutan moving in the treetops, I think about how we humans search for God. The tropical rain forest is the most complex thing an ordinary human can experience on this planet. A walk in the rain forest is a walk into the mind of God.
Biruté M.F. Galdikas (Reflections of Eden: My Years with the Orangutans of Borneo)
The world around us is a blurry landscape of blues and grays and mottled hues and the few trees still standing have a hundred shaky, quivering arms ripping through their trunks, reaching up to the sky as if in prayer, begging for relief from the tragedy they've been rooted in. It's enough to make me feel sorry for the plants and animals forced to bear witness to what we've done. They never asked for this.
Tahereh Mafi (Unravel Me (Shatter Me, #2))
To our indigenous ancestors, and to the many aboriginal peoples who still hold fast to their oral traditions, language is less a human possession than it is a property of the animate earth itself, an expressive, telluric power in which we, along with the coyotes and the crickets, all participate. Each creature enacts this expressive magic in its own manner, the honeybee with its waggle dance no less than a bellicose, harrumphing sea lion. Nor is this power restricted solely to animals. The whispered hush of the uncut grasses at dawn, the plaintive moan of trunks rubbing against one another in the deep woods, or the laughter of birch leaves as the wind gusts through their branches all bear a thicket of many-layered meanings for those who listen carefully. In the Pacific Northwest I met a man who had schooled himself in the speech of needled evergreens; on a breezy day you could drive him, blindfolded, to any patch of coastal forest and place him, still blind, beneath a particular tree -- after a few moments he would tell you, by listening, just what species of pine or spruce or fir stood above him (whether he stood beneath a Douglas fir or a grand fir, a Sitka spruce or a western red cedar). His ears were attuned, he said, to the different dialects of the trees.
David Abram (Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology)
Stop this!” he shouted. “Your woodland magic is no match for a Titan!” But the more he struggled, the faster the roots grew. They curled about his body, thickening and hardening into bark. His golden armor melted into the wood, becoming part of a large trunk. The music continued. Hyperion’s forces backed up in astonishment as their leader was absorbed. He stretched out his arms and they became branches, from which smaller branches shot out and grew leaves. The tree grew taller and thicker, until only the Titan’s face was visible in the middle of the trunk. “You cannot imprison me!” he bellowed. “I am Hyperion! I am—” The bark closed over his face. Grover took his pipes from his mouth. “You are a very nice maple tree.
Rick Riordan (The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #5))
And the roses—the roses! Rising out of the grass, tangled round the sun-dial, wreathing the tree trunks and hanging from their branches, climbing up the walls and spreading over them with long garlands falling in cascades—they came alive day by day, hour by hour. Fair fresh leaves, and buds—and buds—tiny at first but swelling and working Magic until they burst and uncurled into cups of scent delicately spilling themselves over their brims and filling the garden air.
Frances Hodgson Burnett (The Secret Garden)
Gage appears beneath me. 'Jump, and I'll catch you.' 'No.' I strengthen my death grip on the trunk of the tree. 'I'm very afraid of heights. I'll need hours of therapy to repair the damage done here today.'
Addison Moore (Ethereal (Celestra, #1))
... He went under the stars, and the tender light of the moon, when it hung like an eyelash and the tree trunks shone like bones. He walked through wind and weather, and beneath sun-bleached skies. It seemed to Harold that he had been waiting all his life to walk. He no longer knew how far he had come, but only that he was going forward. The pale Cotswold stone became the red brick of Warwickshire, and the land flattened into middle England. Harold reached his hand to his mouth to brush away a fly, and felt a beard growing in thick tufts. Queenie would live. He knew it.
Rachel Joyce (The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (Harold Fry, #1))
The Elm Log By Alexander Solzhenitsyn We were sawing firewood when we picked up an elm log and gave a cry of amazement. It was a full year since we had chopped down the trunk, dragged it along behind a tractor and sawn it up into logs, which we had then thrown on to barges and wagons, rolled into stacks and piled up on the ground - and yet this elm log had still not given up! A fresh green shoot had sprouted from it with a promise of a thick, leafy branch, or even a whole new elm tree. We placed the log on the sawing-horse, as though on an executioner's block, but we could not bring ourselves to bite into it with our saw. How could we? That log cherished life as dearly as we did; indeed, its urge to live was even stronger than ours.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (Stories and Prose Poems)
The light faded slowly, retreating through the trees. The thick mossy trunks grew dense with shadow, edges still rimmed with a fugitive light that hid among the leaves, green shadows shifting with the sunset breeze.
Diana Gabaldon (Drums of Autumn (Outlander, #4))
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))
They hooted and laughed all the way back to the car, teasing Milkman, egging him on to tell more about how scared he was. And he told them. Laughing too, hard, loud, and long. Really laughing, and he found himself exhilarated by simply walking the earth. Walking it like he belonged on it; like his legs were stalks, tree trunks, a part of his body that extended down down down into the rock and soil, and were comfortable there--on the earth and on the place where he walked. And he did not limp.
Toni Morrison (Song of Solomon)
I am too old and sad to play," said the boy. "I want a boat that will take me far away from here. Can you give me a boat?" "Cut down my trunk and make a boat," said the tree. "Then you can sail away... and be happy." And so the boy cut down her trunk and made a boat and sailed away. And the tree was happy ... but not really.
Shel Silverstein
Tarver,” she whispers, her eyes on my face. “There’ll be cameras all the time. More questions. Everyone will want to hear your story. Your life will be different, no matter how far from Corinth we go.” A flashlight flickers through the trees, broken and jagged as it shines past the trunks. The light glances off her face, illuminating her eyes for a brief, brilliant moment. I step closer. “I don’t care.” “My father will try to—” She swallows, then lifts her chin, mouth firming to a straight, determined line. “No. I’ll figure out a way to handle him.” I can’t help but grin down at her, this steely assurance, my Lilac through and through. “I’d pay to see that showdown.
Amie Kaufman (These Broken Stars (Starbound, #1))
When people visit my farm they often envision their dog, finally off-leash in acres of safely fenced countryside, running like Lassie in a television show, leaping over fallen tree trunks, shiny-eyed with joy at the change to run free in the country. While they're imagining that heartwarming scene, their dog is most likely gobbling up sheep poop as fast as he can. Dog aren't people, and if they have their own image of heaven, it most likely involves poop.
Patricia B. McConnell (For the Love of a Dog: Understanding Emotion in You and Your Best Friend)
In a designed economy there would be no trees, or certainly no very tall trees: no forests, no canopy. Trees are a waste. Trees are extravagant. Tree trunks are standing monuments to futile competition - futile if we think in terms of a planed economy. But the natural economy is not planned. Individual plants compete with other plants, of the same and other species, and the result is that they grow taller and taller, far taller than any planner would recommend.
Richard Dawkins (The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution)
Leaves that rustled, twigs that scraped and rattled. But the thin shapes weren't falling, they were scurrying head first down the tree-trunks at a speed that seemed to leave time behind. Some of them had no shape they could have lived with, and some might never have had any skin. She saw their shriveled eyes glimmer eagerly and their toothless mouths gape with an identical infantile hunger. Their combined weight bowed the lowest branches while they extended arms like withered sticks to snatch the child. ("With The Angels")
Ramsey Campbell (Best New Horror 22 (The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, #22))
Five girls sat beside, and upon the branches of, the oldest apple tree in the orchard, its huge trunk making a fine seat and support; and whenever the May breeze blew, the pink blossoms tumbled down like snow, coming to rest in their hair and on their skirts. The afternoon sunlight dappled green and silver and gold through the leaves in the apple orchard.
Neil Gaiman (Stardust)
A tree trunk is not a perfect cylindrical or rectangle shape. It's irregular and it's beautiful. That's how life is. Make peace with the mistakes and foolishness of past.
Shunya
I don't cut deep-I don't want to kill the tree. I carve her name carefully on the trunk, thinking, as I always do, of when I held her hand in mine to teach her to write.
Ally Condie (Crossed (Matched, #2))
I’d like to get away from earth awhile And then come back to it and begin over. May no fate willfully misunderstand me And half grant what I wish and snatch me away Not to return. Earth's the right place for love: I don't know where it's likely to go better. I'd like to go by climbing a birch tree, And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more, But dipped its top and set me down again. That would be good both going and coming back. One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.
Robert Frost
There were times when I was blown away by the virgin beauty of the land. Kind of like that guy who lost his shit on the internet at the full double rainbow across the sky. Remember that guy? He kept asking what it meant, and it is not so difficult a question to answer. It means that we are loved, like all living things that Gaia sustains. There is a poetry in the canapes of forests and in the gentle roll of hills. A song in the wind and a benediction in the kiss of the sun. There are stories in the chuckle of waters in creeks and epics told in the tides of oceans. There are trees, Granuaile, that seem sometimes like they have grown all their lives just to feel the touch of my hand upon their trunks. They are so welcoming to me. You will feel that welcome in your hands some day. You'll feel it in your toes as you walk upon the earth. I cannot wait to see that love bloom in your eyes....' Tears glistened at the edges of her eyes... She knew precisely what I meant. She understood. And she became almost unbearably beautiful to me in that moment.
Kevin Hearne (Tricked (The Iron Druid Chronicles, #4))
For the wood was full of light, entirely different from the light she was used to. It was green and amber and alive, quivering in splotches on the padded ground, fanning into sturdy stripes between the tree trunks. There were little flowers she did not recognize, white and palest blue; and endless, tangled vines; and here and there a fallen log, half rotted but soft with patches of sweet green-velvet moss.
Natalie Babbitt (Tuck Everlasting)
Some species of trees spread root systems underground that interconnect the individual trunks and weave the individual trees into a more stable whole that can’t so easily be blown down in the wind. Stories and conversations are like those roots. (“A Short History of Silence”)
Rebecca Solnit (The Mother of All Questions)
A kid thinks her mother is just that -- hers. A mother is also a woman, an independent being, who doesn't want to be reminded by anyone, child or otherwise, of her tree-trunk thighs. The world made women's private lives a public affair to people who knew them and even people who didn't.
J. Courtney Sullivan (Commencement)
when my mother was pregnant with her second child i was four i pointed at her swollen belly confused at how my mother had gotten so big in such little time my father scooped me in his tree trunk arms and said the closest thing to god on this earth is a woman's body it's where life comes from and to have a grown man tell me something so powerful at such a young age changed me to see the entire universe rested at my mother's feet
Rupi Kaur (milk and honey)
A young tree was bothered by the fact that a lot of tiny insects were living in its trunk. An old tree advised, “Focus on your larger self - roots, trunk, branches, leaves. The tiny insects will stop bothering you. Don’t let a woodpecker destroy you on the pretext of killing your insects.
