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Nature

  • I feel about nature like people who don't like dogs feel about dogs—very nice for other people if they're kept in the right place.

  • I hate nature. I really do. Nature is composed entirely of sticks, dirt, fall-down places, biting and stinging things, and savageries too numerous to list. Man has been building cities since the year oughty-ought, just to get away from this stuff.

  • ... when we leave society and come into the presence of Nature, we become children again; and the fictions of thought and action assumed among men drop off like a garment.

  • ... to me the outdoors is what you must pass through in order to get from your apartment into a taxicab.

  • Now, nature, as I am only too well aware, has her enthusiasts, but on the whole, I am not to be counted among them. To put it rather bluntly, I am not the type who wants to go back to the land — I am the type who wants to go back to the hotel.

  • It has been my experience that people who are at cross purposes with nature are cynical about mankind and ill at ease with themselves.

  • Nature has her language, and she is not unveracious; but we don't know all the intricacies of her syntax just yet, and in a hasty reading we may happen to extract the very opposite of her real meaning.

  • The 'control of nature' is a phrase conceived in arrogance, born of the Neanderthal age of biology and philosophy, when it was supposed that nature exists for the convenience of man.

  • To have risked to much in our efforts to mold nature to our satisfaction and yet to have failed in achieving our goal would indeed be the final irony. Yet this, it seems, is our situation.

  • There is symbolic as well as actual beauty in the migration of the birds, the ebb and flow of the tides, the folded bud ready for the spring. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.

  • Those who dwell, as scientists or laymen, among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life. Whatever the vexations or concerns of their personal lives, their thoughts can find paths that lead to inner contentment and to renewed excitement in living. Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.

  • In every grain of sand there is a story of the earth.

    • Rachel Carson,
    • in Linda Lear, ed., Lost Woods: The Discovered Writing of Rachel Carson ()
  • Nature seems to exult in abounding radicality, extremism, anarchy. If we were to judge nature by its common sense or likelihood, we wouldn't believe the world existed. In nature, improbabilities are the one stock in trade. The whole creation is one lunatic fringe. ... No claims of any and all revelations could be so far-fetched as a single giraffe.

  • Nature is, above all, profligate. Don't believe them when they tell you how economical and thrifty nature, is, whose leaves return to the soil. Wouldn't it be cheaper to leave them on the tree in the first place?

  • Nature's silence is its one remark, and every flake of world is a chip off that old mute and immutable block.

  • ... art speaks only to the mind, whereas nature speaks to all the faculties ...

  • The whole secret of the study of nature lies in learning how to use one's eyes ...

  • I have no enthusiasm for nature which the slightest chill will not instantly destroy.

    • George Sand,
    • in Ralph Waldo Emerson, Letters and Social Aims ()
  • ... in nature everything is transformed but nothing destroyed.

  • The tragic side of many architectural enterprises is that they destroy natural beauties which are a priceless possession and cannot be replaced.

  • To grow up in intimate association with nature — animal and vegetable — is an irreplaceable form of wealth and culture.

  • Whatever peace I know rests in the natural world, in feeling myself a part of it, even in a small way.

  • Those who never sink into this peace of nature lose a tremendous well of strength, for there is something healing and life-giving in the mere atmosphere surrounding a country house.

  • Perhaps nature is our best assurance of immortality.

  • Nature doesn't move in a straight line, and as part of nature, neither do we.

  • Nature, being a wise and provident lady, governs her parts very wisely, methodically, and orderly: Also, she is very industrious and hates to be idle, which makes her employ her time as a good housewife doth.

  • At times there is nothing so unnatural as nature.

  • ... Nature is indeed a specious ward, nay, there is a great deal in it if it is properly understood and applied, but I cannot bear to hear people using it to justify what common sense must disavow. Is not Nature modifed by art in many things? Was it not designed to be so? And is it not happy for human society that it is so? Would you like to see your husband let his beard grow, until he would be obliged to put the end of it in his pocket, because this beard is the gift of Nature?

  • ... they are much to be pitied who have not ... been given a taste for nature in early life. They lose a great deal.

  • The blossom rifled, / With laden thighs / Further each willing / Eunuch plies: / A dull way to fertilize.

  • And where was happiness if it sprung not from the soil? Where contentment if it dwelt not near to Nature?

  • It is impossible to be among the woods animals on their own ground without a feeling of expanding one's own world, as when any foreign country is visited.

