For each of us as women, there is a dark place within, where hidden and growing our true spirit rises, beautiful and tough as chestnut stanchions against our nightmare of weakness. Within these deep places, each one of us holds an incredible reserve of creativity and power, of unexamined and unrecorded emotion and feeling
This is what you do on your very first day in Paris. You get yourself, not a drizzle, but some honest-to-goodness rain, and you find yourself someone really nice and drive her through the Bois de Boulogne in a taxi. The rain's very important. That's when Paris smells its sweetest. It's the damp chestnut trees.
On first impressions, John seemed more cynical and brash than the others, Ringo the most endearing, Paul was cute, and George, with velvet brown eyes and dark chestnut hair, was the best-looking man I'd ever seen. At the break for lunch I found myself sitting next to him, whether by accident or design I have never been sure. We were both shy and spoke hardly a word to each other, but being close to him was electrifying.
A few flat clouds folded themselves like crepes over fillings of apricot sky. Pompadours of supper-time smoke billowed from chimneys, separating into girlish pigtails as the breeze combed them out, above the slate rooftops. Chestnut blossoms, weary from having been admired all day, wore faint smiles of anticipation.
Here may I live what life I please, Married and buried out of sight, - Married to pleasure and buried to pain, - Hidden away amongst scenes like these, Under the fans of the chestnut trees; Living my child-life over again, With the further hope of a fallen delight, Blithe as the birds and wise as the bees.
Labor is blossoming or dancing where The body is not bruised to pleasure soul, Nor beauty born out of its own despair, Nor blear-eyed wisdom out of midnight oil. O chestnut tree, great-rooted blossomer, Are you the leaf, the blossom or the bole? O body swayed to music, O brightening glance How can we know the dancer from the dance?
William Butler Yeats
I was walking late one night along a tree-lined path; a chestnut fell at my feet. The noise it made as it burst, the resonance it provoked in me, and an upheaval out of all proportion to this insignificant event thrust me into miracle, into the rapture of the definitive, as if there were no more questions-only answers. I was drunk on a thousand unexpected discoveries, none of which I could make use of. ... This is how I nearly reached the Supreme. But instead I went on with my walk.
Emile M. Cioran
Whatever her name was, she was pretty. She had a thick, careless braid of chestnut hair, a quick smile, and dark, merry eyes. She wore some kind of a fuzzy lavender pullover, and when she crossed her legs and lifted her guitar onto her lap, she had an interesting way of tucking the foot of the bottom leg back under her chair that made Hector feel melty. He looked away in self-preservation.
Lynne Rae Perkins
She felt a little betrayed and sad, but presently a moving object came into sight. It was a huge horse-chestnut tree in full bloom bound for the Champs Elysees, strapped now into a long truck and simply shaking with laughter - like a lovely person in an undignified position yet confident none the less of being lovely. Looking at it with fascination, Rosemary identified herself with it, and laughed cheerfully with it, and everything all at once seemed gorgeous.
F. Scott Fitzgerald
My breathing slowed. I shaded her thick chestnut hair resting in a smooth curve against her face, a large bruise blazing across her cheek. I paused, looking over my shoulder to make certain I was alone. I drew her eye makeup, smudged by tears. In her watery eyes I drew the reflection of the commander, standing in front of her, his fist clenched. I continued to sketch, exhaled, and shook out my hands.
How innocent were these Trees, that in Mist-green May, blown by a prospering breeze, Stood garlanded and gay; Who now in sundown glow Of serious colour clad confront me with their show As though resigned and sad, Trees, who unwhispering stand umber, bronze, gold; Pavilioning the land for one grown tired and old; Elm, chestnut, aspen and pine, I am merged in you, Who tell once more in tones of time, Your foliaged farewell.