Shunya
What I meant was, some people stand in front of a tree and the first thing they notice is the trunk. These are the ones who prioritize order, safety, rules, continuity. Then there are those who pick out the branches before anything else. They yearn for change, a sense of freedom. And then there are those who are drawn to the roots, though concealed under the ground. They have a deep emotional attachment to their heritage, identity, traditions …
Elif Shafak (The Island of Missing Trees)
We never fully move on, We leave a piece of ourselves behind Like leaves and trunks molded into the earth And forest floor, we give what we know And others take it up and use it to grow. I stand under the shade of giants.
Eric Overby (Legacy)
It was not without a certain wild pleasure I ran before the wind, delivering my trouble of mind to the measureless air-torrent thundering through space. Descending the laurel walk, I faced the wreck of a chestnut-tree; it stood up, black and riven: the trunk, split down the centere, gasped ghastly. The cloven halves were not broken for each other, for the firm base and strong roots kept them unsundered below; through communtiy of vitality was destroyed -- the sap could flow no more: their great boughs on each side were dead, and next winter's tempests would be sure to fell one or both to earth: as yet, however, they might be said to form one tree -- a ruin, but and entire ruin. 'You did right to hold fast to each other,' I said: as if the monster splinters were living things, and could hear me. 'I think, scathed as you look, and charred and scorched, there must be a little sense of life in you yet, rising out of that adhesion at the faithful, honest roots: you will never have green leaves more -- never more see birds making nests and singing idylls in your boughs; the time of pleasure and love is over with you; but you are not desolate: each of you has a comrade to sympathize with him in his decay.' As I looked up at them, the moon appeared momentarily in that part of the sky which filled their fissure; her disc was blood-red and half overcast; she seemed to throw on me one bewildered, dreary glance, and buried herself again instantly in the deep drift of cloud. The wind fell, for a second, round Thornfield; but far away over wood and water poured a wild, melancholy wail: it was sad to listen to, and I ran off again.
Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre)
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))
It was a darkness without time. It was an impenetrable darkness. To the right and left of me rose those terrible formless things of my imagination, which I could not see because there was no light. I could not see, but I dared not close my eyes lest the darkness crawl beneath my eyelids and suffocate me. I could only hear. My ears became my being and I could hear the specks of life that crawled beneath my clothing, the rotting of the great tree which rose from its three-cornered trunk above me. I could hear the darkness gathering against me and the silences that lay between the moving things.
Robert Leckie (Helmet for My Pillow)
The shape of power is always the same; it is the shape of a tree. Root to tip, central trunk branching and re-branching, spreading wider in ever-thinner, searching fingers. The shape of power is the outline of a living thing straining outward, sending its fine tendrils a little further, and a little further yet.
Naomi Alderman (The Power)
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))
Robert Jordan saw them there on the slope, close to him now, and below he saw the road and the bridge and the long lines of vehicles below it. He was completely integrated now and he took a good long look at everything. Then he looked up at the sky. There were big white clouds in it. He touched the palm of his hand against the pine needles where he lay and he touched the bark of the pine trunk that he lay behind... He was waiting until the officer reached the sunlit place where the first trees of the pine forest joined the green slope of the meadow. He could feel his heart beating against the pine needle floor of the forest.
Ernest Hemingway (For Whom the Bell Tolls)
Linger now with me, thou Beauty, On the sharp archaic shore. Surely 'tis a wastrel's duty And the gods could ask no more. If thou lingerest when I linger, If thou tread'st the stones I tread, Thou wilt stay my spirit's hunger And dispel the dreams I dread. Come thou, love, my own, my only, Through the battlements of Groan; Lingering becomes so lonely When one lingers on one's own. I have lingered in the cloisters Of the Northern Wing at night, As the sky unclasped its oysters On the midnight pearls of light; For the long remorseless shadows Chilled me with exquisite fear. I have lingered in cold meadows Through a month of rain, my dear. Come, my Love, my sweet, my Only, Through the parapets of Groan. Lingering can be very lonely When one lingers on one's own. In dark alcoves I have lingered Conscious of dead dynasties; I have lingered in blue cellars And in hollow trunks of trees. Many a traveler through moonlight Passing by a winding stair Or a cold and crumbling archway Has been shocked to see me there. I have longed for thee, my Only, Hark! the footsteps of the Groan! Lingering is so very lonely When one lingers all alone. Will thou come with me, and linger? And discourse with me of those Secret things the mystic finger Points to, but will not disclose? When I'm all alone, my glory Always fades, because I find Being lonely drives the splendour Of my vision from my mind. Come, oh, come, my own! my Only! Through the Gormenghast of Groan. Lingering has become so lonely As I linger all alone!
Mervyn Peake (Titus Groan (Gormenghast, #1))
This water was so dark we could see our faces in it, and it never stirred, set like glass, reflecting the beards of gray moss that smothered the cypress trees. If you looked out through these areas, toward the ocean, all you saw was the black water, the gray of the cypress trunks, and the constant, motionless rain of moss flowing down. All you heard was the low moaning. The effect of this cannot be understood without being there. The beauty of it cannot be understood, either, and when you see beauty in desolation it changes something inside you. Desolation tries to colonize you.
Jeff VanderMeer (Annihilation (Southern Reach, #1))
Was I the rebel kid? The lost college student who just wanted to be accepted? The legalistic man who battled self-righteousness? Was I a husband or a father or a hip-hop artist? Like a tree trunk, all those people were a part of me. They are a part of me. But more than anything, Lecrae is a child who is unconditionally loved by God. I’m a sinner who has been rescued by God from my brokenness and called to glorify the One who has never left my side. That’s who Lecrae is, and that’s who I’ll always be.
Lecrae Moore (Unashamed)
Sometimes, on days when the weather was beyond redemption, mere residence in the house, situated in the midst of a steady and continuous rain, had all the gliding ease, the soothing silence, the interest of a sea voyage; another time, on a bright day, to lie still in bed was to let the lights and shadows play around me as round a tree trunk.
Marcel Proust (The Captive / The Fugitive (In Search of Lost Time, #5-6))
I gently urged Clyde toward a big elm tree standing twenty yards from the front of the cabin and reined him to a stop partially behind the wide trunk. Pulled my rifle out of its boot and rested it across the big gelding’s withers. “You Wilbur Redhand?” He kept whittling without looking up. “Who’s askin?” “I’m Deputy Marshal Jubal Smoak. Looking for an outlaw named Crow Redhand. If you’re Wilbur, I was told you’re his kin.” He nodded and kept whittling. Presently, he said, “Crow ain’t here. He come, but he left. Needed doctoring. Someone shot him in the foot.” “Reckon that’d been me,” I said. “Had a shootout down near Fairland. I shot him in the foot. He shot me in the back.” He squinted at me. “Surprised you’re alive. Crow usually aims to kill. Never knew him to miss.
Phil Truman (Dire Wolf of the Quapaw: a Jubal Smoak Mystery (Jubal Smoak Mysteries Book 1))
Panting and gasping, Harry slowed down, skirting the Willow’s swiping branches, peering through the darkness toward its thick trunk, trying to see the single knot in the bark of the old tree that would paralyze it. Ron and Hermione caught up, Hermione so out of breath she could not speak. “How — how’re we going to get in?” panted Ron. “I can — see the place — if we just had — Crookshanks again —” “Crookshanks?” wheezed Hermione, bent double, clutching her chest. “Are you a wizard, or what?” “Oh — right — yeah —
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7))
I'm happy you're saying that, because... I mean, I always feel like a freak, because I'm never able to move on like... this! You know. People just have an affair, or even entire relationships... they break up and they forget! They move on like they would have changed brand of cereals! I feel I was never able to forget anyone I've been with. Because each person have... their own, specific qualities. You can never replace anyone. What is lost is lost. Each relationship, when it ends, really damages me. I never fully recover. That's why I'm very careful with getting involved, because... It hurts too much! Even getting laid! I actually don't do that... I will miss on the other person the most mundane things. Like I'm obsessed with little things. Maybe I'm crazy, but... when I was a little girl, my mom told me that I was always late to school. One day she followed me to see why. I was looking at chestnuts falling from the trees, rolling on the sidewalk, or... ants crossing the road, the way a leaf casts a shadow on a tree trunk... Little things. I think it's the same with people. I see in them little details, so specific to each of them, that move me, and that I miss, and... will always miss. You can never replace anyone, because everyone is made of such beautiful specific details. Like I remember the way, your beard has a bit of red in it. And how the sun was making it glow, that... that morning, right before you left. I remember that, and... I missed it! I'm really crazy, right?
Céline
One Swaying Being Love is not condescension, never that, nor books, nor any marking on paper, nor what people say of each other. Love is a tree with branches reaching into eternity and roots set deep in eternity, and no trunk! Have you seen it? The mind cannot. Your desiring cannot. The longing you feel for this love comes from inside you. When you become the Friend, your longing will be as the man in the ocean who holds to a piece of wood. Eventually wood, man, and ocean become one swaying being, Shams Tabriz, the secret of God.
Rumi (The Soul of Rumi: A New Collection of Ecstatic Poems)
A possessive part of me wants to hoard this story. I want to chipmunk or squirrel away the memory of this event, place it in a tree trunk with the memories of all the other rapes, attempted rapes, and gropes, memories that will never be released or consumed. When a man asks, "What did he do to you?" he's asking to eat one of these traumatic acorns. Girls never ask for these seeds. They know what it's like to be degraded and fucked by this world, to be made a big-time bottom by life. They don't need the details of my particular shame to construct empathy.
Myriam Gurba (Mean)
Shadow walked the meadow, making his own slow circles around the trunk of the tree, gradually widening his circle. Sometimes he would stop and pick something up: a flower, or a leaf, or a pebble, or a twig, or a blade of grass. He would examine it minutely, as if concentrating entirely on the twigness of the twig, the leafness of the leaf, as if he were seeing it for the first time. Easter found herself reminded of the gaze of a baby, at the point where it learns to focus.
Neil Gaiman (American Gods (American Gods, #1))
By then Ser Gregor Clegane was in position at the head of the lists. He was huge, the biggest man that Eddard Stark had ever seen. Robert Baratheon and his brothers were all big men, as was the Hound, and back at Winterfell there was a simpleminded stableboy named Hodor who dwarfed them all, but the knight they called the Mountain That Rides would have towered over Hodor. He was well over seven feet tall, closer to eight, with massive shoulders and arms thick as the trunks of small trees. His destrier seemed a pony in between his armored legs, and the lance he carried looked as small as a broom handl
George R.R. Martin (A Game of Thrones)
I still have my dad's phone. I keep it and a charging cord hidden in Harold's trunk next to the spare tire. A ton of pictures on his phone were of leafless branches dividing up the sky, like the view I had as we floated under that sycamore tree. I always wondered what he saw in that, in the split-apart sky.
