In the antiseptic world we try to purge ourselves of difficult things. Don't dwell on it, switch off the light and go home. But this is home. I have to be a home to myself. I am the place I come back to and I can't keep hiding difficult things in trunks. Soon the house will be full of trunks and I perched on top of them with the phone saying, "Yes, I'm fine, of course, I'm fine, everything's fine." The trunks shudder.
He said, "Did you believe in him before I have given you permission? He must be your chief, who has taught you magic. I will cut off your hands and your feet on alternate sides, and I will crucify you on the trunks of the palm-trees. Then you will know which of us is more severe in punishment, and more lasting."
It's just one more thing she hadn't considered, and as the idea of it settles over her, she realizes again how entwined their lives are. They're like two trees whose branches have grown together. Even if you pull them out by the trunks, they're still going to be twisted and tangled and nearly impossible to separate at the roots.
Jennifer E Smith
Children use that word "hate" to mean various things. It may mean that they are frightened... It is not physical harm that is feared... so much as some spell, or dark intention. It is a feeling you can have when you are very young even about certain house faces, or tree trunks, or very much about moldy cellars or deep closets.
I ran into the gigantic and gigantically wasteful lumbering of great Sequoias, many of whose trunks were so huge they had to be blown apart before they could be handled. I resented then, and I still resent, the practice of making vine stakes hardly bigger than walking sticks out of these greatest of living things.
The sensation of the ocean bearing my weight was the most carefree lightness I'd ever experienced. When we were halfway across the strait, the sound of an engine approached from a distance-it was probably the police coast guard. We quickly ducked under the surface of the water, exposing only the tips of our trunks so we could breathe.
Xi Ni Er
There was a worm addicted to grape leaves, she continued, and suddenly it woke up. Call it a miracle, whatever, something woke it up and it wasn't a worm anymore. It was the whole vineyard, and the orchard too, the fruit, the trunks, an ever-expanding joy that didn't need to devour anything.
It could be the sound of each name he knows/curling to ash in his chest's aortic furnace one after another, year after year instructing him/in the patient work of letting go. Even still/there are things it is reluctant to unclasp./How the Osage orange trunks and bare limbs/glow in the scattered light like veins of fire.
My first event was in Nottingham, aged 11, and the prize was a bike. I thought, 'Wow.' I had no idea what to wear. I think I did it in swimming trunks, then just put on a T-shirt and shoes for the bike part. Triathlons felt exotic. There was a technical and tactical aspect to it as well as the endurance challenge. I was hooked.
The celebrated Aboriginal painter Albert Namatjira loved the Ghost Gums of the Northern Territory... They are evocatively Australian, their white trunks contrasting with the red earth and the deep blue sky of the Dreamtime region that has for centuries sustained Namatjira's Aranda people.
Why did dogs make one want to cry? There was something so quiet and hopeless about their sympathy. Jasper, knowing something was wrong, as dogs always do. Trunks being packed. Cars being brought to the door. Dogs standing with drooping tails, dejected eyes. Wandering back to their baskets in the hall when the sound of the car dies away.
Daphne du Maurier
Not like this vision before us, who was shaking water out of his slightly overlong reddish-brown hair as he leaned over to lay down his board (revealing, as he did so, the fact that beneath his baggy swim trunks""so weighted down with water that they had sunk somewhat dangerously low on his hips""lurked what appeared to be an exceptionally well-formed gluteus maximus)
What greater delight and wonder can there be than to leave the straight lines of personality and deviate into these footpaths that lead beneath brambles and thick tree trunks into the heart of the forest where live those wild beasts, our fellow men? That is true: to escape is the greatest of pleasures; street haunting in winter the greatest of adventures.
All elongated objects, such as sticks, tree-trunks and umbrellas(the opening of these last being comparable to an erection) may stand for the male organ...Boxes, cases, chests, cupboards, and ovens represent the uterus...Rooms in dreams are usually women...Many landscapes in dreams, especially any containing breidges or wooded hills, may clearly be recognized as descriptions of the genitals.
He stripped to his trunks, then dove into the pool. We all watched as he broke the surface and climbed from the water, his muscles slick and wet, his green eyes glowing in the half light of the glass ceiling. I heard Natalie and Sara both sigh, and Harry murmur that it almost made him want to go gay. Coby stretched out on a chaise beside me and asked, 'So you still sorry you moved here?
