Nobody expects to trust his body overmuch after the age of fifty.
Animals are stylized characters in a kind of old saga -- stylized because even the most acute of them have little leeway as they play out their parts.
There is a time of life somewhere between the sullen fugues of adolescence and the retrenchments of middle age when human nature becomes so absolutely absorbing one wants to be in the city constantly, even at the height of summer.
Men often compete with one another until the day they die; comradeship consists of rubbing shoulders jocularly with a competitor.
Country people do not behave as if they think life is short; they live on the principle that it is long, and savor variations of the kind best appreciated if most days are the same.
Many divorces are not really the result of irreparable injury but involve, instead, a desire on the part of the man or woman to shatter the setup, start out from scratch alone, and make life work for them all over again. They want the risk of disaster, want to touch bottom, see where bottom is, and, coming up, to breathe the air with relief and relish again.
In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesnít merely try to train him to be semihuman. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog.
The question of whether itís Godís green earth is not at center stage, except in the sense that if so, one is reminded with some regularity that He may be dying.
Like a kick in the butt, the force of events wakes slumberous talents.
There arenít many irritations to match the condescension which a woman metes out to a man who she believes has loved her vainly for the past umpteen years.
Men greet each other with a sock on the arm, women with a hug, and the hug wears better in the long run.
Land of opportunity, land for the huddled masses -- where would the opportunity have been without the genocide of those Old Guard, bristling Indian tribes?
Itís incongruous that the older we get, the more likely we are to turn in the direction of religion. Less vivid and intense ourselves, closer to the grave, we begin to conceive of ourselves as immortal.
True solitude is a din of birdsong, seething leaves, whirling colors, or a clamor of tracks in the snow.
Henry David Thoreau, who never earned much of a living or sustained a relationship with any woman that wasnít brotherly -- who lived mostly under his parentsí roof . . . who advocated one dayís work and six days ďoffĒ as the weekly round and was considered a bit of a fool in his hometown . . . is probably the American writer who tells us best how to live comfortably with our most constant companion, ourselves.
City people try to buy time as a rule, when they can, whereas country people are prepared to kill time, although both try to cherish in their mindís eye the notion of a better life ahead.
There often seems to be a playfulness to wise people, as if either their equanimity has as its source this playfulness or the playfulness flows from the equanimity; and they can persuade other people who are in a state of agitation to calm down and manage a smile.
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