There have been summits of civilization at which heretics like Socrates , who was killed because he was wiser than his neighbors, have not been tortured, but ordered to kill themselves in the most painless manner known to their judges. But from that summit there was a speedy relapse into our present savagery.
George Bernard Shaw
Perhaps a great love is never returned. Had it been given warmth and shelter by its counterpart in the Other, perhaps it would have been hindered from ever growing to maturity. It "gives" us nothing. But in its world of loneliness it leads us up to the summits with wide vistas - of great insights.
To be seventy years old is like climbing the Alps. You reach a snow-crowned summit, and see behind you the deep valley stretching miles and miles away, and before you other summits higher and whiter, which you may have strength to climb, or may not. Then you sit down and meditate and wonder which it will be.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
There are in me, in literary terms, two distinct characters: one who is taken with roaring, with lyricism, with soaring aloft, with all the sonorities of phrase and summits of thought; and the other who digs and scratches for truth all he can, who is as interested in the little facts as the big ones, who would like to make you feel materially the things he reproduces.
All the while Martin attempted to catch his aunt with a remorseful gaze, but the young woman was reabsorbed into her mother's orbit, and though Anna embraced him, pressed on him the importance of visiting soon, he could feel that she was already very far away, not really seeing him, but cruising with distant eyes and a feather's touch over the summits of all her disappointments.
The fleeting hour of life of those who love the hills is quickly spent, but the hills are eternal. Always there will be the lonely ridge, the dancing beck, the silent forest; always there will be the exhilaration of the summits. These are for the seeking, and those who seek and find while there is still time will be blessed both in mind and body.
Mountains are cathedrals: grand and pure, the houses of my religion. I go to them as humans go to worship...From their lofty summits, I view my past, dream of the future, and with unusual acuity I am allowed to experience the present moment. My strength renewed, my vision cleared, in the mountains I celebrate creation. On each journey I am reborn.
Safety lies in tending towards our highest and not in resting content with an inferior potentiality..... To rest in or follow after an inferior potentiality may seem safe, rational, comfortable, easy, but it ends badly, in some futility or in a mere circling down the abyss or in a stagnant morass. Our right and natural road is towards the summits.
There is, however, this consolation to the most way-worn traveler, upon the dustiest road, that the path his feet describe is so perfectly symbolical of human life,--now climbing the hills, now descending into the vales. From the summits he beholds the heavens and the horizon, from the vales he looks up to the heights again. He is treading his old lessons still, and though he may be very weary and travel-worn, it is yet sincere experience.
Henry David Thoreau
In Madame Bovary Flaubert never allows anything to go on too long; he can suggest years of boredom in a paragraph, capture the essence of a character in a single conversational exchange, or show us the gulf between his soulful heroine and her dull-witted husband in a sentence (and one that, moreover, presages all Emma's later experience of men). (...) This is one of the summits of prose art, and not to know such a masterpiece is to live a diminished life.
Our life is like a land journey, too even and easy and dull over long distances across the plains, too hard and painful up the steep grades; but, on the summits of the mountain, you have a magnificent view""and your eyes are full of happy tears""and you want to sing""and wish you had wings! And then""you can't stay there, but must continue your journey""you begin climbing down the other side, so busy with your footholds that your summit experience is forgotten
Lloyd C. Douglas
Global summits are necessary to discuss and strategise, but will never be the platform that will uproot the seeds of hatred, intolerance, polluted beliefs and passionate convictions that fuel whatever we term terrorism. The excelling leader should be thinking of dealing with the soil and the seed, how do you make sure the soil is not polluted and how do you counter the retrogressive seed that is being planted?
Our life is like a land journey, too even and easy and dull over long distances across the plains, too hard and painful up the steep grades; but, on the summits of the mountain, you have a magnificent view-and feel exalted-and your eyes are full of happy tears-and you want to sing-and wish you had wings! And then-you can't stay there, but must continue your journey-you begin climbing down the other side, so busy with your footholds that your summit experience is forgotten.
Lloyd C. Douglas
Since its sudden birth the city had expanded, swallowing up acre upon acre of the surrounding grasslands and drawing thousands into its domain. Hardly built on the most advantageous ground, miles from the open waters, decades from the mines at the mountain summits, it yet remained the only settlement of note on the isle. This sprawling mass of a city, once a compact kingdom, was now the keystone of the Castilian Empire.
Oh land of farms and green hills mild Once formed by giants rough and wild With massive paws they gripped and tore With one great rip they formed the shore Where heavy boots left prints so deep Blue lakes remain 'tween summits steep The giants fought beneath our skies And from their bones our mountains rise
I have known not a few men who, after reaching the summits of business success, found themselves miserable on attaining retirement age. They were so exclusively engrossed in their day-to-day affairs that they had no time for friend-making.... They may flatter themselves that their unrelaxing concentration on business constitutes patriotism of the highest order. They may tell themselves that the existing emergency will pass, and that they can then adopt different, more sociable, more friendly habits. [But] such a day is little likely to come for such individuals.
B. C. Forbes
Doth not all nature around me praise God? If I were silent, I should be an exception to the universe. Doth not the thunder praise Him as it rolls like drums in the march of the God of armies? Do not the mountains praise Him when the woods upon their summits wave in adoration? Doth not the lightning write His name in letters of fire? Hath not the whole earth a voice? And shall I, can I, silent be?