  • ... the various earth odors all have a separate tale to tell, and the leaf mold of the woods bears a wholly different fragrance from that of the soil under pasture turf, or the breath that the garden gives off in great sighs of relief when it is relaxed and refreshed by a summer shower.

  • That is the stimulus of nature; it is never, never old, and always developing. Even the scarred, wrinkled earth herself is a mere infant among the old ladies and gentlemen that tread foot-paths in the sky ...

  • Nature, when undisturbed, is never monotonous, you know. Even when using green, the most frequent color on her palette, she throws in contrasting tints by way of expression, and you will seldom see two sides of a leaf of the same hue, and the leaf stem frequently gives a good dash of bronze or purple.

  • Nature is not natural and that is natural enough.

  • There is nothing in nature that can't be taken as a sign of both mortality and invigoration.

  • Everything in nature invites us constantly to be what we are.

  • We use the word 'wilderness,' but perhaps we mean wildness. Isn't that why I've come here, to seek the wildness in myself and, in so doing, come on the wildness everywhere, because after all, I'm part of nature too.

  • To rise above treeline is to go above thought, and after, the descent back into bird song, bog orchids, willows, and firs is to sink into the preliterate parts of ourselves.

  • Up the hill from the beach, green slopes turned to hair: wild mustard — whose seed was originally scattered by Spaniards as they rode north — rose up on stalks like stilts, growing two inches a day until the flowering tops reached far above my head, and Irish green gave way to yellow. Hundreds of acres of avocados blossomed and the oak trees in the hills behind my home tassled out. In the fall the acorn harvest would be good. On the ground was buckeye, poppy, owl clover, paintbrush, but after thirty inches of rain the grass came in so thick the wildflowers wouldn't find enough space to grow. Along the road, yuccas sent up their long-stalked flowers — creamy white candles, and on my walks at night, if there was no moon they brightened my trail. But when the full moon came around again it shone a tapering path on seawater that led from El Capitan to Point Conception: a candle lit in the land of the dead.

  • June marked the end of spring on California's central coast and the beginning of five months of dormancy that often erupted in fire. Mustard's yellow robes had long since turned red, then brown. Fog and sun mixed to create haze. The land had rusted. The mountains, once blue-hued with young oaks and blooming ceanosis, were tan and gray. I walked across the fallen blossoms of five yucca plants: only the bare poles of their stems remained to mark where their lights had shone the way.

  • Nature has a language of its own, or maybe those who have lived long in solitude read in it their own unconscious inner feelings and mysterious foreknowledge.

  • ... if I have learned nothing else in all these months in the woods, I have thoroughly learned to keep hands off the processes of nature.

  • Nature is the mirror of divinity.

  • ... rightly understood, nature speaks of her Creator.

  • Earth-voices are glad voices, and earth-songs come up from the ground through the plants; and in their flowering, and in the days before these days are come, they do tell the earth-songs to the wind. And the wind in her goings does whisper them to folks to print for other folks, so other folks do have knowing of earth's songs. When I grow up, I am going to write for children — and grownups that haven't grown up too much — all the earth-songs I now do hear.

    • Opal Whiteley,
    • 1920, in Benjamin Hoff, ed., The Singing Creek Where the Willows Grow ()
  • ... the brook that does go by our house is always bringing songs from the hills.

    • Opal Whiteley,
    • 1920, in Benjamin Hoff, ed., The Singing Creek Where the Willows Grow ()
  • Mud has so much of interest in it — slippery feels, and sometimes little seeds that someday will grow into plant-folk, if they do get the right chance.

    • Opal Whiteley,
    • 1920, in Benjamin Hoff, ed., The Singing Creek Where the Willows Grow ()
  • Nature may emulate art but is never so satisfying.

  • Nature has a counterpart, a representation of every interior mood and obscure perception of man.

    • Mary Butts,
    • 1921, in Nathalie Blondel, ed., The Journals of Mary Butts ()
  • There are only rare times when a man's soul can see Nature. So long as any passion holds its revel there, the eyes are holden that they should not see her. Go out if you will, and walk alone on the hill-side in the evening, but if your favorite child lies ill at home, or your lover comes to-morrow, or at your heart there lies a scheme for the holding of wealth, then you will return as you went out; you will have seen nothing.

  • This indescribably sweet web of moonlight and delicate snowy ether surrounded me. Nature was talking to me and I listened, trembling with bliss.