The Jews believed Jerusalem to be the centre. I have seen a kratometric chart designed to show that the city of Philadelphia was in the same thermic belt, and, by inference, in the same belt of empire, as the cities of Athens, Rome, and London. It was drawn by a patriotic Philadelphian, and was examined with pleasure, under his showing, by the inhabitants of Chestnut Street. But, when carried to Charleston, to New Orleans, and to Boston, it somehow failed to convince the ingenious scholars of all those capitals.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
And when my body shall cease, my soul will still be yours, Claire? I swear by my hope of heaven, I will not be parted from you." The wind stirred the leaves of the chestnut trees nearby, and the scents of late summer rose up rich around us; pine and grass and strawberries, sun-warmed stone and cool water, and the sharp, musky smell of his body next to mine. "Nothing is lost, Sassenach; only changed." "That's the first law of thermodynamics," I said, wiping my nose. "No," he said. "That's faith.
Rochester: "I am no better than the old lightning-struck chestnut-tree in Thornfield orchard... And what right would that ruin have to bid a budding woodbine cover its decay with freshness?" Jane: "You are no ruin sir - no lighting-struck tree: you are green and vigorous. Plants will grow about your roots, whether you ask them or not, because they take delight in your bountiful shadow; and as they grow they will lean towards you, and wind round you, because your strength offers them so safe a prop.
Under the spreading chestnut tree The village smithy stands; The smith, a mighty man is he, With large and sinewy hands; And the muscles of his brawny arms Are strong as iron bands. . . . He earns whate'er he can, And looks the whole world in the face, For he owes not any man. . . . Toiling,-rejoicing,-sorrowing, Onward through life he goes; Each morning sees some task begin, Each evening sees it close; Something attempted, something done, Has earned a night's repose.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Summer sticks to her skirt sumptuously, in the shiny gray fabric hanging loosely from her curves. Her chestnut eyes, apparently hidden from strangers; her simple but graceful face, unpainted by Madison Avenue; and her straight black hair, parted down the middle without ego, all suggest a minimalist - almost pastoral - beauty that is oddly discordant with her fashionable attire, comfortable indifference to the crowds, and quasi-attentive perusal of the Time magazine unfolded over her hand.
Oxford, in those days, was still a city of aquatint. In her spacious and quiet streets men walked and spoke as they had done in Newman's day; her autumnal mists, her grey springtime, and the rare glory of her summer days - such as that day - when the chestnut was in flower and the bells rang out high and clear over her gables and cupolas, exhaled the soft airs of centuries of youth. It was this cloistral hush which gave our laughter its resonance, and carried it still, joyously, over the intervening clamour.
The blue-backed notebooks, the two pencils and the pencil sharpener (a pocket knife was too wasteful) the marble-topped tables, the smell of early morning, sweeping out and mopping, and luck were all you needed. For luck you carried a horse chestnut and a rabbit's foot in your right pocket. The fur had been worn off the rabbit's foot long ago and the bones and the sinews were polished by wear. The claws scratched in the lining of your pocket and you knew your luck was still there.
One evening he was in his room, his brow pressing hard against the pane, looking, without seeing them, at the chestnut trees in the park, which had lost much of their russet-coloured foliage. A heavy mist obscured the distance, and the night was falling grey rather than black, stepping cautiously with its velvet feet upon the tops of the trees. A great swan plunged and replunged amorously its neck and shoulders into the smoking water of the river, and its whiteness made it show in the darkness like a great star of snow. It was the single living being that somewhat enlivened the lonely landscape.
WEATHERS This is the weather the cuckoo likes, And so do I; When showers betumble the chestnut spikes, And nestlings fly; And the little brown nightingale bills his best, And they sit outside at 'The Traveller's Rest,' And maids come forth sprig-muslin drest, And citizens dream of the south and west, And so do I. This is the weather the shepherd shuns, And so do I; When beeches drip in browns and duns, And thresh and ply; And hill-hid tides throb, throe on throe, And meadow rivulets overflow, And drops on gate bars hang in a row, And rooks in families homeward go, And so do I.
Pied Beauty- " Glory be to God for dappled things- For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow; For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim; Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings; Landscape plotted and pieced-fold, fallow, and plough; And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim. All things counter, original, spare, strange; Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?) With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim; He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: Praise Him.