John Green (Turtles All the Way Down)
There is a tree. At the downhill edge of a long, narrow field in the western foothills of the La Sal Mountains -- southeastern Utah. A particular tree. A juniper. Large for its species -- maybe twenty feet tall and two feet in diameter. For perhaps three hundred years this tree has stood its ground. Flourishing in good seasons, and holding on in bad times. "Beautiful" is not a word that comes to mind when one first sees it. No naturalist would photograph it as exemplary of its kind. Twisted by wind, split and charred by lightning, scarred by brushfires, chewed on by insects, and pecked by birds. Human beings have stripped long strings of bark from its trunk, stapled barbed wire to it in using it as a corner post for a fence line, and nailed signs on it on three sides: NO HUNTING; NO TRESPASSING; PLEASE CLOSE THE GATE. In commandeering this tree as a corner stake for claims of rights and property, miners and ranchers have hacked signs and symbols in its bark, and left Day-Glo orange survey tape tied to its branches. Now it serves as one side of a gate between an alfalfa field and open range. No matter what, in drought, flood heat and cold, it has continued. There is rot and death in it near the ground. But at the greening tips of its upper branches and in its berrylike seed cones, there is yet the outreach of life. I respect this old juniper tree. For its age, yes. And for its steadfastness in taking whatever is thrown at it. That it has been useful in a practical way beyond itself counts for much, as well. Most of all, I admire its capacity for self-healing beyond all accidents and assaults. There is a will in it -- toward continuing to be, come what may.
Robert Fulghum (Uh-oh: Some Observations from Both Sides of the Refrigerator Door)
The Reason for Skylarks It was nearly morning when the giant Reached the tree of children. Their faces shone like white apples On the cold dark branches And their dresses and little coats Made sodden gestures in the wind. He did not laugh or weep or stamp His heavy feet. He set to work at once Lifting them tenderly down Into a straw basket which was fixed By a golden strap to his shoulder. Only one did he drop - a soft pretty child Whose hair was the color of watered milk. She fell into the long grass And he could not find her Though he searched until his fingers Bled and the full light came. He shook his fist at the sky and called God a bitter name. But no answer was made and the giant Got down on his knees before the tree And putting his hands about the trunk Shook Until all the children had fallen Into the grass. Then he pranced and stamped Them to jelly. And still he felt no peace. He took his half-full basket and set it afire, Holding it by the handle until Everything had been burned. He saw now Two men on steaming horses approaching From the direction of the world And taking a little silver flute Out of his pocket he played tune After tune until they came up to him.
Kenneth Patchen
One tree resisted for longer than the others. She was the oldest, and had seen a demon before, and knew that sometimes it wasn't about saving yourself, it was about holding out for long enough until someone else could save you. So she held out, and stretched for the stars even as her roots were being dug away, and she held out, and she sang to other trees even as her trunk was rotting out, and she held out, and she dreamt of the sky even as she was unmade.
Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven King (The Raven Cycle, #4))
Nothing is clear now. Something must be the matter with my way of viewing things. I have no middle view. Either I fix on a detail and see it as thought it were magnified -- a leaf with all its veins perceived, the fine hairs on a man's hands -- or else the world recedes and becomes blurred, artificial, indefinite, an abstract painting of a world. The darkening sky is hugely blue, gashed with rose, blood, flame from the volcano or wound or flower of the lowering sun. The wavering green, the sea of grass, piercingly bright. Black tree trunks, contorted, arching over the river.
Margaret Laurence (A Jest of God)
It was important to choose the exact device to drive Charles away. An imperfect magic, or one incorrectly used, might only bring more disaster upon our house. I thought of my mother's jewels, since this was a day of sparkling things, but they might not be strong on a dull day, and Constance would be angry if I took them out of the box where they belonged, when she herself had decided against it. I thought of books, which are always strongly protective, but my father's book had fallen from the tree and let Charles in; books, then, were perhaps powerless against Charles. I lay back against the tree trunk and thought of magic; if Charles had not gone away before three days I would smash the mirror in the hall.
Shirley Jackson (We Have Always Lived in the Castle)
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))
Albine now yielded to him, and Serge possessed her. And the whole garden was engulfed together with the couple in one last cry of love's passion. The tree-trunks bent as under a powerful wind. The blades of grass emitted sobs of intoxication. The flowers, fainting, lips half-open, breathed out their souls. The sky itself, aflame with the setting of the great star, held its clouds motionless, faint with love, whence superhuman rapture fell. And it was the victory of all the wild creatures, all plants and all things natural, which willed the entry of these two children into the eternity of life.
Émile Zola (La Faute de l'abbé Mouret (Les Rougon-Macquart, #5))
I’ve started dreaming in Spanish, which has never happened before. I wake up feeling different, like something inside me is changing, something chemical and irreversible. There’s a magic here working its way through my veins. There’s something about the vegetation, too, that I respond to instinctively - the stunning bougainvillea, the flamboyants and jacarandas, the orchids growing from the trunks of the mysterious ceiba trees. And I love Havana, its noise and decay and painted ladyness. I could happily sit on one of those wrought-iron balconies for days, or keep my grandmother company on her porch, with its ringside view of the sea. I’m afraid to lose all this, to lose Abuela Celia again. But sooner or later I’d have to return to New York. I know now it’s where I belong - not instead of here, but more than here. How can I tell my grandmother this?
Cristina García (Dreaming in Cuban)
Marriage is like grafting a limb onto a tree trunk. You have the limb, freshly sliced, dripping sap, and smelling of springtime, and then you have the mother tree stripped of her protective bark, gouged and ready to receive this new addition. Some years ago, my father performed this surgery on a dogwood tree in the side yard. He tried a pink-blooming limb stolen from the woods to my mother's white-blooming tree from a nursery lot. It took yards of burlap and twine and two years for the plants to join. Even now, all these years later, there's something not quite natural about the tree, even in its amazing two-tone glory.
Tayari Jones (An American Marriage)
Far worse, though, was the low, powerful moaning at dusk. The wind off the sea and the odd interior stillness dulled our ability to gauge direction, so that the sound seemed to infiltrate the black water that soaked the cypress trees. This water was so dark we could see our faces in it, and it never stirred, set like glass, reflecting the beards of gray moss that smothered the cypress trees. If you looked out through these areas, toward the ocean, all you saw was the black water, the gray of the cypress trunks, and the constant, motionless rain of moss flowing down. All you heard was the low moaning. The effect of this cannot be understood without being there. The beauty of it cannot be understood, either, and when you see beauty in desolation it changes something inside you Desolation tries to colonize you.
Jeff VanderMeer (Annihilation (Southern Reach, #1))
If we understand how the tree works, how the trunk and roots are where the power lies, and how gravity is on our side, we can attack it, each of us with small axes, and change the face of the forest. So let’s learn all there is to know about the tree of racism. The root. The fruit. The sap and trunk. The nests built over time, the changing leaves. That way, your generation can finally, actively chop it down.
Jason Reynolds (Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You)
It was an unusual sunset. Having sat behind opaque drapery all day, I had not realized that a storm was pushing in and that much of the sky was the precise shade of old suits of armor one finds in museums. At the same time, patches of brilliance engaged in a territorial dispute with the oncoming onyx of the storm. Light and darkness mingled in strange ways both above and below. Shadows and sunshine washed together, streaking the landscape with an unearthly study of glare and gloom. Bright clouds and black folded into each other in a no-man's land of the sky. The autumn trees took on the appearance of sculptures formed in a dream, their leaden-colored trunks and branches and iron-red leaves all locked in an infinite and unliving moment, unnaturally timeless. The gray lake slowly tossed and tumbled in a dead sleep, nudging unconsciously against its breakwall of numb stone. A scene of contradiction and ambivalence, a tragicomedic haze over all. A land of perfect twilight.
Thomas Ligotti (The Nightmare Factory)
That ride was perhaps the most wonderful thing that happened to them in Narnia. Have you ever had a gallop on a horse? Think of that; and then take away the heavy noise of the hoofs and the jingle of the bit and imagine instead the almost noiseless padding of the great paws. Then imagine instead of the black or grey or chestnut back of the horse the soft roughness of golden fur, and the mane flying back in the wind. And then imagine you are going about twice as fast as the fastest racehorse. But this is a mount that doesn't need to be guided and never grows tired. He rushes on and on, never missing his footing, never hesitating, threading his way with perfect skill between tree trunks, jumping over bush and briar and the smaller streams, wading the larger, swimming the largest of all. And you are riding not on a road nor in a park nor even on the downs, but right across Narnia, in spring, down solemn avenues of beech and across sunny glades of oak, through wild orchards of snow-white cherry trees, past roaring waterfalls and mossy rocks and echoing caverns, up windy slopes alight with gorse bushes, and across the shoulders of heathery mountains and along giddy ridges and down, down, down again into wild valleys and out into acres of blue flowers.
C.S. Lewis (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Chronicles of Narnia, #1))
NOW this is the Law of the Jungle — as old and as true as the sky; And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the Wolf that shall break it must die. As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk the Law runneth forward and back — For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack. Wash daily from nose-tip to tail-tip; drink deeply, but never too deep; And remember the night is for hunting, and forget not the day is for sleep. The Jackal may follow the Tiger, but, Cub, when thy whiskers are grown, Remember the Wolf is a Hunter — go forth and get food of thine own. Keep peace withe Lords of the Jungle — the Tiger, the Panther, and Bear. And trouble not Hathi the Silent, and mock not the Boar in his lair. When Pack meets with Pack in the Jungle, and neither will go from the trail, Lie down till the leaders have spoken — it may be fair words shall prevail. When ye fight with a Wolf of the Pack, ye must fight him alone and afar, Lest others take part in the quarrel, and the Pack be diminished by war. The Lair of the Wolf is his refuge, and where he has made him his home, Not even the Head Wolf may enter, not even the Council may come. The Lair of the Wolf is his refuge, but where he has digged it too plain, The Council shall send him a message, and so he shall change it again. If ye kill before midnight, be silent, and wake not the woods with your bay, Lest ye frighten the deer from the crop, and your brothers go empty away. Ye may kill for yourselves, and your mates, and your cubs as they need, and ye can; But kill not for pleasure of killing, and seven times never kill Man! If ye plunder his Kill from a weaker, devour not all in thy pride; Pack-Right is the right of the meanest; so leave him the head and the hide. The Kill of the Pack is the meat of the Pack. Ye must eat where it lies; And no one may carry away of that meat to his lair, or he dies. The Kill of the Wolf is the meat of the Wolf. He may do what he will; But, till he has given permission, the Pack may not eat of that Kill. Cub-Right is the right of the Yearling. From all of his Pack he may claim Full-gorge when the killer has eaten; and none may refuse him the same. Lair-Right is the right of the Mother. From all of her year she may claim One haunch of each kill for her litter, and none may deny her the same. Cave-Right is the right of the Father — to hunt by himself for his own: He is freed of all calls to the Pack; he is judged by the Council alone. Because of his age and his cunning, because of his gripe and his paw, In all that the Law leaveth open, the word of your Head Wolf is Law. Now these are the Laws of the Jungle, and many and mighty are they; But the head and the hoof of the Law and the haunch and the hump is — Obey!
