Calendar Quotes

Authors: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Categories: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
On the first day of November last year, sacred to many religious calendars but especially the Celtic, I went for a walk among bare oaks and birch. Nothing much was going on. Scarlet sumac had passed and the bees were dead. The pond had slicked overnight into that shiny and deceptive glaze of delusion, first ice. It made me remember sakes and conjure a vision of myself skimming backward on one foot, the other extended; the arms become wings. Minnesota girls know that this is not a difficult maneuver if one's limber and practices even a little after school before the boys claim the rink for hockey. I think I can still do it - one thinks many foolish things when November's bright sun skips over the entrancing first freeze. A flock of sparrows reels through the air looking more like a flying net than seventy conscious birds, a black veil thrown on the wind. When one sparrow dodges, the whole net swerves, dips: one mind. Am I part of anything like that? Maybe not. The last few years of my life have been characterized by stripping away, one by one, loves and communities that sustain the soul. A young colleague, new to my English department, recently asked me who I hang around with at school. "Nobody," I had to say, feeling briefly ashamed. This solitude is one of the surprises of middle age, especially if one's youth has been rich in love and friendship and children. If you do your job right, children leave home; few communities can stand an individual's most pitiful, amateur truth telling. So the soul must stand in her own meager feathers and learn to fly - or simply take hopeful jumps into the wind. In the Christian calendar, November 1 is the Feast of All Saints, a day honoring not only those who are known and recognized as enlightened souls, but more especially the unknowns, saints who walk beside us unrecognized down the millennia. In Buddhism, we honor the bodhisattvas - saints - who refuse enlightenment and return willingly to the wheel of karma to help other beings. Similarly, in Judaism, anonymous holy men pray the world from its well-merited destruction. We never know who is walking beside us, who is our spiritual teacher. That one - who annoys you so - pretends for a day that he's the one, your personal Obi Wan Kenobi. The first of November is a splendid, subversive holiday. Imagine a hectic procession of revelers - the half-mad bag lady; a mumbling, scarred janitor whose ravaged face made the children turn away; the austere, unsmiling mother superior who seemed with great focus and clarity to do harm; a haunted music teacher, survivor of Auschwitz. I bring them before my mind's eye, these old firends of my soul, awakening to dance their day. Crazy saints; but who knows what was home in the heart? This is the feast of those who tried to take the path, so clumsily that no one knew or notice, the feast, indeed, of most of us. It's an ugly woods, I was saying to myself, padding along a trail where other walkers had broken ground before me. And then I found an extraordinary bouquet. Someone had bound an offering of dry seed pods, yew, lyme grass, red berries, and brown fern and laid it on the path: "nothing special," as Buddhists say, meaning "everything." Gathered to formality, each dry stalk proclaimed a slant, an attitude, infinite shades of neutral. All contemplative acts, silences, poems, honor the world this way. Brought together by the eye of love, a milkweed pod, a twig, allow us to see how things have been all along. A feast of being.

Mary Rose O'Reilley
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On the conversion of the European tribes to Christianity the ancient pagan worship was by no means incontinently abandoned. So wholesale had been the conversion of many peoples, whose chiefs or rulers had accepted the new faith on their behalf in a summary manner, that it would be absurd to suppose that any, general acquiescence in the new gospel immediately took place. Indeed, the old beliefs lurked in many neighbourhoods, and even a renaissance of some of them occurred in more than one area. Little by little, however, the Church succeeded in rooting out the public worship of the old pagan deities, but it found it quite impossible to effect an entire reversion of pagan ways, and in the end compromised by exalting the ancient deities to the position of saints in its calendar, either officially, or by usage. In the popular mind, however, these remained as the fairies of woodland and stream, whose worship in a broken-down form still flourished at wayside wells and forest shrines. The Matres, or Mother gods, particularly those of Celtic France and Ireland, the former of which had come to be Romanized, became the bonnes dames of folklore, while the dusii and pilosi, or hairy house-sprites, were so commonly paid tribute that the Church introduced a special question concerning them into its catechism of persons suspected of pagan practice. Nevertheless, the Roman Church, at a somewhat later era, reversed its older and more catholic policy, and sternly set its face against the cultus of paganism in Europe, stigmatizing the several kinds of spirits and derelict gods who were the objects of its worship as demons and devils, whom mankind must eschew with the most pious care if it were to avoid damnation.

