To try to save for everyone, for the hostile and independent as well as the committed, some of the health that flows down across the green ridges from the skyline, and some of the beauty and spirit that are still available to any resident of the valley who has a moment and the wit to lift up his eyes unto the hills.
Society is a long series of uprising ridges, which from the first to the last offer no valley of repose. Whenever you take your stand, you are looked down upon by those above you, and reviled and pelted by those below you. Every creature you see is a farthing Sisyphus, pushing his little stone up some Liliputian mole-hill. This is our world.
I always found in myself a dread of west and love of east. Where I ever got such an idea I cannot say, unless it could be that morning came over the peaks of the Gabilans and the night drifted back from the ridges of the Santa Lucias. It may be that the birth and death of the day had some part in my feeling about the two ranges of mountains.
Warp threads are thicker than the weft, and made of a coarser wool as well. I think of them as like wives. Their work is not obvious - all you can see are the ridges they make under the colorful weft threads. But if they weren't there, there would be no tapestry. Georges would unravel without me.
The Taxi When I go away from you The world beats dead Like a slackened drum. I call out for you against the jutted stars And shout into the ridges of the wind. Streets coming fast, One after the other, Wedge you away from me, And the lamps of the city prick my eyes So that I can no longer see your face. Why should I leave you, To wound myself upon the sharp edges of the night?
We danced forever, and not nearly long enough. Now that I faced him, I could touch him, too, rather than self-consciously drip through his fingers. I explored his back, fingertips discovering ridges of his spine, muscles, a place below his left shoulder blade that made him writhe, as if struggling not to laugh. I tickled him again, devouring the sensation of his chest against my cheek.
The gloomy recess of an ecclesiastical library is like a harbor, into which a far-traveling curiosity has sailed with its freight, and cast anchor. The ponderous tomes are bales of the mind's merchandise. Odors of distant countries and times steal from the red leaves, the swelling ridges of vellum, and the titles in tarnished gold.
Robert Aris Willmott
Every sunset which I witness inspires me with the desire to go to a west as distant and as fair as that into which the Sun goes down. He appears to migrate westward daily and tempt us to follow him. He is the Great Western Pioneer whom the nations follow. We dream all night of those mountain ridges in the horizon, though they may be of vapor only, which were last gilded by his rays.
Henry David Thoreau
Technically, ' I said, "I'm not breaking any of the Laws of Magic. I'm not robbing you of your will, so I'm clear of the Fourth Law. And you didn't get loose, so I'm clear of the Seventh Law. The Council can bite me.' The bone ridges above Chauncy's eyes twitched. 'Surely, that is merely a colorful euphemism, rather than a statement of desire.' 'It is.
Inanimate objects are sometimes parties to litigation. A ship has legal personality...The corporation...is an acceptable adversary and large fortunes ride on its cases...So it should be as respects valleys, ridges, groves of trees, swampland, or even air that feels the destructive pressures of modern technology and modern life.
William O. Douglas
Some mountaineers are proud of having done all their climbs without bivouac. How much they have missed ! And the same applies to those who enjoy only rock climbing, or only the ice climbs, onyl the ridges or faces. We should refuse none of the thousands and one joys that the mountains offer us at every turn. We should brush nothing aside, set no restrictions. We should experience hunger and thirst, be able to go fast, but also to go slowly and to contemplate.
While the egg yolks cooled, he directed the beaters at the egg whites, setting the mixer on high speed that sent small bubbles giggling to the side of the bowl, where a few became many until they were a white froth rising up and then lying down again in patters and ridges, leaving an intricate design like the ribs of a leaf in the wake of the beaters
everything was fresh, green and particularly beautiful. Afternoon light, filtering between remnants of monsoon clouds, picked out gullies and spot-lit patches of forest and scrub on the convoluted ridges of the rim of the Kathmandu Valley. Or, after a rainstorm, wisps of clouds clung to the trees as if scared to let go. Behind, himals peeked out shyly between the clouds.
Grandfather's been dead all these years, but if you lifted my skull, by God, in the convolutions of my brain you'd find the big ridges of his thumbprint. He touched me. As I said earlier, he was a sculptor. 'I hate a Roman named Status Quo!' he said to me. 'Stuff your eyes with wonder,' he said, 'live as if you'd drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It's more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.