Gerard Manley Hopkins
You shall see rude and sturdy, experienced and wise men, keeping their castles, or teaming up their summer's wood, or chopping alone in the woods, men fuller of talk and rare adventure in the sun and wind and rain, than a chestnut is of meat; who were out not only in '75 and 1812, but have been out every day of their lives; greater men than Homer, or Chaucer, or Shakespeare, only they never got time to say so; they never took to the way of writing. Look at their fields, and imagine what they might write, if ever they should put pen to paper. Or what have they not written on the face of the earth already, clearing, and burning, and scratching, and harrowing, and plowing, and subsoiling, in and in, and out and out, and over and over, again and again, erasing what they had already written for want of parchment.
Henry David Thoreau
I-I've wanted you ever since... " She untied the sash around her waist and let the dressing gown drop to the floor. God save him, she wore not a stitch of clothing. Every shred of self-control fled. His mind consumed with the tantalizing woman before him. Somehow she was even more beautiful now that he'd remembered. The candlelight flickered amber across her skin. Chestnut tresses slid over her shoulder, framing two perfectly formed breasts, tipped by rose. Sean licked his lips, those delectable rosebuds would be his second stop. In two strides, he wrapped her in his arms and crushed his body against hers. "For all that is holy, you have claimed my soul, my flesh and my mind.
Think you a little din can daunt mine ears? Have I not in my time heard lions roar? Have I not heard the sea, puffed up with winds, Rage like an angry boar chafed with sweat? Have I not heard great ordinance in the field, And Heaven's artillery thunder in the skies? Have I not in a pitched battle heard Loud 'larums, neighing steeds, and trumpets' clang? And do you tell me of a woman's tongue, That gives not half so great a blow to hear As will a chestnut in a farmer's fire? Tush! tush! fear boys with bugs. Grumio: For he fears none.
Superfluity was the only relationship I could establish between these trees, these hedges, these paths. Vainly I strove to compute the number of the chestnut trees, or their distance from the Velleda, or their height as compared with that of the plane trees; each of them escaped from the pattern I made for it, overflowed from it or withdrew. And I too among them, vile, languorous, obscene, chewing the cud of my thoughts, I too was superfluous. [I is you or I or anyone.] Luckily I did not feel it, I only understood it, but I felt uncomfortable because I was afraid of feeling it... I thought vaguely of doing away with myself, to do away with at least one of these superfluous existences. But my death - my corpse, my blood poured out on this gravel, among these plants, in this smiling garden - would have been superfluous as well. I was superfluous to all eternity.
Between the dark, heavily laden treetops of the spreading chestnut trees could be seen the dark blue of the sky, full of stars, all solemn and golden, which extended their radiance unconcernedly into the distance. That was the nature of the stars. and the trees bore their buds and blossoms and scars for everyone to see, and whether it signified pleasure or pain, they accepted the strong will to live. flies that lived only for a day swarmed toward their death. every life had its radiance and beauty. i had insight into it all for a moment, understood it and found it good, and also found my life and sorrows good.
Qadir waded out of the water next, the chestnut mare calm under his touch, and Silus raised a disgusted eyebrow. 'There's no justice. Not only the best horseman I've met in this whole bloody country, but his bloody manhood's still dragging in the water.' The Hamian shook his head and hooked a thumb over his shoulder. 'If you want to be truly scared, take a look at that. Why do you think I was swimming so quickly?' Both the officers looked past him, to see the impressive shape of Arminius as he waded out of the river. Silus shook his head slowly. 'Gods below ... ' The German smiled complacently as he walked past them, and Silus pointed out into the fog still wreathing the riverbank. 'Get your sword out, bugger off into the mist and get that thing covered up.
the story of the young woman whose death I witnessed in a concentration camp. It is a simple story. There is little to tell and it may sound as if I had invented it; but to me it seems like a poem. This young woman knew that she would die in the next few days. But when I talked to her she was cheerful in spite of this knowledge. "I am grateful that fate has hit me so hard, " she told me. "In my former life I was spoiled and did not take spiritual accomplishments seriously." Pointing through the window of the hut, she said, "This tree here is the only friend I have in my loneliness." Through that window she could see just one branch of a chestnut tree, and on the branch were two blossoms. "I often talk to this tree, " she said to me. I was startled and didn't quite know how to take her words. Was she delirious? Did she have occasional hallucinations? Anxiously I asked her if the tree replied. "Yes." What did it say to her? She answered, "It said to me, 'I am here-I am here-I am life, eternal life.
