To be seventy years old is like climbing the Alps. You reach a snow-crowned summit, and see behind you the deep valley stretching miles and miles away, and before you other summits higher and whiter, which you may have strength to climb, or may not. Then you sit down and meditate and wonder which it will be.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Our forefathers regarded as a prodigy the passage of the Alps: first by Hannibal and, more recently, by the Cimbri; but at the present day, these very mountains are cut asunder to yield us a thousand different marbles; promontories are thrown open to the sea; and the face of Nature is being everywhere reduced to a level.
Pliny the Elder
We sit in calm, airy, silent rooms opening upon sunlit and embowered lawns, not a sound except of summer and of husbandry disturbs the peace; but seven million men, any ten thousand of whom could have annihilated the ancient armies, are in ceaseless battle from the Alps to the Ocean.
There is something about the Himalayas not possessed by the Alps, something unseen and unknown, a charm that pervades every hour spent among them, a mystery intriguing and disturbing. Confronted by them, a man loses his grasp of ordinary things, perceiving himself as immortal, an entity capable of outdistancing all changes, all decay, all life, all death.
Be bigger presence at work. Race up ladder (joyfully, w/smile on face), get raise. Get in best shape of life, start dressing nicer. Learn guitar? Make point of noticing beauty of world? Why not educate self re. birds, flowers, trees, constellations, become true citizen of natural world, walk around neighborhood w/kids, patiently teaching kids names of birds, flowers, etc. etc.? Why not take kids to Europe? Kids have never been. Have never, in Alps, had hot chocolate in mountain cafe, served by kindly white- haired innkeeper, who finds them so sophisticated/friendly relative to usual snotty/rich American kids (who always ignore his pretty but crippled daughter w/braids) that he shows them secret hiking path to incredible glade, kids frolic in glade, sit with crippled pretty girl on grass, later say it was most beautiful day of their lives, keep in touch with crippled girl via email, we arrange surgery here for her, surgeon so touched he agrees to do surgery for free, she is on front page of our paper, we are on front page of their paper in Alps? Ha ha.
A man who keeps company with glaciers comes to feel tolerably insignificiant by and by. The Alps and the glaciers together are able to take every bit of conceit out of a man and reduce his self-importance to zero if he will only remain within the influence of their sublime presence long enough to give it a fair and reasonable chance to do its work.
All the best things and treasures of this world are not to be produced by each generation for itself; but we are all intended, not to carve our work in snow that will melt, but each and all of us to be continually rolling a great white gathering snow-ball, higher and higher, larger and larger, along the Alps of human power.
For the first time in his life, Mont Blanc for a moment looked to him what it was - a chaos of anarchic and purposeless forces - and he needed days of repose to see it clothe itself again with the illusions of his senses, the white purity of its snows, the splendor of its light, and the infinity of its heavenly peace. Nature was kind; Lake Geneva was beautiful beyond itself, and the Alps put on charms real as terrors.
I remember standing in the bush above this unbelievably wild river, and thinking this is as good as it gets. Exquisite birdsong, jagged peaks of the Alps beckoning like the spires of mystical cathedrals, the smell of moisture in the beech forest like an elixir. Nature in its raw, unpredictable state - at an entirely different end of the spectrum from the confines of a test tube or comfort of a biotech lab.
History presents the pleasantest features of poetry and fiction,--the majesty of the epic, the moving accidents of the drama, the surprises and moral of the romance. Wallace is a ruder Hector; Robinson Crusoe is not stranger that Croesus; the Knights of Ashby never burnish the page of Scott with richer lights of lance and armor than the Carthaginians, winding down the Alps, cast upon Livy.
Robert Aris Willmott
And I can promise you something, because it was a thing I saw many years later - a vision in the book thief herself - that as she knelt next to Hans Hubermann, she watched him stand and play the accordion. He stood and strapped it on in the alps of broken houses and played the accordion with kindness silver eyes and even a cigarette slouched on his lips. The bellows breathed and the tall man played for Liesel Meminger one last time as the sky was slowly taken away from her.