Rudyard Kipling (The Jungle Book)
Instead of consoling us, my mother spoke sternly. 'Pull yourselves together. Surely I've brought you up better than this? we come into the world alone, and we leave it alone. And in between, too, if it is destined, we'll be alone. Draw on your inner strength. Remember, you can be your own worst enemy - or your best friend. It's up to you. And also this: what you can't change, you must endure.' I knew it was mostly to me that she'd spoken. 'Endure'. A word solid as a tree trunk. A good word upon which to build a life, I thought. I would learn it, and it would help me through dark times.
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (The Forest of Enchantments)
We were strolling in the jungle that surrounds the Lilliputian volcanoes in the Middle Andamans. I found your mother stroking the trunk of a palm tree. It was a Corypha Macropoda in its final stages of life. Once it flowers, it dies. She asked me why it happened. It was how trees had evolved, I explained to her. Some had gone from producing hundreds of seeds with a diminished chance of survival to flowering only once but ensuring the seeds made it by giving them their best … Now I realize why she asked me that question. Your mother wanted me to know the answer. As a human being, I cannot look beyond life and death. But as a botanist, I see how limiting individual lifecycles can be to our understanding. Nature is a continuum. That is how it thrives.
Shubhangi Swarup (Latitudes of Longing)
In reality, a river's basic shape... is not a line but a tree. A river is, in its essence, a thing that branches... Although it flows inward toward its trunk, in geological time it grew, and continues to grow, outward, like an organism, from its ocean outlet to its many headwaters. In the vernacular of a new science, it is fractal, its structure echoing itself on all scales, from river to stream to brook to creek to rivulet, branches too small to name and too many to count.
James Gleick (Nature's Chaos)
I think of thee!—-my thoughts do twine and bud About thee, as wild vines, about a tree, Put out broad leaves, and soon there’s nought to see Except the straggling green which hides the wood. Yet, O my palm-tree, be it understood I will not have my thoughts instead of thee Who art dearer, better! Rather, instantly Renew thy presence; as a strong tree should, Rustle thy boughs and set thy trunk all bare, And let these bands of greenery which insphere thee Drop heavily down,—-burst, shattered, everywhere! Because, in this deep joy to see and hear thee And breathe within thy shadow a new air, I do not think of thee—-I am too near thee.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Mother’s estate—our estate—a thousand acres centered in a million more. Lawns the size of small prairies with grass so perfect it beckoned a body to lie on it, to nap on its soft perfection. Noble shade trees making sundials of the Earth, their shadows circling in stately procession; now mingling, now contracting to midday, finally stretching eastward with the dying of the day. Royal oak. Giant elms. Cottonwood and cypress and redwood and bonsai. Banyan trees lowering new trunks like smooth-sided columns in a temple roofed by sky. Willows lining carefully laid canals and haphazard streams, their hanging branches singing ancient dirges to the wind.
Dan Simmons (Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos, #1))
It was hard to understand, and all I knew was that you had to run, run, run without knowing why you were running, but on you went through fields you didn't understand and into woods that made you afraid, over hills without knowing you'd been up and down, and shooting across streams that would have cut the heart out of you had you fallen into them. And the winning post was no end to it, even though crowds might be cheering you in, because on you had to go before you got your breath back, and the only time you stopped really was when you tripped over a tree trunk and broke your neck or fell into a disused well and stayed dead in the darkness forever.
Alan Sillitoe (The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner)
But what the long walk had not done was reveal the cause of the inherent distaste that had sprung out of nowhere overtaking her there under the tree. On the cold, damp grass, or up against the rough tree trunk. He had done it many times without a second thought, and in more challenging situations. It would have been nothing at all to wrap her long legs around his waist, brace one hand against the tree trunk, hold her tight with his other arm, and give the lady exactly what she wanted. But for some reason he had not been able to do it. For the first time in his life, his body had been willing but his mind had not. Labeling the experience unpleasant would be a severe understatement.
Evangeline Collins (Her Ladyship's Companion)
Nothing is a masterpiece - a real masterpiece - till it's about two hundred years old. A picture is like a tree or a church, you've got to let it grow into a masterpiece. Same with a poem or a new religion. They begin as a lot of funny words. Nobody knows whether they're all nonsense or a gift from heaven. And the only people who think anything of 'em are a lot of cranks or crackpots, or poor devils who don't know enough to know anything. Look at Christianity. Just a lot of floating seeds to start with, all sorts of seeds. It was a long time before one of them grew into a tree big enough to kill the rest and keep the rain off. And it's only when the tree has been cut into planks and built into a house and the house has got pretty old and about fifty generations of ordinary lumpheads who don't know a work of art from a public convenience, have been knocking nails in the kitchen beams to hang hams on, and screwing hooks in the walls for whips and guns and photographs and calendars and measuring the children on the window frames and chopping out a new cupboard under the stairs to keep the cheese and murdering their wives in the back room and burying them under the cellar flags, that it begins even to feel like a religion. And when the whole place is full of dry rot and ghosts and old bones and the shelves are breaking down with old wormy books that no one could read if they tried, and the attic floors are bulging through the servants' ceilings with old trunks and top-boots and gasoliers and dressmaker's dummies and ball frocks and dolls-houses and pony saddles and blunderbusses and parrot cages and uniforms and love letters and jugs without handles and bridal pots decorated with forget-me-nots and a piece out at the bottom, that it grows into a real old faith, a masterpiece which people can really get something out of, each for himself. And then, of course, everybody keeps on saying that it ought to be pulled down at once, because it's an insanitary nuisance.
Joyce Cary (The Horse's Mouth)
He moved to the trees. Where the bark was peeling from the trunks it lifted in tiny tendrils, almost fluffs. Brian plucked some of them loose, rolled them in his fingers. They seemed flammable, dry and nearly powdery. He pulled and twisted bits off the trees, packing them in one hand while he picked them with the other, picking and gathering until he had a wad close to the size of a baseball. Then he went back into the shelter and arranged the ball of birchbark peelings at the base of the black rock. As an afterthought he threw in the remains of the twenty-dollar bill. He struck and a stream of sparks fell into the bark and quickly died. But this time one spark fell on one small hair of dry bark—almost a thread of bark—and seemed to glow a bit brighter before it died. The material had to be finer. There had to be a soft and incredibly fine nest for the sparks. I must make a home for the sparks, he thought. A perfect home or they won’t stay, they won’t make fire. He started ripping the bark, using his fingernails at first, and when that didn’t work he used the sharp edge of the hatchet, cutting the bark in thin slivers, hairs so fine they were almost not there. It was painstaking work, slow work, and he stayed with it for over two hours. Twice he stopped for a handful of berries and once to go to the lake for a drink. Then back to work, the sun on his back, until at last he had a ball of fluff as big as a grapefruit—dry birchbark fluff.
Gary Paulsen (Hatchet (Hatchet, #1))
It's like this, Bunny Boy, if you walk up to an oak tree or a bloody elm or something - you know, one of those big bastards - one with a thick, heavy trunk with giant roots that grow deep in the soil and great branches that are covered in leaves, right, and you walk up to it and give the tree a shake, well, what happens?' (...) 'I really don't know, Dad,' (...) 'Well, nothing bloody happens, of course!' (...) 'You can stand there shaking it till the cows come home and all that will happen is your arms will get tired. Right?' (...) 'Right, Dad,' he says. (...) 'But if you go up to a skinny, dry, fucked-up little tree, with a withered trunk and a few leaves clinging on for dear life, and you put your hands around it and shake the shit out of it - as we say in the trade - those bloody leaves will come flying off! Yeah?' 'OK, Dad,' says the boy (...) 'Now, the big oak tree is the rich bastard, right, and the skinny tree is the poor cunt who hasn't got any money. Are you with me?' Bunny Junior nods. 'Now, that sounds easier than it actually is, Bunny Boy. Do you want to know why?' 'OK, Dad.' 'Because every fucking bastard and his dog has got hold of the little tree and is shaking it for all that it's worth - the government, the bloody landlord, the lottery they don't have a chance in hell of winning, the council, their bloody exes, their hundred snotty-nosed brats running around because they are too bloody stupid to exercise a bit of self-control, all the useless shit they see on TV, fucking Tesco, parking fines, insurance on this and insurance on that, the boozer, the fruit machines, the bookies - every bastard and his three-legged, one-eyed, pox-riden dog are shaking this little tree,' says Bunny, clamping his hands together and making like he is throttling someone. 'So what do you go and do, Dad?' says Bunny Junior. 'Well, you've got to have something they think they need, you know, above all else.' 'And what's that, Dad?' 'Hope... you know... the dream. You've got to sell them the dream.
Nick Cave (The Death of Bunny Munro)
When you look at a tree in a storm, you see that the top of the tree is very unstable and vulnerable. The wind can break the smaller branches at any time. But when you look down to the trunk of the tree, you have a different impression. You see that the tree is very solid and still, and you know that it will be able to withstand the storm. We are also like a tree. Our head is like the top of the tree during a tempest of a strong emotion, so we have to bring our attention down to the level of our navel. We begin to practice mindful breathing. We concentrate just on our breathing and on the rise and fall of our abdomen. It is a very important practice because it helps us to see that, although an emotion may be very strong, it will stay only for a while and then go; it cannot last forever. If you train yourself to practice like this during difficult times, you will survive these storms. You have to be aware that your emotion is just an emotion. It comes, stays for some time, and then goes away. Why should someone die because of an emotion? You are more than your emotions. It is important to remember this. During a crisis, when you breathe in and out, maintain the awareness that your emotion will go away if you continue to practice. After you have succeeded a few times, you will have confidence in yourself and in the practice. Let us not get caught by our thoughts and feelings. Let us bring our attention down to our belly and breathe in and out. This storm will go away, so don’t be afraid.
Thich Nhat Hanh (Anger)
There were rockets like a flock of scintillating birds singing with sweet voices. There were green trees with trunks of dark smoke: their leaves opened like a whole spring unfolding in a moment, and their shining branches dropped glowing flowers down upon the hobbits, disappearing with a sweet scent just before their touched their upturned faces. There were fountains of butterflies that flew glittering into the trees; there were pillars of coloured fires that rose and turned into eagles, or sailing ships, or a phalanx of flying swans; there was a red thunderstorm and a shower of yellow rain; there was a forest of silver spears that sprang suddenly into the air with a yell like an embattled army, and and came down again into the Water with a hiss like a hundred hot snakes.
