. . . and God knows we are sensitive to the suffering that has sometimes broken loose to come billowing forth from your appendages like the pungent vapors of whales - often it appears that in this life of experience and accommodation we pay just as dearly for our triumphs as we do for our defeats. But Sissy . . . hold on!
Beautiful men and women with distorted shadows came and scorched their handprints onto doors before vanishing skyward, drafts of heat billowing behind them with the whumph of unseen wings. Here and there, feathers fell, and they were like tufts of white fire, disintegrating to ash as soon as they touched the ground.
It was exciting to be off on a journey she had looked forward to for months. Oddly, the billowing diesel fumes of the airport did not smell like suffocating effluence, it assumed a peculiar pungent scent that morning, like the beginning of a new adventure, if an adventure could exude a fragrance.
Everyone understands the pain that accompanies death, but genuine pain doesn't live in the spirit, nor in the air, nor in our lives, nor on these terraces of billowing smoke. The genuine pain that keeps everything awake is a tiny, infinite burn on the innocent eyes of other systems.
Federico Garcia Lorca
A growing heat, like a million blazing suns all focused on me, lit my insides. It felt like I was being cooked in the Gabriella Roast Cooker, me spinning around-and-around to heat my flesh evenly. For some reason I was having trouble comprehending the sudden change in my revolving world as I swelled with a horrible, billowing fire.
The sunshine filtered in through the billowing white curtains. Tatiana knew there would be only an instant, a brief flicker of time that bathed her with the possibilities of the day. In a moment it would all be gone. And in a moment it was. Still...that sun streaking through the room, the distant rumble of buses through the open window, the slight wind. This was the part of Sunday that Tatiana loved most: the beginning.
Only then did I see. Something was amiss with Patrick's snap-on one piece, or "onesie" as we manly dads like to call it. His chubby thighs, I now realized, were squeezed into the armholes, which were so tight they must have been cutting off his circulation. The collared neck hung between his legs like an udder. Up top, Patrick's head stuck out through the unsnapped crotch, and his arms were lost somewhere in the billowing pant legs. It was quite a look.
Teenagers are bored. By everything. Show a teenager an actual volcanic eruption, in progress, featuring giant billowing clouds of smoke, hot rocks raining from the sky, lava flows destroying entire villages, etc., and the teenager, eyebrows arched with sarcasm, will look at you and say, "Gee, this is swell," then return to the rental car, turn on his portable CD player, and listen to a band called Stomach Contents.
The character of the landscape changes from hour to hour, day to day, season to season. Nothing of the earth can be taken for granted; you feel that Creation is going on in your sight. You see things in the high air that you do not see farther down in the lowlands. In the high country all objects bear upon you, and you touch hard upon the earth. From my home I can see the huge, billowing clouds; they draw close upon me and merge with my life.
N. Scott Momaday
There's a gentle sigh which descends like billowing silk upon the soul that accepts its coming death. It's a gentle pocket of air in the turbulence of everyday life... the silk settles around you as if it has been drifting towards the earth forever and has finally found it's target. The flag of defeat has been mercifully dropped and, in this action, the loss is not so bad. Defeat itself is defeated by the embrace of defeat, and death is swallowed up in victory.
A sudden gust of rain blew over them and then another - as if small liquid clouds were bouncing along the land. Lightning entered the sea far off and the air blew full of crackling thunder. The table cloths blew around the pillars. They blew and blew and blew. The flags twisted around the red chairs like live things, the banners were ragged, the corners of the table tore off through the burbling billowing ends of the cloths.
F. Scott Fitzgerald
The pages and pages of complex, impenetrable calculations might have contained the secrets of the universe, copied out of God's notebook. In my imagination, I saw the creator of the universe sitting in some distant corner of the sky, weaving a pattern of delicate lace so fine that that even the faintest light would shine through it. The lace stretches out infinitely in every direction, billowing gently in the cosmic breeze. You want desperately to touch it, hold it up to the light, rub it against your cheek. And all we ask is to be able to re-create the pattern, weave it again with numbers, somehow, in our own language; to make the tiniest fragment our own, to bring it back to eart.