It is no more appropriate to speak of a difference between the purchasing power of money in Germany and in Austria than it would be justifiable to conclude from differences between the prices charged by hotels on the peaks and in the valleys of the Alps that the objective exchange-value of money is different in the two situations and to formulate some such proposition as that the purchasing power of money varies inversely with the height above sea-level. The purchasing power of money is the same everywhere; only the commodities offered are not the same.
Ludwig von Mises
Wig Out At Jagbags is inspired by Cologne, Germany, Mark Von Schlegell, Rosemarie Trockel, Von Spar and Jan Lankisch, Can and Gas; Stephen-Malkmus-imagined Weezer/Chili Peppers, Sic Alps, UVA in the late 80's, NYRB, Aroma Charlottenburg, inactivity, Jamming, Indie guys trying to sound Memphis, Flipper, Pete Townshend, Pavement, The Joggers, The NBA and home life in the 2010's ...
Running gives me a clearer perspective on the world ... I've always seen the world by running, and that has allowed me to view things in a different way. Places look different in the early-morning hours, when the streets are deserted. I've smelled crabs boiling on Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco on my way to the Golden Gate Bridge, watched the sun rise over Diamond Head in Hawaii, and seen deer grazing on the Alps in St. Moritz, Switzerland. I clearly remember turning to my husband, Jack, in one of these places and saying, 'People don't know what they're missing.'
We should strengthen the faith of our people in their own future, the faith of every Canadian in Canada, and of every province in its sister province. This faith wrongs no one; burdens no one; menaces no one; dishonors no one; and, as it was said of old, faith moves mountains, so I venture reverently to express my own belief that if the difficulties of our future as a dominion were as high as the peaks of the Alps or Andes, yet that the pure patriotic faith of a united people would be all sufficient to overcome and ultimately to triumph over all such difficulties.
Thomas D'Arcy McGee
Some few people are born without any sense of time.As consequence, their sense of place becomes heightened to an excruciating degree. They lie in tall grass and are questioned by poets and painters from all over the world. These time-deaf are beseeched to describe the precise placement of trees in the spring, the shape of snow on the Alps, the angle of sun on a church, the position of rivers, the location of moss, the pattern of birds in a flock. Yet the time-deaf are unable to speak what they know. For speech needs a sequence of words, spoken in time.
Though blessed with the enviable properties of a mink coat-graceful, unreasonable, and impractical no matter what she was draped over-she was nevertheless one of those people whose personality proved to be the bane of modern mathematicians. She was neither a flat nor solid shape. She showed no symmetry at all. Trigonometry, Calculus and Statistics all proved useless. Her Pie Chart was a muddle of arbitrary wedges, her Line Graph, the silhouette of the Alps. And just when one listed her under Chaos Theory-Butterfly Effects, Weather Predictions, Fractals, Bifurcation diagrams and whatnot-she showed up as an equilateral triangle, sometimes even a square.
The name Kyirong means 'the village of happiness, ' and it really deserves the name. I shall never cease thinking of this place with yearning, and if I can choose where to pass the evening of my life, it will be in Kyirong. There I would build myself a house of red cedar wood and have one of the rushing mountain streams running through my garden, in which every kind of fruit would grow, for though its altitude is over 9, 000 feet, Kyirong lies on the twenty-eighth parallel. When we arrived in January the temperature was just below freezing it seldom falls below -10 degrees Centigrade. The seasons correspond to the Alps, but the vegetation is subtropical. Once can go skiing the whole year round, and in the summer there is a row of 20, 000-footers to climb.
My unlucky star had destined me to be born when there was much talk about morality and, at the same time, more murders than in any other period. There is, undoubtedly, some connection between these phenomena. I sometime ask myself whether the connection was a priori, since these babblers are cannibals from the start - or a connection a posteriori, since they inflate themselves with their moralizing to a height which becomes dangerous for others. However that may be, I was always happy to meet a person who owed his touch of common sense and good manners to his parents and who didn't need big principles. I do not claim more for myself, and I am a man who for an entire lifetime has been moralized at to the right and the left - by teachers and superiors, by policemen and journalists, by Jews and Gentiles, by inhabitants of the Alps, of islands, and the plains, by cut-throats and aristocrats - all of whom looked as if butter wouldn't melt in their mouths.
