Elizabeth Gilbert · 501 pages
Rating: (74.8K votes)
“Take me someplace where we can be silent together.”
“You see, I have never felt the need to invent a world beyond this world, for this world has always seemed large and beautiful enough for me. I have wondered why it is not large and beautiful enough for others-- why they must dream up new and marvelous spheres, or long to live elsewhere, beyond this dominion... but that is not my business. We are all different, I suppose. All I ever wanted was to know this world. I can say now, as I reach my end, that I know quite a bit more of it than I knew when I arrived. Moreover, my little bit of knowledge has been added to all the other accumulated knowledge of history-- added to the great library, as it were. That is no small feat, sir. Anyone who can say such a thing has lived a fortunate life.”
“I would like to spend the rest of my days in a place so silent–and working at a pace so slow–that I would be able to hear myself living.”
“The old cobbler had believed in something he called "the signature of all things"-namely, that God had hidden clues for humanity's betterment inside the design of every flower, leaf, fruit, and tree on earth. All the natural world was a divine code, Boehme claimed, containing proof of our Creator's love.”
“There is a level of grief so deep that it stops resembling grief at all. The pain becomes so severe that the body can no longer feel it. The grief cauterizes itself, scars over, prevents inflated feeling. Such numbness is a kind of mercy.”
“Nothing is so essential as dignity…Time will reveal who has it and who has it not.”
“Who loves you most? Who loves you best? Who thinks of you when others rest?”
“Beauty is not required. Beauty is accuracy's distraction.”
“There is a Dutch word, uitwaaien, “to walk against the wind for pleasure.”
“In all our lives, there are days that we wish we could see expunged from the record of our very existence. Perhaps we long for that erasure because a particular day brought us such splintering sorrow that we can scarcely bear to think of it ever again. Or we might wish to blot out an episode forever because we behaved so poorly on that day - we were mortifyingly selfish, or foolish to an extraordinary degree. Or perhaps we injured another person and wish to disremember the guilt. Tragically, there are some days in a lifetime when all three of those things happen at once - when we are heartbroken and foolish and unforgivably injurious to others, all at the same time.”
“Astonishingly, at some point, a sputtering torch was thrust into her hands. Alma did not see who gave it to her. She had never before been entrusted with fire. The torch spit sparks and sent chunks of flaming tar spinning into the air behind her as she bolted across the cosmos-the only body in the heavens who was not held to a strict elliptical path.
Nobody stopped her.
She was a comet.
She did not know that she was not flying.”
“The trick at every turn was to endure the test of living for as long as possible. The odds of survival were punishingly slim, for the world was naught by a school of calamity and an endless burning furnace of tribulation. But those who survived the world shaped it--even as the world, simultaneously, shaped them.”
“Who will ever kiss this encyclopedia of a head?”
“Well, child, you may do whatever you like with your suffering,” Hanneke said mildly. “It belongs to you. But I shall tell you what I do with mine. I grasp it by the small hairs, I cast it to the ground, and I grind it under the heel of my boot. I suggest you learn to do the same.”
“All transformation appears to be motivated by desperation and emergency.”
“To be prosperous and happy in life, Henry, it is simple. Pick one woman, pick it well, and surrender.”
“A parent is inexcusable who does not personally teach her child to think.”
“To show a longing for anything that one cannot have, for instance, is not a clever position.”
“One must bear what cannot be escaped," she told Alma, as she rubbed clean her face. "You will not die of your grief - no more than the rest of us ever have.”
“In all of our lives, there are days that we wish we could see expunged from the record of our very existence.”
“You are still young, so you think only of your own self. You do not notice the tribulations that occur all around you, to other people. Do not protest; it is true. I am not condemning you. I was as selfish as you, when I was your age. It is the custom of the young to be selfish... But someday you will understand that nobody passes through this world without suffering--no matter what you think of them and their supposed good fortune.”
“One thing was certain: Human Time was the saddest, maddest, most devastating variety of time that had ever existed. She tried her best to ignore it.”
“The beauty and variety of the natural world are merely the visible legacies of endless war.”
“Once Henry had heard a crying noise at sea, and had seen a mermaid floating on the ocean's surface. The mermaid had been injured by a shark. Henry had pulled the mermaid out of the water with a rope, and she had died in his arms..."what language did the mermaid speak?" Alma wanted to know, imagining that it like almost have to be Greek. "English!" Henry said. "By God, plum, why would I rescue a deuced foreign mermaid?”
“The whole sphere of air that surrounds us, Alma, is alive with invisible attractions — electric, magnetic, fiery and thoughtful. There is a universal sympathy all around us… When we cease all argument and debate — both internal and external — our true questions can be heard and answered…That is the gathering of magic.”
“She wanted to understand the world, and she made a habit of chasing down information to its last hiding place, as though the fate of nations were at stake in every instance.”
“This person had arrived, he had illuminated her, he had ensorcelled her with notions of miracle and beauty, he had both understood and misunderstood her, he had married her, he had broken her heart, he had looked upon her with those sad and hopeless eyes, he had accepted his banishment, and now he was gone. What a stark and stunning thing was life- that such a cataclysm can enter and depart so quickly, and leave such wreckage behind!”
“She knew that the world was plainly divided into those who fought an unrelenting battle to live, and those who surrendered and died. This was a simple fact.”
“What life is, we know not. What life does, we know well. —LORD PERCEVAL”
“These were her rituals, the rutines that made her feel alive and connected. Without them, where would she be? Lost”
“Of course we did other things too. We walked. We talked. We rode bikes.
Though I had my driver's license, I bought a cheap secondhand bicycle so
I could ride with her. Sometimes she led the way, sometimes I did. Whenever
we could, we rode side by side.
She was bendable light: she shone around every corner of my day.
She taught me to revel. She taught me to wonder. She taught me to laugh.
My sense of humor had always measured up to everyone else's; but timid
introverted me, I showed it sparingly: I was a smiler. In her presence I
threw back my head and laughed out loud for the first time in my life”
“Gary had the sort of haircut that required constant brushing back with the fingers, or even—God help us—the occasional flick of the head like a shy girl on her first date.”
“What’s fascinating is that Musk remains willing to lose it all.”
“David what your mother did to you was wrong. Verry wrong.No child deserves to be treated like that. She's sick.”
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