I thought at first that she was just dead. Just darkness... I thought about the slow process of becoming bone and then fossil and then coal that will, in millions of years, be mined by humans of the future, and how they would heat their homes with her and then she would be smoke billowing out of a smokestack, coating the atmosphere. I still that think that, sometimes, maybe "the afterlife" is just something we made up to ease the pain of loss, to make our time in the labyrinth bearable. But ultimately I do not believe that she was only matter... I believe now that we are greater than the sum of our parts. If you take her genetic code and you add her life experiences and the relationships she had with people, and then you take the size and shape of her body, you do not get her. There is something else there entirely. There is a part of her greater than the sum of her knowable parts. And that part has to go somewhere, because it cannot be destroyed... energy is never created and never destroyed. We cannot be born and cannot die. Like all energy, we can only change shapes and sizes and manifestations... Thomas Edison's last words were: It's very beautiful over there." I don't know where there is, but I believe it's somewhere, and I hope it's beautiful.
Ron seems to be enjoying the celebrations.' said Hermione. 'Don't pretend you didn't see him. He wasn't exactly hiding it, was - ?' The door behind them burst open. To Harry's horror, Ron came in, laughing, pulling Lavender by the hand. 'Oh, ' he said, drawing up short at the sight of Harry and Hermione. 'Oops!' said Lavender, and she backed out of the room, giggling. There was a horrible, swelling, billowing silence. Hermione was staring at Ron, who refused to look at her. She walked very slowly and erectly toward the door. Harry glanced at Ron, who was looking relieved that nothing worse had happened. 'Oppugno!' came a shriek from the doorway. Harry spun around [... ] The little flock of birds was speeding like a hail of fat golden bullets toward Ron, pecking and clawing at every bit of flesh they could reach. 'Gerremoffme!' he yelled, but with one last look of vindictive fury, Hermione wrenched open the door and disappeared through it. Harry thought he heard a sob before it slammed.
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...
He goes directly to the ballroom, making his way to the center of the dance floor. He takes Celia's arm, spinning her away from Herr Thiessen. Marco pulls her to him in an emerald embrace, so close that no one distinction remains between where his suite ends and her gown begins. To Celia there is suddenly no one else in the room as he holds her in his arms. But before she can vocalize her surprise, his lips close over hers and she is lost in wordless bliss. Marco kisses her as though they are the only two people in the world. The air swirls in a tempest around them, blowing open the glass doors to the garden with a tangle of billowing curtains. Every eye in the ballroom turns in their direction. And then he releases her and walks away. By the time Marco leaves the room, almost everyone has forgotten the incident entirely. It is replaced by a momentary confusion that is blamed on the heat or the excessive amounts of champagne. Herr Thiessen cannot recall why Celia has suddenly stopped dancing, or when her gown has shifted to its current deep green. 'Is something wrong?' he asks, when he realizes that she is trembling.
What happened next? I retain nothing from those terrible minutes except indistinct memories which flash into my mind with sudden brutality, like apparitions, among bursts and scenes and visions that are scarcely imaginable. It is difficult even to even to try to remember moments during which nothing is considered, foreseen, or understood, when there is nothing under a steel helmet but an astonishingly empty head and a pair of eyes which translate nothing more than would the eyes of an animal facing mortal danger. There is nothing but the rhythm of explosions, more or less distant, more or less violent, and the cries of madmen, to be classified later, according to the outcome of the battle, as the cries of heroes or of murderers. And there are the cries of the wounded, of the agonizingly dying, shrieking as they stare at a part of their body reduced to pulp, the cries of men touched by the shock of battle before everybody else, who run in any and every direction, howling like banshees. There are the tragic, unbelievable visions, which carry from one moment of nausea to another: guts splattered across the rubble and sprayed from one dying man to another; tightly riveted machines ripped like the belly of a cow which has just been sliced open, flaming and groaning; trees broken into tiny fragments; gaping windows pouring out torrents of billowing dust, dispersing into oblivion all that remains of a comfortable parlor...
If thou art called to pass through tribulation; if thou art in perils among false brethren; if thou art in perils among robbers; if thou art in perils by land or by sea; If thou art accused with all manner of false accusations; if thine enemies fall upon thee; if they tear thee from the society of thy father and mother and brethren and sisters; and if with a drawn sword thine enemies tear thee from the bosom of thy wife, and of thine offspring, and thine elder son, although but six years of age, shall cling to thy garments, and shall say, My father, my father, why can't you stay with us? O, my father, what are the men going to do with you? and if then he shall be thrust from thee by the sword, and thou be dragged to prison, and thine enemies prowl around thee like wolves for the blood of the lamb; And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good. The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?
