Friday, June 29, 2007

Twelve Moons of the Year. August 02.

Significant Sentences from The Twelve Moons of the Year by Hal Borland, a chronology of the New England seasons.

"Green acorns hang heavy in the oaks, ripening toward October when their tam-o'-shantered nuts will be a harvest for every squirrel in the woods." p. 219.

"A meteor is a particle of matter moving rapidly from outer space and heated to incandescence by friction of the earth's atmosphere." p. 221.

"Dawn and the lake is gauzed with mist; sunrise begins to lift the mist and the water dances and glitters as the morning breeze begins to clear the air. Noon and it is lazy as the damselflies along its shore.... Sunset fades, but dusk lingers, shimmery with reflected light; then darkness, starlight again, moonlight and the slow lap of water at the moored boats." p. 224.

"Late August nights are always insect-loud." p. 226.

"Now all these fiddlers [insects] are out and making the darkness echo as though driven by a special frenzy." p. 226.

"What we really hear in the late-August nights' insects' sounds is the summer passing." p. 226.

"Now, in the insect-loud night, we know that October will come, and November, when only the scuffle of sere leaves will scratch the night." p. 227.

"One reason August has no holidays as such is that sweet corn and garden-ripe tomatoes make every day a festival." p. 228.

"Crab apples are ripe; they hang like scarlet jewels in the late August sun on a thousand hills and in the dooryards and along the green border. On thousands of shelves are glasses of fresh honey-amber crab apple jelly. The flavor has something of late frost and stony hillsides. The crab apple has enough flavor for an apple three times its size." p. 229.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Twelve Moons of the Year. August 01.

Significant Sentences from The Twelve Moons of the Year by Hal Borland, a chronology of the New England seasons. August 01.

"August comes with hot days, warm nights, a brassy sun, and something in the air, perhaps the season itself, that begins to rust the high-hung leaves of the elms." p. 210.

"The night still twinkles with fireflies but the day's heat lingers and the air has a dusty August scent, the smell of languid summer." p. 210.

"The Indians of New England were famous for their corn and grew at least four varieties, one for roasting for succotash, one for meal, and one to...pop." p. 211.

"August...a kind of sweet serenity now possesses the land." p. 212.

"Cattails lift green bayoneted ranks from the mucky margins." p. 212.

"Dragonflies in the hot afternoon, swallows in the cool of evening, seine the air for mosquitoes." p. 212.

"The heat of midday throbs with the cicada's shrill drone, one of the drowsiest of all summer sounds." p. 212.

"August makes its own season." p. 214.

"The lights of the fireflies begin to dim, the buzz of the annual cicadas passes its shrill crescendo, the crickets stridulate, and after the crickets we hear the first katydids. You can time the season by the insect sequence." p. 217.

"Crickets now are fiddling in the long, hot afternoons; katydids will soon be scratching at the night." p. 217.

"Tradition says the first frost will come six weeks after the first katydid is heard." p. 217.

"As for most insects, summer is a lifetime to a katydid--birth and growth and maturity, which ends in old age and death." p. 217.

"Insect time ticks madly now, setting the tempo for buzz and scratch and hum that mark not a season but a lifetime." p. 217.

"The worts, the persistent herbs of the old back-country apothecary, constitute a kind of folk poetry of human ills and aches, of pain and hope and trust, and inevitably of occasional cure." p. 218.

"There is a mellowness about a moonlit night in August."

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Twelve Moons of the Year. July 03.

Significant sentences from The Twelve Moons of the Year by Hal Borland, a chronology of the New England seasons. July 03.

"Midsummer is the power and glory of the earth." p. 199.

"But if you become too arrogant, forgetting that you are a junior partner, a thunderstorm may box your ears or a tornado may make you think twice about human omnipotence." p. 199.

"Midsummer. The inclination is toward autumn, though we are reluctant to admit it." p. 200.

"...the crickets possess late July, chirping and trilling the warm hours away as though summer endured forever." p. 201.

"...remote, sad call of a mourning dove." p. 201.

"A single milkweed pod will spill 200 winged seeds to the wind." p. 202.

"...some species of wild flowers can lie dormant, awaiting a favorable season, thirty or forty years." p. 202.

"As summer advances, the colors change, slowly, subtly, but unmistakably." p. 206.

"Soon the country roadside will gleam with goldenrod, late summer's answer to June's buttercups." p. 206.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Twelve Moons of the Year. July 02.

Significant sentences from The Twelve Moons of the Year by Hal Borland, a chronology of the New England seasons.

