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Nature Writing Quotes

Quotes tagged as "nature-writing" Showing 1-30 of 86
Edward Abbey
“The fire. The odor of burning juniper is the sweetest fragrance on the face of the earth, in my honest judgment; I doubt if all the smoking censers of Dante's paradise could equal it. One breath of juniper smoke, like the perfume of sagebrush after rain, evokes in magical catalysis, like certain music, the space and light and clarity and piercing strangeness of the American West. Long may it burn.”
Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire

“On the first day of November last year, sacred to many religious calendars but especially the Celtic, I went for a walk among bare oaks and birch. Nothing much was going on. Scarlet sumac had passed and the bees were dead. The pond had slicked overnight into that shiny and deceptive glaze of delusion, first ice. It made me remember sakes and conjure a vision of myself skimming backward on one foot, the other extended; the arms become wings. Minnesota girls know that this is not a difficult maneuver if one's limber and practices even a little after school before the boys claim the rink for hockey. I think I can still do it - one thinks many foolish things when November's bright sun skips over the entrancing first freeze.

A flock of sparrows reels through the air looking more like a flying net than seventy conscious birds, a black veil thrown on the wind. When one sparrow dodges, the whole net swerves, dips: one mind. Am I part of anything like that?

Maybe not. The last few years of my life have been characterized by stripping away, one by one, loves and communities that sustain the soul. A young colleague, new to my English department, recently asked me who I hang around with at school. "Nobody," I had to say, feeling briefly ashamed. This solitude is one of the surprises of middle age, especially if one's youth has been rich in love and friendship and children. If you do your job right, children leave home; few communities can stand an individual's most pitiful, amateur truth telling. So the soul must stand in her own meager feathers and learn to fly - or simply take hopeful jumps into the wind.

In the Christian calendar, November 1 is the Feast of All Saints, a day honoring not only those who are known and recognized as enlightened souls, but more especially the unknowns, saints who walk beside us unrecognized down the millennia. In Buddhism, we honor the bodhisattvas - saints - who refuse enlightenment and return willingly to the wheel of karma to help other beings. Similarly, in Judaism, anonymous holy men pray the world from its well-merited destruction. We never know who is walking beside us, who is our spiritual teacher. That one - who annoys you so - pretends for a day that he's the one, your personal Obi Wan Kenobi. The first of November is a splendid, subversive holiday.

Imagine a hectic procession of revelers - the half-mad bag lady; a mumbling, scarred janitor whose ravaged face made the children turn away; the austere, unsmiling mother superior who seemed with great focus and clarity to do harm; a haunted music teacher, survivor of Auschwitz. I bring them before my mind's eye, these old firends of my soul, awakening to dance their day. Crazy saints; but who knows what was home in the heart? This is the feast of those who tried to take the path, so clumsily that no one knew or notice, the feast, indeed, of most of us.

It's an ugly woods, I was saying to myself, padding along a trail where other walkers had broken ground before me. And then I found an extraordinary bouquet. Someone had bound an offering of dry seed pods, yew, lyme grass, red berries, and brown fern and laid it on the path: "nothing special," as Buddhists say, meaning "everything." Gathered to formality, each dry stalk proclaimed a slant, an attitude, infinite shades of neutral.

All contemplative acts, silences, poems, honor the world this way. Brought together by the eye of love, a milkweed pod, a twig, allow us to see how things have been all along. A feast of being.”
Mary Rose O'Reilley, The Barn at the End of the World: The Apprenticeship of a Quaker, Buddhist Shepherd

Annie Dillard
“I think it would be well, and proper, and obedient, and pure, to grasp your one necessity and not let it go, to dangle from it limp wherever it takes you. Then even death, where you're going no matter how you live, cannot you part.”
Annie Dillard, Teaching a Stone to Talk: Expeditions and Encounters

Norman Maclean
“I knew that, when needed, mountains would move for me.”
Norman Maclean, Usfs 1919 the Ranger the Cook and the Hole in the Sky

“Broke again? Damn you can never be broken. You can fall, you can get bruises, but you can never be broken. You’re living, breathing, and the best example for yourself. You’re made of galaxies, atoms, fire, and so much more. Never underestimate the magic in you. The light inside you can never be handled by the moths. It’s never your mistake, it’s the eyes that are blind to see the love in your eyes, it’s the hearts that don’t understand how your heart beats for them, it’s the ears that can’t hear the screams you try to raise to make them listen and it’s the soul that’s never able to comprehend the message you sent to them.”
Hareem Ch, Breaking a Pledge