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1))
The road goes west out of the village, past open pine woods and gallberry flats. An eagle's nest is a ragged cluster of sticks in a tall tree, and one of the eagles is usually black and silver against the sky. The other perches near the nest, hunched and proud, like a griffon. There is no magic here except the eagles. Yet the four miles to the Creek are stirring, like the bleak, portentous beginning of a good tale. The road curves sharply, the vegetation thickens, and around the bend masses into dense hammock. The hammock breaks, is pushed back on either side of the road, and set down in its brooding heart is the orange grove. Any grove or any wood is a fine thing to see. But the magic here, strangely, is not apparent from the road. It is necessary to leave the impersonal highway, to step inside the rusty gate and close it behind. By this, an act of faith is committed, through which one accepts blindly the communion cup of beauty. One is now inside the grove, out of one world and in the mysterious heart of another. Enchantment lies in different things for each of us. For me, it is in this: to step out of the bright sunlight into the shade of orange trees; to walk under the arched canopy of their jadelike leaves; to see the long aisles of lichened trunks stretch ahead in a geometric rhythm; to feel the mystery of a seclusion that yet has shafts of light striking through it. This is the essence of an ancient and secret magic. It goes back, perhaps, to the fairy tales of childhood, to Hansel and Gretel, to Babes in the Wood, to Alice in Wonderland, to all half-luminous places that pleased the imagination as a child. It may go back still farther, to racial Druid memories, to an atavistic sense of safety and delight in an open forest. And after long years of spiritual homelessness, of nostalgia, here is that mystic loveliness of childhood again. Here is home. An old thread, long tangled, comes straight again.
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (Cross Creek)
When they turned off, it was still early in the pink and green fields. The fumes of morning, sweet and bitter, sprang up where they walked. The insects ticked softly, their strength in reserve; butterflies chopped the air, going to the east, and the birds flew carelessly and sang by fits. They went down again and soon the smell of the river spread over the woods, cool and secret. Every step they took among the great walls of vines and among the passion-flowers started up a little life, a little flight. 'We’re walking along in the changing-time,' said Doc. 'Any day now the change will come. It’s going to turn from hot to cold, and we can kill the hog that’s ripe and have fresh meat to eat. Come one of these nights and we can wander down here and tree a nice possum. Old Jack Frost will be pinching things up. Old Mr. Winter will be standing in the door. Hickory tree there will be yellow. Sweet-gum red, hickory yellow, dogwood red, sycamore yellow.' He went along rapping the tree trunks with his knuckle. 'Magnolia and live-oak never die. Remember that. Persimmons will all get fit to eat, and the nuts will be dropping like rain all through the woods here. And run, little quail, run, for we’ll be after you too.' They went on and suddenly the woods opened upon light, and they had reached the river. Everyone stopped, but Doc talked on ahead as though nothing had happened. 'Only today,' he said, 'today, in October sun, it’s all gold—sky and tree and water. Everything just before it changes looks to be made of gold.' ("The Wide Net")
Eudora Welty (The Collected Stories)
You'll stay," he said firmly. "But-" He crossed his arms. "Do I look like a man in the mood to be argued with?" She stared at him mutinously. "If you run," he warned, "I will catch you." Sophie eyed the distance between them, then tried to judge the distance back to My Cottage.If he stopped to pull on his clothing she might have a chance of escaping, but if he didn't... "Sophie," he said, "I can practically see the steam coming out of your ears. Stop taxing your brain with useless mathematical computations and do as I asked." One of her feet twitched. Whether it was itching to run home or merely turn around, she'd never know. "Now," he ordered. With a loud sigh and grumble, Sophie crossed her arms and turned around to stare at a knothole in the tree trunk in front of her as if her very life depended on it The inferal man wasn't being particularly quiet as he went about his business, and she couldn't seem to keep herself from listening to and trying to identify every sound that rustled and splashed behind her.Now he was emerging from the water, now he was reaching for his breeches, now he was... It was no use.She had a dreadfully wicked imagination, and there was no getting around it. He should have just let her return to the house. Instead she was forced to wait, utterly mortified, while he dressed. Her skin felt like it was on fire, and she was certain her cheeks must be eight different shades of red. A gentleman would have let her weasle out of her embarrassment and hole up in her room back at the house for at least three days in hopes that he'd just forget about the entire affair.
Julia Quinn (An Offer From a Gentleman (Bridgertons, #3))
You cannot look at me like that, piccola, or I am sure to go up in flames." Desari allowed her fingers to tangle in his golden mane. "Thank you for thinking of my family when I could not." Her voice was a whisper of seduction, sliding over his hot skin. Just the sound of it made every muscle in his body clench. Julian made another effort to breathe. Air.It was all around him, yet he couldn't seem to drag enough into his lungs. He took her hand in his and carried it to the warmth of his mouth. "We need to find a safe subject, cara mia, or I will not make it through these next few minutes." Desaris soft laughter was like music in the wind. She perched on a large tree trunk that lay across the forest floor. The breeze tugged at her long hair so that it shifted around her like a veil, one moment hiding the temptation of bare, gleaming skin, the next revealing it. "A safe subject," she mused aloud. "What would that be?" The air slammed out of his lungs once again at the sight of her. She looked so much a part of her surroundings. Wild. Sexy. Provocative. "You might try closing your shirt." His voice sounded hoarse and desperate even to his own ears.
Christine Feehan (Dark Challenge (Dark, #5))
A Draft of Shadows' desire turns us into ghosts. We are vines of air on trees of wind, a cape of flames invented and devoured by flame. The crack in the tree trunk: sex, seal, serpentine passage closed to the sun and to my eyes, open to the ants. That crack was the portico of the furthest reaches of the seen and thought: —there, inside, tides are green, blood is green, fire green, green stars burn in the black grass: the green music of elytra in the fig tree's pristine night; —there, inside, fingertips are eyes, to touch is to see, glances touch, eyes hear smells; —there, inside is outside, it is everywhere and nowhere, things are themselves and others, imprisoned in an icosahedron there is a music weaver beetle and another insect unweaving the syllogisms the spider weaves, hanging from the threads of the moon; —there, inside, space is an open hand, a mind that thinks shapes, not ideas, shapes that breathe, walk, speak, transform and silently evaporate; —there, inside, land of woven echoes, a slow cascade of light drops between the lips of the crannies: light is water; water, diaphanous time where eyes wash their images; —there, inside, cables of desire
Octavio Paz (A Draft of Shadows and Other Poems)
Lefebvre summarises this march of clock-time through society and nature (1991: 95–6). He argues that the lived time experienced in and through nature has gradually disappeared. Time is no longer something that is visible and inscribed within space. It has been replaced by measuring instruments, clocks, which are separate from natural and social space. Time becomes a resource, differentiated off from social space. It is consumed, deployed and exhausted. There is the expulsion of lived (and kairological) time as ‘clock-time’ dominates. Lefebvre describes this changing nature of time in terms of metaphor. In pre-modern societies lived time is encrypted into space as in a tree-trunk, and like a tree-trunk shows the mark of those years that it has taken to grow. While in modern societies time is absorbed into the city such that lived time is invisible or reduced to its methods of measurement. Lived time ‘has been murdered by society’ (Lefebvre 1991: 96).
John Urry
I was drawn on. Conscious now that something needed doing, I moved ever higher on the land. Here entering an orchard of immense and archaic beauty. I say orchard: The trees were dense in one place, scattered in another, as though planted by random throw, but all were heavy trunked and capaciously limbed, and they were fruit trees, every one of them. Apples, gold-skinned apricots, immaculate pears. The leaves about them were thick and cool and stirred at my approach; touched with a finger, they imparted a palpable rhythm. It took a long while to traverse the orchard. I began to feel hungry but didn't pause; though all this fruit appeared perfectly available, I felt prodded to appear before the master. The place had a master! Realizing this, I know he was already aware of me - comforting and fearful knowledge. Still I wanted to see him. The farther I went the more I seemed to know or remember abut him - the way he'd planted this orchard, walking over the hills, casting seed from his hand. I kept moving.
Leif Enger (Peace Like a River)
This afternoon, being on Fair Haven Hill, I heard the sound of a saw, and soon after from the Cliff saw two men sawing down a noble pine beneath, about forty rods off. I resolved to watch it till it fell, the last of a dozen or more which were left when the forest was cut and for fifteen years have waved in solitary majesty over the sprout-land. I saw them like beavers or insects gnawing at the trunk of this noble tree, the diminutive manikins with their cross-cut saw which could scarcely span it. It towered up a hundred feet as I afterward found by measurement, one of the tallest probably in the township and straight as an arrow, but slanting a little toward the hillside, its top seen against the frozen river and the hills of Conantum. I watch closely to see when it begins to move. Now the sawers stop, and with an axe open it a little on the side toward which it leans, that it may break the faster. And now their saw goes again. Now surely it is going; it is inclined one quarter of the quadrant, and, breathless, I expect its crashing fall. But no, I was mistaken; it has not moved an inch; it stands at the same angle as at first. It is fifteen minutes yet to its fall. Still its branches wave in the wind, as it were destined to stand for a century, and the wind soughs through its needles as of yore; it is still a forest tree, the most majestic tree that waves over Musketaquid. The silvery sheen of the sunlight is reflected from its needles; it still affords an inaccessible crotch for the squirrel’s nest; not a lichen has forsaken its mast-like stem, its raking mast,—the hill is the hulk. Now, now’s the moment! The manikins at its base are fleeing from their crime. They have dropped the guilty saw and axe. How slowly and majestic it starts! as it were only swayed by a summer breeze, and would return without a sigh to its location in the air. And now it fans the hillside with its fall, and it lies down to its bed in the valley, from which it is never to rise, as softly as a feather, folding its green mantle about it like a warrior, as if, tired of standing, it embraced the earth with silent joy, returning its elements to the dust again. But hark! there you only saw, but did not hear. There now comes up a deafening crash to these rocks , advertising you that even trees do not die without a groan. It rushes to embrace the earth, and mingle its elements with the dust. And now all is still once more and forever, both to eye and ear. I went down and measured it. It was about four feet in diameter where it was sawed, about one hundred feet long. Before I had reached it the axemen had already divested it of its branches. Its gracefully spreading top was a perfect wreck on the hillside as if it had been made of glass, and the tender cones of one year’s growth upon its summit appealed in vain and too late to the mercy of the chopper. Already he has measured it with his axe, and marked off the mill-logs it will make. And the space it occupied in upper air is vacant for the next two centuries. It is lumber. He has laid waste the air. When the fish hawk in the spring revisits the banks of the Musketaquid, he will circle in vain to find his accustomed perch, and the hen-hawk will mourn for the pines lofty enough to protect her brood. A plant which it has taken two centuries to perfect, rising by slow stages into the heavens, has this afternoon ceased to exist. Its sapling top had expanded to this January thaw as the forerunner of summers to come. Why does not the village bell sound a knell? I hear no knell tolled. I see no procession of mourners in the streets, or the woodland aisles. The squirrel has leaped to another tree; the hawk has circled further off, and has now settled upon a new eyrie, but the woodman is preparing [to] lay his axe at the root of that also.