When you look at me that way, I feel so beautiful." "You are beautiful." He signed deep in his chest. His hands slid up and down her arms, caressing her roughly. "So damned beautiful." "So are you." She put a hand to his bare chest, tracing the defined ridges of his musculature. "Like a diamond. Hard and gleaming, and cut with all these exquisite facets. Inside...pure, brilliant fire.
Flying has always been to me this wonderful metaphor. In order to fly you have to trust what you can't see. Up on the mountain ridges where very few people have been I have thought back to what every flyer knows. That there is this special world in which we dwell that's not marked by boundaries, it's not a map. We're not hedged about with walls and desks. So often in an office the very worst thing that can happen is you could drop your pencil. Out there's a reminder that are a lot worse things, and a lot greater rewards.
Shane was just leaving, too.' 'What?' he cried. I slammed my palms flat against his body. Dear God, there were some nice ridges hiding under that shirt! My hands slid up to his pecks and pushed. 'Yeah. You have to go now.' 'Are you for real?' he asked. He was slowly backing his way through the room, but it had nothing to do with the strength of my push... or lack thereof. 'Very. I can't. I need to sleep on this.' With a wicked smile, he flattened his hands over mine and sassed, 'I'm all for you sleeping on me. Let's go.
Deep silence fell about the little camp, planted there so audaciously in the jaws of the wilderness. The lake gleamed like a sheet of black glass beneath the stars. The cold air pricked. In the draughts of night that poured their silent tide from the depths of the forest, with messages from distant ridges and from lakes just beginning to freeze, there lay already the faint, bleak odors of coming winter. ("The Wendigo")
What a thing it is to sit absolutely alone, in the forest, at night, cherished by this wonderful, unintelligible, perfectly innocent speech, the most comforting speech in the world, the talk that rain makes by itself all over the ridges, and the talk of the watercourses everywhere in the hollows! Nobody started it, nobody is going to stop it. It will talk as long as it wants this rain. As long as it talks I am going to listen.
Physical weather certainly is beyond our control. ... But human weather - the psychological climate of the world - is not beyond our control. The human race is its own rain and its own sun. It creates its own cyclones and anti-cyclones. The ridges of high pressure which we sometimes enjoy, the troughs of low pressure which we so often endure, are of our own making and nobody else's.
There is a place where the mountains tumble one upon the other off into the far distance, peak after treeless peak. Steep ridges connect them and deep canyons slash them apart. The grassy summits are wreathed with black sage. No roads intrude upon this jumble of oak-filled canyons and steep-sided hills, only the ambling trails made by deer, coyotes, and bears. The local Indians believe the spirits of the ancients still travel these roads.
R Lawson Gamble
Occasionally, a flicker of curiosity would urge the pilots to turn their heads and glance out past the sharp metallic casing of their jets to gaze at the distant, inland desert. They could barely recognise anything less conspicuous than the many mountain ridges, their complicated shapes shaded with streaks of black and grey and brown and, above the network of sunlit summits, just below their booming craft, hung swirls of thin cloud, suspended and still like a stretched, cotton-wool web... Their location, far up in the sky, gave them the feeling of detachment they needed.
Carla H. Krueger
This is a valley of ashes--a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens; where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke and, finally, with a transcendent effort, of men who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air. Occasionally a line of gray cars crawls along an invisible track, gives out a ghastly creak, and comes to rest, and immediately the ash-gray men swarm up with leaden spades and stir up an impenetrable cloud, which screens their obscure operations from your sight.
F. Scott Fitzgerald
The alley and the music all fell away, and there was nothing but her and the rain and Jace, his hands on her... He made a noise of surprise, low in his throat, and dug his fingers into the thin fabric of her tights. Not unexpectedly, they ripped, and his wet fingers were suddenly on the bare skin of her legs. Not to be outdone, Clary slid her hands under the hem of his soaked shirt, and let her fingers explore what was underneath: the tight, hot skin over his ribs, the ridges of his abdomen, the scars on his back. This was uncharted territory for her, but it seemed to be driving him crazy: he was moaning softly against her mouth, kissing her harder and harder, as if it would never be enough, not quite enough -
Religious laws, in all the major religious traditions, have both a letter and a spirit. As I understand the words and example of Jesus, the spirit of the law is all-important whereas the letter, while useful... becomes lifeless and deadly without it. In accord with this distinction a yearning to worship on wilderness ridges or beside rivers rather than in churches could legitimately be called evangelical... if your words or deeds harmonize with the example of Jesus, you are evangelical in spirit whether you claim to be or not. When the non-Christian Ambrose Bierce wrote, 'War is the means by which Americans learn geography, ' his words are aimed at the same antiwar end as 'Blessed are the peacemakers.
