A loud boom exploded the air, making Thomas jump. It was followed by a horrible crunching, grinding sound. He stumbled backward, fell to the ground. He wouldn't have believed it if he hadn't seen it for himself. The enormous stone wall to the right of them seemed to defy every known law of physics as it slid along the ground, throwing sparks and dust as it moved, rock against rock. The crunching sound rattled his bones. He looked around at the other openings. On all four sides of the Glade, the right walls were moving toward the left, closing the gap of the Doors. Then one final boom rumbled across the Glade as all four Doors sealed shut for the night.
Communication Was never big in my house. We sat together over dinner, but the only sound you'd hear was crunching and chewing and the little ones asking for more, please. We lived, all boxed up in invisible containers. We hardly knew the people we called sister or father. Jackie and I were the exceptions to that rule.
But ice-crunching and loud gum-chewing, together with drumming on tables, and whistling the same tune 70 times in succession, because they indicate an indifference on the part of the perpetrator to the rest of the world in general, are not only registered on the delicate surfaces of the brain but eat little holes in it until it finally collapses or blows up.
Now, remember: they're not for eating, but for listening, because you'll often be hungry for sounds as well as food. Here are street noises at night, train whistles from a long way off, dry leaves burning, busy department stores, crunching toast, creaking bed springs, and of course, all kinds of laughter. There's a little of each, and in far off, lonely places, I think you will be glad to have them.
My peak? Would I even have one? I hardly had had anything you could call a life. A few ripples. some rises and falls. But that's it. Almost nothing. Nothing born of nothing. I'd loved and been loved, but I had nothing to show. It was a singularly plain, featureless landscape. I felt like I was in a video game. A surrogate Pacman, crunching blindly through a labyrinth of dotted lines. The only certainty was my death.
Ordinarily my mom just sunk deeper into her corner of the couch and ignored it. She had succesfully ignored a quarter of a century of entropy and decay, had sat peacefully crunching popcorn and drinking soda while the house fell down around us. If I had to guess the number of books she read during that time, I would place the number at somewhere in the neighborhood of forty thousand.
Noah shifted on the bed, and the oddest crunching sound came underneath him. I looked, really looked, at the bed for the first time. "What, " I asked slowly, as I eyed the animal crackers strewn all over it, "the hell?" "You were convinced they were your pets, " Noah said, not even trying to suppress his laughter. "You wouldn't let me touch them.
I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journeywork of the stars, And the pismire is equally perfect, and a grain of sand, and the egg of the wren, And the tree toad is a chef-d'oeurve for the highest, And the running blackberry would adorn the parlors of heaven, And the narrowest hinge in my hand puts to scorn all machinery, And the cow crunching with depress'd head surpasses any statue, And a mouse is miracle enough to stagger sextillions of infidels!
I succeeded at math, at least by the usual evaluation criteria: grades. Yet while I might have earned top marks in geometry and algebra, I was merely following memorized rules, plugging in numbers and dutifully crunching out answers by rote, with no real grasp of the significance of what I was doing or its usefulness in solving real-world problems. Worse, I knew the depth of my own ignorance, and I lived in fear that my lack of comprehension would be discovered and I would be exposed as an academic fraud - psychologists call this "imposter syndrome".
There is a hush over all Europe, nay, over all the world. Alas! it is the hush of suspense, and in many lands it is the hush of fear. Listen! No, listen carefully, I think I hear somethingyes, there it was quite clear. Dont you hear it? It is the tramp of armies crunching the gravel of the paradegrounds, splashing through rain-soaked fields, the tramp of two million German soldiers and more than a million Italiansgoing on maneuversyes, only on maneuvers!
Wouldn't it be terrible if you'd spent all your life doing everything you were supposed to do, didn't drink, didn't smoke, didn't eat things, took lots of exercise, all the things you didn't want to do, and suddenly one day you were run over by a big red bus, and as the wheels were crunching into you you'd say 'Oh my god, I could have got so drunk last night!' That's the way you should live your life, as if tomorrow you'll be run over by a big red bus.
Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother
Real life issues are not mathematical equations. We're not calculators crunching numbers. We're humans sorting through complex, multi-layered issues, and we're doing so while enduring the (sometimes profound) personal effects of our conclusions. While we want to be reasonable, we are inexorably pulled in the direction of our oldest mental habits and by our deepest life-impacting needs. We're repelled by those ideas which can jeopardize our comfort, safety, and happiness. We can try to be fair, but all the while we are fighting against our needs and fears. There are things we don't want to be true (or false). Our lives are built on certain beliefs which, if disproved, could wreck us. These are the truths that we 'can't handle'.
Each cherry took about three seconds to eat. Three seconds to eat, but at least five years in the making. It seemed unfair to the hard-working cherry tree. The least I could do was to devote my attention to the cherry in those three seconds, really appreciate the tartness of the skin and the faint crunching sound when I bite down. I guess it's called mindfulness. Or being in the moment, or making the mundane sacred. Whatever it is, I'm doing it more. Like the ridiculously extended thank-you list for my hummus, the fruit taboo made me more aware of the whole cherry process, the seed, the soil, the five years of watering and waiting. That's the paradox: I thought religion would make me live with my head in the clouds, but as often as not, it grounds me in this world.