Henry David Thoreau (The Journal, 1837-1861)
With the gun which was too big for him, the breech-loader which did not even belong to him but to Major de Spain and which he had fired only once, at a stump on the first day to learn the recoil and how to reload it with the paper shells, he stood against a big gum tree beside a little bayou whose black still water crept without motion out of a cane-brake, across a small clearing and into the cane again, where, invisible, a bird, the big woodpecker called Lord-to-God by negroes, clattered at a dead trunk. It was a stand like any other stand, dissimilar only in incidentals to the one where he had stood each morning for two weeks; a territory new to him yet no less familiar than that other one which after two weeks he had come to believe he knew a little--the same solitude, the same loneliness through which frail and timorous man had merely passed without altering it, leaving no mark nor scar, which looked exactly as it must have looked when the first ancestor of Sam fathers' Chickasaw predecessors crept into it and looked about him, club or stone axe or bone arrow drawn and ready, different only because, squatting at the edge of the kitchen, he had smelled the dogs huddled and cringing beneath it and saw the raked ear and side of the bitch that, as Sam had said, had to be brave once in order to keep on calling herself a dog, and saw yesterday in the earth beside the gutted log, the print of the living foot. He heard no dogs at all. He never did certainly hear them. He only heard the drumming of the woodpecker stop short off, and knew that the bear was looking at him. he did not move, holding the useless gun which he knew now he would never fire at it, now or ever, tasting in his saliva that taint of brass which he had smelled in the huddled dogs when he peered under the kitchen.
William Faulkner (Go Down, Moses)
We saw an example of this pattern-based analysis on the “theme sheet,” where he made the analogy between a branching tree and the arteries in a human, one that he applied also to rivers and their tributaries. “All the branches of a tree at every stage of its height when put together are equal in thickness to the trunk below them,” he wrote elsewhere. “All the branches of a river at every stage of its course, if they are of equal rapidity, are equal to the body of the main stream.”15 This conclusion is still known as “da Vinci’s rule,” and it has proven true in situations where the branches are not very large: the sum of the cross-sectional area of all branches above a branching point is equal to the cross-sectional area of the trunk or the branch immediately below the branching point.
Walter Isaacson (Leonardo da Vinci)
The mist was very dark in here, white and wet, and the cobwebs festooning the gaunt tree trunks were weighed down with thousands of shimmering, pear-shaped crystals. But it was not cold. Only still and secret and private, a hushed world within a world… They followed the sound, and after a while found a clearing, not open to the sky but clear on the ground. Long, wet grass stood there, and pine needles lay dark around the feet of the surrounding trees. In the centre, a well of water bubbled up and trickled away through the grass in two little channels already grooved in the spongy turf… Together they approached the spring, laying Aricia’s bronze coin and his own gold ring in the ice-cold, pure water, and for a moment they stayed there, hypnotised by the quiet tinkle of the gushing water.
Pauline Gedge
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)
If I hit that tree with this stone, Rousseau says, all will go well in my life from now on. He throws and misses. That one didn't count, he says, so he picks up another stone and moves several yards closer to the tree. He misses again. That one didn't count either, he says, and then he moves still closer to the tree and finds another stone. Again he misses. That was just the final warm up toss, he says, it's the next one that really counts. But just to make sure, he walks right up to the tree this time, positioning himself directly in front of the tree. He is no more than a foot away from it by now, close enough to touch it with his hand. The he lobs the stone squarely against the trunk. Success, he says to himself, I've done it. From this moment on, life will be better for me than ever before. Nashe found it amusing but at the same time he was too embarrassed by it to want to laugh. There was something terrible about such candor, finally, and he wondered where Rousseau had found the courage to reveal such a thing about himself, to admit to such naked self deception.
Paul Auster
BOWLS OF FOOD Moon and evening star do their slow tambourine dance to praise this universe. The purpose of every gathering is discovered: to recognize beauty and love what’s beautiful. “Once it was like that, now it’s like this,” the saying goes around town, and serious consequences too. Men and women turn their faces to the wall in grief. They lose appetite. Then they start eating the fire of pleasure, as camels chew pungent grass for the sake of their souls. Winter blocks the road. Flowers are taken prisoner underground. Then green justice tenders a spear. Go outside to the orchard. These visitors came a long way, past all the houses of the zodiac, learning Something new at each stop. And they’re here for such a short time, sitting at these tables set on the prow of the wind. Bowls of food are brought out as answers, but still no one knows the answer. Food for the soul stays secret. Body food gets put out in the open like us. Those who work at a bakery don’t know the taste of bread like the hungry beggars do. Because the beloved wants to know, unseen things become manifest. Hiding is the hidden purpose of creation: bury your seed and wait. After you die, All the thoughts you had will throng around like children. The heart is the secret inside the secret. Call the secret language, and never be sure what you conceal. It’s unsure people who get the blessing. Climbing cypress, opening rose, Nightingale song, fruit, these are inside the chill November wind. They are its secret. We climb and fall so often. Plants have an inner Being, and separate ways of talking and feeling. An ear of corn bends in thought. Tulip, so embarrassed. Pink rose deciding to open a competing store. A bunch of grapes sits with its feet stuck out. Narcissus gossiping about iris. Willow, what do you learn from running water? Humility. Red apple, what has the Friend taught you? To be sour. Peach tree, why so low? To let you reach. Look at the poplar, tall but without fruit or flower. Yes, if I had those, I’d be self-absorbed like you. I gave up self to watch the enlightened ones. Pomegranate questions quince, Why so pale? For the pearl you hid inside me. How did you discover my secret? Your laugh. The core of the seen and unseen universes smiles, but remember, smiles come best from those who weep. Lightning, then the rain-laughter. Dark earth receives that clear and grows a trunk. Melon and cucumber come dragging along on pilgrimage. You have to be to be blessed! Pumpkin begins climbing a rope! Where did he learn that? Grass, thorns, a hundred thousand ants and snakes, everything is looking for food. Don’t you hear the noise? Every herb cures some illness. Camels delight to eat thorns. We prefer the inside of a walnut, not the shell. The inside of an egg, the outside of a date. What about your inside and outside? The same way a branch draws water up many feet, God is pulling your soul along. Wind carries pollen from blossom to ground. Wings and Arabian stallions gallop toward the warmth of spring. They visit; they sing and tell what they think they know: so-and-so will travel to such-and-such. The hoopoe carries a letter to Solomon. The wise stork says lek-lek. Please translate. It’s time to go to the high plain, to leave the winter house. Be your own watchman as birds are. Let the remembering beads encircle you. I make promises to myself and break them. Words are coins: the vein of ore and the mine shaft, what they speak of. Now consider the sun. It’s neither oriental nor occidental. Only the soul knows what love is. This moment in time and space is an eggshell with an embryo crumpled inside, soaked in belief-yolk, under the wing of grace, until it breaks free of mind to become the song of an actual bird, and God.
Rumi (The Soul of Rumi: A New Collection of Ecstatic Poems)
If you’re some stranger who stumbled over this book by chance—perhaps rotting in some foreign garbage pile or locked in a dusty traveling trunk or published by some small, misguided press and shelved mistakenly under Fiction—I hope to every god you have the guts to do what needs doing. I hope you will find the cracks in the world and wedge them wider, so the light of other suns shines through; I hope you will keep the world unruly, messy, full of strange magics; I hope you will run through every open Door and tell stories when you return. But that’s not really why I wrote this, of course. I wrote it for you. So that you might read it and remember the things you were told to forget. Now at least you can look clear-eyed into your own future, and choose: stay safe and sane at home, as any rational man would—I swear I’ll understand— Or run away with me toward the glimmering, mad horizon. Dance through this eternal green orchard, where ten thousand worlds hang ripe and red for the plucking; wander with me between the trees, tending them, clearing away the weeds, letting in the air. Opening the Doors.
Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
He wondered if he would live to see the blossom on his apple trees and felt an answering pop inside himself. Ah, so it would not be long now. It began to snow lightly, the last flakes to fall before the spring. He put on his wedding finery, the clothes he had worn so long ago when he married his beloved Pamposh, and which he had kept all this time wrapped in tissue paper in a trunk. As a bridegroom he went outdoors and the snowflakes caressed his grizzled cheeks. His mind was alert, he was ambulatory and nobody was waiting for him with a club. He had his body and his mind and it seemed he was to be spared a brutal end. That at least was kind. He went into his apple orchard, seated himself cross-legged beneath a tree, closed his eyes, heard the verses of the Rig-Veda fill the world with beauty and ceased upon the midnight with no pain.
Salman Rushdie
THE FORTRESS Under the pink quilted covers I hold the pulse that counts your blood. I think the woods outdoors are half asleep, left over from summer like a stack of books after a flood, left over like those promises I never keep. On the right, the scrub pine tree waits like a fruit store holding up bunches of tufted broccoli. We watch the wind from our square bed. I press down my index finger -- half in jest, half in dread -- on the brown mole under your left eye, inherited from my right cheek: a spot of danger where a bewitched worm ate its way through our soul in search of beauty. My child, since July the leaves have been fed secretly from a pool of beet-red dye. And sometimes they are battle green with trunks as wet as hunters' boots, smacked hard by the wind, clean as oilskins. No, the wind's not off the ocean. Yes, it cried in your room like a wolf and your pony tail hurt you. That was a long time ago. The wind rolled the tide like a dying woman. She wouldn't sleep, she rolled there all night, grunting and sighing. Darling, life is not in my hands; life with its terrible changes will take you, bombs or glands, your own child at your breast, your own house on your own land. Outside the bittersweet turns orange. Before she died, my mother and I picked those fat branches, finding orange nipples on the gray wire strands. We weeded the forest, curing trees like cripples. Your feet thump-thump against my back and you whisper to yourself. Child, what are you wishing? What pact are you making? What mouse runs between your eyes? What ark can I fill for you when the world goes wild? The woods are underwater, their weeds are shaking in the tide; birches like zebra fish flash by in a pack. Child, I cannot promise that you will get your wish. I cannot promise very much. I give you the images I know. Lie still with me and watch. A pheasant moves by like a seal, pulled through the mulch by his thick white collar. He's on show like a clown. He drags a beige feather that he removed, one time, from an old lady's hat. We laugh and we touch. I promise you love. Time will not take away that.