Gretel Ehrlich
“The truest art I would strive for in any work would be to give the page the same qualities as earth: weather would land on it harshly, light would elucidate the most difficult truths; wind would sweep away obtuse padding. Finally, the lessons of impermanence taught me this: loss constitutes an odd kind of fullness; despair empties out into an unquenchable appetite for life.”
Gretel Ehrlich, The Solace of Open Spaces

John Stewart Collis
“And like any dog, like any savage, I lay there enjoying myself, harming no man, selling nothing, competing not at all, thinking no evil, smiled on by the sun, bent over by the trees, and softly folded in the arms of the earth.”
John Stewart Collis, The Wood

Joseph Chilton Pearce
“Our reality is influenced by our notions about reality, regardless of the nature of those notions”
Joseph Chilton Pearce, The Crack in the Cosmic Egg: New Constructs of Mind and Reality

Jim Harrison
“‎I wish Barry Lopez would write novels.

from "Conversations with Jim Harrison”
Jim Harrison

Alberto Caeiro
“Also at times, on the surface of streams,
Water?bubbles form
And grow and burst
And have no meaning at all
Except that they’re water?bubbles
Growing and bursting.”
Alberto Caeiro, The Keeper of Sheep

Paul Doiron
“Nature will forgive humankind just about anything, and what it won’t forgive I hope never to witness.”
Paul Doiron, The Poacher's Son

“The city (regardless which one it is) does provide a certain degree of sophistication and intellectualism. It offers the challenge of professional matters. It throws new and interesting people in one’s path. There is a dynamic and an energy in cities which is diametric to the life-forces of the forest.
Still the cabin is the wellspring, the source, the hub of my existence. It gives me tranquility, a closeness of nature and wildlife, good health and fitness, a sense of security, the opportunity for resourcefulness, reflection and creative thinking…..”
Anne LaBastille

Janisse Ray
“In the wild world, relationship is evolutionary, time is geologic, beauty is intelligent. There we find ourselves under a powerful spell.”
Janisse Ray, Wild Spectacle: Seeking Wonders in a World Beyond Humans

Janisse Ray
“Although I was reared on a junkyard by parents who did not waste time hiking or camping, I knew pine trees and pitcher plants, bobcats and brown thrashers, as my people.”
Janisse Ray, Wild Spectacle: Seeking Wonders in a World Beyond Humans

Steve  Ramirez
“We are souls with bodies, not the other way around. Without the essence of who we are—intact and authentically within our vessels—we are unblinking, inanimate objects; we are no longer soil. . . we are dirt.”

~ Steve Ramirez, Casting Forward”
Steve Ramirez, Casting Forward: Fishing Tales from the Texas Hill Country

Leonie A. Anderson
“The yellowing light streams into the soft edges of the morning, and daylight blushes with joy at its arrival.”
Leonie A. Anderson

Janisse Ray
“Out beyond houses and mailboxes, roads and bridges, a person can see a realm that exists alongside this world in which we humans live.”
Janisse Ray

“By sharing it with others, you help ensure that the tallgrass prairie continues to delight future generations. By growing in your knowledge of prairie, you develop a better understanding of the natural world. And by experiencing prairie---over the four seasons, and at various times of day, in all weathers---you develop a heightened sense of awe and wonder that will spill over into every other area of your life. Your adventure is only beginning.”
Cindy Crosby, The Tallgrass Prairie: An Introduction

Leif Bersweden
“Our experience of nature is becoming more and more about what we see on our screens, and less about actually being outside and experiencing it for ourselves. Crouched on the fellside, nose to flower with Purple Saxifrage, I had felt such wonder at just being present with another organism, the kind you can only experience when you’re there, on the mountainside, or in the meadow, or under the trees. It’s impossible to get that same, raw feeling from a television documentary, from our social media feeds or even from a book like this one.
True appreciation of nature requires us to form real life bonds with it. [...] I think plants can offer us a lot in this regard, and the fact they can’t move actually allows us to spend time with them in a way that you just can’t with many animals.”
Leif Bersweden, Where the Wildflowers Grow: My Botanical Journey through Britain and Ireland