David James Duncan
This was trail magic. Sea Breeze's fire, his light, his heat, his life, remained, their salvation. It is a fact that all drainages, if followed downhill, lead to the same lowland water body. Lost and fallen hikers follow drainages down because walking ridges is harder. And so, despite the complex web of paths, waterfalls, cliffs, as a hiker wanders downhill, drainages merge, faint, abstract paths coalesce, thicken, until there is one path - the one, natural, trodden way. It isn't a coincidence that Sea Breeze, Brandon Day and Gina Allen, and countless other hikers all wandered, lost, down the same steep slope to nowhere.
Say you could view a time lapse film of our planet: what would you see? Transparent images moving through light, 'an infinite storm of beauty.' The beginning is swaddled in mists, blasted by random blinding flashes. Lava pours and cools; seas boil and flood. Clouds materialize and shift; now you can see the earth's face through only random patches of clarity. The land shudders and splits, like pack ice rent by widening lead. Mountains burst up, jutting, and dull and soften before your eyes, clothed in forests like felt. The ice rolls up, grinding green land under water forever; the ice rolls back. Forests erupt and disappear like fairy rings. The ice rolls up- mountains are mowed into lakes, land rises wet from the sea like a surfacing whale- the ice rolls back. A blue-green streaks the highest ridges, a yellow-green spreads from the south like a wave up a strand. A red dye seems to leak from the north down the ridges and into the valleys, seeping south; a white follows the red, then yellow-green washes north, then red spreads again, then white, over and over, making patterns of color too intricate to follow. Slow the film. You see dust storms, locusts, floods, in dizzying flash-frames. Zero in on a well-watered shore and see smoke from fires drifting. Stone cities rise, spread, and crumble, like paths of alpine blossoms that flourish for a day an inch above the permafrost, that iced earth no root can suck, and wither in a hour. New cities appear, and rivers sift silt onto their rooftops; more cities emerge and spread in lobes like lichen on rock. The great human figures of history, those intricate, spirited tissues whose split second in the light was too brief an exposure to yield any image but the hunched shadowless figures of ghosts. Slow it down more, come closer still. A dot appears, a flesh-flake. It swells like a balloon; it moves, circles, slows, and vanishes. This is your life.
Say you could view a time-lapse film of our planet: what would you see? Transparent images moving through light, 'an infinite storm of beauty.' The beginning is swaddled in mists, blasted by random blinding flashes. Lava pours and cools; seas boil and flood. Clouds materialize and shift; now you can see the earth's face through only random patches of clarity. The land shudders and splits, like pack ice rent by a widening lead. Mountains burst up, jutting and dull and soften before your eyes, clothed in forests like felt. The ice rolls up, grinding green land under water forever; the ice rolls back. Forests erupt and disappear like fairy rings. The ice rolls up-mountains are mowed into lakes, land rises wet from the sea like a surfacing whale- the ice rolls back. A blue-green streaks the highest ridges, a yellow-green spreads from the south like a wave up a strand. A red dye seems to leak from the north down the ridges and into the valleys, seeping south; a white follows the red, then yellow-green washes north, then red spreads again, then white, over and over, making patterns of color too swift and intricate to follow. Slow the film. You see dust storms, locusts, floods, in dizzying flash frames. Zero in on a well-watered shore and see smoke from fires drifting. Stone cities rise, spread, and then crumble, like patches of alpine blossoms that flourish for a day an inch above the permafrost, that iced earth no root can suck, and wither in a hour. New cities appear, and rivers sift silt onto their rooftops; more cities emerge and spread in lobes like lichen on rock. The great human figures of history, those intricate, spirited tissues that roamed the earth's surface, are a wavering blur whose split second in the light was too brief an exposure to yield any images. The great herds of caribou pour into the valleys and trickle back, and pour, a brown fluid. Slow it down more, come closer still. A dot appears, like a flesh-flake. It swells like a balloon; it moves, circles, slows, and vanishes. This is your life.