Anne Sexton (Selected Poems)
Elephants command attention. But their size is not what makes the heart skip a beat. It's how they walk with the world's weight on their shoulders, sensitive, noble, their hearts pulsing and as wide open as the great grey leaves that are their ears. MoFos used to say that an elephant never forgets and until this very moment, I hadn't understood what that really meant. An elephant's memories don't reside in organ or skin or bone. They live closer to tree time than we do, and their memories reside in the soul of their species, which dwarfs them in size, is untouchable, and lives on forever to honor every story. They carry stories from generations back, as far as when their ancestors wore fur coats, That is why, when you are close to an elephant, you feel so deeply. If they so choose, they have the ability to hold your sadness so you may safely sit in the lonely seat of loss, still hopeful and full of love. Their great secret is that they know everything is a tide—not a black tide, but the natural breath of life—in and out, in and out, and to be with them is to know this too, And here they were, suddenly lifting the weight of our sadness for us, carrying it in the curl of their trunks. We all sat together in our loss, not dwelling, but remembering. For an elephant never forgets,
Kira Jane Buxton (Hollow Kingdom (Hollow Kingdom, #1))
DURING the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been passing alone, on horseback, through a singularly dreary tract of country; and at length found myself, as the shades of the evening drew on, within view of the melancholy House of Usher. I know not how it was; but, with the first glimpse of the building, a sense of insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit. I say insufferable; for the feeling was unrelieved by any of that half-pleasurable, because poetic, sentiment, with which the mind usually receives even the sternest natural images of the desolate or terrible. I looked upon the scene before me—upon the mere house, and the simple landscape features of the domain—upon the bleak walls—upon the vacant eye-like windows—upon a few rank sedges—and upon a few white trunks of decayed trees—with an utter depression of soul which I can compare to no earthly sensation more properly than to the after-dream of the reveler upon opium—the bitter lapse into every-day life—the hideous dropping off of the veil. There was an iciness, a sinking, a sickening of the heart—an unredeemed dreariness of thought which no goading of the imagination could torture into aught of the sublime. What was it—I paused to think—what was it that so unnerved me in the contemplation of the House of Usher? It was a mystery all insoluble; nor could I grapple with the shadowy fancies that crowded upon me as I pondered. I was forced to fall back upon the unsatisfactory conclusion that while, beyond doubt, there are combinations of very simple natural objects which have the power of thus affecting us, still the analysis of this power lies among considerations beyond our depth. It was possible, I reflected, that a mere different arrangement of the particulars of the scene, of the details of the picture, would be sufficient to modify, or perhaps to annihilate its capacity for sorrowful impression; and, acting upon this idea, I reined my horse to the precipitous brink of a black and lurid tarn that lay in unruffled luster by the dwelling, and gazed down—but with a shudder even more thrilling than before—upon the remodeled and inverted images of the gray sedge, and the ghastly tree stems, and the vacant and eye-like windows.
Edgar Allan Poe (The Best Short Stories of Edgar Allan Poe)
They drank from a spring which filled an ancient stone trough behind the ruin. Beyond it lay overgrown beds and plants John had never set eyes on before: tall resinous fronds, prickly shrubs, long grey-green leaves hot to the tongue. Nestling among them he found the root whose scent drifted among the trees like a ghost, sweet and tarry. He knelt and pressed it to his nose. 'That was called silphium.' His mother stood behind him. 'It grew in Saturnus's first garden.' She showed him the most ancient trees in the orchards, their gnarled trunks cloaked in grey lichen. Palm trees had grown there too once, she claimed. Now even their stumps had gone. Each day, John left the hearth to forage in the wreckage of Belicca's gardens. His nose guided him through the woods. Beyond the chestnut avenue, the wild skirrets, alexanders and broom grew in drifts. John chased after rabbits or climbed trees in search of birds' eggs. He returned with mallow seeds or chestnuts that they pounded into meal then mixed with water and baked on sticks. The unseasonal orchards yielded tiny red and gold-streaked apples, hard green pears and sour yellow cherries.
Lawrence Norfolk (John Saturnall's Feast)
With bare feet in the dirt, fulmia, ten times with conviction, will shake the earth to its roots, if you have the strength, Jaga’s book had told me, and the Dragon had believed it enough not to let me try it anywhere near the tower. I had felt doubtful, anyway, about conviction: I hadn’t believed I had any business shaking the earth to its roots. But now I fell to the ground and dug away the snow and the fallen leaves and rot and moss until I came to the hard-frozen dirt. I pried up a large stone and began to smash at the earth, again and again, breaking up the dirt and breathing on it to make it softer, pounding in the snow that melted around my hands, pounding in the hot tears that dripped from my eyes as I worked. Kasia was above me with her head flung up, her mouth open in its soundless cry like a statue in a church. “Fulmia,” I said, my fingers deep in the dirt, crushing the solid clods between my fingers. “Fulmia, fulmia,” I chanted over and over, bleeding from broken nails, and I felt the earth hear me, uneasily. Even the earth was tainted here, poisoned, but I spat on the dirt and screamed, “Fulmia,” and imagined my magic running into the ground like water, finding cracks and weaknesses, spreading out beneath my hands, beneath my cold wet knees: and the earth shuddered and turned over. A low trembling began where my hands drove into the ground, and it followed me as I started prying at the roots of the tree. The frozen dirt began to break up into small chunks all around them, the tremors going on and on like waves. The branches above me were waving wildly as if in alarm, the whispering of the leaves becoming a muted roaring. I straightened up on my knees. “Let her out!” I screamed at the tree: I beat on its trunk with my muddy fists. “Let her out, or I’ll bring you down! Fulmia!” I cried out in rage, and threw myself back down at the ground, and where my fists hit, the ground rose and swelled like a river rising with the rain. Magic was pouring out of me, a torrent: every warning the Dragon had ever given me forgotten and ignored. I would have spent every drop of myself and died there, just to bring that horrible tree down: I couldn’t imagine a world where I lived, where I left this behind me, Kasia’s life and heart feeding this corrupt monstrous thing. I would rather have died, crushed in my own earthquake, and brought it down with me. I tore at the ground ready to break open a pit to swallow us all.
Naomi Novik (Uprooted)
I have now traveled so far south that I find myself come to a place where our common expression “white as snow” has no useful meaning. Here, one who wishes his words to make plain sense had better say “white as cotton.” I will not say that I find the landscape lovely. We go on through Nature to God, and my Northern eye misses the grandeur that eases that ascent. I yearn for mountains, or at least for the gentle ridges of Massachusetts; the sweet folds and furrows that offer the refreshment of a new vista as each gap or summit is obtained. Here all is obvious, a song upon a single note. One wakes and falls asleep to a green sameness, the sun like a pale egg yolk, peering down from a white sky. And the river! Water as unlike our clear fast-flowing freshets as a fat broody hen to a hummingbird. Brown as treacle, wider than a harbor, this is water sans sparkle or shimmer. In places, it roils as if heated below by a hidden furnace. In others, it sucks the light down and gives back naught but an inscrutable sheen that conceals both depth and shallows. It is a mountebank, this river. It feigns a gentle lassitude, yet coiled beneath are currents that have crushed the trunks of mighty trees, and swept men to swift drownings…
Geraldine Brooks (March)
This is Harry. As a boy, Harry was very, very shy. Some people may have even said he was painfully shy. As if his shyness caused them pain and not the other way around. There are many things that can cause a person to recede. To look away from other people’s eyes or to choose empty hallways over crowded ones. Some shy people try to reach out and try, and nothing seems to come back and then there just comes a point where they stop trying. In Harry’s case he was slapped in the face and called names designed to isolate him, designed to deliver maximum damage. This because he came from a different country and didn’t know the right words to use or the right way to say them. And so, Harry learned how to be still, to camouflage, to be the least. Some people describe this as receding into a shell, where the stillness hardens and protects. But the eyes, even when they look down and away, are still watching, still looking for some way out or in; painfully shy. Then in middle school, Harry found theater, where he forced himself to speak through other people’s words. And then dance, where he started to speak through the movements of his body. To be so still for so long when you’re young, means a lot of pent up energy and it was released there through work, endless work. If someone carves into a sapling with a knife, the injury is as wide as the entire trunk. Though that mark will never fully heal, you can grow the tree around it, and as you grow, the scar gets smaller in proportion. If you, right now, are in a shell, you should know that you’re are not alone and there are many, many people like you and that there is nothing wrong with you. It might even be necessary right now. It might keep you safe for a time. But once the danger is gone, or after it’s exhausted it’s use, you’ll find a way out. You may need help, you may need to work really hard, you may need to find some ways to laugh at yourself, or find a passion, or a friend, but you will find it. And, when you do, it will be so good to see you. This is Harry. As a boy, Harry was very, very shy.
Ze Frank
Trees stand at the heart of ecology, and they must come to stand at the heart of human politics. Tagore said, Trees are the earth’s endless effort to speak to the listening heaven. But people—oh, my word—people! People could be the heaven that the Earth is trying to speak to. “If we could see green, we’d see a thing that keeps getting more interesting the closer we get. If we could see what green was doing, we’d never be lonely or bored. If we could understand green, we’d learn how to grow all the food we need in layers three deep, on a third of the ground we need right now, with plants that protected one another from pests and stress. If we knew what green wanted, we wouldn’t have to choose between the Earth’s interests and ours. They’d be the same!” One more click takes her to the next slide, a giant fluted trunk covered in red bark that ripples like muscle. “To see green is to grasp the Earth’s intentions. So consider this one. This tree grows from Colombia to Costa Rica. As a sapling, it looks like a piece of braided hemp. But if it finds a hole in the canopy, the sapling shoots up into a giant stem with flaring buttresses.” She turns to regard the image over her shoulder. It’s the bell of an enormous angel’s trumpet, plunged into the Earth. So many miracles, so much awful beauty. How can she leave so perfect a place? “Did you know that every broadleaf tree on Earth has flowers? Many mature species flower at least once a year. But this tree, Tachigali versicolor, this one flowers only once. Now, suppose you could have sex only once in your entire life. . . .” The room laughs now. She can’t hear, but she can smell their nerves. Her switchback trail through the woods is twisting again. They can’t tell where their guide is going. “How can a creature survive, by putting everything into a one-night stand? Tachigali versicolor’s act is so quick and decisive that it boggles me. You see, within a year of its only flowering, it dies.” She lifts her eyes. The room fills with wary smiles for the weirdness of this thing, nature. But her listeners can’t yet tie her rambling keynote to anything resembling home repair. “It turns out that a tree can give away more than its food and medicines. The rain forest canopy is thick, and wind-borne seeds never land very far from their parent. Tachigali’s once-in-a-lifetime offspring germinate right away, in the shadow of giants who have the sun locked up. They’re doomed, unless an old tree falls. The dying mother opens a hole in the canopy, and its rotting trunk enriches the soil for new seedlings. Call it the ultimate parental sacrifice. The common name for Tachigali versicolor is the suicide tree.