Bhuwan Thapaliya
“The more we observe nature, the more there is the possibility of seeing things we've never seen before.”
Bhuwan Thapaliya

Robin Craig Clark
“The wind was blustering again, whipping the curtains. Peter went over to close the window. The moon was now high on the eastern rise, radiant above the church where small water-cart clouds raced across the sky. About to fasten the window latch, his eye was drawn down to the garden. The fox stood under the apple tree looking up at him. The animal began to bark. Each monosyllabic yip and yap seemed to mimic human speech. By some strange power or spell, Peter could understand what the animal was saying. He heard the words loud and clear.
‘I-am Si-on,’ the fox barked. Man and beast looked unwaveringly at one another, neither moving a muscle. The wind stopped blowing, the curtains hung at rest.
Peter leaned out the window.
‘What do you want from me?’ he called down.
‘Save-us-from-the-stea-lers,’ barked Sion. Peter’s mind reeled. It would be madness to believe he could understand what the fox was saying—lunacy to think he could commune with it! ‘I must still be asleep,’ he reasoned, closing the window. He sat down on the bed, folding his hands in his lap. But this is not a dream. Lying down, he pulled the bedcovers over himself. ‘Save-us! Save-us! Save-us!’ the fox kept barking from the garden.”
Robin Craig Clark, Heart of the Earth: A Fantastic Mythical Adventure of Courage and Hope, Bound by a Shared Destiny

“From here, to the south and west, one island leads to another, all the way to Frenchboro and Swans Island and Isle au Haut, as this landscape toys with the idea of islands until the sea says enough and there is only water”
Christopher Camuto, Time and Tide in Acadia: Seasons on Mount Desert Island

“Nature is not intentionally theatrical. The drama we sometimes see in landscapes is a projection of something in us, the trace of a nagging fear that we do not belong in nature, that we are no match for the forces that brought us into being”
Christopher Camuto, Time and Tide in Acadia: Seasons on Mount Desert Island

“Beautiful as they are, these tidal places are often moody and strange. Sometimes you can feel the bittersweet tang of your mortality rubbing up against a beachhead of infinity”
Christopher Camuto, Time and Tide in Acadia: Seasons on Mount Desert Island

James Rebanks
“The idea that we, our fathers and mothers, might be proud, hard-working and intelligent people doing something worthwhile, or even admirable, seemed to be beyond her. For a woman who saw success as being demonstrated through education, ambition, adventure and conspicuous professional achievement, we must have seemed a poor sample. I don't think anyone ever mentioned "university" in this school; no one wanted to go anyway - people that went away ceased to belong; they changed and could never really come back, we knew that in our bones. Schooling was a "way out", but we didn't want it, and we'd made our choice. Later I would understand that modern industrial communities are obsessed with the importance of "going somewhere" and "doing something with your life". The implication is an idea I have come to hate, that staying local and doing physical work doesn't count for much.”
James Rebanks, The Shepherd's Life: A People's History of the Lake District

James Rebanks
“The whole landscape here is a complex web of relationships between farms, flocks and families. My old man can hardly spell common words, but has an encyclopaedic knowledge of landscape. I think it makes a mockery of conventional ideas about who is and isn't 'intelligent'. Some of the smartest people I have ever known are semi-literate.”
James Rebanks, The Shepherd's Life: A People's History of the Lake District

Kathleen Jamie
“Wild is a word like ‘soul’. Such a thing may not exist, but we want it, and we know what we mean when we talk about it.”
Kathleen Jamie

“There are mornings in the cabin, even in summer, when the lake seems to have been possessed by a different spirit, the air cold, wind whistling through the screens and whipping the Chinese wind chimes into a frenzy. Instead of blue water, the lake is grey, the islands hunched against the wind, the waves white-capped even in our channel, banging the boat against the dock or heaving it away to strain against its ropes. On days like these, the sounds of other lives are lost in the rush of air and water. Everything seems farther away, and few people venture out if they don’t have to. Yet this is not when drownings occur. The lake captures people when they least expect it.”
Carolyn McGrath Two Faces of the Moon

Robin Craig Clark
“By bringing together our differences we will see how similar we really are. Combining our strengths and talents is how we will survive, and embracing love according to the needs and values of the tribe is how we shall conquer our fear...”
Robin Craig Clark, Heart of the Earth: A Fantastic Mythical Adventure of Courage and Hope, Bound by a Shared Destiny

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