The Crossing Quotes

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The Crossing (The Border Trilogy, #2) The Crossing by Cormac McCarthy
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“Deep in each man is the knowledge that something knows of his existence. Something knows, and cannot be fled nor hid from.”
Cormac McCarthy, The Crossing
tags: god
“So everything is necessary. Every least thing. This is the hard lesson. Nothing can be dispensed with. Nothing despised. Because the seams are hid from us, you see. The joinery. The way in which the world is made. We have no way to know what could be taken away. What omitted. We have no way to tell what might stand and what might fall.”
Cormac McCarthy, The Crossing
“Nor does God whisper through the trees. His voice is not to be mistaken. When men hear it they fall to their knees and their souls are riven and they cry out to Him and there is no fear but only wildness of heart that springs from such longing...”
Cormac McCarthy, The Crossing
tags: god
“Life is a memory, and then it is nothing.”
Cormac McCarthy, The Crossing
“There is but one world and everything that is imaginable is necessary to it. For this world also which seems to us a thing of stone and flower and blood is not a thing at all but is a tale. And all in it is a tale and each tale the sum of all lesser tales and yet these are also the selfsame tale and contain as well all else within them. So everything is necessary. Every least thing. This is the hard lesson. Nothing can be dispensed with. Nothing despised. Because the seams are hid from us, you see. The joinery. The way in which the world is made. We have no way to know what could be taken away. What omitted. We have no way to tell what might stand and what might fall. And those seams that are hid from us are of course in the tale itself and the tale has no abode or place of beind except in the telling only and there it lives and makes its home and therefore we can never be done with the telling. Of the telling there is no end. And . . . in whatever . . . place by whatever . . . name or by no name at all . . . all tales are one. Rightly heard all tales are one.”
Cormac McCarthy, The Crossing
“It was the nature of his profession that his experience with death should be greater than for most and he said that while it was true that time heals bereavement it does so only at the cost of the slow extinction of those loved ones from the heart's memory which is the sole place of their abode then or now. Faces fade, voices dim. Seize them back, whispered the sepulturero. Speak with them. Call their names. Do this and do not let sorrow die for it is the sweetening of every gift.”
Cormac McCarthy, The Crossing
tags: death
“The eye turned to the fire gave back no light and he closed it with his thumb and sat by her and put his hand upon her bloodied forehead and closed his own eyes that he could see her running in the mountains, running in the starlight where the grass was wet and the sun's coming as yet had not undone the rich matrix of creatures passed in the night before her. Deer and hare and dove and groundvole all richly empaneled on the air for her delight, all nations of the possible world ordained by God of which she was one among and not separate from. Where she ran the cries of the coyotes clapped shut as if a door had closed upon them and all was fear and marvel. He took up her stiff head out of the leaves and held it or he reached to hold what cannot be held, what already ran among the mountains at once terrible and of great beauty, like flowers that feed on flesh. What blood and bone are made of but can themselves not make on any altar nor by any wound of war. What we may well believe has power to cut and shape and hollow out the dark form of the world surely if wind can, if rain can. But which cannot be held never be held and is no flower but is swift and a huntress and the wind itself is in terror of it and the world cannot lose it.”
Cormac McCarthy, The Crossing
“It had ceased raining in the night and he walked out on the road and called for the dog. He called and called. Standing in that inexplicable darkness. Where there was no sound anywhere save only the wind. After a while he sat in the road. He took off his hat and placed it on the tarmac before him and he bowed his head and held his face in his hands and wept. He sat there for a long time and after a while the east did gray and after a while the right and godmade sun did rise, once again, for all and without distinction.”
Cormac McCarthy, The Crossing
“Things separate from their stories have no meaning. They are only shapes. Of a certain size and color. A certain weight. When their meaning has become lost to us they no longer have even a name. The story on the other hand can never be lost from its place in the world for it is that place.”
Cormac McCarthy, The Crossing
“The names of the cerros and the sierras and the deserts exist only on maps. We name them that we do not lose our way. Yet it was because the way was lost to us already that we have made those names. The world cannot be lost. We are the ones. And it is because these names and these coordinates are our own naming that they cannot save us. They cannot find for us the way again.”
Cormac McCarthy, The Crossing
“He said that men believe the blood of the slain to be of no consequence but that the wolf knows better. He said that the wolf is a being of great order and that it knows what men do not: that there is no order in this world save that which death has put there.”
Cormac McCarthy, The Crossing
“No one can tell you what your life is goin to be, can they?

