538. All Or Nothing

“I say no wealth is worth my life! Not all they claim was stored in the depths of Troy, that city built on riches, in the old days of peace before the sons of Achaea came- not all the gold held fast in the Archer's rocky vaults, in Phoebus Apollo's house on Pytho's sheer cliffs! Cattle and fat sheep can all be had for the raiding, tripods all for the trading, and tawny-headed stallions. But a man's life breath cannot come back again- no raiders in force, no trading brings it back, once it slips through a man's clenched teeth. Mother tells me, the immortal goddess Thetis with her glistening feet, that two fates bear me on to the day of death. If I hold out here and I lay siege to Troy, my journey home is gone, but my glory never dies. If I voyage back to the fatherland I love, my pride, my glory dies... true, but the life that's left me will be long, the stroke of death will not come on me quickly.” ― Homer, The Iliad

533. Like A Dream And Flies Away

“But it is only what happens, when they die, to all mortals. The sinews no longer hold the flesh and the bones together, and once the spirit has let the white bones, all the rest of the body is made subject to the fire's strong fury, but the soul flitters out like a dream and flies away.” ― Homer, The Odyssey

532. Here In The Shelter

“These nights are endless, and a man can sleep through them, or he can enjoy listening to stories, and you have no need to go to bed before it is time. Too much sleep is only a bore. And of the others, any one whose heart and spirit urge him can go outside and sleep, and then, when the dawn shows, breakfast first, then go out to tend the swine of our master. But we two, sitting here in the shelter, eating and drinking, shall entertain each other remembering and retelling our sad sorrows. For afterwards a man who has suffered much and wandered much has pleasure out of his sorrows.”

530. Something In You Knows

“Perhaps your hunger to belong is always active and intense because you belonged so totally before you came here. This hunger to belong is the echo and reverberation of your invisible heritage. You are from somewhere else, where you were known, embraced and sheltered. This is also the secret root from which all longing grows. Something in you knows, perhaps remembers, that eternal belonging liberates longing into its surest and most potent creativity. This is why your longing is often wiser than your conventional sense of appropriateness, safety and truth... Your longing desires to take you towards the absolute realization of all the possibilities that sleep in the clay of your heart; it knows your eternal potential, and it will not rest until it is awakened.” ― John O'Donohue, Eternal Echoes: Celtic Reflections on Our Yearning to Belong

528. Try To Be There

“The mockingbird took a single step into the air and dropped. His wings were still folded against his sides as though he were singing from a limb and not falling, accelerating thirty-two feet per second per second, through empty air. Just a breath before he would have been dashed to the ground, he unfurled his wings with exact, deliberate care, revealing the broad bars of white, spread his elegant, white-banded tail, and so floated onto the grass. I had just rounded a corner when his incouciant step caught my eye; there was no one else in sight. The fact of his free fall was like the old philosophical conundrum about the tree that falls in the forest. The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” - Annie Dillard

518. Fine Wings Dancing Up and Down on the Horizon

"The windows showed erratically spots of burning fire, the elbow of one branch, and then some tranquil space of pure clarity. The blind hung red at the window’s edge and within the room daggers of light fell upon chairs and tables making cracks across the lacquer and polish. The green pot bulged enormously, with its white window elongated in its side. Light driving darkness before it spilt itself profusely upon the corners and bosses; and yet heaped up darkness in mounds of unmoulded shape."

510. Shining

“I am a frayed and nibbled survivor in a fallen world, and I am getting along. I am aging and eaten and have done my share of eating too. I am not washed and beautiful, in control of a shining world in which everything fits, but instead am wondering awed about on a splintered wreck I've come to care for, whose gnawed trees breathe a delicate air, whose bloodied and scarred creatures are my dearest companions, and whose beauty bats and shines not in its imperfections but overwhelmingly in spite of them...”  - Annie Dillard

506. Beyond Theories

“Reshaping life! People who can say that have never understood a thing about life—they have never felt its breath, its heartbeat—however much they have seen or done. They look on it as a lump of raw material that needs to be processed by them, to be ennobled by their touch. But life is never a material, a substance to be molded. If you want to know, life is the principle of self-renewal, it is constantly renewing and remaking and changing and transfiguring itself, it is infinitely beyond your or my obtuse theories about it.”

503. Their Presence

"She was the first “nice” girl he had ever known. In various unrevealed capacities he had come in contact with such people but always with indiscernible barbed wire between. He found her excitingly desirable. He went to her house, at first with other officers from Camp Taylor, then alone. It amazed him—he had never been in such a beautiful house before. But what gave it an air of breathless intensity was that Daisy lived there—it was as casual a thing to her as his tent out at camp was to him. There was a ripe mystery about it, a hint of bedrooms upstairs more beautiful and cool than other bedrooms, of gay and radiant activities taking place through its corridors and of romances that were not musty and laid away already in lavender but fresh and breathing and redolent of this year’s shining motor cars and of dances whose flowers were scarcely withered. It excited him too that many men had already loved Daisy—it increased her value in his eyes. He felt their presence all about the house, pervading the air with the shades and echoes of still vibrant emotions."