Association is the delight of the heart, not less than of poetry. Alison observes that an autumn sunset, with its crimson clouds, glimmering trunks of trees, and wavering tints upon the grass, seems scarcely capable of embellishment. But if in this calm and beautiful glow the chime of a distant bell steal over the fields, the bosom heaves with the sensation that Dante so tenderly describes.
Robert Aris Willmott
I stopped in St. Bernadette's Cemetery one of my favorite places... The trunks of six giant oaks rise like columns supporting a ceiling formed by their interlocking crowns. In the quiet space below, is laid out an aisle similar to those in any library. The gravestones are like rows of books bearing the names of those whose names have been blotted from the pages of life; who have been forgotten elsewhere but are remembered here.
Knox was engaged in a theological discussion with scientist John Scott Haldane. 'In a universe containing millions of planets,' reasoned Haldane, 'is it not inevitable that life should appear on at least one of them?' 'Sir,' replied Knox, 'if Scotland Yard found a body in your cabin trunk, would you tell them: 'There are millions of trunks in the world; surely one of them must contain a body? I think the would still want to know who put it there.'
Rosemary bubbled with delight at the trunks. Her naivete responded whole-heartedly to the expensive simplicity of the Divers, unaware of its complexity and its lack of innocence, unaware that it was all a selection of quality rather than quantity from the run of the world's bazaar; and that the simplicity of behavior also, the nursery-like peace and good will, the emphasis on the simpler virtues, was part of a desperate bargain with the gods and had been attained through struggles she could not have guessed at.
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Kugel didn't like attics, he never did. The roofing nails overhead like fangs, waiting to sink into his skull; the cardboard boxes and plastic crates and leather trunks - tombs, sarcophagi - full of ghosts and regret and longing and loss; worse yet was the implication in all this emotional hoarding that the past was preferable to the present, that what came before bests whatever comes next, so clutch it to your chests in mourning and dread as you head into the unknowable but probably lousy future.
Though it was mid-July, the morning was brisk, the sky a gray cotton of clouds, and Puget Sound a steely, cold blue. Most of Seattle grumbled, worn with winterish weather, impatient for the elusive summer sun. With umbrellas tucked away in the trunks of cars, sunglasses lost and separated from their original purchasers, the Pacific Northwest was a bastion of misty air and pale, complaining residents.
They hooted and laughed all the way back to the car, teasing Milkman, egging him on to tell more about how scared he was. And he told them. Laughing too, hard, loud, and long. Really laughing, and he found himself exhilarated by simply walking the earth. Walking it like he belonged on it; like his legs were stalks, tree trunks, a part of his body that extended down down down into the rock and soil, and were comfortable there-on the earth and on the place where he walked. And he did not limp.
Leaves that rustled, twigs that scraped and rattled. But the thin shapes weren't falling, they were scurrying head first down the tree-trunks at a speed that seemed to leave time behind. Some of them had no shape they could have lived with, and some might never have had any skin. She saw their shriveled eyes glimmer eagerly and their toothless mouths gape with an identical infantile hunger. Their combined weight bowed the lowest branches while they extended arms like withered sticks to snatch the child. ("With The Angels")
There whil'st the world prov'd prodigal of breath, the headless trunks lay prostrated in heaps; this field of funerals sacred unto death, did paint out horror in most hideous shapes: whil'st men unhors'd, horses unmast'red, stray'd, some call'd on those whom they most dearly lov'd, some rag'd, some groan'd, some sigh'd, roar'd, promis'd, pray'd, as blows, falls, faintness, pain, hope, anguish mov'd.
The great wall of vegetation, an exuberant and entangled mass of trunks, branches, leaves, boughs, festoons, motionless in the moonlight, was like a rioting invasion of soundless life, a rolling wave of plants, piled up, crested, ready to topple over the creek, to sweep every little man of us out of his little existence. And it moved not. A deadened burst of mighty splashes and snorts reached us from afar, as though an ichthyosaurus had been taking a bath of glitter in the great river.
One knew, of course, that it was not the red cape any more than it was the boots, the tights, the trunks, or the trademark "S" that gave Superman the ability to fly. That ability derived from the effects of the rays of our yellow sun on Superman's alien anatomy, which had evolved under the red sun of Krypton. And yet you had only to tie a towel around your shoulders to feel the strange vibratory pulse of flight stirring in the red sun of your heart.