Richard Powers (The Overstory)
Once upon a time, in a faraway forest, there lived a tree that was different from all the other trees in the woods. While the other trees grew perfectly straight toward the sky, this particular tree grew in loops, twists, and turns. It was known as the Curvy Tree by all who saw it, and many humans and animals came from far and wide to see its splendor. When the humans and animals were away, in a language that only could be heard by the plants of the forest, the other trees would taunt the poor Curvy Tree. ‘We hate your bark and your branches and your leaves that twist and turn! One day they will chop you into firewood and you will forever burn!’ It made the Curvy Tree very sad, and if you spoke Plant you would hear it cry itself to sleep every night. Years later, on the last day of winter before spring began, loggers traveled to the forest looking for wood, not to burn, but to build with. They cut down every tree in the woods to build houses, tables, chairs, and beds. When they finally left the forest, only one tree remained, and I bet it will come as no surprise when I tell you it was the Curvy Tree. The loggers had seen how its trunk and branches twisted and turned and they knew they could never use its wood to build with. And so the Curvy Tree was left alone to grow in peace now that all the other trees were gone. The end.
Chris Colfer (A Grimm Warning (The Land of Stories, #3))
Kuan Yin looks very traditional. Her hands are folded together. The thick cloth of her costume is folded perfectly," describes Lena. "Just as in the previous session, I’m reminded of the significance of the folds. I’m having an interesting vision that I haven’t thought about in many years. I see a beautiful tree where I used to go when I was a teenager. It stands majestic, atop the rolling hills behind the house where I grew up. Kuan Yin is at the tree looking very luminous. I see the bark of the tree, which looks very real, very three-dimensional. For some reason, Kuan Yin is touching the trunk of the tree. She suddenly seems very small next to me and she wants me to touch the tree. I’m not sure why. There is a tiny bird, with pretty feathers in its nest. It is about the size of a wren. I see the texture of the tree. I think it might be a birch. I’m not sure. ’Why should I touch the tree,’ I ask. She’s telling me that I created the tree, that it is another realm I was able to visit because life was too painful and lonely at home.” “You created the tree. You create your whole world with thoughts,” assures Kuan Yin. “Every time I try to touch the tree, Kuan Yin wants to help me touch it. There’s something different about this conversation. Usually we work on something about the earth. Because we’re revisiting my childhood, I get the impression Kuan Yin’s trying to show me something that maybe I created in my childhood.” “Well, do we all create our reality?” Kuan Yin asks of Lena. “I think she’s going to answer her own question,” comments Lena, from her trance. “Yes, you can create your reality. Once you free yourself from the negative effects of karma. I know it is sometimes difficult to differentiate between free will and karma. Focus upon your free will and your ability to create reality. I’m optimistic and hopeful you can do this.
Hope Bradford (Oracle of Compassion: The Living Word of Kuan Yin)
Nick grinned, swooping in for another kiss and then leaning back and scruffing his hair up. “Harriet Manners, I’m about to give you six stamps. Then I’m going to write something on a piece of paper and put it in an envelope with your address on it.” “OK …” “Then I’m going to put the envelope on the floor and spin us as fast as I can. As soon as either of us manage to stick a stamp on it, I’m going to race to the postbox and post it unless you can catch me first. If you win, you can read it.” Nick was obviously faster than me, but he didn’t know where the nearest postbox was. “Deal,” I agreed, yawning and rubbing my eyes. “But why six stamps?” “Just wait and see.” A few seconds later, I understood. As we spun in circles with our hands stretched out, one of my stamps got stuck to the ground at least a metre away from the envelope. Another ended up on a daisy. A third somehow got stuck to the roundabout. One of Nick’s ended up on his nose. And every time we both missed, we laughed harder and harder and our kisses got dizzier and dizzier until the whole world was a giggling, kissing, spinning blur. Finally, when we both had one stamp left, I stopped giggling. I had to win this. So I swallowed, wiped my eyes and took a few deep breaths. Then I reached out my hand. “Too late!” Nick yelled as I opened my eyes again. “Got it, Manners!” And he jumped off the still-spinning roundabout with the envelope held high over his head. So I promptly leapt off too. Straight into a bush. Thanks to a destabilised vestibular system – which is the upper portion of the inner ear – the ground wasn’t where it was supposed to be. Nick, in the meantime, had ended up flat on his back on the grass next to me. With a small shout I leant down and kissed him hard on the lips. “HA!” I shouted, grabbing the envelope off him and trying to rip it open. “I don’t think so,” he grinned, jumping up and wrapping one arm round my waist while he retrieved it again. Then he started running in a zigzag towards the postbox. A few seconds later, I wobbled after him. And we stumbled wonkily down the road, giggling and pulling at each other’s T-shirts and hanging on to tree trunks and kissing as we each fought for the prize. Finally, he picked me up and, without any effort, popped me on top of a high wall. Like Humpty Dumpty. Or some kind of really unathletic cat. “Hey!” I shouted as he whipped the envelope out of my hands and started sprinting towards the postbox at the bottom of the road. “That’s not fair!” “Course it is,” he shouted back. “All’s fair in love and war.” And Nick kissed the envelope then put it in the postbox with a flourish. I had to wait three days. Three days of lingering by the front door. Three days of lifting up the doormat, just in case it had accidentally slipped under there. Finally, the letter arrived: crumpled and stained with grass. Ha. Told you I was faster. LBxx
Holly Smale (Picture Perfect (Geek Girl, #3))
So sentences are copied, constructed, or created; they are uttered, mentioned, or used; each says, means, implies, reveals, connects; each titillates, invites, conceals, suggests; and each is eventually either consumed or conserved; nevertheless, the lines in Stevens or the sentences of Joyce and James, pressed by one another into being as though the words before and the words after were those reverent hands both Rilke and Rodin have celebrated, clay calling to clay like mating birds, concept responding to concept the way passionate flesh congests, every note a nipple on the breast, at once a triumphant pinnacle and perfect conclusion, like pelted water, I think I said, yet at the same time only another anonymous cell, and selfless in its service to the shaping skin as lost forgotten matter is in all walls; these lines, these sentences, are not quite uttered, not quite mentioned, peculiarly employed, strangely listed, oddly used, as though a shadow were the leaves, limbs, trunk of a new tree, and the shade itself were thrust like a dark torch into the grassy air in the same slow and forceful way as its own roots, entering the earth, roughen the darkness there till all its freshly shattered facets shine against themselves as teeth do in the clenched jaw; for Rabelais was wrong, blue is the color of the mind in borrow of the body; it is the color consciousness becomes when caressed; it is the dark inside of sentences, sentences which follow their own turnings inward out of sight like the whorls of a shell, and which we follow warily, as Alice after that rabbit, nervous and white, till suddenly—there! climbing down clauses and passing through ‘and’ as it opens—there—there—we’re here! . . . in time for tea and tantrums; such are the sentences we should like to love—the ones which love us and themselves as well—incestuous sentences—sentences which make an imaginary speaker speak the imagination loudly to the reading eye; that have a kind of orality transmogrified: not the tongue touching the genital tip, but the idea of the tongue, the thought of the tongue, word-wet to part-wet, public mouth to private, seed to speech, and speech . . . ah! after exclamations, groans, with order gone, disorder on the way, we subside through sentences like these, the risk of senselessness like this, to float like leaves on the restful surface of that world of words to come, and there, in peace, patiently to dream of the sensuous, imagined, and mindful Sublime.
William H. Gass (On Being Blue)
and drew her strength directly from our magickal Oklahoma earth. “U-we-tsi-a-ge-ya, it seems I need help at the lavender booth. I simply cannot believe how busy we are.” Grandma had barely spoken when a nun hurried up. “Zoey, Sister Mary Angela could use your help filling out cat adoption forms.” “I’ll help you, Grandma Redbird,” Shaylin said. “I love the smell of lavender.” “Oh, honey, that would be so sweet of you. First, could you run to my car and get into the trunk. There is another box of lavender soaps and sachets tucked back there. Looks like I’m going to sell out completely,” Grandma said happily. “Sure thing.” Shaylin caught the keys Grandma tossed to her and hurried toward the main exit of the school grounds which led to the parking lot, as well as the tree-lined road that joined Utica Street. “And I’ll call my momma. She said just let her know if we get too busy over here. She and the PTA moms will be back here in a sec,” said Stevie Rae. “Grandma, do you mind if I give Street Cats a hand? I’ve been dying to check out their new litter of kittens.” “Go on, u-we-tsi-a-ge-ya. I think Sister Mary Angela has been missing your company.” “Thanks, Grandma.” I smiled at her. Then I turned to Stevie Rae. “Okay, if your mom’s group is coming back, I’m gonna go help the nuns.” “Yeah, no problem.” Stevie Rae, shielding her eyes and peering through the crowd, added, “I see her now, and she’s got Mrs. Rowland and Mrs. Wilson with her.” “Don’t worry. We can handle this,” Shaunee said. “’Kay,” I said, grinning at both of them. “I’ll be back as soon as I can.” I left the cookie booth and noticed Aphrodite, clutching her big purple Queenies cup, was right on my heels. “I thought you didn’t want a lecture from the nuns.” “Better than a lecture from PTA moms.” She shuddered. “Plus, I like cats more than people.” I shrugged. “Okay, whatever.” We’d only gotten partway to the Street Cats tent when Aphrodite slowed way down. “Seriously. Effing. Pathetic.” She was muttering around her straw, narrowing her eyes, and glaring. I followed her gaze and joined her frown. “Yeah, no matter how many times I see them together, I still don’t get it.” Aphrodite and I had stopped to watch Shaunee’s ex-Twin BFF, Erin, hang all over Dallas. “I really thought she was better than that.” “Apparently not,” Aphrodite said. “Eeew,” I said, looking away from their way too public display of locked lips. “I’m telling you, there’s not enough booze in Tulsa to make watching those two suck face okay.” She made a gagging sound, which changed to a snort and a laugh. “Check out the wimple, twelve o’clock.” Sure enough, there was a nun I vaguely recognized as Sister Emily (one of the more uptight of the nuns) descending on the too-busy-with-their-tongues-to-notice couple. “She looks serious,” I said. “You know, a nun may very well be the direct opposite of an aphrodisiac. This should be entertaining. Let’s watch.” “Zoey! Over here!” I looked from the train wreck about to happen to see Sister Mary Angela waving me over to her.
P.C. Cast (Revealed (House of Night #11))