I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.
-Henry David Thoreau, in Walden: Or, Life in the Woods
‘What would I do this fine spring day, was I a boy?’ And then I thought, ‘I’d go a-ramblin’.’
-Penny Baxter, in The Yearling (by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings)
Astronomy now demands bodily abstraction of its devotee… To see into the beyond requires purity; in the medium now as formerly in the man. As little air as may be and that only of the best
is obligatory to its enterprise, and the securing it makes him perforce a hermit from his own kind. He must abandon cities and forego plains. Only in places raised above and aloof from his
fellow man can he profitably pursue his search, places where nature never meant him to dwell and admonishes him of the fact by sundry hints of a more or less distressing character. To stand a mile
and a half nearer the stars is not to stand immune.
-Percival Lowell, in Mars and its Canals
These changes in latitudes
Changes in Attitudes
Nothing remains quite the same.
Through all of the islands and all of the highlands
If we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane.
-Jimmy Buffett, in the song Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes
Alter any early event, ever so slightly and without apparent importance at the time, and evolution cascades into a radically different channel.
-Stephen Jay Gould, in Wonderful Life
Don’t let the fear of striking out get in your way.
To set forth science in a popular, that is, in a generally understandable, form is as obligatory as to present it in a more technical manner. If men are to benefit from it, it must be
expressed to their comprehension.
-Percival Lowell, in Mars and its Canals
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in
the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does
actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at
the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.
I do not understand how anyone can live without some small place of enchantment to turn to.
-Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.
-William Arthur Ward
Who owns Cross Creek? The red-birds, I think, more than I, for they will have their nests even in the face of delinquent mortgages...It seems to me that the earth may be borrowed, but not bought.
It may be used, but not owned. It gives itself in response to love and tending, offers its sesonal flowering and fruiting. But we are tenants and not possessors, lovers, and not masters. Cross Creek
belongs to the wind and the rain, to the sun and the seasons, to the cosmic secrecy of seed, and beyond all, to time.
-Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, in Cross Creek
The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.
-Jimmy Johnson and others
When you get to the rapids, square up and paddle with purpose.
-River runner adage
But why, some say, the Moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask, why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas? We choose to go to the moon...we choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win.
-John F. Kennedy
Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while
cares will drop off like autumn leaves.
This is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.
-John F. Kennedy, on welcoming Nobel Prize winners to the White House
Don’t be afraid of death; be afraid of an unlived life. You don’t have to live forever, you just have to live!
-Natalie Babbit, in Tuck Everlasting
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.
No one else is in charge of your happiness except you.
There is always some kid who may be seeing me for the first or last time, I owe him my best.
That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.
You get what you settle for.
-Louise Sawyer, in the movie Thelma and Louise.
Life is a grindstone, it can either wear you down or polish you into a gem, it just depends what you are made of.