In the evenings, Sam performs exercises to prepare his body for love-making with Franz. He practices kissing (something he'd once hated) by smooching deer lips, antelope ears, frog anuses, and the great, whiskered muzzles of sleeping bison. He improves his petting skills by necking with juniper bushes and pine tree trunks with such passion that the bark snaps and sap runs, or with such tenderness that the whole forest goes silent and swallows nest in his hair.
The old dead trees are the most fascinating - the countless trees lying in the gullies and up the hills that fell perhaps a century ago, pulling up their roots from the earth as they toppled. The great upheavals left rocks in their huge tentacles and, as they slowly rot, the trunks are home to populations of creatures, from goannas to wild pigs. As grey as tombstones in a cemetery they lie there, having outlasted generations of farmers, as they'll outlast me. In their own way they are as beautiful, more beautiful, than living trees.
Now Pilon knew it for a perfect night. A high fog covered the sky, and behind it, the moon shone so so that the forest was filled with a gauze-like light. There was none of the sharp outline we think of as reality. The tree trunks were not black columns of wood, but soft and unsubstantial shadows. The patches of brush were formless and shifting in the queer light. Ghosts could walk freely to-night, without fear of the disbelif of men; for this night was haunted, and it would be an insensitive man who did not know it.
There were no traces of human existence around them. Old ruts, overgrown with grass, made human presence seem more distant, adding the distance of years to the distance of miles. A haze of twilight remained over the ground, but in the breaks between the tree trunks there were leaves that hung in patches of shining green and seemed to light the forest. The leaves hung still. They walked, alone to move through a motionless world. She noticed suddenly that they had not said a word for a long time.
In a designed economy there would be no trees, or certainly no very tall trees: no forests, no canopy. Trees are a waste. Trees are extravagant. Tree trunks are standing monuments to futile competition - futile if we think in terms of a planed economy. But the natural economy is not planned. Individual plants compete with other plants, of the same and other species, and the result is that they grow taller and taller, far taller than any planner would recommend.
... He went under the stars, and the tender light of the moon, when it hung like an eyelash and the tree trunks shone like bones. He walked through wind and weather, and beneath sun-bleached skies. It seemed to Harold that he had been waiting all his life to walk. He no longer knew how far he had come, but only that he was going forward. The pale Cotswold stone became the red brick of Warwickshire, and the land flattened into middle England. Harold reached his hand to his mouth to brush away a fly, and felt a beard growing in thick tufts. Queenie would live. He knew it.
Oh, for heaven's sake, Sirius, Dumbledore said no!" A bearlike black dog had appeared at Harry's side as Harry clambered over the various trunks cluttering the hall to get to Mrs. Weasley. "Oh honestly," said Mrs. Weasley despairingly. "Well, on your own head be it!" The great black dog gave a joyful bark and gamboled around them, snapping at pigeons, and chasing its own tail. Harry couldn't help laughing. Sirius had been trapped inside for a very long time.
J. K. Rowling
Oh, for heaven's sake, Sirius, Dumbledore said no!' A bearlike black dog had appeared at Harry's side as Harry clambered over the various trunks cluttering the hall to get to Mrs. Weasley. 'Oh honestly, ' said Mrs. Weasley despairingly. 'Well, on your own head be it!' The great black dog gave a joyful bark and gamboled around them, snapping at pigeons, and chasing its own tail. Harry couldn't help laughing. Sirius had been trapped inside for a very long time.
Nothing is clear now. Something must be the matter with my way of viewing things. I have no middle view. Either I fix on a detail and see it as thought it were magnified - a leaf with all its veins perceived, the fine hairs on a man's hands - or else the world recedes and becomes blurred, artificial, indefinite, an abstract painting of a world. The darkening sky is hugely blue, gashed with rose, blood, flame from the volcano or wound or flower of the lowering sun. The wavering green, the sea of grass, piercingly bright. Black tree trunks, contorted, arching over the river.
No, what numbed these fields, peopled with bad dreams was not the oppressive grip of a plague but rather an ailing retreat, a sort of sad widowhood. Man had started to subdue these vacant expanses, then had grown weary of eating into it, and now even the desire to preserve what had been claimed had perished. He had established everywhere an ebb, a sorrowful withdrawal. His cuttings into the forest, which were seen at long intervals, had lost their hard edges, their distinct notches: now a thick brushwood had driven its sabbath into the broad daylight of the glades, hiding the naked trunks as high as their lowest branches.
