If a walker is indeed an individualist there is nowhere he can’t go at dawn and not many places he can’t go at noon. But just as it demeans life to live alongside a great river you can no longer swim in or drink from, to be crowded into safer areas and hours takes much of the gloss off walking—one sport you shouldn’t have to reserve a time and a court for.
In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn’t merely try to train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog.
It’s incongruous that the older we get, the more likely we are to turn in the direction of religion. Less vivid and intense ourselves, closer to the grave, we begin to conceive of ourselves as immortal.
Many divorces are not really the result of irreparable injury but involve, instead, a desire on the part of the man or woman to shatter the setup, start out from scratch alone, and make life work for them all over again. They want the risk of disaster, want to touch bottom, see where bottom is, and, coming up, to breathe the air with relief and relish again.
Animals are stylized characters in a kind of old saga—stylized because even the most acute of them have little leeway as they play out their parts.
The question of whether it’s God’s green earth is not at center stage, except in the sense that if so, one is reminded with some regularity that He may be dying.
City people try to buy time as a rule, when they can, whereas country people are prepared to kill time, although both try to cherish in their mind’s eye the notion of a better life ahead.
Topics: Time, Time Management
True solitude is a din of birdsong, seething leaves, whirling colors, or a clamor of tracks in the snow.
There often seems to be a playfulness to wise people, as if either their equanimity has as its source this playfulness or the playfulness flows from the equanimity; and they can persuade other people who are in a state of agitation to calm down and manage a smile.
Silence is exhilarating at first – as noise is – but there is a sweetness to silence outlasting exhilaration, akin to the sweetness of listening and the velvet of sleep.
To relive the relationship between owner and slave we can consider how we treat our cars and dogs—a dog exercising a somewhat similar leverage on our mercies and an automobile being comparable in value to a slave in those days.
There is a time of life somewhere between the sullen fugues of adolescence and the retrenchments of middle age when human nature becomes so absolutely absorbing one wants to be in the city constantly, even at the height of summer.
Topics: City Life, Cities
Animals used to provide a lowlife way to kill and get away with it, as they do still, but, more intriguingly, for some people they are an aperture through which wounds drain. The scapegoat of olden times, driven off for the bystanders sins, has become a tender thing, a running injury. There, running away is me: hurt it and you are hurting me.
Country people tend to consider that they have a corner on righteousness and to distrust most manifestations of cleverness, while people in the city are leery of righteousness but ascribe to themselves all manner of cleverness.
Topics: City Life, Country, Cities
Men often compete with one another until the day they die; comradeship consists of rubbing shoulders jocularly with a competitor.
There aren’t many irritations to match the condescension which a woman metes out to a man who she believes has loved her vainly for the past umpteen years.
Wondering Whom to Read Next?
- Ken Kesey American Novelist
- Charles Dudley Warner American Essayist
- George William Curtis American Essayist
- William George Jordan American Essayist
- Edwin Percy Whipple American Literary Critic
- Miguel de Unamuno Spanish Philosopher, Writer
- Jorge Luis Borges Argentine Writer
- Giacomo Leopardi Italian Poet
- Arthur Helps English Dramatist
- A. C. Benson English Essayist