In this sad world of ours, sorrow comes to all; and, to the young, it comes with bitterest agony, because it takes them unawares. The older have learned to ever expect it. I am anxious to afford some alleviation of your present distress. Perfect relief is not possible, except with time. You can not now realize that you will ever feel better. Is not this so? And yet it is a mistake. You are sure to be happy again. To know this, which is certainly true, will make you some less miserable now. I have had experience enough to know what I say; and you need only to believe it, to feel better at once.
Letter to Fanny McCullough (23 December 1862); Source: Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, edited by Roy P. Basler.
“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.” - Will Rogers
"If I have any beliefs about immortality, it is that certain dogs I have known will go to heaven, and very, very few persons."
- James Thurber
"Dogs have given us their absolute all. We are the center of their universe, we are the focus of their love and faith and trust. They serve us in return for scraps. It is without a doubt the best deal man has ever made."
From the very useful rules of thumb
1294. The less money people have, the more they spend on a funeral.
1222. After you attend a funeral, expect to go into a cleaning and organizational frenzy when you get home.
Digging a Grave
1414. The standard size for a human grave is 7'8" long by 3'2" wide by 6' deep, unless there is to be more than one person buried in it. Then add two feet of depth for each body.
1198. When digging a grave by hand, haul away 17 wheelbarrow loads of dirt and pile the rest by the hole. You will have just the right amount to backfill.
Money has replaced sex as a driving force, death has replaced sex as a taboo, and sex has replaced bridge as a social event for mixed foursomes,
I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.
I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.
"I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure."
"I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure."
"The sorrow for the dead is the only sorrow from which we refuse to be divorced. Every other wound we seek to heal - every other affliction to forget: but this wound we consider it a duty to keep open - this affliction we cherish and brood over in solitude."
"I'm not going to die, I'm going home like a shooting star"
Sojourner Truth, originally a Dutch speaking slave in Hurley, NY, was freed by the NY State Anti-Slavery Act in 1827. Her children born when she was enslaved were taken from her. Searching for her son Peter first brought her into contact with anti-slavery abolitionists.
She later supported herself by preaching against slavery and for women's rights throughout the north. Born Isabelle Van Wagenen, she took the name Sojourner Truth in 1843. Here she is with President Lincoln.
Sojourner Truth Memorial, Florence, Ma
Sojourner Trust Institute
The Narrative of Sojourner Truth
Sojourner Truth reading list for all ages
Her famous "Ain't I A Woman" speech recalled by someone who was there.
"Most people don't ever see anyone die. It used to be if you grew up in a family, you saw everybody die. They died in their bed at home with everyone gathered around.
Death is the major issue in the world. For you, for me, for all of us. It just is. To not be able to talk about it is very odd."
From the first interview of Cormac McCarthy in thirteen years by Richard Woodward in the August edition of Vanity Fair (sadly, not online).
McCarthy wrote "All the Pretty Horses winning the National Book Award in 1992 and making his literary reputation. It's part of the Border Crossing which also includes Cities of the Plain and The Crossing.
It's been a while since I've read All the Pretty Horses but I remember loving it for its language, its setting, the love story, but most of all for the reflections on life, honor and loyalty by the young cowboy John Grady Cole. I can remember copying out some passages for their sheer beauty and profundity.
The closest bonds we will ever know are the bonds of grief.
The deepest community is one of sorrow.
A thought for a beautiful summer afternoon outside.
"When we are mindful of every nuance of our natural world, we finally get the picture: we are given only one dazzling moment of life here on Earth, and we must stand before that humbled and elevated, subject to every law of our Universe and grateful for our brief, but intrinsic participation in it."
Elizabeth Gilbert in her biography of naturalist Eustace Conway."Last American Man.
From the review in Publishers Weekly.
"By the time Eustace Conway was seven years old he could throw a knife accurately enough to nail a chipmunk to a tree." Such behavior might qualify Eustace as a potential Columbine-style triggerman, but in Gilbert's startling and fascinating account of his life, he becomes a great American countercultural hero. At 17, Conway "headed into the mountains... and dressed in the skins of animals he had hunted and eaten." By his late 30s, Eustace owned "a thousand acres of pristine wilderness" and lived in a teepee in the woods full-time. He is, as Gilbert (Stern Men) implies with her literary and historical references, a cross between Davy Crockett and Henry David Thoreau
Each of us is here for a brief sojourn; for what purpose he knows not, though he sometimes thinks he senses it. But without deeper reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people— first of all for those upon whose smiles and well-being our own happiness is wholly dependent, and then for the many, unknown to us, to whose destinies we are bound by the ties of sympathy. A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving...
I have never looked upon ease and happiness as ends in themselves— this critical basis I call the ideal of a pigsty. The ideals that have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Kindness, Beauty, and Truth.
The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed. It was the experience of mystery— even if mixed with fear— that engendered religion. A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, our perceptions of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which only in their most primitive forms are accessible to our minds: it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute true religiosity. In this sense, and only this sense, I am a deeply religious man.
A human being is part of a whole, called by us the Universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
I came across wonderful quotes linked to extraordinary photos
at an unexpected place
If every man and woman were to take the meaning of their life and pursue it passionately, they would alter the social landscape overnight. In fact, that's how lasting revolutions are made--not by the raised arm of the masses, not by the military seizure of power, not by the political coup d'etat, but by individuals asserting who they are one at a time.
Who is not satisfied with himself will grow; who is not sure of his own correctness will learn many things.
It's what you learn after you know it all that counts.
To a person uninstructed in natural history, his country or sea-side stroll is a walk through a gallery filled with wonderful works of art, nine-tenths of which have their faces turned to the wall.
The art of medicine consists of amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.
There appear to be no integrating forces, no unified meaning, no true inner understanding of phenomena in our experience of the world. Experts can explain anything in the objective world to us, yet we understand our own lives less and less. In short, we live in the postmodern world, where everything is possible and almost nothing is certain.