Trees and plants always look like the people they live with, somehow.

So the beginning of this was a woman and she had come back from burying the dead. Not the dead of sick and ailing with friends at the pillow and the feet. She had come back from the sodden and the bloated; the sudden dead, their eyes flung wide open in judgment.

Sometimes God gits familiar wid us womenfolks too and talks His inside business. He told surprised y'all is goin' tuh be if you ever find out you don't know half as much 'bout us as you think yo do. It's so easy to make yo'self out God Almighty when you ain't got nothin' tuh strain against but women and chickens.

But as de old folk always say, Ah'm born but Ah ain't dead. No tellin' whut Ah'm liable tuh do yet.

They bowed down to him rather, because he was all of these things, and then again he was all of these things because the town bowed down.

The one who makes the idols never worships them, however tenderly he might have molded the clay. You cannot have knowledge and worship at the same time. Mystery is the essence of divinity. Gods must keep their distances from men.

He Drifted off into sleep and Janie looked down on him and felt a self-crushing love. So her soul crawled out from its hiding place.

Perhaps it is natural for the god of the poor to be akin to the god of the dead, for there is something about poverty that smells of death.

Sometimes she stuck out into the future, imagining her life different from what it was. But mostly she lived between her hat and her heels, with her emotional disturbances like shade patterns in the woods—come and gone with the sun.

Death had found them watching, trying to see beyond seeing.

The icy sword of the square-toed one had cut off his breath and left his hands in a pose of agonizing protest.

I want a busy life, a just mind and a timely death.

Bitterness is the coward's revenge on the world for having been hurt.

They came in wagons [...] People ugly from ignorance and broken from being poor.

Hurston did make significant parts of herself up, like a masquerader putting on a disguise for the ball, like a character in her fictions.

Cudjo meetee de people at de gate and tells dem, You see de rattlesnake in de woods? Dey say, Yeah. I say If you bother wid him, he bite you. If you know de snake killee you, why you bother wid him? Same way wid my boys, you unnerstand me. If you leave my boys alone, dey not bother nobody!

The present was an egg laid by the past that had the future inside its shell.

I don't know any more about the future than you do. I hope that it will be full of work, because I have come to know by experience that work is the nearest thing to happiness that I can find. . . I want a busy life, a just mind and a timely death.

They made burning statements with questions, and killing tools out of laughs. It was mass cruelty. A mood come alive. Words walking without master...

Night came walking through Egypt swishing her black dress.

You'se something tuh make uh man forgit tuh git old and forgit tuh die.

Mystery is the essence of divinity.

She hated the old woman who had twisted her so in the name of love. Most humans didn't love one another nohow, and this mislove was so strong that even common blood couldn't overcome it all the time.

She stood there until something fell off the shelf inside her.

That though the heart is breaking, happiness can exist in a moment, also. And because the moment in which we live is all the time there really is, we can keep going.

The wind through the open windows had broomed out all the fetid feeling of absence and nothingness.

Hurrying, dragging, falling, crying, calling out names hopefully and hopelessly.

Joe was not there waiting for her, the change.

Tea Cake went out and wandered around. Saw the hand of horror on everything.

No hour is ever eternity, but it has its right to weep.

And the lonesomeness in the sparks make them hunt for one another, but the mud is deaf and dumb. Like all the other tumbling mud-balls, Janie had tried to show her shine.

Years ago, she had told her girl self to wait for her in the looking glass. It had been a long time since she had remembered. Perhaps she'd better look. She went over to the dresser and looked hard at her skin and features. The young girl was gone, but a handsome woman had taken her place.

A thing is mighty big when time and distance cannot shrink it.

It would be against all nature for all the Negroes to be either at the bottom, top, or in between. We will go where the internal drive carries us like everybody else. It is up to the individual.

Oh to be a pear tree – any tree in bloom! With kissing bees singing of the beginning of the world!

Gods always behave like the people who make them.

There is something about poverty that smells like death. Dead dreams dropping off the heart like leaves in a dry season and rotting around the feet; impulses smothered too long in the fetid air of underground caves. The soul lives in a sickly air. People can be slave-ships in shoes.

No matter how far a person can go the horizon is still way beyond you.

But stillness was the sleep of swords.

She woke up in time to see the sun sending up spies ahead of him to mark out the road through the dark. He peeped up over the door sill of the world and made a little foolishness with red.

She was a rut in the road. Plenty of life beneath the surface but it was kept beaten down by the wheels.

A man is up against a hard game when he must die to beat it.

Sorrow dogged by sorrow is in mah heart.

They made burning statements with questions, and killing tools out of laughs. It was mass cruelty.

Love, I find, is like singing.

Once upon uh time, Ah never 'spected nothin', Tea Cake, but bein' dead from the standin' still and tryin' tuh laugh. But you come 'long and made somethin' outa me. So Ah'm thankful fuh anything we come through together. Thanky, Ma'am.

I god, Ah can't see what uh woman uh yo' stability would want tuh be treasurin' all dat gum-grease from folks dat don't even own de house dey sleep in. 'Tain't no earthly use. They's jus' some puny humans playin' round de toes uh Time.

All these words from the seller, but not one word from the sold. The Kings and Captains whose words moved ships. But not one word from the cargo. The thoughts of the black ivory, the coin of Africa, had no market value. Africa's ambassadors to the New World have come and worked and died, and left their spoor, but no recorded thought.

If you are silent about your pain, they'll kill you and say you enjoyed it.