"Out in the stream a fish surfaces, slaps the water, and the circling ripples spread, gleaming in the sunlight, ripples like time itself." p. 192.

"Something about dragonflies speaks of remote times when there were dragons, even flying dragons, of millennia past....; hover and wheel in swift flight...; among our most helpful insects, feeding almost entirely on gnats, flies and mosquitoes." p. 192.

"Looking, listening, sensing, we know that this is summer's song; but we also know that no summer's song lasts forever." p. 194.

"Change, the eternal constant, subtly shapes days." p. 195.

"Garden tomatoes fatten, still grass green, toward August ripeness." p. 195.

"The insects drone, afternoon and night...." p. 195.

"The bright butterfly's wings hover among the roadside weeds." p. 196.

"Fly-buzz, bee-hum, mosquito whine, all are the sound of thrumming wings." p. 196.

"Some insect wings are incredibly swift...; the bee and the housefly beat their wings 200 times or more per second...; mosquito's wings make 600 strokes per second...; there are leisurely wings, too...big butterflies beat their wings only 10 or 20 times per second, and the dragonflies about twice that number." p. 196.

"Chicory of the few wildings of the season that have a color to match the July sky. Some call it the blue daisy...bright as a summer morning." p. 198

Monday, June 25, 2007

Twelve Moons of the Year. July 01

Significant sentences from The Twelve Moons of the Year by Hal Borland, a chronology of the New England seasons. July 01.

"July afternoons can roar and rumble with thunderstorms that slash the sky, shake the hills and drench the valleys." p. 180.

"July nights can be as cool as May, as sultry as late august, and they are lit with more fireflies than stars." p. 180.

"By the first week in July the day lilies at the roadside and the brown-eyed Susans in the old pastures splash the countryside with Van Gogh orange." p. 183.

"There are almost 90,000 species of insects in North America and 25,000 of them are beetles." p. 184.

"Man fights insects for his mastery of the earth, and they outbreed all his efforts." p. 185.

"Daisies--sometimes called Farmer's Curse--beautify rural roadsides, but they invade meadows, pastures and all kinds of cultivated fields." p. 185.

"Beans. Properly cooked and buttered, the bean is one of the most satisfying of all early garden yields." p. 186.

"...wild chicory is warm blue, and Queen Anne's lace is a white cloud at the roadside." p. 186.

"...a rainy day is a blessing to the earth and everything that lives upon it." p. 190.

"If time ever stands is on a mid-July day along a rural road with a leisurely stream on one side and fields and a wooded hillside on the other. Early afternoon and the air is warm and quiet, even among the top leaves of the roadside trees. The sky is clean and clear except for a few huge white cumulus clouds that make cool shade patterns as they slowly drift across the sun." p. 191.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Twelve Moons of the Year. June (02)

Significant sentences from The Twelve Moons of the Year by Hal Borland, a chronology of the New England seasons. (June 02)

"The chorus of birdsong diminishes, as always when hot days come, though it still is heard in the cool of morning and evening." p. 166.

"A brown thrasher feeds its nestlings as many as 6,000 insects a day." p. 166.

"A pair of barn swallows catches and feeds 1,000 leaf hoppers to its young in one day." p. 166.

"A house wren feeds 500 spiders and small caterpillars to her nestful in one afternoon." p. 166.

"A Baltimore oriole takes as many as 100 caterpillars to her woven pouch of a nest in one hour." p. 166.

"A yellow-shafted flicker will dispose of 5,000 ants between noon and sundown." p. 166.

"English sparrows eat Japanese beetles by the thousand and feed as many more to their young." p. 166.

"In June...we would linger and have the sun, and time itself, stand still." p. 167.

"Bee-drone days and firefly nights will pass." p. 167.

"Fireflies sparkle the evening." p. 168.

"There is a common and accepted fiction that fishermen go fishing to catch fish." p. 170.

"Yet it's rally the dawn world that a fisherman goes out to see...full of robin song...." p. 170.

"The darkness comes and the warm summer night is filled with winking lights of mystery." p. 171.

"We can now name the chemicals that seem to create the fireflies' heatless fire, and we can say the process is something like an enzyme action...but the fact remains that we don't know why or precisely how the firefly creates light." p. 171.

"...fireflies make a special magic of the warm summer a host of winking stars come down to spangle the night and create the incredible ballet of soft light." p. 171.

"These are firefly nights...."

'The bats are fluttery, shadowy; they trick the eye, deceive the watcher, as they swoop into sight and vanish hide and seek with the darkness." p. 172.