Viktor E. Frankl
He was halfway to the house, thinking to set the cabbage inside the kitchen door, when a brown blur thundered past him. Joanna Robbins tore out of the barn astride a magnificent chestnut quarter horse. She leaned forward in the saddle, hat flopping against her back, hair streaming out behind her in a wild curly mass as she urged her mount to a full-out gallop. Unable to do anything but stare, Crockett stood dumbstruck as she raced past. She was the most amazing horsewoman he'd ever seen. Joanna Robbins. The shy creature who claimed painting and reading were her favorite pastimes had just bolted across the yard like a seasoned jockey atop Thoroughbred. She might have inherited her mother's grace and manners, but the woman rode like her outlaw father.Maybe better.
And your will shall decide your destiny, " he said: "I offer you my hand, my heart, and a share of all my possessions." You play a farce, which I merely laugh at." I ask you to pass through life at my side-to be my second self, and best earthly companion." For that fate you have already made your choice, and must abide by it." Jane, be still a few moments: you are over-excited: I will be still too." A waft of wind came sweeping down the laurel-walk, and trembled through the boughs of the chestnut: it wandered away-away-to an indefinite distance-it died. The nightingale's song was then the only voice of the hour: in listening to it, I again wept. Mr. Rochester sat quiet, looking at me gently and seriously. Some time passed before he spoke; he at last said - Come to my side, Jane, and let us explain and understand one another." I will never again come to your side: I am torn away now, and cannot return." But, Jane, I summon you as my wife: it is you only I intend to marry." I was silent: I thought he mocked me. Come, Jane-come hither." Your bride stands between us." He rose, and with a stride reached me. My bride is here, " he said, again drawing me to him, "because my equal is here, and my likeness. Jane, will you marry me?
THE BARROW In this high field strewn with stones I walk by a green mound, Its edges sheared by the plough. Crumbs of animal bone Lie smashed and scattered round Under the clover leaves And slivers of flint seem to grow Like white leaves among green. In the wind, the chestnut heaves Where a man's grave has been. Whatever the barrow held Once, has been taken away: A hollow of nettles and dock Lies at the centre, filled With rain from a sky so grey It reflects nothing at all. I poke in the crumbled rock For something they left behind But after that funeral There is nothing at all to find. On the map in front of me The gothic letters pick out Dozens of tombs like this, Breached, plundered, left empty, No fragments littered about Of a dead and buried race In the margins of histories. No fragments: these splintered bones Construct no human face, These stones are simply stones. In museums their urns lie Behind glass, and their shaped flints Are labelled like butterflies. All that they did was die, And all that has happened since Means nothing to this place. Above long clouds, the skies Turn to a brilliant red And show in the water's face One living, and not these dead." - Anthony Thwaite, from The Owl In The Tree
A spring sun was shining on the rue St. Honore, as I ran down the church steps. On one corner stood a barrow full of yellow jonquils, pale violets from the Riviera, dark Russian violets, and white Roman hyacinths in a golden cloud of mimosa. The street was full of Sunday pleasure-seekers. I swung my cane and laughed with the rest. Someone overtook and passed me. He never turned, but there was the same deadly malignity in his white profile that there had been in his eyes. I watched him as long as I could see him. His lithe back expressed the same menace; every step that carried him away from me seemed to bear him on some errand connected with my destruction. I was creeping along, my feet almost refusing to move. There began to dawn in me a sense of responsibility for something long forgotten. It began to seem as if I deserved that which he threatened: it reached a long way back - a long, long way back. It had lain dormant all these. years: it was there though, and presently it would rise and confront me. But I would try to escape; and I stumbled as best I could into the rue de Rivioli, across the Place de la Concorde and on to the Quai. I looked with sick eyes upon the sun, shining through the white foam of the fountain, pouring over the backs of the dusky bronze river-gods, on the far-away Arc, a structure of amethyst mist, on the countless vistas of grey stems and bare branches faintly green. Then I saw him again coming down one of the chestnut alleys of the Cours la Reine. ("In The Court of the Dragon")
Robert W. Chambers
