Vesper Flights Quotes

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Vesper Flights Vesper Flights by Helen Macdonald
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Vesper Flights Quotes Showing 1-30 of 32
“What science does is what I would like more literature to do too: show us that we are living in an exquisitely complicated world that is not all about us. It does not belong to us alone. It never has done.”
Helen Macdonald, Vesper Flights
“The attempt to see through eyes that are not your own. To understand that your way of looking at the world is not the only one. To think what it might mean to love those that are not like you. To rejoice in the complexity of things.”
Helen Macdonald, Vesper Flights
“(T)he world is full of people busily making things into how they think the world ought to be, and burning huge parts of it to the ground, utterly and accidentally destroying things in the process without even knowing they are doing so. And that any of us might be doing that without knowing it, any of us, all the time.”
Helen Macdonald, Vesper Flights
“Most of all I hope my work is about a thing that seems to me of the deepest possible importance in our present-day historical moment: finding ways to recognise and love difference. The attempt to see through eyes that are not your own. To understand that your way of looking at the world is not the only one. To think what it might mean to love those that are not like you. To rejoice in the complexity of things.”
Helen Macdonald, Vesper Flights
“Literature can teach us the qualitative texture of the world. And we need it to. We need to communicate the value of things, so that more of us might fight to save them.”
Helen Macdonald, Vesper Flights
“When I saw Jurassic Park in the cinema something unexpected happened when the first dinosaur came on screen: I felt a huge, hopeful pressure in my chest and my eyes filled with tears. It was miraculous: a thing I'd seen representations of since I was a child had come alive.”
Helen Macdonald, Vesper Flights
“We call them murmurations, but the Danish term, sort sol, is better: black sun.”
Helen Macdonald, Vesper Flights
“(N)ot everything fits easily into our systems of classification. The world might be, it turns out, too complicated for us to know.”
Helen Macdonald, Vesper Flights
“Later (swifts) gather higher in the sky...And then, all at once, as if summoned by a call or a bell, they rise higher and higher until they disappear from view. These ascents are called vesper flights....Vespers are evening devotional prayers, the last and the most solemn of the day, and I have always thought 'vesper flights' the most beautiful phrase, an ever-falling blue.”
Helen Macdonald, Vesper Flights
“When we meet animals for the first time, we expect them to conform to the stories we've heard about them. But there is always, always a gap. The boar was still a surprise. Animals are.”
Helen Macdonald, Vesper Flights
“So many of our stories about nature are about testing ourselves against it, setting ourselves against it, defining our humanity against it.”
Helen Macdonald, Vesper Flights
“There's a special phenomenology to walking in woods in winter.”
Helen Macdonald, Vesper Flights
“Swifts aren't always cresting the atmospheric boundary layer at dizzying heights; most of the time they are living below it in thick and complicated air. That's where they feed and mate and bathe and drink and are. But to find out about the important things that affect their lives, they must go higher to survey the wider scene, and there communicate with others about the larger forces impinging on their realm....Not all of us need to make that climb...but as a community, surely some of us are required, by dint of flourishing life and the well-being of us all, to look clearly at the things that are so easily obscured by the everyday.”
Helen Macdonald, Vesper Flights
“At times of difficulty, watching birds ushers you into a different world, where no words need to be spoken.”
Helen Macdonald, Vesper Flights
“Someone once told me that every writer has a subject that underlies everything they write. It can be love or death, betrayal or belonging, home or hope or exile. I choose to think that my subject is love, and most specifically love for the glittering world of non-human life around us.”
Helen Macdonald, Vesper Flights
“For there’s an immense intellectual pleasure involved in making identifications, and each time you learn to recognise a new species of animal or plant, the natural world becomes a more complicated and remarkable place, pulling intricate variety out of a background blur of nameless grey and green.”
Helen Macdonald, Vesper Flights
“Farnsworth is one pioneer of a new multidisciplinary science, fit for an era in which weather radar has become so sensitive it can detect a single bumblebee over thirty miles away. It’s called aeroecology, and it uses sophisticated remote-sensing technologies like radar, acoustics and tracking devices to study ecological patterns and relationships in the skies. ‘The whole notion of the aerosphere and airspace as habitat is not something that has come into the collective psyche until recently,’ Farnsworth says. And this new science is helping us understand how climate change, skyscrapers, wind turbines, light pollution and aviation affect the creatures that live and move above us.”
Helen Macdonald, Vesper Flights
“(P)ulling at your heart on purpose is a compulsion as particular and disconcerting as pressing on a healing bruise.”
Helen Macdonald, Vesper Flights
“For even if we don't believe in miracles, they are there, and they are waiting for us to find them.”
Helen Macdonald, Vesper Flights
“I’ve used tarot too. Not often. But sufficient to know how little use the cards are in divining the future and to see how unerringly the cards reflect my deepest states of being, emotions I’d not let myself feel at the time.”
Helen Macdonald, Vesper Flights
tags: tarot
“Being sworn at by woodland creatures is disquieting, but comforting too...these alarm calls remind me that we have consequential presence, that the animals we like to watch are creatures with their own needs, desires, emotions, lives.”
Helen Macdonald, Vesper Flights
“...(T)he realisation that there is a particular form of intelligence in the world that is boar-intelligence, boar-sentience. And being considered by a mind that is not human forces you to reconsider the limits of your own.”
Helen Macdonald, Vesper Flights
“Most of all I hope my work is about a thing that seems to me of the deepest possible importance in our present-day historical moment: finding ways to recognise and love difference. The”
Helen Macdonald, Vesper Flights
“one honey fungus in Oregon covers almost four square miles and is thought to be nearly two and a half thousand years old.”
Helen Macdonald, Vesper Flights
“I watch the cranes scratching their beaks with their toes and think of how the starling flocks that pour into reed beds like grain turn all of a sudden into birds perching on bowed stems, bright-eyed, their feathers spangled with white spots that glow like small stars.