"The ruby-throated hummingbird...not much bigger than a bumble bee, its base the size of a walnut shell, its bigger than fat garden peas...lives onnectar and miniature insects...its annual migration to Mexico...crosses the Gulf of Mexico, flying some 500 miles nonstop." p. 174.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Twelve Moons of the Year. June 02.

Significant sentences from The Twelve Moons of the Year by Hal Borland, a chronology of the New England seasons.

"Green leaves are so plentiful from April till October that we take them for granted." p. 158.

"The leaf is commonplace, but without the green leaf we would perish, all of us." p. 158.

"They [leaves] absorb carbon dioxide, a waste product of our bodies and machines, and give off oxygen, our very breath of life." p. 158.

"One average oak tree will give off 150 gallons of water on a hot summer day." p. 158.

"The wheelbarrow may lack the grace of an airplane, the speed of an automobile, the initial capacity of a freight car, but its humble wheel marked out that phase of civilization which leads down Main Street, through the front gate, around the house, and into the back garden." p. 160.

"Like faith, the wheelbarrow can move mountains." p. 160.

"Behold the bumblebeee, that big, improbable black and gold insect that shouldn't be able to fly but does...." p. 162.

"Innate wariness is the price of life." p. 164.

"There is no other smell in the world quite like fresh-cut hay seasoning in the June sun." p. 165.

"June without roses, all kinds of roses, just wouldn't be June." p. 165.

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Twelve Moons of the Year. May (03) and June (01)

Significant sentences from The Twelve Moons of the Year by Hal Borland, a chronology of the New England seasons. May 03; June 01.

"Wild strawberries, when you can still find them, are prime examples of how much flavor can be stowed int a small package." p. 146.

If there were wild strawberries in Eden, and there must have been, Adam was a fool as well as a sinner to taste any other fruit." p. 146.

"...the insect buzz-and-hum makes the air vibrant." p. 146.

June 01

"The world is new and young in the June dawn, fresh and sweet and almost innocent." p. 150.

"The mists of night still lie in the valleys like the very mists of creation." p. 150.

"This is another day, another blank page in the endless book of time, another chance." p. 150.

"...air fragrant with the smell of cut grass...." p. 153.

"June invites tranquility..." p. 153.

"June is the long, sweet days we bought and paid for with long, cold nights and short, bitter days at the dark turn of the year." p. 153.

"...age old perfume of new hay curing in the sun...." p. 154.

"June is dew and buttercups, high noon and clover, lingering dusk and fence-row daisies." p. 155.

"...a June day begins with a sense of peace and leisure." p. 156.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Twelve Moons of the Year. May (02)

Significant sentences from The Twelve Moons of the Year by Hal Borland, a chronology of the New England seasons. May (02).

"To us who live beneath them, leaves mean shade, ease to tired eyes, the pleasure of soft contours where a few weeks ago there were only stark skeletons of branches". p. 137.

"Every tree is a complex factory." p. 137.

"Birds...cramming their crops with insect fare, doing a better job of protecting plants from insect pests than any pesticide ever invented." p. 138.

"The robin is sedate, the oriole is a serious fellow, the blue jay is a blustering egocentric.... The catbird is a quick-witted entertainer who seems to find life a vastly amusing enterprise." p. 141.

"For sheer poetry of flight the barn swallow unquestionably deserves the laurel...a kind of lyric flight that makes one understand the meaning of exquisite grace." p. 144.

"But chimney swifts fairly twinkle in flight, swooping, dodging, racing.... They often chitter as they fly, almost as though laughing at their astonishing performance." p. 144.

"You can predict the patterns of swallows, like a perfect ballet; but the swifts improvise from moment to moment as though too exuberant to be confined by patterns...exultant, practically jubilant at being alive and a-wing.... ...celebrate the miracle of flight." p. 144.

"Pollen...golden dust of life, so minute that it dances in the sunbeams...." p. 145.

"Pollen forms a yellow film on rain pools and makes them look like molten gold." p. 145.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Twelve Moons of the Year. Hal Borland. May (2)

Significant sentences from The Twelve Moons of the Year by Hal Borland, a chronology of the New England seasons.

"In April, an apple tree is just a tree, but in May it is a huge bouquet.... Individual blossoms are like beautiful little single roses.... The whole tree looks snowy white, though there is still a faint, elusive pinkness to it, even less than a tint." p. 128.

"May just is." p. 129.

"No two springs are exactly alike." p. 129.

"Man contrives machines that turn out countless duplicates, but nature is not a machine."

"Nature is change, constant, unending change within the framework of the familiar, the enduring." p. 130.

"Another May, another spring, eternal but unlike any other spring that ever was." p. 130.

"Dawn: There is neither scurry nor haste at that hour; haste awaits man's awakening." p. 131.

"...halfway to June is a wonderful time to be alive." p. 132.

" is hard to think of May without violets." p. 134.

"Blue sky, warm sun and roadside violets are as comforting a discovery as any heart could ask of the burgeoning countryside." p. 134.

"And who can say that his [the jack-in-the-pulpit's] voice isn't heard all through the woodland and across the meadow.... Before he is through there is a veritable hallelujah of blossoming, a glory on all the hillsides of May." p. 135.

"Soon after first light the birds begin to celebrate the dawn, and those who would know birdsong at its best are awake and listening." p. 136.

"This is the sunrise hour, the day's beginnings, when all who know another dimension of time can, for a little while, participate in genesis itself." p. 136.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Twelve Moons of the Year. May (01)

Significant sentences from The Twelve Moons of the Year by Hal Borland, a chronology of the New England seasons.

"April is promises and tentative beginnings, but May is achievement." p. 120.

"May is apple blossoms and lilacs, and if any other month can surpass that combination we have yet to learn its name." p. 120.

"Lawns grow like mad in May, and the song of the mower is heard throughout the land." p. 120.

"But in May you can go outdoors, out where there are trees and grass and open sky and wild flowers and wild birds, and know without asking that you are in the midst of truth...; don't even have to define it, because it is there, obvious." p. 122.

"May in the natural force as simple as the opening of a bud and as complex as the vast spread of chlorophyll in the countless leaves, even in the infinite blades of grass." p. 125.

"May is life after dormancy, irrepressible life." p. 125.

"The bluet is a blossom of no particular consequence individually...but bluets grow in vast numbers in old pastures and on stony hillsides...; some call them Quaker-ladies and some know them as Innocence...; by June they will be lost among the buttercups and early daisies...; in early May they are beautiful and insistent by their very numbers...bright embroidery on the first green frock of the rural countryside." p. 126.

"The thrasher...will spend hours in a tall treetop proclaiming the goodness of life." p. 127.

"Don't let anyone tell you that the purpose of an apple tree is to grow apples...; their reason for being is to achieve a special glory of blossom." p. 127.

All the best. RayS.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Twelve Moons of the Year. April (03)

Significant Sentences from The Twelve Moons of the Year by Hal Borland, a chronology of the New England seasons. April 03.

"For spring is change and growth and pattern imposing themselves on what we too often think of as random disorder." p. 112.

"Some people are like ants: give them a warm day and a piece of ground and they start digging." p. 113.

" comes the surge and insistence of growth." p. 114.

Dogwood: "...twig-end buds like praying mantis heads and now is full of white-butterfly bloom and green leaves." p. 115.

"When a hickory bud begins to unpack, it opens the big, pink-sheathed buds with a wealth of leaf, blossom and potential twig that would put a magician to shame if he tried to stow so much in so little space." p. 116.

"April is color: pussy willow gray, pollen gold, violet purple, marsh marigold yellow, grass green...all the greens in the astonishment of pastels...." p. 116.

"April is a young world, new as sunrise...." p. 116.

"Nothing is newer than an April morning, nothing more full of wonder than a bud or a seed." p. 116.

"April is an old world made new again...." p. 116.

"And in April, man is here only to see and listen and participate, not to manage or administer." p. 117.

Tomorrow: May, Part One.

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Twelve Moons of the Year. April 02.

Significant sentences from The Twelve Moons of the Year by Hal Borland, a chronology of the New England seasons. April 02.

"Our eyes need the comfort of grass and leaves...." p. 97.

"A flock of grackles is an offense to the fleet of squeaky wheel barrows...rusty gate hinges, thousands of rusty gate hinges." p. 101.

"One can walk with April rain...doesn't slash or sting." p. 103.

"Fog, which technically is nothing but a cloud in contact with the earth." p. 104.

"The fog rises and the familiar world reappears...but for a little while the fog made a world all its own, a fantastic, mysterious world, evanescent as the fog itself." p. 105.

"The farmer turns the clean, straight furrows and something of the soil is plowed into him, the smell of it, the look and feel." p. 105.

"There are about 5,000 species of grass." p. 107.

"Like the very old and very wise of our own race, ferns seem to have outgrown haste and impatience...." p. 108.

"There aren't many flowers prettier than a dandelion, if you can look at a dandelion as a blossom, not a weed." p. 109.

"The dandelion's old virtues are almost forgotten, nowadays...self-blanched inner leaves made an excellent spring green, fresh or cooked.... Roots were used for potherbs.... Wine was made from those bright blossoms.... Dried roots were ground and substituted for coffee.... That was before the dandelion became a dooryard weed." p. 110.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Twelve Moons of the Year. April (01)

Significant sentences from The Twelve Moons of the Year by Hal Borland, a chronology of the New England seasons. April (01)

"April is...a compound of many subtle scents...the fertile smell of leaf mold and rotting twigs in a woodland, a rich damp, vegetative odor...the damp, almost green smell of moss." p. 90.

"By April you begin to see the buds against the sky." p. 91.

"There are the complexities of catkin and raceme, of pollen and petal, of stem and spreading leaf, all packed within the waiting bud that is smaller than a baby's fingertip." p. 92.

"The geese are on the small dogs yelping in the far distance...a penciled V against the sky...gabbling in the dusk." p. 93.

"The wild the epitome of wanderlust, limitless horizons, and distant travel." p. 93.

"...uncounted millions of taut and waiting buds." p. 94.

"Migrating robins can easily fly 250 miles south in a day, find more hospitable weather and wait out the storm." p. 95.

"Few things in this world are newer, and look newer, than the tiny leaves as they start unfolding from the buds." p. 96.

"April...hazed with green...a kind of pastel shimmer." p. 97.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Twelve Moons of the Year. March 02

Significant sentences from The Twelve Moons of the Year by Hal Borland, a chronology of the New England seasons. March 02.

"Watch the willows and you need no almanac to know when the season turns." p. 78.

"...the peeper chorus is the voice of eternal spring." p. 78.

"A dozen peepers make less than a human handful, but their voices can fill a whole evening." p. 78.

"March means maybe, but don't bet on it." p. 80.

"There are no rules for March." p. 80.

"March is spring, sort of, usually." p. 80.

"Late March is a time of waiting, and by now the fabric of human patience has worn a little thin." p. 80.

"We know that May will come with lilacs and apple blossoms, but [in March] we don't know what the day after tomorrow will be like." p. 81.

"A cardinal...whistles imperiously...."

"Four black ducks skim the naked tree tops, wings swiftly beating, necks outstretched, silent as shadows." p. 83.

"Every garden is grown three times over.... First time is when the seed catalogs arrive and fill January days with dreams and perfection, all achieved without one callus or one drop of sweat.... Late March...second garden appears, in the village hardware store.... There are spades, the hoes, the rakes, sprouted in neat and shining array." p. 83.

"...the smell of the spring furrow newly turned." p. 85.

"...this big brown butterfly...seems to have neither haste nor hunger, only that need to ride the air, absorb the sun, be fully alive again." p. 87.

"The precise date is unpredictable, but one warm afternoon the change is in the air, winter turning to spring, and it is more than sunlight, more than warmth." p. 90.

Tomorrow: April, Part One.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Twelve Moons of the Year, Hal Borland. Significant Sentences. March 01.

Significant sentences from The Twelve Moons of the Year by Hal Borland, a chronology of the New England seasons. March (01).

"The bud and the egg can wait, for a safe temperature or a precise span of daylight." p. 60.

"...most countrymen have a weather sense, even though they supplement it with the morning's forecast." p. 61.

"March has a dubious reputation at best...the hint of madness in the very mention of the March hare...the threat of dark deeds in the ides of March...lamb-and-lion belief...March mud...March floods...the winds of March...the March blizzard of '88." p. 62.

"Maybe we give March its bad name because we are so impatient." p. 62.

"...migrant robins...have an almost uncanny temperature sense, almost never appearing before the average twenty-four-hour temperature is at least thrity-five degrees." p. 65.

"The March wind is the voice of seasons in transition."

"But on a warm day in the woods you can sense the subtle fragrance of the resin that coats the buds of poplar trees and cottonwoods." p. 67.

" squirrels which can scold like a catbird, chatter like a flicker, shriek like a jay."

"The red squirrel...darts, he scurries, he plunges headlong and he is superbly graceful every instant." p. 69.

"Frost in the ground slowly retreats, making quagmires of open fields, sodden sponges of pastureland." p. 70.

"There is something in a mild March day...." p. 71.

"Birds obviously sometimes sing merely because they feel like singing." p. 73.

"Buds fatten on the elms, beading their twigs against the sky." p. 74.

"Like many of our wild flowers, coltsfoot is an alien...brought here by early colonists for use in herbal medicine.... Decoction of the leaves and roots was believed to be good for coughs and those late winter colds that could turn into pneumonia." p. 75.

"Brooks gurgle and flow again beneath their rotting ice." p. 76.

"Neither the power of man's armies nor the efficiency of his machines can hurry or delay a solstice or an equinox." p. 77.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Twelve Moons of the Year. Significant Sentences. February.

Significant sentences from The Twelve Moons of the Year by Hal Borland, a chronology of the New England Seasons. February (02).

"The chickadee has a scientific name twice as big as he is, parus atricapillus...." p. 49.

"All birds live at high speed physiologically.... The chickadee's tiny heart beats 500 times a minute when he is asleep and doubles that rate when he is awake and active." p. 50.

"The chickadee...a mere fleck of feathered life...." p. 50.

"Dawn...the sense of light is there before the light itself." p. 50.

"Any dawn is beautiful, even one filled with falling snow, simply because it is new...." p. 51.

"...the miracle of sunrise...." p. 51.

"The countryman's footsteps on his way to the woodshed make winter music in the crisp snow, but it is a whistle, not a frigid whine." p. 53.

"Moonlight...strewing the snow with charred skeletons of the naked trees." p. 55.

"Every winter inspires one of two questions: 'This is a real old-fashioned winter, isn't it?' or 'Whatever happened to the old-fashioned winter?' "

"Even Thomas Jefferson asked, more than 150 years ago, 'What happened to our old-fashioned winters?' "

"March comes, a kind of interregnum, winter's sovereignty relaxing, spring not yet in control" p. 60.

Tomorrow: March, Part One.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Twelve Moons of the Year. Significant Sentences. February.

Significant sentences from The Twelve Moons of the Year by Hal Borland, a chronology of the New England seasons. February.

"But in upper New England there is a wry twist to the legend of the groundhog...hope for sunshine so the groundhog can see its shadow...means there will be only six more weeks of winter.," p. 35.

"February probably will be capricious...usually is...the traditional battleground of warring weather systems." p. 37.

"...but when February relaxes for a day or two it is a promise." p. 39.

"The jay insists on eating alone, threatening sparrow, chickadee, and titmouse with baleful eye and rapier beak." p. 40.

"...hear the trickle of melt underneath the snow." p. 42.

"...the woodsy smell of violets." p. 42.

"We can split atoms, send rockets to the moon, fly faster than sound, but we still can't subdue a blizzard." p. 43.

"And the cardinal's whistle is like nothing else in birdom." p. 45.

" could even say that spring began to assert itself when the angle of sunlight shifted ever so slowly after the winter solstice." p. 46.

"You can't hear, and you can scarcely see, the alteration of a shadow, which was all that really happened." p. 46.

"The barred owl...usually utters a nine-note series of hoots that has been aptly put into the words, 'Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you all?' " p. 47.

Tomorrow: February, Part Two.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Twelve Moons of the Year. Hal Borland. Significant Sentences.

Significant sentences from The Twelve Moons of the Year by Hal Borland, a chronology of the New England seasons.

January (continued):

" cruel beauty of the dazzling glaze that rips trees apart in an ice storm." p. 11.

"When it is a snowflake, ice is one of the most beautiful and evanescent crystals we know." p. 11.

"Often ice is a thing of beauty, but always it is a force, a great elemental, insensate force." p. 12.

"At no other season of the year is the uniqueness of a tree so evident [as in winter]." p. 13.

"Long nights of cold and brittle starlight." p. 14.

"The fox, a shadow in the moonlight...." p. 14.

"And the great horned owl hoots gruffly, then hunts on broad, silent wings, sharp-taloned as the wind, quiet as the brittle cold." p. 14.

"The blue jays look more cleanly blue and white now than at any other time of the year, and the cardinals are spectacular." p. 15.

"...and the snow simplifies the world around us, hides the confusing clutter, the distractions." p. 15.

"Now the trees stand in the winter landscape, patterned against the snowy hillsides and the icy sky, the etched grace of living line...." p. 16.

"...buds are the promise a tree makes to itself that there will be another tomorrow, another year." p. 17.

"...the sight of a cardinal against a snowy landscape is spectacular." p. 17.

"But the ultimate voice, the timeless voice of winter, is the boom of the ice, and it is one of the coldest voices there is." p. 20.

"Ice, which split the mountains, carved the valleys, leveled the hills." p. 20.

"We stand at the windows and see the snow, the flakes of crystal perfection, feathering from the sky, and we remember all the winters of our lives." p. 21.

"Snow, winter's own cold, white blossoms...." p. 21.

"The air sparkles with one's frosted breath." p. 22.

"The snow whistles underfoot." p. 22.

"...bare branches rattle in the breeze." p. 22.

"Twilight dissolves into the brittle darkness of another winter night." p. 23.

"The owl is a bird of the cold winter night, and it its voice makes the moon-shadows quiver, that too is part of winter." p. 23.

"January's full moon marks a time of bitter temperature and biting wind." p. 25.

Squirrels: "...reckless treetop chases." p. 26.

Squirrels: "The speed and grace of a squirrel, the flaunt of that eloquent tail, the breath-taking leap from high limb to limb...." p. 27.

"The January wind has a hundred voices." p. 27.

"In the cold of a lonely January night, the wind can rattle the sash and stay there muttering of ice and snow banks and deep-frozen ponds." p. 27.

"Sometimes the January wind seems to come from the farthest star in the outer darkness, so remote and so impersonal is its voice." p. 27.

"There is a simplicity about the resting world of winter...." p. 28.

"The woodshed door creaks on its chilled hinges." p. 30.

"Sounds echo in the cold, heavy night air, a barking dog, a slamming door, a barred owl calling from the dark grove of hemlocks on the far hillside." p. 30.

Tomorrow: February, Part One.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Twelve Moons of the Year. Hal Borland. Significant Sentences.

Significant sentences from The Twelve Moons of the Year by Hal Borland, a chronology of the New England seasons.

"...until the killer-wind has died, we live beleaguered." p. 6.

"The whine of snow underfoot on a brittle-cold day...." p. 7.

"The really shivery whine of snow is seldom heard its best under the runners of a sleigh on a winter night." p. 7.

"...the voice of ice...cold thunder...." p. 7.

"...on a frigid night with a late moon and glittering stars...." p. 8.

"...winter's moon is queen of the sky...bansihes all but the brightest stars...." p. 9.

"The January a distinct and icy moon that glitters the hills and glints the frozen valleys." p. 9.

"Pines and that is twice as green against the snow." p. 9.

"The color of that mysterious chlorophyll which makes food of water and air and sunlight even now, even when the sunlight is thin, when lakes are ice and frost seals the earth." p. 10.

"Their kind [pines and hemlocks] knew the ice ages, winters ten thousand years long." p. 10.

"Maybe the blue jays don't migrate to Georgia and points south because they know how handsome they are against a snowy background." p. 10.

"...the jay often looks like a fat, pompous alderman." p. 10.

"Ice...the glare of a sleety road." p. 11.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Twelve Moons of the Year. Hal Borland. Significant Sentences.

Significant Sentences. Twelve Moons of the Year. Hal Borland.

Hal Borland published these essays in the Sunday New York Times. He did it to remind New York City citizens that another, a rural world existed outside the city.

If you like the New England seasons of the year, this book is timeless. For years, every morning I have begun my day by reading an essay to match the date. Hal Borland paints pictures with words. His knowledge of nature is astounding. He can tell you how fast an insect's wings beat and the history of wild flowers with their medicinal properties in the days before modern medicine overwhelmed us with pills. Was there ever a plant as versatile as the dandelion?

But what I like most about these essays is that Borland captures the very spirit of the seasons. I can feel the snow crunching on an especially cold January night. I can see the fireflies glittering in a June dusk. I can walk with the farmer who goes out to his field to work on the night of a harvest moon. I love this book.

It is out of print. I cannot understand why it has not been reprinted. The last time I checked at, I found that to buy a used copy would cost over $95.00. It certainly did not cost that much when it was first published as a Book-of-the-Month-Club selection in 1979.

You won't be able to buy a copy, but you will be able to enjoy my significant sentences. This book should never go out of print. This blog is my contribution to keeping selections from invaluable books available on the Internet.

All the best. RayS.

Barbara Borland: "But each essay, taken separately, seemed like a new born day." p. vi.

Hal Borland: "I suppose the essays served in the Times as reminders that there is a countryside beyond the city streets." p. x.

Hal Borland: "I am sure some of the essays reflect my disenchantment with man's belief that he owns the earth and must dominate everything and everywhere." p. x.

...the essays "...are sheer celebrations of life." p. x.

"January can be cold, raw, bitter, icy, edged with a wind that chills the marrow and congeals the blood." p. 4.

"January is winter, its very essence." p. 4.

A January sunset: "...long light glows on the crusted meadow." p. 4.

"Mid-evening and the moonlight casts ink-black shadows on the snow." p. 5.

"...a cold, bitter, ice-edged January night that engraves itself on the senses." p. 5.

"...the sun seemingly as reluctant as the rest of us to get up." p. 5.

To be continued.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Kennedy. Theodore C. Soresnon. Significant Sentences. Concluded.

Sinificant sentences from Kennedy by Theodore Sorenson, a history of the words and philosopy of President Kennedy. Concluded.

Sorenson on the conclusion of the Cuban Missile Crisis: "Rejecting the temptation of a dramatic TV appearance, he [JFK] issued a brief three-paragraph statement welcoming Khrushchev's 'statesmanlike important and constructive contribution to peace.' " p. 809.

Sorenson: "He [Khrushchev] had learned...that the American President was willing to exercise his strength and restraint, to seek communication and to reach accommodation that did not force upon his adversary total humiliation." p. 816.

Sorenson: "He [JFK] sent Averell Harriman to Moscow to review the full range of problems dividing the two nations." p. 820.

Sorenson: "The President was determined to put forward a fundamentally new emphasis on the peaceful and the positive in our relations with the Soviets." p. 823.

JFK: "If we cannot now end our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity." p. 844.

JFK: "For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is the fact that we all inhabit this planet...all breathe the same air...all cherish our children's future...we are all mortal." p. 844.

JFK: " 'A man does what he must,' " he had written in Profiles in Courage, 'in spite of personal consequences, in spite of...dangers--and that is the basis of all human morality.' " p. 843.

Sorenson: "Life for him [JFK] had always been dangerous and uncertain, but he was too interested in its opportunities and obligations to be intimidated by its risks." p. 843.

Sorenson: "He had so much more to do and to give that no religion or philosophy can rationalize his premature death as though it served some purpose...." p. 846.

Sorenson: "If one extraordinary quality stood out among the many, it was the quality of continuing growth." p. 846.

Sorenson: "The world's loss is the loss of what might have been." p. 847.

Sorenson: "He stood for excellence in an era of indifference--for hope in an era of doubt--for placing public service ahead of private interests--for reconciliation between East and West, black and white, labor and management." p. 852.

Sorenson: "He had confidence in men and gave men confidence in the future." p. 852.

Sorenson: "The public complacency...was partly due to a sense of hopelessness--that wars and recessions and poverty and political mediocrity could not be avoided, and that all the problems of the modern world were too complex to be understood, let alone unraveled." p. 852.

Sorenson: "A man so free of fear and myth and prejudice, so opposed to cant and cliches, so unwilling to feign or be fooled, to accept or reflect mediocrity is rare in our world." p. 853.

The End.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Kennedy. Theodore C. Sorenson. Significant Sentences. Continued.

Significant sentences from Kennedy by Theodore Sorenson, a history of the words and philosophy of President Kennedy. Continued.

Why this blog?

The purpose of this blog is to provide significant sentences from complete books.

So far, I have included signficant sentences from Only Yesterday by Frederick Lewis Allen, a history of the Roaring 20s; Walden by Henry David Throeau, On Writing Well by Zinsser and Kennedy by Theodore Sorenson, a special assistant to the President.

Why have I selected these books? I have enjoyed them. The sentences I have selected from these books help to deepen the understanding of the ideas in the books. I selected the sentences because of their ideas.

In the case of Kennedy, I am hoping that those who see Kennedy as only a philanderer will realize the wisdom and reasonable approach that he took in guiding the Presidency during his 1000 days. He is one of the most articulate presidents in history.

Sorenson on the Cuban Missile Crisis: "I had prepared a four-page memorandum outlining the areas of agreement and disagreement, the full list of possibilities and (biggest of all) the unanswered questions." p. 773.

Sorenson: "On Thursday afternoon subcommittees were set up to plot each of the major courses in detail...kind of blockade...likely Soviet response...U.S. responses to Communist responses." p. 776.

Sorenson: "He [JFK] liked the idea of leaving Khrushchev a way out, of beginning at a low level that could be stepped up." p. 780.

Sorenson: "The moral of this crisis: 'While defending our own vital interests, nuclear powers must avert those confrontations which bring an adversary to a choice of either a humiliating retreat or a nuclear war." p. 783.

JFK "...adopted the term 'quarantine' as less belligerent and more applicable to an act of peaceful self-preservation than 'blockade.' " p. 783.