No.

It's never like what you expected.

Quijada nodded. If people knew the story of their lives how many would then elect to live them?”
Cormac McCarthy, The Crossing
“He told the boy that although he was huérfano still he must cease his wanderings and make for himself some place in the world because to wander in this way would become for him a passion and by this passion he would become estranged from men and so ultimately from himself. He said that the world could only be known as it existed in men's hearts. For while it seemed a place which contained men it was in reality a place contained within them and therefore to know it one must look there and come to know those hearts and to do this one must live with men and not simply pass among them. He said that while the huérfano might feel that he no longer belonged among men he must set this feeling aside for he contained within him a largeness of spirit which men could see and that men would wish to know him and that the world would need him even as he needed the world for they were one. Lastly he said that while this itself was a good thing like all good things it was also a danger. Then he removed his hands from the boy's saddle and stepped away and stood. The boy thanked him for his words but he said that he was in fact not an orphan and then he thanked the women standing there and turned the horse and rode out. They stood watching him go. As he passed the last of the brush wickiups he turned and looked back and as he did so the old man called out to him. Eres, he said. Eres huérfano.”
Cormac McCarthy, The Crossing
“Words pale and lose their savor while pain is always new.”
Cormac McCarthy, The Crossing
“If a dream can tell the future it can also thwart that future. For God will not permit that we shall know what is to come. He is bound to no one that the world unfold just so upon its course and those who by some sorcery or by some dream might come to pierce the veil that lies so darkly over all that is before them may serve by just that vision to cause that God should wrench the world from its heading and set it upon another course altogether and then where stands the sorcerer? Where the dreamer and his dream?”
Cormac McCarthy, The Crossing
“The road has its own reasons and no two travelers will have the same understanding of those reasons. If indeed they come to an understanding of them at all.”
Cormac McCarthy, The Crossing
“Things separate from their stories have no meaning. They are only shapes.”
Cormac McCarthy, The Crossing
“Finally he said that if men drink the blood of God yet they do not understand the seriousness of what they do. He said that men wish to be serious but they do not understand how to be so. Between their acts and their ceremonies lies the world and in this world the storms blow and the trees twist in the wind and all the animals that God has made go to and fro yet this world men do not see. They see the acts of their own hands or they see that which they name and call out to one another but the world between is invisible to them”
Cormac McCarthy, The Crossing
“Doomed enterprises divide lives forever into the then and now”
Cormac McCarthy, The Crossing
tags: life
“I am here because of a certain man. I came to retrace his steps. Perhaps to see if there were not some alternate course. What was here to be found was not a thing. Things separate from their stories have no meaning. They are only shapes. Of a certain size and color. A certain weight. When their meaning has become lost to us they no longer have even a name. The story on the other hand can never be lost from its place in the world for it is that place. And that is what was to be found here. The corrido. That tale. And like all corridos it ultimately told one story only, for there is only one to tell.

The cats shifted and stirred, the fire creaked in the stove. Outside in the abandoned village the profoundest silence.

What is the story? the boy said.

In the town of Caborca on the Altar River there was a man who lived there who was an old man. He was born in Caborca and in Caborca he died. Yet he lived once in this town, in Huisiachepic.