In the center of the room Sarra the demon hung upside down by one leg, its arms bound behind its back, its suit scuffed-looking. Beneath it, crawling around an intricately scribed circle, a woman with short, curly red hair drew binding symbols with a gold stick. She looked up as I fanned away the smoke that was billowing up from the crack in the tile. "You're a Summoner. Hullo. I'm Noelle. Did you know that you have mismatched eyes?" I walked around the demon. It glared at me. "Yes, I know. Why do you have Sarra strung up by one leg?" She drew another symbol. It flared bright green as soon as the stick lifted from the circle. "It was getting a bit stroppy with me. The Hanged Man always teaches them a few manners. It's retaliating with the smoke. Are those spirits I saw yours, then?" "Yes, they are. There are four others as well. I hate to be a bother, but I'm in a bit of a hurry, what with Christian being held by this one's master and all, so if you could possibly just give me the abbreviated version of what's going on here, I'll be on my way to rescue him." She leaned back on her heels and sucked the tip of her gold stick. "Asmodeus, eh?" The demon snarled. A chunk of ceiling fell behind me. We both ignored it. It just never does to give a demon the satisfaction of knowing it's startled you. "It's a nasty bag of tricks, but I heard through the demonic grapevine that it was weakened and searching for a suitable sacrifice to regain its power, " she added. "Well, it can't have Christian; he's mine. Back to the demon, if you don't mind... " She looked up at Sarra, still sucking the stick. "It's a pretty specimen, isn't it? I like the hair gel. Nice touch. The mustache is a bit much, though, don't you think? Makes it look so smarmy." "Um... " "I'm destroying it, so I suppose it really doesn't matter." I blinked and avoided two wine bottles as they flew out of a rack when the demon hissed at the Guardian.
One night he sits up. In cots around him are a few dozen sick or wounded. A warm September wind pours across the countryside and sets the walls of the tent rippling. Werner's head swivels lightly on his neck. The wind is strong and gusting stronger, and the corners of the tent strain against their guy ropes, and where the flaps at the two ends come up, he can see trees buck and sway. Everything rustles. Werner zips his old notebook and the little house into his duffel and the man beside him murmurs questions to himself and the rest of the ruined company sleeps. Even Werner's thirst has faded. He feels only the raw, impassive surge of the moonlight as it strikes the tent above him and scatters. Out there, through the open flaps of the tent, clouds hurtle above treetops. Toward Germany, toward home. Silver and blue, blue and silver. Sheets of paper tumble down the rows of cots, and in Werner's chest comes a quickening. He sees Frau Elena kneel beside the coal stove and bank up the fire. Children in their beds. Baby Jutta sleeps in her cradle. His father lights a lamp, steps into an elevator, and disappears. The voice of Volkheimer: What you could be. Werner's body seems to have gone weightless under his blanket, and beyond the flapping tent doors, the trees dance and the clouds keep up their huge billowing march, and he swings first one leg and then the other off the edge of the bed. 'Ernst, ' says the man beside him. 'Ernst.' But there is no Ernst; the men in the cots do not reply; the American soldier at the door of the tent sleeps. Werner walks past him into the grass. The wind moves through his undershirt. He is a kite, a balloon. Once, he and Jutta built a little sailboat from scraps of wood and carried it to the river. Jutta painted the vessel in ecstatic purples and greens, and she set it on the water with great formality. But the boat sagged as soon as the current got hold of it. It floated downstream, out of reach, and the flat black water swallowed it. Jutta blinked at Werner with wet eyes, pulling at the battered loops of yarn in her sweater. 'It's all right, ' he told her. 'Things hardly ever work on the first try. We'll make another, a better one.' Did they? He hopes they did. He seems to remember a little boat-a more seaworthy one-gliding down a river. It sailed around a bend and left them behind. Didn't it? The moonlight shines and billows; the broken clouds scud above the trees. Leaves fly everywhere. But the moonlight stays unmoved by the wind, passing through clouds, through air, in what seems to Werner like impossibly slow, imperturbable rays. They hang across the buckling grass. Why doesn't the wind move the light? Across the field, an American watches a boy leave the sick tent and move against the background of the trees. He sits up. He raises his hand. 'Stop, ' he calls. 'Halt, ' he calls. But Werner has crossed the edge of the field, where he steps on a trigger land mine set there by his own army three months before, and disappears in a fountain of earth.