The real questions are the ones that obtrude upon your consciousness whether you like it or not, the ones that make your mind start vibrating like a jackhammer, the ones that you “come to terms with” only to discover that they are still there. The real questions refuse to be placated. They barge into your life at the times when it seems most important for them to stay away. They are the questions asked most frequently and answered most inadequately, the ones that reveal their true natures slowly, reluctantly, most often against your will.

Ingrid Bengis

Do you “research” it? The heart cools off at the word.

Howard Nemerov

For religion, the idea of God is at the beginning; for science, the idea of God is at the end. Only those who think by halves become atheists; those who go deep with their thoughts and see the marvelous relationships among universal laws recognize a creative power.

Max Planck

Now those guys can sit naked in the snow at 18,000 feet, and they have such powers of mental discipline that if they put their mind to it, hell, they can generate enough heat to melt snow for twenty feet around. Now you put that Tibetan priest on the mound, naked or not, with a baseball in his palm, and he’ll take that power of concentration and make the ball disappear and then materialize down the line in the catcher’s mitt. There’s my idea of a relief pitcher.

Bill Lee

The reason we like precious jewels so much is they remind us of planes of consciousness we’ve lived on where those are the pebbles.

Aldous Huxley

I’d call it love if love
didn’t take so many years
But lust too is a jewel. . . .

Adrienne Rich

It is eternity now. I am in the midst of it. It is about me in the sunshine.

Richard Jefferies

Fortunate are the nations that can build wooden houses. Because wood breathes, transforms, deteriorates, like us. It is also important to have flowers and plants where we live, because they breathe, too. Contemplating a flower for three seconds can be a captivating solitary journey back to original geometry, which is always revitalizing.

Henry Skolimowski

One night when my two-and-a-half-year-old granddaughter was staying with me . . . we were at home taking a bubble bath together and singing, “Here we are taking a bubble bath, a bubble bath,” etc. All of a sudden, no one was singing and I experienced both of us looking deeply into each other’s eyes and there was no sound at all. It lasted but a few moments and I felt shivers up my spine. That was intimacy.

Lynn Moore, Writing in Pilgrimage

I always saw better when my eyes were closed.

Tom Waits

I remember a small sharp disappointment on the death of a pet rabbit. It developed a growth in the jaw and was sent to the vet to be killed. This was explained to me and I was reconciled to its loss. But the vet on his own initiative decided to operate. He sent the animal back a week later, pronouncing it cured. I greeted it ecstatically and it died that night.

Evelyn Waugh, A Little Learning

. . . between grief and nothing I will take grief.

William Faulkner, The Wild Palms

Windows listen for announcements of broken glass.

Source unknown, Quoted in Richard Kehl’s Silver Departures

A boy named Eddie Shell came one afternoon to play with Frank and me, and at the hour for going home did not know how to do so. This is a malady that afflicts all children, but my mother was not sure how she should handle it in Eddie’s case. She consulted us secretly as to whether he should be asked to stay for supper; we thought not, so she hinted to him that his mother might be expecting him. He was so slow in acting upon the hint that we were all in despair and began to feel guilty because we had not pressed him to stay. What I remember now is Eddie standing at last on the other side of the screen door and trying to say goodbye as if he meant it. My mother said warmly, “Well, Eddie, come and see us again.” Whereupon he opened the door and walked in.

Mark Van Doren, The Autobiography of Mark Van Doren