What does Caborca know of Huisiachepic, Huisiachepic of Caborca? They are different worlds, you must agree. Yet even so there is but one world and everything that is imaginable is necessary to it. For this world also which seems to us a thing of stone and flower and blood is not a thing at all but a tale. And all in it is a tale and each tale the sum of all lesser tales and yet they are the selfsame tale and contain as well all else within them. So everything is necessary. Every least thing. This is a hard lesson. Nothing can be dispensed with. Nothing despised. Because the seems are hid from us, you see. The joinery. The way in which the world is made. We have no way to tell what might stand and what might fall. And those seams that are hid from us are of course in the tale itself and the tale had no abode or place of being except in the telling only and there it lives and makes its home and therefore we can never be done with the telling. Of the telling there is no end. And whether in Caborca or Huisiachepic or in whatever other place by whatever other name or by no name at all I say again all tales are one. Rightly heard all tales are one.”
Cormac McCarthy, The Crossing
“She said that her grandmother was skeptical of many things in this world and of none more than men. She said that in every trade save war men of talent and vigor prosper. In war they die. Her grandmother spoke to her often of men and she spoke with great earnestness and she said that rash men were a great temptation to women and this was simply a misfortune like others and there was little that could be done to remedy it. She said that to be a woman was to live a life of difficulty and heartbreak and those who said otherwise simply had no wish to face the facts. And she said that since this was so nor could it be altered one was better to follow one’s heart in joy and in misery than simply to seek comfort for there was none. To seek it was only to welcome in the misery and to know little else. She said that these were things all women knew yet seldom spoke of. Lastly she said that if women were drawn to rash men it was only that in their secret hearts they knew that a man who would not kill for them was of no use at all.”
Cormac McCarthy, The Crossing
“He said that whether a man's life was writ in a book someplace or whether it took its form day by day was one and the same for it had but one reality and that was the living of it.”
Cormac McCarthy, The Crossing
“Men do not turn from God so easily. Not so easily. Deep in each man is the knowledge that something knows of his existence. Something knows, and cannot e fled nor hid from. To imagine otherwise is to imagine the unspeakable. It was never that this man ceased to believe in God. No. It was rather that he came to believe terrible things of him.”
Cormac McCarthy, The Crossing
“The passing of armies and the passing of sands in the desert are one.”
Cormac McCarthy, The Crossing
“For this world also which seems to us a thing of stone and flower and blood is not a thing at all but a tale. And all in it is a tale and each tale the sum of all lesser tales and yet these are the selfsame tale and contain as well all within them. So everything is necessary. Every least thing. This is the hard lesson. Nothing can be dispensed with. Nothing despised. Because the seams are hid from us, you see. The joinery. The way in which the world is made. We have no way to know what could be taken away. What omitted. We have no way to tell what might stand and what might fall.”
Cormac McCarthy, The Crossing
“Easy to see that naught save sorrow could bring a man to such a view of things. And yet a sorrow for which there can be no help is no sorrow. It is some dark sister traveling in sorrow's clothing. Men do not turn from God so easily you see. Not so easily. Deep in each man is the knowledge that something knows of his existence. Something knows, and cannot be fled nor hid from. To imagine otherwise is to imagine the unspeakable. It was never that this man ceased to believe in God. No. It was rather that he came to believe terrible things of Him.”
Cormac McCarthy, The Crossing
“Acts have their being in the witness. Without him who can speak of it? In the end one could even say that the act is nothing, the witness all.”
Cormac McCarthy, The Crossing
“He is where he is supposed to be. And yet the place he has found is also of his own choosing. That is a piece of luck not to be despised.”
Cormac McCarthy, The Crossing
“Long voyages often lose themselves.

Mam?

You will see. It is difficult even for brothers to travel together on such a voyage. The road has its own reasons and no two travelers will have the same understanding of those reasons. If indeed they come to an understanding of them at all. Listen to the corridos of the country. They will tell you. Then you will see in your own life what is the cost of things. Perhaps it is true that nothing is hidden. Yet many do not wish to see what lies before them in plain sight. You will see. The shape of the road is the road. There is not some other road that wears the shape but only the one. And every voyage begun upon it will be completed. Whether horses are found or not.”
Cormac McCarthy, The Crossing
“The wicked know that if the ill they do be of sufficient horror that men will not speak against it. That men have just enough stomach for small evils and only these will they oppose. He said that true evil has power to sober the smalldoer against his own deeds and in the contemplation of that evil he may even find the path of righteousness which has been foreign to his feet and may have no power but to go upon it. Even this man may be appalled at what is revealed to him and seek some order to stand against it. Yet in all of this there are two things which perhaps he will not know. He will not know that while the order which the righteous seek is never righteousness itself but is only order, the disorder of evil is in fact the thing itself. Nor will he know that while the righteous are hampered at every turn by their ignorance of evil to the evil all is plain, light and dark alike. This man of which we speak will seek to impose order and lineage upon things which rightly have none. He will call upon the world itself to testify as to the truth of what are in fact but his desires. In his final incarnation he may seek to indemnify his words with blood for by now he will have discovered that words pale and lose their savor while pain is always new.”
Cormac McCarthy, The Crossing

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