Albine now yielded to him, and Serge possessed her. And the whole garden was engulfed together with the couple in one last cry of love's passion. The tree-trunks bent as under a powerful wind. The blades of grass emitted sobs of intoxication. The flowers, fainting, lips half-open, breathed out their souls. The sky itself, aflame with the setting of the great star, held its clouds motionless, faint with love, whence superhuman rapture fell. And it was the victory of all the wild creatures, all plants and all things natural, which willed the entry of these two children into the eternity of life.
Losing myself interests me. The fertile topsoil interests me, sprawling beneath a light dusting of snow, and the snow that crams the trunks and branches of the pines and elms and redwoods, having frozen up their roots, subdues me to consider life and death. What lurks beneath the ground? Surely dead seeds and frozen worms reside deep below that earth, and surely all those presentiments of life lying dormant, dead or dying, scattered and mute, like memories.
The afternoon breeze would incite to a weird and flabby activity all that crowded mass of clothing, with its vague suggestions of drowned, mutilated and flattened humanity. Trunks without heads waved at you arms without hands; legs without feet kicked fantastically with collapsible flourishes; and there were long white garments, that taking the wind fairly through their neck openings edged with lace, became for a moment violently distended as by the passage of obese and invisible bodies. On these days you could make out that ship at a great distance by the multi-coloured grotesque riot going on abaft her mizzen-mast.
She had dispersed. She was the garden at Prem Nivas (soon to be entered into the annual Flower Show), she was Veena's love of music, Pran's asthma, Maan's generosity, the survival of some refugees four years ago, the neem leaves that would preserve quilts stored in the great zinc trunks of Prem Nivas, the moulting feather of some pond-heron, a small unrung brass bell, the memory of decency in an indecent time, the temperament of Bhaskar's great-grandchildren. Indeed, for all the Minsisster of Revenue's impatience with her, she was his regret. And it was right that she should continue to be so, for he should have treated her better while she lived, the poor, ignorant, grieving fool.
Do jungle animals understand the true nature of the trees among which they have their daily being? In the parent-forest, amid those mighty trunks, we shelter and play; but whether the trees are healthy or corroded, whether they harbour demons or good spirites, we cannot say. Nor do we know the greatest secret of all: that one day we, too, will become as arboreal as they. And the trees, whose leaves we eat, whose bark we gnaw, remember sadly that they were animals once, they climbed like squirrels and bounded like deer, until one day they paused, and their legs grew down into the earth and stuck there, spreading, and vegetation sprouted from their swaying heads. They remember this as a fact; but the lived reality of their fauna years, the how-it-felt of that chaotic freedom is beyond recapture. They remember it as a rustle in their leaves.
I settled on the floor and whispered to Sam, 'I want you to listen to me, if you can.' I leaned the side of my face against his ruff and remembered the golden wood he had shown me so long ago. I remembered the way the yellow leaves, the color of Sam's eyes, fluttered and twisted, crashing butterflies, on their way to the ground. The slender white trunks of the birches, creamy and smooth as human skin. I remembered Sam standing in the middle of the wood, his arms stretched out, a dark, solid form in the dream of the trees. His coming to me, me punching his chest, the soft kiss. I remembered every kiss we'd ever had, and I remembered every time I'd curled in his human arms. I remembered the soft warmth of his breath on the back of my neck while we slept. I remembered Sam.
Snuggle up with a hot fireman! Meet Tanner West. Sharon looked up into the most gorgeous face she had ever seen. Eyes like dark chocolate, deep and warm, stared out at her from a face that looked like it could have been chiseled in stone. Skin the color of burnished copper, high cheekbones, a sharp nose, full lips, and a cleft chin. How the hell had she failed to notice him before? Her heart skipped a beat and she ran her gaze down the rest of his body. He was tall, well over six feet, she would guess, with broad shoulders that tapered into a trim waist. His thighs, encased in worn denim, fit like a second skin against legs the size of tree trunks, and oh my, what lay between those thighs... Her attention snapped back to his face and she could feel the heat of a blush suffuse her skin.