Approaching the trail, he broke through the thicket a short distance ahead of the Empath. Causing the Empaths horse to startle as the surprised rider jerked on the reins. Cap was equally surprised to find a young girl before him instead of an older, experienced male Empath. Cap brought his horse to a quick halt. The young girl pulled a small knife from her boot and cautioned him. "I don't know where you came from, but I'm not easy prey.' Her voice shook slightly with fear as she raised the knife. Not sure how to proceed, they stared silently at each other. Cap had always believed that Empaths didn't carry weapons. This pretty, chestnut haired girl couldn't be more than 18 years old. Her long straight tresses covered the spot on her jacket where the Empathic Emblem was usually worn, causing Cap to doubt she was the one he sought. Not wanting to frighten her any more than he already had, Cap tried to explain. "I'm Commander Caplin Taylor. I'm looking for an Empath that is headed for the Western Hunting Lodge.' "My name is Kendra; I am the Empath you seek.' She answered cautiously, still holding the blade. A noise from the brush drew her attention as a small rodent pounced out, trying to evade an unseen predator. Cap was just close enough to lurch forward and snatch the dirk from her hand. Her head jerked back in alarm. "Bosen May has been mauled by a Sraeb, his shoulder is a mass of pulp." Cap spoke quickly not wanting to hesitate any longer. That was all Kendra needed to hear. She pushed her horse past him and headed quickly down the trail. "Wait!" Cap called after her, turning his horse around. Reining in the horse, she turned back to face him annoyed by the delay. "Are you a good horseman?" Cap asked, as he stuffed her dirk in his jacket. "I've been in the saddle since I was a child." She answered, abruptly. "Okay so just a few years then?" Cap's rebuke angered her. Jerking the horse back toward the trail, she ignored him. "Wait, I'm sorry!" Cap called after her. "It's just that I know a quicker way, if you can handle some rough terrain." "Let's go then." Kendra replied, gruffly, turning back to face him. Without another word, Cap dove back into the brush and the girl followed.
The street sprinkler went past and, as its rasping rotary broom spread water over the tarmac, half the pavement looked as if it had been painted with a dark stain. A big yellow dog had mounted a tiny white bitch who stood quite still. In the fashion of colonials the old gentleman wore a light jacket, almost white, and a straw hat. Everything held its position in space as if prepared for an apotheosis. In the sky the towers of Notre-Dame gathered about themselves a nimbus of heat, and the sparrows - minor actors almost invisible from the street - made themselves at home high up among the gargoyles. A string of barges drawn by a tug with a white and red pennant had crossed the breadth of Paris and the tug lowered its funnel, either in salute or to pass under the Pont Saint-Louis. Sunlight poured down rich and luxuriant, fluid and gilded as oil, picking out highlights on the Seine, on the pavement dampened by the sprinkler, on a dormer window, and on a tile roof on the eŽle Saint-Louis. A mute, overbrimming life flowed from each inanimate thing, shadows were violet as in impressionist canvases, taxis redder on the white bridge, buses greener. A faint breeze set the leaves of a chestnut tree trembling, and all down the length of the quai there rose a palpitation which drew voluptuously nearer and nearer to become a refreshing breath fluttering the engravings pinned to the booksellers' stalls. People had come from far away, from the four corners of the earth, to live that one moment. Sightseeing cars were lined up on the parvis of Notre-Dame, and an agitated little man was talking through a megaphone. Nearer to the old gentleman, to the bookseller dressed in black, an American student contemplated the universe through the view-finder of his Leica. Paris was immense and calm, almost silent, with her sheaves of light, her expanses of shadow in just the right places, her sounds which penetrated the silence at just the right moment. The old gentleman with the light-coloured jacket had opened a portfolio filled with coloured prints and, the better to look at them, propped up the portfolio on the stone parapet. The American student wore a red checked shirt and was coatless. The bookseller on her folding chair moved her lips without looking at her customer, to whom she was speaking in a tireless stream. That was all doubtless part of the symphony. She was knitting. Red wool slipped through her fingers. The white bitch's spine sagged beneath the weight of the big male, whose tongue was hanging out. And then when everything was in its place, when the perfection of that particular morning reached an almost frightening point, the old gentleman died without saying a word, without a cry, without a contortion while he was looking at his coloured prints, listening to the voice of the bookseller as it ran on and on, to the cheeping of the sparrows, the occasional horns of taxis. He must have died standing up, one elbow on the stone ledge, a total lack of astonishment in his blue eyes. He swayed and fell to the pavement, dragging along with him the portfolio with all its prints scattered about him. The male dog wasn't at all frightened, never stopped. The woman let her ball of wool fall from her lap and stood up suddenly, crying out: 'Monsieur Bouvet!
