Plunge boldly into the thick of life, and seize it where you will, it is always interesting.
—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832) German Poet
When it comes to my own turn to lay my weapons down, I shall do so with thankfulness and fatigue, and whatever be my destiny afterward, I shall be glad to lie down with my fathers in honor. It is human at least, if not divine.
—Robert Louis Stevenson (1850–94) Scottish Novelist
Study nature as the countenance of God.
—Charles Kingsley (1819–75) English Clergyman, Academic, Historian, Novelist
All men by nature desire to know.
—Aristotle (384BCE–322BCE) Ancient Greek Philosopher, Scholar
I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority.
—E. B. White (1985–99) American Essayist, Humorist
Who can explain the secret pathos of Nature’s loveliness? It is a touch of melancholy inherited from our mother Eve. It is an unconscious memory of the lost Paradise. It is the sense that even if we should find another Eden, we would not be fit to enjoy it perfectly nor stay in it forever.
—Henry van Dyke Jr. (1852–1933) American Author, Educator, Clergyman
Time is the quality of nature that keeps events from happening all at once. Lately, it doesn’t seem to be working.
I think the worst woman that ever existed would have made a man of very passable reputation—they are all better than us and their faults such as they are must originate with ourselves.
—Lord Byron (George Gordon Byron) (1788–1824) English Romantic Poet
The experiences of camp life show that a man does have a choice of action. There were enough examples, often of a heroic nature, which proved that apathy could be overcome, irritability suppressed. Man can preserve a vestige of spiritual freedom, of independence of mind, even in such terrible conditions of psychic and physical stress. We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken away from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s way. The way in which a man accepts his fate and all the suffering it entails, the way in which he takes up his cross, gives him ample opportunity—even in the most difficult circumstances—to add a deeper meaning to life.
—Viktor Frankl (1905–97) Austrian Psychiatrist, Psychotherapist
Farm: What a city man dreams of at 5 p.m., never at 5 a.m.
Know one knows whether death, which people fear to be the greatest evil, may not be the greatest good.
—Plato (428 BCE–347 BCE) Ancient Greek Philosopher, Mathematician, Educator
Nature has no mercy at all. Nature says, “I’m going to snow. If you have on a bikini and no snowshoes, that’s tough. I am going to snow anyway.”
—Maya Angelou (1928–2014) American Poet
Touching the earth equates to having harmony with nature.
—American Indian Proverb
And thus they give the time, that Nature meant for peaceful sleep and meditative snores, to ceaseless din and mindless merriment and waste of shoes and floors.
—Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) (1832–98) British Anglican Author, Mathematician, Clergyman, Photographer, Logician
We fly to beauty as an asylum from the terrors of finite nature.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–82) American Philosopher
Natural objects themselves, even when they make no claim to beauty, excite the feelings, and occupy the imagination. Nature pleases, attracts, delights, merely because it is nature. We recognize in it an Infinite Power.
—Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767–1835) German Philosopher, Linguist, Statesman
The mountains, the forest, and the sea, render men savage; they develop the fierce, but yet do not destroy the human.
—Victor Hugo (1802–85) French Novelist
From our earliest hour we have been taught that the thought of the heart, the shaping of the rain-cloud, the amount of wool that grows on a sheep’s back, the length of a drought, and the growing of the corn, depend on nothing that moves immutable, at the heart of all things; but on the changeable will of a changeable being, whom our prayers can alter. To us, from the beginning, Nature has been but a poor plastic thing, to be toyed with this way or that, as man happens to please his deity or not; to go to church or not; to say his prayers right or not; to travel on a Sunday or not. Was it possible for us in an instant to see Nature as she is—the flowing vestment of an unchanging reality?
—Olive Schreiner (1855–1920) South African Writer, Feminist
Life is not so much a matter of position as of disposition
Nature’s way is simple and easy, but men prefer what is intricate and artificial.
—Laozi (fl.6th Century BCE) Chinese Philosopher, Sage
Let us draw a lesson from nature, which always works by short ways. When the fruit is ripe, it falls.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–82) American Philosopher
The miracle is not to fly in the air, or to walk on the water, but to walk on the earth.
It is really true what philosophy tells us, that life must be understood backwards. But with this, one forgets the second proposition, that it must be lived forwards.
—Soren Kierkegaard (1813–55) Danish Philosopher, Theologian
When ages grow to civility and elegancy, men come to build stately sooner than to garden finely, as if gardening were the greater perfection.
—Francis Bacon (1561–1626) English Philosopher
The world is too must: with us; late and soon, getting and spending we lay waste our powers. Little we see in nature that is ours.
—William Wordsworth (1770–1850) English Poet
If we really think that home is elsewhere and that this life is a “wandering to find home,” why should we not look forward to the arrival?
—C. S. Lewis (1898-1963) Irish-born British Academic, Author, Literary Scholar
Nature is the time-vesture of God that reveals him to the wise, and hides him from the foolish.
—Thomas Carlyle (1795–1881) Scottish Historian, Essayist
Only those within whose own consciousness the sun rise and set, the leaves burgeon and wither, can be said to be aware of what living is.
—Joseph Wood Krutch (1893–1970) American Writer, Critic, Naturalist
Thought is cause: experience is effect. If you don’t like the effects in your life, you have to change the nature of your thinking.
—Marianne Williamson (b.1952) American Activist, Author, Lecturer
He who thinks everything must be in bloom when the strawberries are in bloom doesn’t know anything about apples.