  • Nature is a universal that is shareable by all, males and females, men and women, and can thus be of use in mediating between all. The same does not apply for already constructed worlds and cultures. They are neither universal nor easily shareable.

  • There is a way of beholding nature that is itself a form of prayer.

  • How anyone cannot see that Nature is God is amazing to me: that they'd rather worship something that can only exist, really, in their own minds.

  • Trees and flowers were often more meaningful to me than people. They always helped me, consoled me, giving the soul a chance to believe once more than the world was beautiful and sensible, that the mad absurdities and cruelties of men were against the laws of Nature and the Universal Mind; that sooner or later violence would suffer utter defeat on this Earth. No words collected in books were more effectively convincing to me than foliage, clouds, rippling waters, rain.

  • What the Indians are saying is that they are recognizing the right of wilderness to be wilderness. Wilderness is not an extension of human need or of human justification. It is itself and it is inviolate, itself. This does not mean that, therefore, we become separated from it, because we don't. We stay connected if, once in our lives, we learn exactly what that connection is between our heart, our womb, our mind, and wilderness. And when each of us has her wilderness within her, we can be together in a balanced kind of way. The forever, we have that within us.

  • Nature is full for us of seeming inconsistencies and glad surprises.

  • ... cats will be clean in a pigsty while pigs will be dirty in a marble hall.

  • ... human names for natural things are superfluous. Nature herself does not name them. The important thing is to know this flower, look at its color until the blueness becomes as real as a keynote of music.

  • Go out there into the glory of the woods. See God in every particle of them expressing glory and strength and power, tenderness and protection. Know that they are God expressing God made manifest.

  • Knowledge supersedes impression. Naming relegates nature to the world of books, experts, and authorities. It dilutes the immediacy of the experience.

  • Americans are nature-lovers: but they only admit of nature proofed and corrected by man.

  • For those who have experienced the joy of being alone with nature there is really little need for me to say much more; for those who have not, no words of mine can ever describe the powerful, almost mystical knowledge of beauty and eternity that come, suddenly, and all unexpected.

    • Jane Goodall,
    • in Jane Goodall with Phillip Berman, Reason for Hope: A Spiritual Journey ()
  • ... there came without warning a flowing into me of that which I have come to associate with the gods. I went to the open door and looked up at the mountains with something akin to awe. It forced me out into the open where I could look up to the sacred high places on which humans do not dwell. Then it left me — perhaps to return to those sacred places.

    • Edith Warner,
    • in Peggy Pond Church, The House at Otowi Bridge ()
  • I am I and earth is earth — mesa, sky, wind, rushing river. Each is an entity but the essence of the earth flows into me — perhaps of me into the earth. And to me it is more than a few seconds' experience. Nor is it any longer strange but natural, not ecstatic but satisfying. The detail of life becomes the scaffolding.

    • Edith Warner,
    • in Peggy Pond Church, The House at Otowi Bridge ()
  • ... when humans interfere with nature something always goes wrong, despite good intentions. And once things are out of kilter, we cannot restore the balance.

  • ... the delight in natural things — colors, forms, scents — when there was nothing to restrain or hamper it, has often been a kind of intoxication, in which thought and consciousness seemed suspended ...

  • People and dogs and cows are born to be what they are. They may cover it up for a long time, but it will come out sooner or later.

  • ... I used to think that communing with nature was a healing, positive thing. Now, I think I'd like to commune with other things — like room service and temperature control.

  • We call it 'Nature'; only reluctantly / admitting ourselves to be 'Nature' too.

    • Denise Levertov,
    • "Sojourns in the Parallel World," Sands of the Well ()
  • ... nature has not changed. The night is still unsullied, the stars still twinkle, and the wild thyme smells as sweetly now as it did then ... We may be afflicted and unhappy, but no one can take from us the sweet delight which is nature's gift to those who love her and her poetry.

    • George Sand,
    • in André Maurois, Lelia: The Life of George Sand ()
  • [The] whirlwind fife-and-drum of the storm bends the salt marsh grass, disturbs stars in the sky and the star on the steeple; it is a privilege to see so much confusion.

  • My roses are my jewels; the sun, moon, and stars my clocks; fruit and water my fare.

    • Lady Hester Stanhope,
    • 1838, in Duchess of Cleveland, The Life and Letters of Lady Hester Stanhope ()
  • The healing of our relationship with place begins with the preservation of the natural environment. We cannot go to the wild for renewal if no wilderness is left.

  • Mess with nature and it will mess right back ...