Early morning mist ghosted along the Orm, trailing above the water, rising and twisting. Wide and sleek and almost silent, the river curled through the valley, curved almost to the doors of the stone-terraced cottages sunk tight in the moorland. As soon as he was beyond sight of the mill gates, Manny ran, his step lighter, his boots crunching against the highway. The village was quiet now, and he could hear the faint cries of sheep on the hillside. He felt suddenly exultant at having acted decisively, felt the thrill of running away. Then he reasoned with himself that he wasn't so much running away as running to something else-something better-running away to take charge of his future. He was improving his station in life, looking for work of his choosing.
And that is why a dog can go to the vet and have a really big operation and have metal pins sticking out of its leg but if it sees a cat it forgets that it has pins sticking out of its leg and chases after the cat. But when a person has an operation it has a picture in its head of the hurt carrying on for months and months. And it has a picture of all the stitches in its leg and the broken bone and the pins and even if it sees a bus it has to catch it doesn't run because it has a picture in its head of the bones crunching together and the stitches breaking and even more pain.
She'd first seen Covent Garden after a heavy snow, walking with her hand in Win's, and she remembers the secret silence of London then, the amazing hush of it, slush crunching beneath her feet and the sound made by trapezoidal sections of melting snow falling from wires overhead. Win had told her that she was seeing London as it had looked long ago, the cars mostly put away and the modern bits shrouded in white, allowing the outlines of something older to emerge. And what she had seen, that childhood day, was that it was not a place that consisted of buildings, side by side, as she thought of cities in America, but a literal and continuous maze, a single living structure (because still it grew) of brick and stone.
Earth processes that seem trivially slow in human time can accomplish stunning work in geologic time. Let the Colorado River erode its bed by 1/100th of an inch each year (about the thickness of one of your fingernails.) Multiply it by six million years, and you've carved the Grand Canyon. Take the creeping pace of which the continents move (about two inches per year on average, or roughly as fast as your fingernails grow). Stretch that over thirty million years, and a continent will travel nearly 1, 000 miles. Stretch that over a few billions years, and continents will have time to wander from the tropics to the poles and back, crunching together to assemble super-continents, break apart into new configurations- and do all of that again several times over. Deep time, it could be said, is Nature's way of giving the Earth room for its history. The recognition of deep time might be geology's paramount contribution to human knowledge.
The Devil's Rose You would never take a rose from a beast. If his callous hand were to hold out a scarlet flower, his grip unaffected by pricking thorns, you would shrink from the gift and refuse it. I know that is what you would do. But the cunning beast will have his beauty. He hunts not in hopeless pursuit, for fear would have you sprint all the day long. Thus, he turns toward the shadows and clutches the rosebud, crunching and twisting until every delicate petal is detached. One falls not far from your feet, and you notice the red spot in the snow. The color sparkles in the sunlight, catching your curious eye. No beast stands in sight; there is nothing to fear, so you dare retrieve the lone petal. The touch of temptation is velvet against your thumb. It carries a scent you bring to your nose, and both eyes close to float on a cloud of perfume. As your lashes lift, another scarlet drop stains the snow at a near distance. A glance around perceives no danger, and so your footprints scar the snowflakes to retrieve another rosy leaflet as soft and sweet as the first. Your eyes shine with flecks of golden greed at the discovery of more discarded petals, and you blame the wind for scattering them mere footprints apart. All you want is a few, so you step and snatch, step and snatch, step and snatch. Soon, there is enough velvet to rub against your cheek like a silken kerchief. Your collection of one-plus-one-more reeks of floral essence. Distracted, you jump at the sight of the beast in your path. He stands before his lair, grinning without love. His callous hands grip at thorns on a single naked stem, and you look down at your own hands that now cup his rose. But how can it be? You would never take a rose from a beast. You would shrink from the gift and refuse it. He knows that is what you would do.
Richelle E. Goodrich
LADY LAZARUS I have done it again. One year in every ten I manage it- A sort of walking miracle, my skin Bright as a Nazi lampshade, My right foot A paperweight, My face a featureless, fine Jew linen. Peel off the napkin O my enemy. Do I terrify?- The nose, the eye pits, the full set of teeth? The sour breath Will vanish in a day. Soon, soon the flesh The grave cave ate will be At home on me And I a smiling woman. I am only thirty. And like the cat I have nine times to die. This is Number Three. What a trash To annihilate each decade. What a million filaments. The peanut-crunching crowd Shoves in to see Them unwrap me hand and foot- The big strip tease. Gentlemen, ladies These are my hands My knees. I may be skin and bone, Nevertheless, I am the same, identical woman. The first time it happened I was ten. It was an accident. The second time I meant To last it out and not come back at all. I rocked shut As a seashell. They had to call and call And pick the worms off me like sticky pearls. Dying Is an art, like everything else. I do it exceptionally well. I do it so it feels like hell. I do it so it feels real. I guess you could say I've a call. It's easy enough to do it in a cell. It's easy enough to do it and stay put. It's the theatrical Comeback in broad day To the same place, the same face, the same brute Amused shout: 'A miracle!' That knocks me out. There is a charge For the eyeing of my scars, there is a charge For the hearing of my heart- It really goes. And there is a charge, a very large charge For a word or a touch Or a bit of blood Or a piece of my hair or my clothes. So, so, Herr Doktor. So, Herr Enemy. I am your opus, I am your valuable, The pure gold baby That melts to a shriek. I turn and burn. Do not think I underestimate your great concern. Ash, ash- You poke and stir. Flesh, bone, there is nothing there- A cake of soap, A wedding ring, A gold filling. Herr God, Herr Lucifer Beware Beware. Out of the ash I rise with my red hair And I eat men like air.