Why should Canada, wild and unsettled as it is, impress us as an older country than the States, unless because her institutions are old? All things appeared to contend there, as I have implied, with a certain rust of antiquity, such as forms on old armor and iron guns,--the rust of conventions and formalities. It is said that the metallic roofs of Montreal and Quebec keep sound and bright for forty years in some cases. But if the rust was not on the tinned roofs and spires, it was on the inhabitants and their institutions.
Henry David Thoreau
I love people who play guitars on roofs!" said Rose, hopping along the pavement in one of her sudden happy moods. "Don't you?" "Never knew anyone else who did it!" "Don't you like Tom?" "Of course I do. But I don't know about all the other guitar-on-roof players! They might be really awful people, with just that one good thing about them. Playing guitars on roofs... or bagpipes... Or drums... Sarah would like that, and Saffy could have the bagpipes! Caddy could have a harp... What about Mum?" "One of those gourds filled with beans!" said Rose at once. "And Daddy could have a grand piano. On a flat roof. With a balcony and pink flowers in pots around the edge! And I'll have a very loud trumpet! What about you?" "I'll just listen, " said Indigo.
Scotland is so gorgeous that every time I'm there, I start to dream of living there. I want to buy one of those whitewashed cottages with the thatch roofs and gaze out at the sea and read my books. I want to be away from the Internet and the news and lawn mowers at 7 A.M. on Sunday mornings.
Downwinders, meaning those people, individuals, communities that were downwind of the nuclear test site. During those years when we were testing atomic bombs above ground, when we watched them for entertainment from the roofs of our high schools, little did we know what was raining down on us, little did we know what would appear years later.
Terry Tempest Williams
You end up exhausted and spent, but later, in retrospect, you realize what it all was for. The parts fall into place, and you can see the whole picture and finally understand the role each individual part plays. The dawn comes, the sky grows light, and the colors and shapes of the roofs of houses, which you could only glimpse vaguely before, come into focus.
Except for the sound of the rain, on the road, on the roofs, on the umbrella, there was absolute silence: only the dying moan of the sirens continued for a moment or two to vibrate within the ear. It seemed to Scobie later that this was the ultimate border he had reached in happiness: being in darkness, alone, with the rain falling, without love or pity.
I took a small flat for myself and the children ... My husband took a room in a clean rooming house within easy walking distance of his office. ... It is wonderful sometimes to be alone in the night and just know that someone loves you. In other moods you must have that lover in your arms. Marriage under two roofs makes room for moods.
I was remarkably calm. Calm and fatigued. There would be no violence. It was like a storm coming up. The cafe chairs are carried inside, the awnings are rolled up, but nothing happens. The storm passes over. And, at the same time, that's too bad. After all, we would all rather see the roofs ripped from the houses, the trees uprooted and tossed through the air.
Climate experts say we should tell villagers in developing countries to reduce the amount of cooking smoke they generate to help fix global warming. You know, it's as if these people don't hate us enough already. I mean, they live in mud huts, they have thatch roofs, their clothes are made of straw. We pull up in a bunch of Humvees and SUVs going, 'Hey, you want to cut the smoke out of here?'
I am very fond of the modest manner of life of those solitary owners of remote villages, who in Little Russia are commonly called "old-fashioned," who are like tumbledown picturesque little houses, delightful in their simplicity and complete unlikeness to the new smooth buildings whose walls have not yet been discolored by the rain, whose roofs are not yet covered with green lichen, and whose porch does not display its bricks through the peeling stucco.
Not to find one's way in a city may well be uninteresting and banal. It requires ignorance - nothing more. But to lose oneself in a city - as one loses oneself in a forest - that calls for a quite different schooling. Then, signboard and street names, passers-by, roofs, kiosks, or bars must speak to the wanderer like a cracking twig under his feet in the forest.
I looked for any footmarks of course, but naturally, with all this rain, there wasn't a sign. Of course, if this were a detective story, there'd have been a convenient shower exactly an hour before the crime and a beautiful set of marks which could only have come there between two and three in the morning, but this being real life in a London November, you might as well expect footprints in Niagara. I searched the roofs right along-and came to the jolly conclusion that any person in any blessed flat in the blessed row might have done it.
Dorothy L. Sayers
A child said What is the grass? fetching it to me with full hands; How could I answer the child? I do not know what it is any more than he. I guess it must be the flag of my disposition, out of hopeful green stuff woven. Or I guess it is the handkerchief of the Lord, A scented gift and remembrancer designedly dropt, Bearing the owner's name someway in the corners, that we may see and remark, and say Whose? Or I guess the grass is itself a child, the produced babe of the vegetation. Or I guess it is a uniform hieroglyphic, And it means, Sprouting alike in broad zones and narrow zones, Growing among black folks as among white, Kanuck, Tuckahoe, Congressman, Cuff, I give them the same, I receive them the same. And now it seems to me the beautiful uncut hair of graves. Tenderly will I use you curling grass, It may be you transpire from the breasts of young men, It may be if I had known them I would have loved them, It may be you are from old people, or from offspring taken soon out of their mothers' laps, And here you are the mothers' laps. This grass is very dark to be from the white heads of old mothers, Darker than the colorless beards of old men, Dark to come from under the faint red roofs of mouths. O I perceive after all so many uttering tongues, And I perceive they do not come from the roofs of mouths for nothing... What do you think has become of the young and old men? And what do you think has become of the women and children? They are alive and well somewhere, The smallest sprout shows there is really no death, And if ever there was it led forward life, and does not wait at the end to arrest it, And ceas'd the moment life appear'd. All goes onward and outward, nothing collapses, And to die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier.
