It has often been said that our environmental crisis is a crisis of perception. We do not readily see the patterns that would reveal our dependence on the natural world, nor are we commonly aware of the systems within which we are deeply embedded. Our attention, entrained on objects and focused on flat screens, is far removed from the dynamic and animated nonhuman world. We are as good as blind to the wonder at our feet or the daily spectacle of an ever-changing sky.
~ Laura Sewall
Time is a circus, always packing up and moving away.
~ Ben Hecht
The people of wealth and power do not know what it means to take a place seriously: to think it worthy of love and study and careful work. The Amish question “What will this do to our community?” tends toward the right answer for the world. The only sustainable city—and this, to me, is the indispensable ideal and goal—is a city in balance with its countryside. The real work of planet-saving will be small, humble, and humbling, and (insofar as it involves love) pleasing and rewarding.
~ Wendell Berry
Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.
~ Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad/Roughing It
Being on a boat that’s moving through the water, it’s so clear. Everything falls into place in terms of what’s important and what’s not.
~ James Taylor
Given that we can live only a small part of what there is in us — what happens with the rest?
~ Pascal Mercier, Night Trail to Lisbon
Beauty enjoys a profound and ancient autonomy. True beauty is from elsewhere, a pure gift. It cannot be programmed nor its arrival foreseen. It never falls simply into the old patterns of what is already there nor is it frivolous or burdened with leaden solemnity.
Frequently, beauty is playful like dancing sunlight, it cannot be predicted, and in the most unlikely scene or situation can suddenly emerge. This spontaneity and playfulness often subverts our self-importance and throws our plans and intentions into disarray. Without intending it, we find ourselves coming alive in a sense of celebration and delight.
~ John O’Donohue, Beauty: The Invisible Embrace