Then, idly scratching his nose, he walks to the bookcase in the living room and stoops before a set of drab brown Victorian volumes gathering dust on the second shelf from the bottom. How amusing, he thinks, as he withdraws one of them-amusing that a key to dark and ancient rites should survive in such innocuous-looking form. A young fool like Freirs would probably refuse to believe it. Like the rest of his doomed kind, he'd probably expect such lore to be found only in ancient leather-bound tomes with gothic lettering and portentously sinister titles. He'd search for it in mysterious old trunks and private vaults, in the "restricted" sections of libraries, in intricately carved wood chests with secret compartments. But there are no real secrets, the Old One knows. Secrets are ultimately too hard to conceal. The keys to the rites that will transform the world are neither hidden nor rare nor expensive. They are available to anyone. You can find them on the paperback racks or in any second-hand bookshop.
It was an unusual sunset. Having sat behind opaque drapery all day, I had not realized that a storm was pushing in and that much of the sky was the precise shade of old suits of armor one finds in museums. At the same time, patches of brilliance engaged in a territorial dispute with the oncoming onyx of the storm. Light and darkness mingled in strange ways both above and below. Shadows and sunshine washed together, streaking the landscape with an unearthly study of glare and gloom. Bright clouds and black folded into each other in a no-man's land of the sky. The autumn trees took on the appearance of sculptures formed in a dream, their leaden-colored trunks and branches and iron-red leaves all locked in an infinite and unliving moment, unnaturally timeless. The gray lake slowly tossed and tumbled in a dead sleep, nudging unconsciously against its breakwall of numb stone. A scene of contradiction and ambivalence, a tragicomedic haze over all. A land of perfect twilight.
We all travelled light, taking with us only what we considered to be the bare essentials of life. When we opened our luggage for Customs inspection, the contents of our bags were a fair indication of character and interests. Thus Margo's luggage contained a multitude of diaphanous garments, three books on slimming, and a regiment of small bottles each containing some elixir guaranteed to cure acne. Leslie's case held a couple of roll-top pullovers and a pair of trousers which were wrapped round two revolvers, an air-pistol, a book called Be Your Own Gunsmith, and a large bottle of oil that leaked. Larry was accompanied by two trunks of books and a brief-case containing his clothes. Mother's luggage was sensibly divided between clothes and various volumes on cooking and gardening. I travelled with only those items that I thought necessary to relieve the tedium of a long journey: four books on natural history, a butterfly net, a dog, and a jam-jar full of caterpillars all in imminent danger of turning into chrysalids. Thus, by our standards fully equipped, we left the clammy shores of England.
Back then, come July, and the blazers would again make their way out of the steel trunks and evenings would be spent looking at snow-capped mountains from our terrace and spotting the first few lights on the hills above. It was the time for radishes and mulberries in the garden and violets on the slopes. The wind carried with it the comforting fragrance of eucalyptus. It was in fact all about the fragrances, like you know, in a Sherlock Holmes story. Even if you walked with your eyes closed, you could tell at a whiff, when you had arrived at the place, deduce it just by its scent. So, the oranges denoted the start of the fruit-bazaar near Prakash ji's book shop, and the smell of freshly baked plum cake meant you had arrived opposite Air Force school and the burnt lingering aroma of coffee connoted Mayfair. But when they carved a new state out of the land and Dehra was made its capital, we watched besotted as that little town sprouted new buildings, high-rise apartments, restaurant chains, shopping malls and traffic jams, and eventually it spilled over here. I can't help noticing now that the fragrances have changed; the Mogra is tinged with a hint of smoke and will be on the market tomorrow. The Church has remained and so has everything old that was cast in brick and stone, but they seem so much more alien that I almost wish they had been ruined.' ('Left from Dhakeshwari')
Nancy waded out to her own rocks and searched her own pools and let that couple look after themselves. She crouched low down and touched the smooth rubber-like sea anemones, who were stuck like lumps of jelly to the side of the rock. Brooding, she changed the pool into the sea, and made the minnows into sharks and whales, and cast vast clouds over this tiny world by holding her hand against the sun, and so brought darkness and desolation, like God himself, to millions of ignorant and innocent creatures, and then took her hand away suddenly and let the sun stream down. Out on the pale criss-crossed sand, high-stepping, fringed, gauntleted, stalked some fantastic leviathan (she was still enlarging the pool), and slipped into the vast fissures of the mountain side. And then, letting her eyes slide imperceptibly above the pool and rest on that wavering line of sea and sky, on the tree trunks which the smoke of steamers made waver on the horizon, she became with all that power sweeping savagely in and inevitably withdrawing, hypnotised, and the two senses of that vastness and this tininess (the pool had diminished again) flowering within it made her feel that she was bound hand and foot and unable to move by the intensity of feelings which reduced her own body, her own life, and the lives of all the people in the world, for ever, to nothingness. So listening to the waves, crouching over the pool, she brooded.