Man little knows what calamities are beyond his patience to bear till he tries them; as in ascending the heights of ambition, which look bright from below, every step we rise shows us some new and gloomy prospect of hidden disappointment; so in our descent from the summits of pleasure, though the vale of misery below may appear, at first, dark and gloomy, yet the busy mind, still attentive to its own amusement, finds, as we descend, something to flatter and to please. Still as we approach, the darkest objects appear to brighten, and the mortal eye becomes adapted to its gloomy situation.
Here life goes on, even and monotonous on the surface, full of lightning, of summits and of despair, in its depths. We have now arrived at a stage in life so rich in new perceptions that cannot be transmitted to those at another stage - one feels at the same time full of so much gentleness and so much despair - the enigma of this life grows, grows, drowns one and crushes one, then all of a sudden in a supreme moment of light one becomes aware of the sacred.
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
Saying Good-bye to the God of Disease (2) Thousands of willow branches in a spring wind. Six hundred million of China, land of the gods, and exemplary like the emperors Shun and Yao. A scarlet rain of peach blossoms turned into waves and emerald mountains into bridges. Summits touch the sky. We dig with silver shovels and iron arms shake the earth and the Three Rivers. God of plagues, where are you going? We burn paper boats and bright candles to light his way to heaven.
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
It has been observed in all ages that the advantages of nature or of fortune have contributed very little to the promotion of happiness; and that those whom the splendour of their rank, or the extent of their capacity, have placed upon the summits of human life, have not often given any just occasion to envy in those who look up to them from a lower station; whether it be that apparent superiority incites great designs, and great designs are naturally liable to fatal miscarriages; or that the general lot of mankind is misery, and the misfortunes of those whose eminence drew upon them an universal attention, have been more carefully recorded, because they were more generally observed, and have in reality only been more conspicuous than others, not more frequent, or more severe.
The Long March The Red Army is not afraid of hardship on the march, the long march. Ten thousand waters and a thousand mountains are nothing. The Five Sierras meander like small waves, the summits of Wumeng pour on the plain like balls of clay. Cliffs under clouds are warm and washed below by the River Gold Sand. Iron chains are cold, reaching over the Tatu River. The far snows of Minshan only make us happy and when the army pushes through, we all laugh. October 1935
Ah! This is retribution for Promethean fire! Besides being patient, you must also love this sadness and respect your doubts and questions. They are an abundant excess, a luxury of life, and they appear more at the summits of happiness, when you have no crude desires. They are not born in the midst of mundanity. They have no place where there is grief and want. The masses go along without knowing the fog of doubts or the anguish of questions. But for anyone who has encountered them at the right time they are dear visitors, not a hammer.' 'But there's no coping with them. They bring anguish and indifference to nearly everything.' she added indecisively. 'But for how long? Afterward they refresh life, ' he said. 'They lead to an abyss from which nothing can be gained, and they force you to look again at life, with even greater love. They summon up your tested powers to struggle with it, as if expressly to let them sleep afterward.' 'This fog and these specters torment me!' she complained. 'Everything is bright and all of a sudden a sinister shadow is cast over life! Are there no means against this?' 'What do you mean? Your buttress is in life! Without it, life is sickening, even without any questions!' p. 508
Haven't I told you scores of times, that you're always beginners, and the greatest satisfaction was not in being at the top, but in getting there, in the enjoyment you get out of scaling the heights? That's something you don't understand, and can't understand until you've gone through it yourself. You're still at the state of unlimited illusions, when a good, strong pair of legs makes the hardest road look short, and you've such a mighty appetite for glory that the tiniest crumb of success tastes delightfully sweet. You're prepared for a feast, you're going to satisfy your ambition at last, you feel it's within reach and you don't care if you give the skin off your back to get it! And then, the heights are scaled, the summits reached, and you've got to stay there. That's when the torture begins; you've drunk your excitement to the dregs and found it all too short and even rather bitter, and you wonder whether it was really worth the struggle. From that point there is no more unknown to explore, no new sensations to experience. Pride has had its brief portion of celebrity; you know that your best has been given and you're surprised it hasn't brought a keener sense of satisfaction. From that moment the horizon starts to empty of all hopes that once attracted you towards it. There's nothing to look forward to but death. But in spite of that you cling on, you don't want to feel you're played out, you persist in trying to produce something, like old men persist in trying to make love, with painful, humiliating results... If only we could have the courage to hang ourselves in front of our last masterpiece!
New skin, a new land! And a land of liberty, if that is possible! I chose the geology of a land that was new to me, and that was young, virgin, and without drama, that of America. I traveled in America, but instead of romantically and directly rubbing the snakeskin of my body against the asperities of its terrain, I preferred to peel protected within the armor of the gleaming black crustacean of a Cadillac which I gave Gala as a present. Nevertheless all the men who admire and the women who are in love with my old skin will easily be able to find its remnants in shredded pieces of various sizes scattered to the winds along the roads from New York via Pittsburgh to California. I have peeled with every wind; pieces of my skin have remained caught here and there along my way, scattered through that "promised land" which is America; certain pieces of this skin have remained hanging in the spiny vegetation of the Arizona desert, along the trails where I galloped on horseback, where I got rid of all my former Aristotelian "planetary notions." Other pieces of my skin have remained spread out like tablecloths without food on the summits of the rocky masses by which one reaches the Salt Lake, in which the hard passion of the Mormons saluted in me the European phantom of Apollinaire. Still other pieces have remained suspended along the "antediluvian" bridge of San Francisco, where I saw in passing the ten thousand most beautiful virgins in America, completely naked, standing in line on each side of me as I passed, like two rows of organ-pipes of angelic flesh with cowrie-shell sea vulvas.