  • The more the wonders of the world become inaccessible, the more intensely do its curiosities affect us.

  • Nature always levies her tribute.

  • ... old Mother Nature, with strident muttering, had set about her annual house cleaning. With her efficient broom, the March wind, she was sweeping every nook and cranny clean. With her scrub-bucket overflowing with April showers, she was washing the face of all creation, and if these measures failed to produce cleanliness to her satisfaction, she gave a final polish with storms of hail.

  • The love of nature is a passion for those in whom it once lodges. It can never be quenched. It cannot change. It is a furious, burning, physical greed, as well as a state of mystical exaltation. It will have its own.

  • Who can say which is the greater sign of creative power, the sun with its planet system swinging with governed impetus to some incalculable end, or the gold sallow catkin with its flashing system of little flies?

  • Nature's music is never over; her silences are pauses, not conclusions.

  • No accident of environment or circumstance need cut us off from nature. ... It does not matter how shut in we are. Opportunity for wide experience is of small acccount in this as in other things; it is depth that brings understanding and life.

  • However there is no shame when one is foolish with a tree / No bird ever called me crazy / No rock scorns me as a whore / The earth means exactly what it says / The wind is without flattery or lust / Greed is balanced by the hunger of all / So I embrace anew, as my childhood spirit did, the whispers of a world without words.

    • Chrystos,
    • "No Rock Scorns Me as Whore," in Cherríe Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa, eds., This Bridge Called My Back ()
  • Those hills hold nothing now / Mostly leveled / Without deer, without puma, without pheasant, without blue-bellied lizards, without quail, without ancient oaks / Lawns instead / Deeply disgusted by lawns / Stupid flat green crew cuts / Nothing for anybody to eat.

    • Chrystos,
    • "No Rock Scorns Me as Whore," in Cherríe Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa, eds., This Bridge Called My Back ()
  • Man is a great blunderer going about in the woods, and there is no other except the bear makes so much noise. ... The cunningest hunger is hunted in turn, and what he leaves of his kill is meat for some other. That is the economy of nature, but with it all there is not sufficient account taken of the works of man. There is no scavenger that eats tin cans, and no wild thing leaves a like disfigurement on the forest floor.

  • The great sea / frees me, moves me, / as a strong river carries a weed. / Earth and her strong winds / move me, take me away, / and my soul is swept up in joy.

    • Uvavnuk,
    • in Knud Rasmussen, Report of the Fifth Thule Expedition ()
  • The fact is that one hasn't had a moment to oneself during domestic life in the country. Nature is too much for me altogether, either in the shape of weeds or children, and fills up all one's spare time.

    • Vanessa Bell,
    • to Roger Fry (1925), in Regina Marler, ed., Selected Letters of Vanessa Bell ()
  • Nature is just enough; but men and women must comprehend and accept her suggestions.

  • I do not own an inch of land, / But all I see is mine, — / The orchard and the mowing-fields, / The lawns and gardens fine. / The winds my tax-collectors are, / They bring me tithes divine ...

    • Lucy Larcom,
    • "A Strip of Blue," in Edmund Clarence Stedman, An American Anthology 1787-1900 ()
  • Sentimentality about nature denatures everything it touches.

  • There are dangers in sentimentalizing nature. Most sentimental ideas imply, at bottom, a deep if unacknowledged disrespect. It is no accident that we Americans, probably the world's champion sentimentalizers about nature, are at one and the same time probably the world's most voracious and disrespectful destroyers of wild and rural countryside.

  • Nature is boundless in her powers, exhausting in her variety: the powers of Art and its capabilities of variety in production are bounded on every side. Nature herself, the infinite, has circumscribed the bounds of finite Art. The one is the divinity; the other the priestess.

  • Nature is the first tutor. No one remains untouched or unschooled by the earth, seasons, and heavens.

  • Nature, left to itself, defeats nature.

  • The natural world is dynamic. From the expanding universe to the hair on a baby's head, nothing is the same from now to the next moment.

  • ... man ... thinks of himself as a creator instead of a user, and this delusion is robbing him, not only of his natural heritage, but perhaps of his future.

  • Nature is neither reasonable nor just. Nature is exact.

  • Nature operates by profusion. Think of the nearly infinite number of seeds that fall to earth, only a fraction of which take root to become trees; of those five thousand or so drones that exist solely to ensure the fertilization of one queen bee; of the millions of sperm competing so fiercely to fertilize one egg. Similarly, human beings engaged in the creative process explore an astronomical number of possible patterns before settling on an idea.