OCTOBER 31ST I WAS STANDING BY THE SOUR THESE THUGS DON'T WANNA TALK THEY WANT THESE PUMAS I JUST BOUGHT FRESH OUTTA SCHOOL, PICKED ON CUZ I'M BILINGUAL I BARELY SPOKE ENGLISH BUT THE GUN LANGUAGE WAS UNIVERSAL RAN IN THE GROCERY STORE, SPOKE TO GABRIEL HE SAID, YOU HAVE PROBLEMS, HERE'S A FEEZY FROM ISRAEL RAN BACK OUTSIDE, JUST BEFORE I COULD SAY... ANOTHER HOMICIDE THREW THE BISCUIT IN THE BUSHES RUNNIN LIKE JESSE OWENS POLICE SHOWED UP, BUT I WAS NOWHERE IN EXISTENCE BACK IN THE CRIB THINKIN BOUT WHAT I JUST DID I'MA POLICE OF DEFENSE BUT I'M BOUND TO CATCH THIS BID MY HYPOTHESIS WAS RIGHT, THEY KNOCKED THE DOOR, HOMIE LIKE A SUPER IN THE PROJECTS WANTIN RENT MONEY JUST WHEN I THOUGHT I GET MY LIFE STRAIGHT IN THE STATES IS WHEN I FOUND MYSELF CLIMBIN DOWN THE FIRE ESCAPE BODIES FOUND IN VIRGINIA UNDER THE DUMPSTERS, NO 18 SHELL CASES IN FRONT OF THE GROCERY STO' FLEE THE SCENE OF THE CRIME BEFORE Y'ALL KICK THE DOOR NO YOUR HONOR THAT MUST BE SOME OLD RHYME THAT I WROTE AND LYRICS SOMETIME MAN THEY MISINTERPRETATE IT FOR EXAMPLE WHEN I SAY GUN I MEAN MY PEN AND PAPER AND EVERYTIME I WAVE AND SPIT THE CROWD JUMP CUZ I'M STILL DIGITAL UNDERGROUND LIKE "HUMPTY HUMP" FEEL THE FUNK COMIN THROUGH YOUR ELEPHANT TRUNKS I AINT EVEN *KRISS KROSS* MY CLOTHES YET AND YET Y'ALL WANNA "JUMP, JUMP" IN DA CYPHA, "JUMP, JUMP" YOU IN DA CYPHA
When they turned off, it was still early in the pink and green fields. The fumes of morning, sweet and bitter, sprang up where they walked. The insects ticked softly, their strength in reserve; butterflies chopped the air, going to the east, and the birds flew carelessly and sang by fits. They went down again and soon the smell of the river spread over the woods, cool and secret. Every step they took among the great walls of vines and among the passion-flowers started up a little life, a little flight. 'We're walking along in the changing-time, ' said Doc. 'Any day now the change will come. It's going to turn from hot to cold, and we can kill the hog that's ripe and have fresh meat to eat. Come one of these nights and we can wander down here and tree a nice possum. Old Jack Frost will be pinching things up. Old Mr. Winter will be standing in the door. Hickory tree there will be yellow. Sweet-gum red, hickory yellow, dogwood red, sycamore yellow.' He went along rapping the tree trunks with his knuckle. 'Magnolia and live-oak never die. Remember that. Persimmons will all get fit to eat, and the nuts will be dropping like rain all through the woods here. And run, little quail, run, for we'll be after you too.' They went on and suddenly the woods opened upon light, and they had reached the river. Everyone stopped, but Doc talked on ahead as though nothing had happened. 'Only today, ' he said, 'today, in October sun, it's all gold-sky and tree and water. Everything just before it changes looks to be made of gold.' ("The Wide Net")
McKay had worn the wings in the world war with honor, flying first with the French and later with his own country's forces. And as a bird loves the trees, so did McKay love them. To him they were not merely trunks and roots, branches and leaves; to him they were personalities. He was acutely aware of differences in character even among the same species - that pine was benevolent and jolly; that one austere and monkish; there stood a swaggering bravo, and there dwelt a sage wrapped in green meditation; that birch was a wanton - the birch near her was virginal, still a-dream. The war had sapped him, nerve and brain and soul. Through all the years that had passed since then the wound had kept open. But now, as he slid his car down the vast green bowl, he felt its spirit reach out to him; reach out to him and caress and quiet him, promising him healing. He seemed to drift like a falling leaf through the clustered woods; to be cradled by gentle hands of the trees. He had stopped at the little gnome of an inn, and then he had lingered, day after day, week after week. The trees had nursed him; soft whisperings of leaves, slow chant of the needled pines, had first deadened, then driven from him the re-echoing clamor of the war and its sorrow. The open wound of his spirit had closed under their green healing; had closed and become scar; and even the scar had been covered and buried, as the scars on Earth's breast are covered and buried beneath the falling leaves of Autumn. The trees had laid green healing hands on his eyes, banishing the pictures of war. He had sucked strength from the green breasts of the hills. ("The Women Of The Woods")
