The Peregrine Quotes

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The Peregrine The Peregrine by J.A. Baker
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The Peregrine Quotes Showing 1-7 of 7
“I have always longed to be part of the outward life, to be out there at the edge of things, to let the human taint wash away in emptiness and silence as the fox sloughs his smell into the cold unworldliness of water; to return to town a stranger. Wandering flushes a glory that fades with arrival.”
J.A. Baker, The Peregrine
“Cold air rises from the ground as the sun goes down.  The eye-burning clarity of the light intensifies. The southern rim of the sky glows to a deeper blue, to pale violet, to purple, then thins to grey.  Slowly the wind falls, and the still air begins to freeze.  The solid eastern ridge is black; it has a bloom on it like the dust on the skin of a grape.  The west flares briefly.  The long, cold amber of the afterglow casts clear black lunar shadows.  There is an animal mystery in the light that sets upon the fields like a frozen muscle that will flex and wake at sunrise.”
J.A. Baker, The Peregrine
“Approach him across open ground with a steady unfaltering movement. Let your shape grow in size but do not alter its outline. Never hide yourself unless concealment is complete. Be alone. Shun the furtive oddity of man, cringe from the hostile eyes of farms. Learn to fear. To share fear is the greatest bond of all. The hunter must become the thing he hunts.”
J.A. Baker, The Peregrine
“The hardest thing of all to see is what is really there. Books about birds show pictures of the peregrine, and the text is full of information. Large and isolated in the gleaming whiteness of the page, the hawk stares back at you, bold, statuesque, brightly coloured. But when you have shut the book, you will never see that bird again. Compared with the close and static image, the reality will seem dull and disappointing. The living bird will never be so large, so shiny-bright. It will be deep in landscape, and always sinking farther back, always at the point of being lost. Pictures are waxworks beside the passionate mobility of the living bird.”
J.A. Baker, The Peregrine
“A day of endless wind and rain, which I wasted away in the lee of hollow trees, in sheds and barns, and under broken carts. I saw the hawk once, or thought I saw it, like a distant arrow flicking into a tree, blurred and distorted by the million shining prisms of the rain.
All day the unquenchable skylarks sang. Bullfinches lisped and piped through the orchards. Sometimes a little owl called lugubriously from its hollow tree. And that was all.”
J.A. Baker, The Peregrine
“And for the partridge there was the sun suddenly shut out, the foul flailing blackness spreading wings above, the roar ceasing, the blazing knives driving in, the terrible white face descending – hooked and masked and horned and staring-eyed. And then the back-breaking agony beginning, and snow scattering from scuffling feet, and snow filling the bill’s wide silent scream, till the merciful needle of the hawk’s beak notched in the straining neck and jerked the shuddering life away.

And for the hawk, resting now on the soft flaccid bulk of his prey, there was the rip and tear of choking feathers, and hot blood dripping from the hook of the beak, and rage dying slowly to a small hard core within.

And for the watcher, sheltered for centuries from such hunger and such rage, such agony and such fear, there is the memory of that sabring fall from the sky, and the vicarious joy of the guiltless hunter who kills only through his familiar, and wills him to be fed.”
J.A. Baker, The Peregrine
“When one says ‘ten o’clock’ or ‘three o’clock,’ this is not the grey and shrunken time of towns; it is the memory of a certain fulmination or declension of light that was unique to that time and that place on that day, a memory as vivid to the hunter as burning magnesium.”
J.A. Baker, The Peregrine: The Hill of Summer & Diaries: The Complete Works of J. A. Baker