EARTHLINES ECOLITERATURE QUOTES
31 July 2012
'And I do not want anymore to be useful, to be docile, to lead / children out of the fields into the text / of civility, to teach them that they are (they are not) better than the grass.'
― Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems, Vol. 1
30 July 2012
'The human mind came into existence tracking, which for us creates a land of named places and fosters
narration, the tale of adventure.'
— Paul Shepard, The Others
27 July 2012
'Until we understand what the land is, we are at odds with everything we touch. And to come to that understanding it is necessary, even now, to leave the regions of our conquest - the cleared fields, the towns and cities, the highways - and re-enter the woods. For only there can a man encounter the silence and the darkness of his own absence. Only in this silence and darkness can he recover the sense of the world's longevity, of its ability to thrive without him, of his inferiority to it and his dependence on it. Perhaps then, having heard that silence and seen that darkness, he will grow humble before the place and begin to take it in - to learn from it what it is. As its sounds come into his hearing, and its lights and colors come into his vision, and its odors come into his nostrils, then he may come into its presence as he never has before, and he will arrive in his place and will want to remain. His life will grow out of the ground like the other lives of the place, and take its place among them. He will be with them - neither ignorant of them, nor indifferent to them, nor against them - and so at last he will grow to be native-born. That is, he must reenter the silence and the darkness, and be born again.'
― Wendell Berry, The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays
26 July 2012'I grew up with landscape as a recourse, with the possibility of exiting the horizontal realm of social relations for a vertical alignment with earth and sky, matter and spirit. Vast open spaces speak best to this craving, the spaces I myself first found in the desert and then in the western grasslands.'
― Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost
25 July 2012'When the sense of the earth unites with the sense of one's body, one becomes earth of the earth, a plant among plants, an animal born from the soil and fertilizing it.'
― Dag Hammarskjöld, Markings
24 July 2012
'…this feeling, assenting, equable marriage between the geographical country and the country of the mind, whether that country of the mind takes its tone unconsciously from a share oral inherited culture, or from a consciously savoured literary culture, or from both; it is this marriage that constitutes the sense of place in its richest possible manifestation.'
— Seamus Heaney, Preoccupations: Selected Prose
23 July 2012'To know fully even one field or one land is a lifetime's experience. In the world of poetic experience it is depth that counts, not width.'
— Patrick Kavanagh, 'The Parish & the Universe'
18 July 2012
'We were bred of earth before we were bred of our mothers. Once born, we can live without mother or father, or any other kin, or any friend, or any human love. We cannot live without the earth or apart from it, and something is shrivelled in a man's heart when he turns away from it and concerns himself only with the affairs of men.'
― Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Cross Creek
17 July 2012
'The love of wilderness is more than a hunger for what is always beyond reach; it is also an expression of loyalty to the earth, the earth which bore us and sustains us, the only paradise we shall ever know, the only paradise we ever need, if only we had the eyes to see.'
― Edward Abbey
16 July 2012'If we surrendered to earth's intelligence we could rise up rooted, like trees.'
― Rainer Maria Rilke, Rainer Maria Rilke's the Book of Hours: A New Translation with Commentary
13 July 2012
' ... the care of the earth is our most ancient and most worthy and, after all, our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it, and to foster its renewal, is our only legitimate hope.'
― Wendell Berry, The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays.
12 July 2012
'One of the great dreams of a man must be to find some place between the extremes of nature and civilization where it is possible to live without regret.'
— Barry Lopez, in Earthly Words: Essays on Contemporary American Nature & Environmental Writers (John Cooley, ed)
11 July 2012
'There is a way that nature speaks, that land speaks. Most of the time we are simply not patient enough, quiet enough, to pay attention to the story.'
— Linda Hogan
10 July 2012
'We align ourselves not with the ever-expanding human monoculture, nor with the abstract vision of a global economy, but with the far more sustainable prospect of a regionally diverse and interdependent web of largely self-sufficient communities – a multiplicity of technologically sophisticated, vernacular cultures tuned to the structure and pulse of particular places. We know well that if humankind is to flourish without destroying the living world that sustains us, then we must grow out of our adolescent aspiration to encompass and control all that is. Sooner or later, we know, our technological ambition will begin to scale itself down, allowing itself to be oriented by the distinct needs of specific bioregions. Sooner or later, that is, technological civilization will accept the invitation of gravity and settle back into the land, its political and economic structures diversifying into the varied contours and rhythms of a more-than-human earth.'
— David Abram, The Spell of the Sensuous
9 July 2012
'Beneath the veneer of civilization ... lies not the barbarian and animal, but the human in us who knows the rightness of birth in gentle surroundings, the necessity of a rich nonhuman environment, play at being animals, the discipline of natural history, juvenile tasks with simple tools, the expressive arts of receiving food as a spiritual gift rather than as a product, the cultivation of metaphorical significance of natural phenomena of all kinds, clan membership and small-group life, and the profound claims and liberation of ritual initiation and subsequent stages of adult mentorship. There is a secret person undamaged in every individual, aware of the validity of these conditions, sensitive to their right moments in our lives. All of them are assimilated in perverted forms in modern society: our profound love of animals twisted into pets, zoos , decorations, and entertainment; our search for poetic wholeness subverted by the model of the machine instead of the body; the moment of pubertal idealism shunted into nationalism or ethereal otherworld religions instead of an ecosophical cosmology. But this means that we have not lost, and can not loose the genuine impulse. It awaits only an authentic expression.'
— Paul Shepard, Nature and Madness
6 July 2012
'When we really want to go for something better, we shall smash the old. Until then, any sort of proposal, or making proposals, is no more than a tiresome game for self-important people.'
― D.H. Lawrence, Women in Love
5 July 2012
'We are talking only to ourselves. We are not talking to the rivers, we are not listening to the wind and stars. We have broken the great conversation. By breaking that conversation we have shattered the universe. All the disasters that are happening now are a consequence of that spiritual "autism."'
— Thomas Berry, The Dream of the Earth
4 July 2012'My house completed, and tried and not wanting by a first Cape Cod year, I went there to spend a fortnight in September. The fortnight ending, I lingered on, and as the year lengthened into autumn, the beauty and mystery of this earth and outer sea so possessed and held me that I could not go. The world today is sick to its thin blood for lack of elemental things, for fire before the hands, for water welling from the earth, for air, for the dear earth itself underfoot. In my world of beach and dunes these elemental presences lived and had their being, and under their arch there moved an incomparable pageant of nature and the year.'
― Henry Beston, The Outermost House
3 July 2012'Those who dwell, as scientists or laymen, among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life. Whatever the vexation or concerns of their personal lives, their thoughts can find paths that lead to inner contentment and to renewed excitement in living. Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is symbolic as well as actual beauty in the migration of the birds, the ebb and flow of the tides, the folded bud ready for the spring. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature – the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after the winter.'
— Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder, 1956
2 July 2012“[I]f you know wilderness in the way that you know love, you would be unwilling to let it go. We are talking about the body of the beloved, not real estate.”
― Terry Tempest Williams