Nothing is a masterpiece - a real masterpiece - till it's about two hundred years old. A picture is like a tree or a church, you've got to let it grow into a masterpiece. Same with a poem or a new religion. They begin as a lot of funny words. Nobody knows whether they're all nonsense or a gift from heaven. And the only people who think anything of 'em are a lot of cranks or crackpots, or poor devils who don't know enough to know anything. Look at Christianity. Just a lot of floating seeds to start with, all sorts of seeds. It was a long time before one of them grew into a tree big enough to kill the rest and keep the rain off. And it's only when the tree has been cut into planks and built into a house and the house has got pretty old and about fifty generations of ordinary lumpheads who don't know a work of art from a public convenience, have been knocking nails in the kitchen beams to hang hams on, and screwing hooks in the walls for whips and guns and photographs and calendars and measuring the children on the window frames and chopping out a new cupboard under the stairs to keep the cheese and murdering their wives in the back room and burying them under the cellar flags, that it begins even to feel like a religion. And when the whole place is full of dry rot and ghosts and old bones and the shelves are breaking down with old wormy books that no one could read if they tried, and the attic floors are bulging through the servants' ceilings with old trunks and top-boots and gasoliers and dressmaker's dummies and ball frocks and dolls-houses and pony saddles and blunderbusses and parrot cages and uniforms and love letters and jugs without handles and bridal pots decorated with forget-me-nots and a piece out at the bottom, that it grows into a real old faith, a masterpiece which people can really get something out of, each for himself. And then, of course, everybody keeps on saying that it ought to be pulled down at once, because it's an insanitary nuisance.
The full moon, well risen in a cloudless eastern sky, covered the high solitude with its light. We are not conscious of daylight as that which displaces darkness. Daylight, even when the sun is clear of clouds, seems to us simply the natural condition of the earth and air. When we think of the downs, we think of the downs in daylight, as with think of a rabbit with its fur on. Stubbs may have envisaged the skeleton inside the horse, but most of us do not: and we do not usually envisage the downs without daylight, even though the light is not a part of the down itself as the hide is part of the horse itself. We take daylight for granted. But moonlight is another matter. It is inconstant. The full moon wanes and returns again. Clouds may obscure it to an extent to which they cannot obscure daylight. Water is necessary to us, but a waterfall is not. Where it is to be found it is something extra, a beautiful ornament. We need daylight and to that extent it us utilitarian, but moonlight we do not need. When it comes, it serves no necessity. It transforms. It falls upon the banks and the grass, separating one long blade from another; turning a drift of brown, frosted leaves from a single heap to innumerable flashing fragments; or glimmering lengthways along wet twigs as though light itself were ductile. Its long beams pour, white and sharp, between the trunks of trees, their clarity fading as they recede into the powdery, misty distance of beech woods at night. In moonlight, two acres of coarse bent grass, undulant and ankle deep, tumbled and rough as a horse's mane, appear like a bay of waves, all shadowy troughs and hollows. The growth is so thick and matted that event the wind does not move it, but it is the moonlight that seems to confer stillness upon it. We do not take moonlight for granted. It is like snow, or like the dew on a July morning. It does not reveal but changes what it covers. And its low intensity-so much lower than that of daylight-makes us conscious that it is something added to the down, to give it, for only a little time, a singular and marvelous quality that we should admire while we can, for soon it will be gone again.