I marvel at how confusion can be resolved by focusing on the things from which it is made. The magic of the flocks is this simple switch between geometry and family.”
helen macdonald, Vesper Flights
“Coming along the road towards me on his way to the covert, his head high, his body smeared all breast-deep in clay that stained the lower half of him copper ochre, came a fox hound, a pale hound. He was alone which was wrong. But being alone made him the type of all hounds that ever existed.

He was running as if he'd been running all day, and he was running as if he would never stop, tongue out and eyes fixed. He was running to be with the rest of the hounds and the sound was drawing him along the rainy roads as if he were underwater and swimming up to the light to breathe.

I was transfixed. I'd never seen a hound be a hound before. He was doing exactly what he needed to be doing. He was tired but joyful. He was late but getting there. Lost but catching up.”
Helen Macdonald, Vesper Flights
“For years, on and off, I have woken in the dark, shouting out loud, stricken with horror at the impossible fact of death. It has been my most abiding and paralyzing terror.

But it was Stu who banished it from me. At the hospice he looked me in the eye, very seriously, very quietly, and said, of what was happening to him. "It's okay. It's okay." I knew it was not, that what he was doing was reassuring me and it was an act of such generosity that for a while I couldn't find anything strong enough inside of me to reply. "It's okay," he said. "It's not hard.”
Helen Macdonald, Vesper Flights
“The property belonged to our boss and his wife. A pebble-dashed box streaked with green algae, it had a pine paneled kitchen and a low ceiling sitting room with a Rayburn, a brown vinyl sofa, and eye-bending 1970s carpets that did bad things to you when you were drunk.”
Helen Macdonald, Vesper Flights
“It is cold, and a loose wind blows through the darkness. But then, from the lower edge of the blank, black disc of the dead sun, bursts a perfect point of brilliance. It leaps and burns. It’s unthinkably fierce, unbearably bright, something (I blush to say it, but here it comes) like a word. And thus begins the world again. Instantly. Joy, relief, gratitude; an avalanche of emotion. Is all made to rights, now? Is all remade? From a bay tree, struck into existence a moment ago, a spectacled bulbul calls a greeting to the new dawn.”
Helen Macdonald, Vesper Flights
“You are a man whose eyes are bright with unspilled tears when you tell me of the horror of your journey here.”
Helen Macdonald, Vesper Flights

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