It is better to have a few forms well known than to teach a little about many hundred species. Better a dozen specimens thoroughly studied as the result of the first year's work, than to have two thousand dollars' worth of shells and corals bought from a curiosity-shop. The dozen animals would be your own.
It was Silver's voice, and before I had heard a dozen words, I would not have shown myself for all the world. I lay there, trembling and listening, in the extreme of fear and curiostiy, for, in those dozen words, I understood that the lives of all the honest men aboard depended on me alone.
Robert Louis Stevenson
When the laundry is for the dozen arms of children or the dozen legs, it's true, I think I'm due some appreciation. So comes a storm of trouble and lightning strikes joy. But when Christ is at the center, when dishes, laundry, work, is my song of thanks to Him, joy rains. Passionately serving Christ alone makes us the loving servant to all.
A mockingbird has moved into our neighborhood. It perches atop a telephone pole behind our backyard. Every morning it is the first thing I hear. It is impossible to be unhappy when listening to a mockingbird. So stuffed with songs it is, it can't seem to make up it's mind which to sing first, so it sings them all, a dozen different songs at once, in a dozen different voices. On and on it sings without a pause, so peppy, even frantic, as if its voice alone is keeping the world awake.
Perhaps it's true that things can change in a day. That a few dozen hours can affect the outcome of whole lifetimes. And that when they do, those few dozen hours, like the salvaged remains of a burned house---the charred clock, the singed photograph, the scorched furniture---must be resurrected from the ruins and examined. Preserved. Accounted for. Little events, ordinary things, smashed and reconstitutred. Imbued with new meaning. Suddenly they become the bleached bones of a story.
He who could write so easily, who could spend a thousand words down along his plunging fingers on the green-rubber keyboard of his machine, had stumbled like a first-grader over this single paragraph. A dozen times he had begun it and written into it a naked desperation; a dozen times he had begun it and written into it the frosted mathematics of logic. Finally he'd written out quickly the sentences that kept cropping up in all the versions. Those must be, to whatever censor there was in him, the most acceptable ones. He sealed it without rereading it and went out to mail it. An hour later he despised himself for having sent it.
Laura Z. Hobson