Life, my dear Watson, is infinitely stranger than fiction; stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent. We could not conceive the things that are merely commonplace to existence. If we could hover over this great city, remove the roofs, and peep in at the things going on, it would make all fiction, with its conventionalities and foreseen conclusions flat, stale and unprofitable.
Arthur Conan Doyle
If I were a magician who could make things possible, then pictures could talk while we painted them. If I were a magaician who could make things possible, then houses could keep their promises. And they would have to promise not to lose their roofs or go up in flames. If I were a magician who could make things possible, the scars made in them by bullet holes would close up again over the years.
Three miles long and two streets wide, the town curls around the bay ... a gaudy run with Mediterranean splashes of color, crowded steep-pitched roofs, fishing piers and fishing boats whose stench of mackerel and gasoline is as aphrodisiac to the sensuous nose as the clean bar-whisky smell of a nightclub where call girls congregate.
The window gave onto a view of dove-gray roofs and balconies, each one containing the same cracked flowerpot and sleeping feline. It was as if the entire city of Paris had agreed to abide by a single understated taste. Each neighbor was doing his or her own to keep up standards, which was difficult because the French ideal wasn't clearly delineated like the neatness and greenness of American lawns, but more of a picturesque disrepair. It took courage to let things fall apart so beautifully.
Standing on the bridge, looking across at that empty city, everything in the compass of my gaze had been set there by a human hand. Somehow those pylons had been strung with wire, and those towers raised, and roofs tiled. There had been food and drink for millions of mouths. I don't cry easy, but my vision blurred as I stared on the ruins of what we had been, and I watched the small band of men in rags move toward it to pick at it like birds on the carcass of some giant.
I am running through a snowfall which is her thighs, he dramatized in purple. Her thighs are filling up the street. Wide as a snowfall, heavy as huge falling Zeppelins, her damp thighs are settling on the sharp roofs and wooden balconies. Weather-vanes press the shape of roosters and sail-boats into the skin. The faces of famous statues are preserved like intaglios....
Because we would not wear any clothes because it was so hot and the windows open and the swallows flying over the roofs of the houses and when it was dark afterward and you went to the window very small bats hunting over the houses and close down over the trees and we would drink capri and the door locked and it hot and only a sheet and the whole night and we would both love each other all night in the hot night in Milan. That was how it ought to be.
In the next days it took little provocation for us to flick the flint of our Zippo lighters. Thatched roofs take the flame quickly, and on bad days the hamlets of Pinkville burned, taking our revenge in fire. It was good to walk from Pinkville and to see fire behind Alpha Company. It was good, just as pure hate is good.
But sometimes when I was starting a new story and I could not get it going, I would sit in front of the fire and squeeze the peel of the little oranges into the edge of the flame and watch the sputter of blue that they made. I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, 'Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.' So finally I would write one true sentence, and then go on from there.
The window opened in the same direction as the king's, and there, summer-bright and framed by the darkness of the stairwell, was the same view. Costis passed it, and then went back up the stairs to look again. There were only the roofs of the lower part of the palace and the town and the city walls. Beyond those were the hills on the far side of the Tustis Valley and the faded blue sky above them. It wasn't what the king saw that was important, it was what he couldn't see when he sat at the window with his face turned toward Eddis.
Megan Whalen Turner
These bright roofs, these steep towers, these jewel-lakes, these skeins of railroad line - all spoke to her and she answered. She was glad they were there. She belonged to them and they to her. . . . She had not lost it. She was touching it with her fingertips. This was flying: to go swiftly over the earth you loved, touching it lightly with your fingertips, holding the railroads lines in your hand to guide you, like a skein of wool in a spider-web game - like following Ariadne's thread through the Minotaur's maze, Where would it lead, where?
Anne Morrow Lindbergh
How Beautiful is the rain! After the dust and heat, In the broad and fiery street, In the narrow lane, How beautiful is the rain! How it clatters along the roofs, Like the tramp of hoofs! How it gushes and struggles out From the throat of the overflowing spout! Across the window-pane It pours and pours; And swift and wide, With a muddy tide, Like a river down the gutter roars The rain, the welcome rain! -"Rain in Summer
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
For a few minutes the anxiety that tormented him had vanished, leaving his mind as serene as the beauty he looked at. Very lovely, he thought, are the sudden moments of relief that come in the midst of strain, those moments of forgetfulness when we are "teased out of thought" by a bird or a flower or the sight of old roofs in the sun; lovely though so transient, the reversal of those brief moments of misery that visit us even in the midst of joy.
Chilled-looking people walking along the riverside, the snow beginning, faintly, to pile up on the roofs of cars, the bare trees shaking their heads left and right, dry leaves tossing in the wind. The silver of the metal window sash sparkling coldly. Soon after, I heard sensei call, "Mikage! Are you awake? It's snowing, look! It's snowing!" "I'm coming!" I called out, standing up. I got dressed to begin another day. Over and over, we begin again.
The snow lay thin and apologetic over the world. That wide grey sweep was the lawn, with the straggling trees of the orchard still dark beyond; the white squares were the roofs of the garage, the old barn, the rabbit hutches, the chicken coops. Further back there were only the flat fields of Dawson's farm, dimly white-striped. All the broad sky was grey, full of more snow that refused to fall. There was no colour anywhere.
A short time later, when the carpenter was taking measurements for the coffin, through the window they saw a light rain of tiny yellow flowers falling. They fell on the town all through the night in a silent storm, and they covered the roofs and blocked the doors and smothered the animals who slept outdoors. So many flowers fell from the sky that in the morning the streets were carpeted with a compact cushion and they had to clear them away with shovels and rakes so that the funeral procession could pass by.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez