Favorite Quotes & Passages

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Favorite Quotes & Passages

  • Richard Masta

    …on anything outdoors, nature, gardening, etc. I love reading this stuff. Sometimes I think reading about the great outdoors is almost as satisfying as experiencing it. I’ll start it off with a description someone wrote of a few days hiking the Applachian Trail. The hiker’s answer to the question “Why do you do this?” is exactly how I feel when I’m out in the deep woods.

    from Reader’s Digest’s Favorite Nature Stories (1974):

    On the morning of the first day, high above the highways and the quiet New England villages, they explored a spare, heather-like landscape of sun and sod and blueberry bushes. Then they dropped back through the clean, sweet-smelling forest of spruce and balsam into a giant’s world of jumbled boulders and unmelted winter snow called Mahoosuc Notch — the most grueling part of their hike. For hours, they picked their way between, around and over the great rocks. Late in the day, tired and footsore, they hiked into the Full Goose lean-to.

    The second day was easier, and by their third day the[y] had settled into a comfortable, satisfying cadence. On the fourth day, a lazy, balmy afternoon, they reached Gentian Pond shelter, just above the spillway of a beaver dam. They swam in the pond and basked on a sun-warmed rock. Out in the water, majestic and aloof, a bull moose waded. Chick [one of the hikers] remembers it as “one of the finest days we’ve ever spent.” The next day, they hiked out of the wilderness and caught a ride to their car.

    What had they gained? Certainly not five days of uninterrupted pleasure, for there had been times that punished them both. Rather, says Chick, “There are a few things that happen to you while you hike that are like a perfect piece on a piano or a perfect play in sports. I guess you do it just for them.”

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  • Marianne Copenhaver

     

    “I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest.” – Henry David Thoreau

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    Matt Phillips

    “The old school of thought would have you believe that you’d be a fool to take on nature without arming yourself with every conceivable measure of safety and comfort under the sun. But that isn’t what being in nature is all about. Rather, it’s about feeling free, unbounded, shedding the distractions and barriers of our civilization—not bringing them with us.”
    ― Ryel Kestenbaum, Ultralight backpacking guru (Although I haven’t made the transition to ultralight yet. I’m still somewhere in the lightweight range.)

     

    I also read a great quote once about coming back from a hike and having a hard time fitting back in. I don’t recall who it was, or the exact quote, but it definitely hit home for me.

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    Matt Phillips

    Richard, that excerpt makes me want to hike New England – right now. Or maybe wait until late summer when those blueberry bushes are filled with fruit.

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      Richard Masta

      I’m pretty bummed I’m reading this right before my work week begins, haha.

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    David Montgomery

    Lake Isle of Innisfree

    I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
    And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
    Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
    And live alone in the bee loud glade.

    And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
    Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
    There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
    And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

    I will arise and go now, for always night and day
    I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
    While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
    I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

     

    – W.B. Yeats

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    Kirsten Tynan

    When I am out hiking, I often find myself thinking about the government and its many evils, and I sometimes find it very hard to put this out of my mind, even in the most beautiful and serene of settings. It drives me crazy, but I found out some time ago that I am not the only one who has had this problem:

    “I walk toward one of our ponds; but what signifies the beauty of nature when men are base? We walk to lakes to see our serenity reflected in them; when we are not serene, we go not to them. Who can be serene in a country where both the rulers and the ruled are without principle? The remembrance of my country spoils my walk. My thoughts are murder to the State, and involuntarily go plotting against her.”
    —Henry David Thoreau, Slavery in Massachusetts

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      Richard Masta

      @kirsten, that is lovely and it’s sort of perfect timing because just today I was actually visiting Walden Pond (no joke!) and commenting on how centrally planned and unalive the place is — even if it is a “nice walk” and “educational.” My thoughts are murder to the state as well. Thanks for sharing that. it was perfect.

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    Roger Browne

    “Nature is neither for you nor against you. Nature just exists.”

    (I heard this from a fellow hiker once; I can’t remember who.)

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    Richard Masta

    I’m kind of a sucker for silly rhymes…here’s a poem laura ingalls wilder memorized as a child, as written in her autobiography:

     

    Twenty froggies went to school

    Down beside a rushy pool

    twenty little coats of green

    twenty vests all white and clean

     

    Master Bullfrog grave and stern

    taught the classes in their turn

    Showed them how to leap and dive

    taught them how to nobly strive

    Likewise how to dodge the blow

    From the stick which bad boys throw

     

    😉

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