“I watch the running sheets of light raised on the creek’s surface. The sight has the appeal of the purely passive, like the racing of light under clouds on a field, the beautiful dream at the moment of being dreamed. The breeze is the merest puff, but you yourself sail headlong and breathless under the gale force of the spirit.”
–Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
“But if I can bear the nights, the days are a pleasure. I walk out; I see something, some event that would otherwise have been utterly missed and lost; or something sees me, some enormous power brushes me with its clean wing, and I resound like a beaten bell.”
–Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
“November – with uncanny witchery in its changed trees. With murky red sunsets flaming in smoky crimson behind the westering hills. With dear days when the austere woods were beautiful and gracious in a dignified serenity of folded hands and closed eyes – days full of a fine, pale sunshine that sifted through the late, leafless gold of the juniper-trees and glimmered among the grey beeches, lighting up evergreen banks of moss and washing the colonnades of the pines. Days with a high-sprung sky of flawless turquoise. Days when an exquisite melancholy seemed to hang over the landscape and dream about the lake. But days, too, of the wild blackness of great autumn storms, followed by dank, wet, streaming nights when there was witch-laughter in the pines and fitful moans among the mainland trees.”
–Lucy Maud Montgomery
‘The weakness of those of us who take a gaudy satisfaction in our ideas, and battle for them violently, and face punishment for them willingly and even proudly, is that we forget the primary business of the man in politics, which is the snatching and safeguarding of his job. That business, it must be plain, concerns itself only occasionally with the defense and propagation of ideas, and even then it must confine itself to those that, to a reflective man, must usually appear to be insane. The first and last aim of the politician is to get votes, and the safest of all ways to get votes is to appear to the plain man to be a plain man like himself, which is to say, to appear to him to be happily free from any heretical treason to the body of accepted platitudes — to be filled to the brim with the flabby, banal, childish notions that challenge no prejudice and lay no burden of examination upon the mind.
It seems to me that this fear of ideas is a peculiarly democratic phenomenon, and that it is nowhere so horribly apparent as in the United States, perhaps the nearest approach to an actual democracy yet seen in the world. It was Americans who invented the curious doctrine that there is a body of doctrine in every department of thought that every good citizen is in duty bound to accept and cherish; it was Americans who invented the right-thinker. The fundamental concept, of course, was not original. The theologians embraced it centuries ago, and continue to embrace it to this day. It appeared on the political side in the Middle Ages, and survived in Russia into our time. But it is only in the United States that it has been extended to all departments of thought. It is only here that any novel idea, in any field of human relations, carries with it a burden of obnoxiousness, and is instantly challenged as mysteriously immoral by the great masses of right-thinking men. It is only here, so far as I have been able to make out, that there is a right way and a wrong way to think about the beverages one drinks with one’s meals, and the way children ought to be taught in the schools, and the manner in which foreign alliances should be negotiated, and what ought to be done about the Bolsheviki.'”
Please view the entire article here: H.L. Mencken on Reclaiming Democracy from the Mob Mentality That Masquerades for It
by Maria Popova, Brain Pickings
“I think I could turn and live with animals, they’re so placid and self-contain’d.
I stand and look at them and long.
They do not sweat and whine about their condition.
They do not awake in the dark and weep for their sins.
They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God.
Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things.
Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago.
Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth.
So they show their relations to me and I accept them.
They bring me tokens of myself, they evince them
plainly in their possession.
I wonder where they get those tokens.
Did I pass that way huge times ago and negligently
“So the old people laugh
when they hear talk about the ‘desecration’ of the earth,
because humankind they know
is nothing in comparison to the earth.”
–Leslie Marmon Silko
Yellow Woman and a Beauty of the Spirit
Not My President!
I cannot be in a city using my voice in protest of such a disgraceful example of a human being, put forth to represent me as leader of my country. So, I shall let my voice be heard here.
“God is more glorified by a man who uses the good things of this life in simplicity and with gratitude than by the nervous asceticism of someone who is agitated about every detail of his self-denial….His[the latter’s] struggle for perfection becomes a battle of wits with the Creator who made all things good.”
“The Dawn Has Come
Out of the darkness of the long night Dawn has come.
I rise to meet the new day, filled with confidence and strength.
I arise and go forth into the dawn, inspired and refreshed by
the Living Spirit within me.
O Day, you shall never die; the sun shall never set upon your
For the Lamp of the Soul had been re-kindled with the oil of
And Love has cleansed the windows of Life with the spirit of
They shall nevermore grow dim with fear, for Perfect Love casteth out all fear.
I am renewed in strength through knowing Good.
My light has come.
—The Science of Mind, 532M2