She drank in the sight of him, sure that anything so perfect had to be a dream. He seemed bigger with just a towel wrapped around his waist. It was amazing what wonders clothing could hide. Over six feet of long muscled male. Bronzed skin, lightly dusted with hair seemed to glow as he walked towards her. He moved like an athlete. Strong, confident strides that ate up the distance between them in no time. Her hands wanted to touch him, anywhere, everywhere. His impossibly flat, firm stomach seemed to call out for her mouth to trace the ridges; her tongue eagerly memorizing every smooth, muscled inch. 'Lose the towel.' She wasn't asking, she was pleading. Jack let the cloth fall to the floor. Eyes wide Rose gasped. Mother Nature had been very kind to Jack Winston, and she was about to be a very grateful beneficiary. 'Rose, sweetheart, ' Jack stepped back when she would have touched him. 'Oh, come on, Jack, ' she groaned in frustration. 'I've been a very good girl. Now it's time for my reward.
Mary J. Williams
Something was in her mouth. Sami's tongue slid along the edges of something plastic. Flat, low ridges, holes-an adjustable strap. A baseball cap? Another taste. Hair spray. Gross. Someone had stuffed her baseball cap in her mouth, and from the feel of it they had taped it in place. Her arms were tied behind her and she lay face down on the floor-of what? Her car. The carpeting scraped her cheek every time they hit a bump. Panic flooded Sami's senses. She came instantly awake. Inhaling deeply through her nose, she willed herself to calm down. Her working motto flashed through her brain, panic never accomplished anything. Of course she had never been kidnapped and tied up before. In the dim light of passing cars, she glimpsed things-paper gum wrappers, an old straw, one whopper wrapper, a CD cover. That's where Sting went. Been looking for that for days. Man did she need to vacuum this car out. A metallic scent hit her nose. She'd recognize that smell until the day she died. Blood. And by the odor, someone had lost a great deal of it.
In those days, long before, a view over the rooftops of Paris was an unaffordable luxury. The apartment he had shared with a mousy young writer from Laon had a view of the Jardin de Luxembourg - if he stuck his head out of the window as far as it would go and twisted it to the left, a smudge of green foliage appeared in the corner of one eye. That had been his best apartment to date. They had decorated it in the 'Bohemian' style of the 1830s : a few volumes of Shakespeare and Victor Hugo, a Phrygian cap, an Algerian hookah, a skull on a broomstick handle (from the brother of a friend, Charles Toubin, who was an intern at one of the big hospitals) and, of course, a window box of geraniums, which was not only pretty but also illegal. (Death by falling window box was always high up the official list of fatalities.) For a proper view of Paris, they visited Henry's painter friends who lived in a warren of attic rooms near the Barriere d'Enfer and called themselves the Water-Drinkers. When the weather was fine and the smell of their own squalor became unbearable, they clambered onto the roof and sat on the gutters and ridges, sketching chimneyscapes, and sending up more smoke from their pipes than the fireplaces below. Three of the Water-Drinkers had since died of various illnesses known collectively as 'lack of money'. When the last of the three was buried, in the spring of 1844, Henry and the others had found themselves at the graveside without a sou to give a gravedigger. 'Never mind', said he, 'you can pay me the next time, ' and then, to his collegue : 'It's all right - these gentlemen are a regular customers.
I feel as though dispossessed from the semblances of some crystalline reality to which I'd grown accustomed, and to some degree, had engaged in as a participant, but to which I had, nevertheless, grown inexplicably irrelevant. But the elements of this phenomenon are now quickly dissolving from memory and being replaced by reverse-engineered Random Access actualizations of junk code/DNA consciousness, the retro-coded catalysts of rogue cellular activity. The steel meshing titters musically and in its song, I hear a forgotten tale of the Interstitial gaps that form pinpoint vortexes at which fibers (quanta, as it were) of Reason come to a standstill, like light on the edge of a Singularity. The gaps, along their ridges, seasonally infected by the incidental wildfires in the collective unconscious substrata. Heat flanks passageways down the Interstices. Wildfires cluster-spread down the base trunk Axon in a definitive roar: hitting branches, flaring out to Dendrites to give rise to this release of the very chemical seeds through which sentience is begotten. Float about the ether, gliding a gentle current, before skimming down, to a skip over the surface of a sea of deep black with glimmering waves. And then, come to a stop, still inanimate and naked before any trespass into the Field, with all its layers that serve to veil. Plunge downward into the trenches. Swim backwards, upstream, and down through these spiraling jets of bubbles. Plummet past the threshold to trace the living history of shadows back to their source virus. And acquire this sense that the viruses as a sample, all of the outlying populations withstanding: they have their own sense of self-importance, too. Their own religion. And they mine their hosts barren with the utilitarian wherewithal that can only be expected of beings with self-preservationist motives.