Were the earth as smooth as a ball bearing, it might be beautiful seen from another planet, as the rings of Saturn are. But here we live and move; we wander up and down the banks of the creek, we ride a railway through the Alps, and the landscape shifts and changes. Were the earth smooth, our brains would be smooth as well; we would wake, blink, walk two steps to get the whole picture and lapse into dreamless sleep. Because we are living people, and because we are on the receiving end of beauty, another element necessarily enters the question. The texture of space is a condition of time. Time is the warp and matter the weft of woven texture of beauty in space, and death is the hurtling shuttle... What I want to do, then, is add time to the texture, paint the landscape on an unrolling scroll, and set the giant relief globe spinning on it stand.
Woolf drew on her memories of her holidays in Cornwall for To the Lighthouse, which was conceived in part as an elegy on her parents. Her father was a vigorous walker and an Alpinist of some renown, a member of the Alpine Club and editor of the Alpine Journal from 1868 to 1872; he was the first person to climb the Schreckhorn in the Alps and he wrote on Alpine pleasures in The Playground of Europe (1871). By the time he married Julia Duckworth in 1878, however, a more sedentary Leslie Stephen was the established editor of the Cornhill Magazine, from which he later resigned to take up the editorship of the Dictionary of National Biography in 1882, the year of Woolf 's birth. Stephen laboured on this monumental Victorian enterprise until 1990, editing single-handed the first twenty-six volumes and writing well over 300 biographical entries. He also published numerous volumes of criticism, the most important of which were on eighteenth-century thought and literature.
That's my little piece of heaven. Go ahead." Ciro followed Remo through the open door to a small enclosed garden. Terra-cotta pots positioned along the top of the stone wall spilled over with red geraniums and orange impatiens. An elm tree with a wide trunk and deep roots filled the center of the garden. Its green leaves and thick branches reached past the roof of Remo's building, creating a canopy over the garden. There was a small white marble birdbath, gray with soot, flanked by two deep wicker armchairs. Remo fished a cigarette out of his pocket, offering another to Ciro as both men took a seat. "This is where I come to think." "Va bene, " Ciro said as he looked up into the tree. He remembered the thousands of trees that blanketed the Alps; here on Mulberry Street, one tree with peeling gray bark and holes in its leaves was cause for celebration.
When the full moon was out the other night, it created one of the most spectacular scenes that I have seen in the Alps. The high glaciers of the Mont Blanc range were glowing an eerie bright blue-white, and they looked like huge ghost ships in the dark ocean of sky, sailing amongst black mountain valleys. There were no clouds, and the moon was a huge and perfect disc tracking across the sky, shining on different parts of the glaciers through the night. Looking up, I saw the black silhouette of the mid-altitude mountains below the ethereal shining high-mountain terrain, which created a weird vision: the ghostly glaciers floating, and appearing separate, contrasting sharply with the dark valleys beneath. The Aiguille Verte especially, being so steep and isolated, seemed almost like a holographic mast with sails, plowing into the rolling waves, chasing after the Mont Blanc summit with its billowing spinnaker...
Yet there was a momentary hint of blue sky, and even this bit of light was enough to release a flash of diamonds across the wide landscape, so oddly disfigured by its snowy adventure. Usually the snow stopped at that hour of the day, as if for a quick survey of what had been achieved thus far; the rare days of sunshine seemed to serve much the same purpose-the flurries died down and the sun's direct glare attempted to melt the luscious, pure surface of drifted new snow. It was a fairy-tale world, child-like and funny. Boughs of trees adorned with thick pillows, so fluffy someone must have plumped them up; the ground a series of humps and mounds, beneath which slinking underbrush or outcrops of rock lay hidden; a landscape of crouching, cowering gnomes in droll disguises-it was comic to behold, straight out of a book of fairy tales. But if there was something roguish and fantastic about the immediate vicinity through which you laboriously made your way, the towering statues of snow-clad Alps, gazing down from the distance, awakened in you feelings of the sublime and holy.
