“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.”
“Don’t let me get sappy on you, but when you get right down to it, every collection of letters is a magic spell…Words have their impact…I may not know how to fly but I know how to read, and that’s almost the same thing.”—Out of Oz, Gregory Maguire (via booklit)
“There are those who say that life is like a book, with chapters for each event in your life and a limited number of pages on which you can spend your time. But I prefer to think that a book is like a life, particularly a good one, which is well to worth staying up all night to finish.”—Lemony Snicket, Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can’t Avoid (via ventriloquistic)
Books are not banned because they are inherently dangerous, or actually malicious, or even purposefully damning. Books like those are already avoided by those who do not agree with them. No, books are banned because there are people with power who fear the power of words. They fear the ideas and challenges put forth by such "dangerous" books. They hate the thought that their ideals could very easily be questioned or destroyed by simple ink and paper. And they wish to control, so they hate and they ban.
“Depend upon it, after all, Thomas, Literature is the most noble of professions. In fact, it is about the only one fit for a man. For my own part, there is no seducing me from the path. I shall be a litterateur, at least, all my life;”—Edgar Allan Poe, from a letter to F. W. Thomas dated February 14, 1849 (via bookoasis)
“I confess I do not believe in time. I like to fold my magic carpet, after use, in such a way as to superimpose one part of the pattern upon another. Let visitors trip. And the highest enjoyment of timelessness-in a landscape selected at random-is when I stand among rare butterflies and their food plants. This is ecstasy, and behind the ecstasy is something else, which is hard to explain. It is like a momentary vacuum into which rushes all that I love. A sense of oneness with sun and stone. A thrill of gratitude to whom it may concern-to the contrapuntal genius of human fate or to tender ghosts humoring a lucky mortal.”—Vladimir Nabokov, Speak, Memory (via bookmania)
“I like people with depth, I like people with emotion, I like people with a strong mind, an interesting mind, a twisted mind, and also someone that can make me smile.”—Abbey Lee Kershaw (via light-essence)
“Literature is always personal, always one man’s vision of the world, one man’s experience, and it can only be popular when men are ready to welcome the visions of others.”—W. B. Yeats, The Irish Dramatic Movement (via bookoasis)
“Most people are blind to magic. They move through a blank and empty world. They’re bored with their lives, and there’s nothing they can do about it. They’re eaten alive by longing, and they’re dead before they die.”—Lev Grossman, The Magicians (via night-call)
“I have never fallen in love with a book that I did not love all the more the second time. With each reading, more is revealed. One builds a beloved relationship, adding layers of associative memory and visual impressions.”—Patti Smith, Read It Again, Sam by David Bowman, The New York Times (adapted from booksandteatime)
“One doesn’t pay [money] for a book in order to be bored. One pays for the classic experience of being purged by pity, terror, laughter and vicarious living and loving.”—Morris L. West (via agardeninmypocket)
“The real struggle is about you: you, a person who has to live in the real world, who has to learn how to live in her own skin, to know her own heart, to stop waiting for her life to begin.”—(via creatingaquietmind)