No settled family or community has ever called its home place an 'environment.' None has ever called its feeling for its home place 'biocentric' or 'anthropocentric.' None has ever thought of its connection to its home place as 'ecological, ' deep or shallow. The concepts and insights of the ecologists are of great usefulness in our predicament, and we can hardly escape the need to speak of 'ecology' and 'ecosystems.' But the terms themselves are culturally sterile. They come from the juiceless, abstract intellectuality of the universities which was invented to disconnect, displace, and disembody the mind. The real names of the environment are the names of rivers and river valleys; creeks, ridges, and mountains; towns and cities; lakes, woodlands, lanes roads, creatures, and people. And the real name of our connection to this everywhere different and differently named earth is 'work.' We are connected by work even to the places where we don't work, for all places are connected; it is clear by now that we cannot exempt one place from our ruin of another. The name of our proper connection to the earth is 'good work, ' for good work involves much giving of honor. It honors the source of its materials; it honors the place where it is done; it honors the art by which it is done; it honors the thing that it makes and the user of the made thing. Good work is always modestly scaled, for it cannot ignore either the nature of individual places or the differences between places, and it always involves a sort of religious humility, for not everything is known. Good work can be defined only in particularity, for it must be defined a little differently for every one of the places and every one of the workers on the earth. The name of our present society's connection to the earth is 'bad work' - work that is only generally and crudely defined, that enacts a dependence that is ill understood, that enacts no affection and gives no honor. Every one of us is to some extent guilty of this bad work. This guilt does not mean that we must indulge in a lot of breast-beating and confession; it means only that there is much good work to be done by every one of us and that we must begin to do it.
The fact is,' said Van Gogh, 'the fact is that we are painters in real life, and the important thing is to breathe as hard as ever we can breathe.' So I breathe. I breathe at the open window above my desk, and a moist fragrance assails me from the gnawed leaves of the growing mock orange. This air is as intricate as the light that filters through forested mountain ridges and into my kitchen window; this sweet air is the breath of leafy lungs more rotted than mine; it has sifted through the serrations of many teeth. I have to love these tatters. And I must confess that the thought of this old yard breathing alone in the dark turns my mind to something else. I cannot in all honesty call the world old when I've seen it new. On the other hand, neither will honesty permit me suddenly to invoke certain experiences of newness and beauty as binding, sweeping away all knowledge. But I am thinking now of the tree with the lights in it, the cedar in the yard by the creek I saw transfigured. That the world is old and frayed is no surprise; that the world could ever become new and whole beyond uncertainty was, and is, such a surprise that I find myself referring all subsequent kinds of knowledge to it. And it suddenly occurs to me to wonder: were the twigs of the cedar I saw really bloated with galls? They probably were; they almost surely were. I have seen these 'cedar apples' swell from that cedar's green before and since: reddish gray, rank, malignant. All right then. But knowledge does not vanquish mystery, or obscure its distant lights. I still now and will tomorrow steer by what happened that day, when some undeniably new spirit roared down the air, bowled me over, and turned on the lights. I stood on grass like air, air like lightning coursed in my blood, floated my bones, swam in my teeth. I've been there, seen it, been done by it. I know what happened to the cedar tree, I saw the cells in the cedar tree pulse charged like wings beating praise. Now, it would be too facile to pull everything out of the hat and say that mystery vanquishes knowledge. Although my vision of the world of the spirit would not be altered a jot if the cedar had been purulent with galls, those galls actually do matter to my understanding of this world. Can I say then that corruption is one of beauty's deep-blue speckles, that the frayed and nibbled fringe of the world is a tallith, a prayer shawl, the intricate garment of beauty? It is very tempting, but I cannot. But I can, however, affirm that corruption is not beauty's very heart and I can I think call the vision of the cedar and the knowledge of these wormy quarryings twin fjords cutting into the granite cliffs of mystery and say the new is always present simultaneously with the old, however hidden. The tree with the lights in it does not go out; that light still shines on an old world, now feebly, now bright. I am a frayed and nibbled survivor in a fallen world, and I am getting along. I am aging and eaten and have done my share of eating too. I am not washed and beautiful, in control of a shining world in which everything fits, but instead am wandering awed about on a splintered wreck I've come to care for, whose gnawed trees breathe a delicate air, whose bloodied and scarred creatures are my dearest companions, and whose beauty beats and shines not in its imperfections but overwhelmingly in spite of them, under the wind-rent clouds, upstream and down.