They are beautiful, heart-rendingly beautiful, those wilds, with a quality of wide-eyed, unsung, innocent surrender that my lacquered, toy-bright Swiss villages and exhaustively lauded Alps no longer possess. Innumerable lovers have clipped and kissed on the trim turf of old-world mountainsides, on the innerspring moss, by a handy, hygienic rill, on rustic benches under the initialed oaks, and in so many cabanes in so so many beech forests. But in the Wilds of America the open-air lover will not find it easy to indulge in the most ancient of all crimes and pastimes. Poisonous plants burn his sweetheart's buttocks, nameless insects sting his; sharp items of the forest floor prick his knees, insects hers; and all around there abides a sustained rustle of potential snakes-que dis-je, of semi-extinct dragons!-while the crablike seeds of ferocious flowers cling, in a hideous green crust, to gartered black sock and sloppy white sock alike.
The technologies which have had the most profound effects on human life are usually simple. A good example of a simple technology with profound historical consequences is hay. Nobody knows who invented hay, the idea of cutting grass in the autumn and storing it in large enough quantities to keep horses and cows alive through the winter. All we know is that the technology of hay was unknown to the Roman Empire but was known to every village of medieval Europe. Like many other crucially important technologies, hay emerged anonymously during the so-called Dark Ages. According to the Hay Theory of History, the invention of hay was the decisive event which moved the center of gravity of urban civilization from the Mediterranean basin to Northern and Western Europe. The Roman Empire did not need hay because in a Mediterranean climate the grass grows well enough in winter for animals to graze. North of the Alps, great cities dependent on horses and oxen for motive power could not exist without hay. So it was hay that allowed populations to grow and civilizations to flourish among the forests of Northern Europe. Hay moved the greatness of Rome to Paris and London, and later to Berlin and Moscow and New York.
A little while ago, I stood by the grave of the old Napoleon-a magnificent tomb of gilt and gold, fit almost for a dead deity-and gazed upon the sarcophagus of rare and nameless marble, where rest at last the ashes of that restless man. I leaned over the balustrade and thought about the career of the greatest soldier of the modern world. I saw him walking upon the banks of the Seine, contemplating suicide. I saw him at Toulon-I saw him putting down the mob in the streets of Paris-I saw him at the head of the army of Italy-I saw him crossing the bridge of Lodi with the tri-color in his hand-I saw him in Egypt in the shadows of the pyramids-I saw him conquer the Alps and mingle the eagles of France with the eagles of the crags. I saw him at Marengo-at Ulm and Austerlitz. I saw him in Russia, where the infantry of the snow and the cavalry of the wild blast scattered his legions like winter's withered leaves. I saw him at Leipsic in defeat and disaster-driven by a million bayonets back upon Paris-clutched like a wild beast-banished to Elba. I saw him escape and retake an empire by the force of his genius. I saw him upon the frightful field of Waterloo, where Chance and Fate combined to wreck the fortunes of their former king. And I saw him at St. Helena, with his hands crossed behind him, gazing out upon the sad and solemn sea. I thought of the orphans and widows he had made-of the tears that had been shed for his glory, and of the only woman who ever loved him, pushed from his heart by the cold hand of ambition. And I said I would rather have been a French peasant and worn wooden shoes. I would rather have lived in a hut with a vine growing over the door, and the grapes growing purple in the kisses of the autumn sun. I would rather have been that poor peasant with my loving wife by my side, knitting as the day died out of the sky-with my children upon my knees and their arms about me-I would rather have been that man and gone down to the tongueless silence of the dreamless dust, than to have been that imperial impersonation of force and murder, known as 'Napoleon the Great.
Robert G. Ingersoll