  • It is the nature of human beings not to be able to leave nature alone.

  • ... witches try to 'connect' with the world around them. Witchcraft, they say, is about the tactile, intuitive understanding of the turn of the seasons, the song of the birds; it is the awareness of all things as holy ...

  • Nature can seem cruel, but she balances her books.

  • O the green things growing, the green things growing, / The faint sweet smell of the green things growing!

  • All my life through, the new sights of Nature made me rejoice like a child.

  • treetalk and windsong are / the language of my mother / her music does not leave me.

  • ... a man can break God's laws and be forgiven. That's what they teach us. But when he breaks Nature's laws, there's no forgiveness — and there's no escape. Sooner or later he pays the penalty, or his children pay it — or his children's children. It doesn't matter much. It must be paid.

  • Listen — man is a child of Nature. When he turns against his mother — he's done! He may not find out about it right away, but he will.

  • The lessons of the wilderness have not always been easy, but they have been profound.

  • I go into the wilderness and rediscover the home within.

    • China Galland,
    • in Lorraine Anderson, ed., Sisters of the Earth ()
  • Nature has made nothing in vain.

  • Getting back to nature has its points. It makes civilization look very good.

  • Today I walked on lion-colored hills / with only cypresses for company, / until the sunset caught me, turned the brush to copper, / set the clouds / to one great roof of flame / above the earth, / so that I walked through fire, beneath fire, / and all in beauty.

  • ... there is something about living in the great outdoors that forever seems to cheapen man-made things as compared to Nature. Awe-inspiring as a New York skyscraper can be with its architectural perfection, or the eye-stretching spans of a San Francisco Golden Gate suspension bridge, they seem insignificant beside the great forest trees.

  • Much earnest philosophical thought is born of the life which springs from close association with nature.

  • I love books the way I love nature. ... I can imagine now that a time will come, that it is almost upon us, when no one will love books ... It is no accident, I think, that books and nature (as we know it) may disappear simultaneously from human experience. There is no mind-body split.

    • Andrea Dworkin,
    • "First Love," in Julia Wolf Mazow, ed., The Woman Who Lost Her Names ()
  • It is important that our relationship with farm animals is reciprocal. We owe animals a decent life and a painless death. I have observed that the people who are completely out of touch with nature are the most afraid of death ...

    • Temple Grandin,
    • "Thinking Like Animals," in Linda Hogan, Deena Metzger, and Brenda Peterson, eds., Intimate Nature: The Bond Between Women and Animals ()
  • ... we are nature. We are nature seeing nature. We are nature with a concept of nature. Nature weeping. Nature speaking of nature to nature.

  • ... going into a cave might be like going inside one's own mind, crawling around in the pitch-black, nook-and-crannied labyrinth of the human psyche.

  • ... caves so often symbolize rebirth. It's a hidden space, an expected, inscrutable space. Strange things live in there — eyeless salamanders, albino fish, a prophet's epiphanies.

  • The underground world is a unique scientific resource and a place of incredible beauty. It is also a very fragile environment that can be easily damaged. Caves are a nonrenewable natural resource. Unlike a forest that can be replanted with trees, caves can never be replaced once they have been harmed.

    • Nancy Holler Aulenbach,
    • in Nancy Holler Aulenbach and Hazel A. Barton, with Marfél Ferguson Delano, Exploring Caves: Journeys Into the Earth ()
  • Nature is like a wild animal that you have trained to work for you. So long as you are vigilant and walk warily with thought and care, so long will it give you its aid, but look away for an instant, be heedless or forgetful, and it has you by the throat.

  • By the time I was eleven years old, I had been taught that nature, far from abhorring a Vacuum, positively adores it.

  • [On Einstein:] You cannot analyze him, otherwise you will misjudge him. Such a genius should be irreproachable in every respect. But no, nature doesn't behave like this. Where she gives extravagantly, she takes away extravagantly.

    • Elsa Einstein,
    • letter, in Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, The Mind-Body Problem ()
  • Smile / to see the lake / lay / the still sky / And / out for an easy / make / the dragonfly.

  • ... when you're talking about nature, you're talking about the ocean — because most of nature is the ocean.

  • There is something in the decay of nature that awakens thought, even in the most trifling mind.

  • Nature is a catchment of sorrows.

  • ... the maltreatment of the natural world and its impoverishment leads to the impoverishment of the human soul. It is related to the outburst of violence in human society. To save the natural world today means to save what is human in humanity.