The story was called 'Annika and the Bears.' The beginning of the story is really the end, and Annika is staring wide-eyed into new velvet-black darkness. The eyes she stares with were brown once, sparkling and the exact color of root beer, but are now an empty ice-blue, almost white. Annika is waiting for her body to grow warm so that she can fall asleep and, as she waits, she remembers life outside this darkness, remembers the world she loved and how it changed. Once, her home was called the Land of Spring and Fall because that's what it was, a place in which the seasons didn't turn in a circle, but moved like a seesaw, Fall becoming Spring becoming Fall becoming Spring. And there had been a moment every year when the seesaw hit a perfect balance. This was Annika's favorite time because blossoms burst from branches alongside red and gold leaves, crocuses opened between rows of corn, and baby animals were born under autumn skies. In the Land of Spring and Fall, it was never too cold or too hot to play outside; brooks never froze or dried up; leaves never fell from the trees; and people and animals never grew old or died. But when a witch appeared in the land, a witch who was furiously angry, but for no reason anyone could understand, and the witch cast a spell that plunged the land into a never-ending winter. In Winterland, terrible things began to happen. People and animals got sick, with wrenching coughs and burning fevers. Desperate for warmth, the people began to kill their friends the animals in order to wrap themselves in fur coats. Food became scarce, and everyone began to fight over what little there was. And strangest of all, one by one, every living, breathing creature in the land began to turn as white as chalk, as colorless as snow with no sun shining on it. One day, Annika sat at her window, looking sadly at the blank world, when she saw, trudging across the snow, her beloved friend John the bear and his family of bears. Some of the bears were white, some were a dull gray, but only John was still a rich chestnut brown. The bears walked with their immense heads hanging down and some of them cried, dropping tears onto the snow. Before they hit the ground, the tears turned to ice. Annika ran outside, calling John's name. He stopped and looked at her with his kind eyes and told her that they were going away, to a cave deep inside one of the high hills that surrounded Winterland. 'To sleep, ' he said. 'To wait.' Annika threw her arms around John, buried her face in his beautiful fur, and then stood and watched as the procession of bears patiently resumed their long journey. That night, Annika woke up with a start. She sat up in bed and saw that the hair falling over her shoulders was as white as milk, and she ran to the mirror. As she stared at her reflection, the pink began draining from her cheeks. 'Oh no, ' she whispered. 'It's happening. I'm turning into someone else. A winter girl.' In a flash, she had on her shoes and her thickest wool coat and was out the door. The trail of crystal tears the bears had left gleamed in what little moonlight could force its way through the clouds and, slogging through snow, cold eating into her bones, Annika followed the trail. When she got to the cave and moved away the rock that blocked the entrance, all the bears were asleep, except John. He rested his paw on the patch of soft dirt next to him. 'For you, dear heart, ' he said sleepily. Then he moved the rock into place and lay back down. Annika curled up between John and another bear, listening to their slow breathing, readying herself for sleep. The bears' bodies warmed her own from the outside in. The last thing to get warm was her heart, and then Annika fell asleep. The story ends this way: 'Imagine the deepest sleep you've ever slept. Multiply its deepness by the number of stars in the sky and the number of fish in the sea. Then you will know the sleep of Annika and the bears.
Marisa de los Santos