Lewis Spence
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Life, it has been agreed by everyone whose opinion is worth consulting, is the only fit subject for novelist or biographer; life, the same authorities have decided, has nothing whatever to do with sitting still in a chair and thinking. Thought and life are as the poles asunder. Therefore - since sitting in a chair and thinking is precisely what Orlando is doing now - there is nothing for it but to recite the calendar, tell one's beads, blow one's nose, stir the fire, look out of the window, until she has done... Surely, since she is a woman, and a beautiful woman, and a woman in the prime of life, she will soon give over this pretence of writing and thinking and begin at least to think of a gamekeeper (and as long as she thinks of a man, nobody objects to a woman thinking). And then she will write him a little note (and as long as she writes little notes nobody objects to a woman writing either) and make an assignation for Sunday dusk... She was kind to dogs, faithful to friends, generosity itself to a dozen starving poets, had a passion for poetry. But love - as the male novelists define it - and who, after all, speak with greater authority? - has nothing whatever to do with kindness, fidelity, generosity, or poetry. Love is slipping off one's petticoat and - But we all know what love is... If then, the subject of one's biography will neither love nor kill, but will only think and imagine, we may conclude that he or she is no better than a corpse and so leave her.

Virginia Woolf
Hey - Duggie! Duggie! Duggie!" He came running up to me, sparkler in hand. I felt like sticking one on him, the cheeky bastard. Nobody called me Duggie. He held the sparkler up in front of my face and said, "Wait. Wait." I was already waiting. What else was there to do? "Here you are, " he said. "Look! What's this?" At that precise moment, his sparkler fizzled out. I didn't say anything, so he supplied the answer himself. "The death of the socialist dream, " he said. He giggled like a little maniac, and stared at me for a second or two before running off, and in that time I saw exactly the same thing I'd seen in Stubbs's eyes the day before. The same triumphalism, the same excitement, not because something new was being created, but because something was being destroyed. I thought about Phillip and his stupid rock symphony and I swear that my eyes pricked with tears. This ludicrous attempt to squeeze the history of the countless millennia into half an hour's worth of crappy riffs and chord changes suddenly seemed no more Quixotic than all the things my dad and his colleagues had been working towards for so long. A national health service, free to everyone who needed it. Redistribution of wealth through taxation. Equality of opportunity. Beautiful ideas, Dad, noble aspirations, just as there was the kernel of something beautiful in Philip's musical hodge-podge. But it was never going to happen. If there had ever been a time when it might have happened, that time was slipping away. The moment had passed. Goodbye to all that. Easy to be clever with hindsight, I know, but I was right, wasn't I? Look back on that night from the perspective of now, the closing weeks of the closing century of our second millennium - if the calendar of some esoteric and fast-disappearing religious sect counts for anything any more - and you have to admit that I was right. And so was Benjamin's brother, the little bastard, with his sparkler and his horrible grin and that nasty gleam of incipient victory in his twelve-year-old eyes. Goodbye to all that, he was saying. He'd worked it out already. He knew what the future held in store.

Jonathan Coe
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The letter had been crumpled up and tossed onto the grate. It had burned all around the edges, so the names at the top and bottom had gone up in smoke. But there was enough of the bold black scrawl to reveal that it had indeed been a love letter. And as Hannah read the singed and half-destroyed parchment, she was forced to turn away to hide the trembling of her hand. -should warn you that this letter will not be eloquent. However, it will be sincere, especially in light of the fact that you will never read it. I have felt these words like a weight in my chest, until I find myself amazed that a heart can go on beating under such a burden. I love you. I love you desperately, violently, tenderly, completely. I want you in ways that I know you would find shocking. My love, you don't belong with a man like me. In the past I've done things you wouldn't approve of, and I've done them ten times over. I have led a life of immoderate sin. As it turns out, I'm just as immoderate in love. Worse, in fact. I want to kiss every soft place of you, make you blush and faint, pleasure you until you weep, and dry every tear with my lips. If you only knew how I crave the taste of you. I want to take you in my hands and mouth and feast on you. I want to drink wine and honey from you. I want you under me. On your back. I'm sorry. You deserve more respect than that. But I can't stop thinking of it. Your arms and legs around me. Your mouth, open for my kisses. I need too much of you. A lifetime of nights spent between your thighs wouldn't be enough. I want to talk with you forever. I remember every word you've ever said to me. If only I could visit you as a foreigner goes into a new country, learn the language of you, wander past all borders into every private and secret place, I would stay forever. I would become a citizen of you. You would say it's too soon to feel this way. You would ask how I could be so certain. But some things can't be measured by time. Ask me an hour from now. Ask me a month from now. A year, ten years, a lifetime. The way I love you will outlast every calendar, clock, and every toll of every bell that will ever be cast. If only you- And there it stopped.

Lisa Kleypas
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