  • My affliction began / When Columbus first set foot on this earth. / When the trees were seen only as lumber / When the animals were viewed solely as meat / And when vegetation was regarded / Primarily as produce. / My affliction continued / When the prairies were fenced / When the moon was sentimentalized / When the rivers were harnessed / And illumination only happened by the / Turn of a switch.

  • In nature, / I am neither rich nor poor, / Neither old or young / Modern or old-fashioned / My vestments, appropriate to the heat or cool / Are indifferent to her / She doesn't care if I am employed or idle / Whether I've paid my bills on time / Or if I will be the recipient of a grand prize / I cannot impress her with my wit / But I feel she understands my pain / She offers me her bounty whether / I have earned her grace or not / So great is her wisdom / So huge her heart.

  • If we are willing to be still and beome aware of what we are truly made of — energy and matter — we may experience the connection to the living system called nature. In the awakening of our own cellular memories, we may remember the way we evolved in harmony with each other within the cycles of life, the nature of nature.

    • Christine Jurzykowski,
    • "Dance With a Giraffe," in Linda Hogan, Deena Metzger, and Brenda Peterson, eds., Intimate Nature: The Bond Between Women and Animals ()
  • Any interference with nature is damnable. Not only nature but also the people will suffer.

  • Nature has been for me, for as long as I can remember, a source of solace, inspiration, adventure, and delight; a home, a teacher, a companion.

  • And Sharkey says: All of nature talks to me. If I could just figure out what it was trying to tell me. Listen! Trees are swinging in the breeze. They're talking to me. Insects are rubbing their legs together. They're all talking. They're talking to me. And short animals — They're bucking up on their hind legs. Talking. Talking to me. Hey! Look out! Bugs are crawling up my legs! You know? I'd rather see this on TV.

  • You ask of my companions. Hills, sir, and the sundown, and a dog as large as myself that my father bought me. They are better than human beings, because they know but do not tell.

    • Emily Dickinson,
    • in Thomas H. Johnson, ed., The Letters of Emily Dickinson ()
  • Like the mind-set that places men above women, whites above blacks, and rich above poor, the mentality that places humans above nature is a dysfunctional delusion.

  • Nature is, by and large, to be found out of doors, a location where, it cannot be argued, there are never enough comfortable chairs.

  • Nature is a tenacious recycler, every dung heap and fallen redwood tree a bustling community of saprophytes wresting life from the dead and discarded, as though intuitively aware that there is nothing new under the sun. Throughout the physical world, from the cosmic to the subatomic, the same refrain resounds. Conservation: it's not just a good idea, it's the law.

  • Nature is a chain of dominoes: if you pull one piece out, the whole thing falls down.

  • Part of the irony of loving the natural world is understanding that it would be better off without human presence.

  • Wilderness without its animals is dead — dead scenery. Animals without wilderness are a closed book.

  • So what is wild? What is wilderness? What are dreams but an internal wilderness and what is desire but a wildness of the soul?

  • Before this world existed, the holy people made themselves visible by becoming the clouds, sun, moon, trees, bodies of water, thunder, rain, snow, and other aspects of this world we live in. That way, they said, we would never be alone. So it is possible to talk to them and pray, no matter where we are and how we feel.

  • All the things of the wild have their proper uses. Only misuse makes them evil.

  • ... the breed is more than the pasture. As you know, the cuckoo lays her eggs in any bird's nest; it may be hatched among blackbirds or robins or thrushes, but it is always a cuckoo. ... a man cannot deliver himself from his ancestors.

  • Breed is stronger than pasture.

  • Environment is undoubtedly a secondary factor in the phenomena of life; it can modify in that it can help or hinder, but it can never create.

  • A human being isn't an orchid; he must draw something from the soil he grows in.

  • My theory is that when we come on this earth, many of us are ready-made. Some of us — most of us — have genes that are ready for certain performances. Nature gives you these gifts. There's no denying that Caruso came with a voice, there's no denying that Beethoven came with music in his soul. Picasso was drawing like an angel in the crib. You're born with it.

  • I think character never changes; the Acorn becomes an Oak, which is very little like an Acorn to be sure, but it never becomes an Ash ...

    • Hester Lynch Piozzi,
    • 1797, in Oswald G. Knapp, ed., The Intimate Letters of Hester Piozzi and Penelope Pennington 1788-1821 ()