Beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.
The mind of the writer does indeed do something before it dies, and so does its owner, but I would be hard put to call it living.
Flung is too harsh a word for the rush of the world. Blown is more like it, but blown by a generous, unending breath.
How loose he seemed to himself, under the stars! The spaces between the stars were pores, out of which human meaning evaporated.
If, as Heraclitus suggests, god, like an oracle, neither "declares nor hides, but sets forth by signs," then clearly I had better be scrying the signs.
We still and always want waking. We should amass half dressed in long lines like tribesmen and shake gourds at each other, to wake up; instead we watch television and miss the show.
No one knew that ordinary breakfast would be their last. Why not memorize everything, just in case?
Could tiny birds be sifting through me right now, birds winging through the gaps between my cells, touching nothing, but quickening in my tissues, fleet?
When I teach, I preach. I thump the Bible. I exhort my students morally. I talk to them about the dedicated life.
God gave me a talent to draw. I 'owed' it to him to develop the talent.
I cannot cause light; the most I can do is try to put myself in the path of its beam.
It is difficult to undo our own damage, and to recall to our presence that which we have asked to leave. It is hard to desecrate a grove and change your mind. The very holy mountains are keeping mum. We doused the burning bush and cannot rekindle it; we are lighting matches in vain under every green tree.
If indeed [nature] has no greater aim than to provide a home for her greatest experiment, Man, it would be just like her methods to scatter a million stars wherof one might haply achieve her purpose.
I never knew. I never knew as I washed, and the blood streaked, faded, and finally disappeared, whether I'd purified myself or ruined the blood sign of the passover.
There is neither a proportional relationship, nor an inverse one, between a writer's estimation of a work in progress & its actual quality. The feeling that the work is magnificent, & the feeling that it is abominable, are both mosquitoes to be repelled, ignored, or killed, but not indulged.
Why, why in the blue-green world write this sort of thing? Funny written culture, I guess; we pass things on.
Love so sprang at her, she honestly thought no one had ever looked into it. Where was it in literature? Someone would have written something. She must not have recognized it. Time to read everything again.
Do women in love feel as men do? Do men love as women love? His virgin bride shared her pipe-frame bed all smiles and laughter. When they were intimate to the last degree on that bed, did Lou's experience join his, did his experience match hers, during this moment and that moment?
The lenses of telescopes and cameras can no more cover the breadth and scale of the visual array than language can cover the breadth and simultaneity of internal experience.
Nothing rose to plug the gap, to address what some called ultimate concerns, unless you count the arts, the arts that lacked both epistemological methods and accountability, and that drew nutty people, or drove them nuts.
These are our few live seasons. Let us live them as purely as we can, in the present.
It could be that God has absconded but spread, as our vision and understanding of the universe have spread, to a fabric of spirit and sense so grand and subtle, so powerful in a new way, that we can only feel blindly of its hem.
At its best, the sensation of writing is that of any unmerited grace. It is handed to you, but only if you look for it.
I cannot imagine a sorrier pursuit than struggling for years to write a book that attempts to appeal to people who do not read in the first place.
Mountains are giant, restful, absorbent. You can heave your spirit into a mountain and the mountain will keep it, folded, and not throw it back as some creeks will. The creeks are the world with all its stimulus and beauty; I live there. But the mountains are home.
We are here to abet creation and to witness it, to notice each thing so each thing gets noticed. Together we notice not only each mountain shadow and each stone on the beach but we notice each other's beautiful face and complex nature so that creation need not play to an empty house.
You can't test courage cautiously, so I ran hard and waved my arms hard, happy.
As a life's work, I would remember everything - everything, against loss. I would go through life like a plankton net.
The thousands of wealth have fallen with wonders, said Rabbi Nathan of Nemirov. Do you find this unclear? It certainly sounds like the sort of thing thousands of wealth do. They fall. Does anyone know what the rabbi meant by wonders?
You are wrong if you think that you can in any way take the vision and tame it to the page. The page is jealous and tyrannical; the page is made of time and matter; the page always wins.
It has always been a happy thought to me that the creek runs on all night, new every minute, whether I wish it or know it or care, as a closed book on a shelf continues to whisper to itself its own inexhaustible tale.
It is difficult to undo our own damage, and to recall to our presence that which we have asked to leave.
Nature's silence is its one remark, and every flake of world is a chip off that old mute and immutable block. The Chiense say that we live in the world of ten thousand things. Each of the ten thousand things cries out to us precisely nothing.
Could two live that way? Could two live under the wild rose, and explore by the pond, so that the smooth mind of each is as everywhere present to the other, and as received and as unchallenged, as falling snow?
You can live as a particle crashing about and colliding in a welter of materials with god, or you can live as a particle crashing about and colliding in a welter of materials without god. But you cannot live outside the welter of colliding materials.
According to Inuit culture in Greenland, a person possesses six or seven souls. The souls take the form of tiny people scattered throughout the body.
There is no such thing as an artist - only the world, lit or unlit, as the world allows.
Nothing on earth is more gladdening than knowing we must roll up our sleeves and move back the boundaries of the humanly possible once more.
The life of sensation is the life of greed; it requires more and more. The life of the spirit requires less and less; time is ample and its passage sweet.
You are a Seminole alligator wrestler. Half naked, with your two bare hands, you hold and fight a sentence's head while its tail tries to knock you over.
You can read in the space of a coffin, and you can write in the space of a toolshed meant for mowers and spades.
Private life, book life, took place where words met imagination without passing through the world.
We are here to witness. There is nothing else to do with those mute materials we do not need. Until Larry teaches his stone to talk, until God changes his mind, or until the pagan gods slip back to their hilltop groves, all we can do with the whole inhuman array is watch it.
The point of going somewhere like the Napo River in Ecuador is not to see the most spectacular anything. It is simply to see what is there.
Decade's reading had justified his guess that men and women perceive love identically save for, say, five percent. Reading books by men and women showed only-but it is something- that love struck, in exactly the same way, most, but not all, of those few men and women, since the invention of writing, who wrote something down. An unfair sample.
Friendship is no doubt the highest form of love and also very difficult.