Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Wings of Morning. Thomas Childers. 03

Significant sentences from Wings of Morning by Thomas Childers, the story of the last American bomber shot down over Germany in WWII, and a vivid re-creation of participation in the war.

"Gone for a Soldier," cont.
"The trip to Massachusetts from Colorado meant another tedious cross-country train trip, long, mind-numbing days in the stuffy coaches, sleeping upright in the threadbare seats, drinking coffee in the dusty stations between trains...." p. 15.

"Like so many men who flew combat in the war, neither Farrington nor Regan had set foot in a plane before entering the service." p. 21.

"Including training casualties, which were stunningly high, almost 40% of all who entered pilot training failed to complete it." p. 21.

"The B-24 was not built for comfort." p. 21.

"It was almost as difficult after a ten-hour flight to crawl back out." p. 22.

"The B-24 was not pressurized and the crews had to wear clammy, ill-fitting rubber oxygen masks for hours at a time." p. 24.

"They were learning a lot about each other, about their roles on the aircraft, learning to master their jobs and to trust in the skill and judgment of each man in the crew." p. 25.

Somewhere in England

"...endless army processing, the hurry up and wait...." p. 36.

"...even the dull presentiment of dread, like the first hint of a toothache--with which the day began, was utterly stifled, deadened by drab army routine." p. 36.

Britain: "On a small, crowded island where forty-five million people live, each man learns to guard his privacy carefully--and is equally careful not to invade another man's privacy." p. 41.

"Someone once said that the British and Americans are two people separated by a common language." p. 42.

"The whole of Great Britain--that is, England and Scotland and Wales together--is hardly bigger than Minnesota." p. 43.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Wings of Morning. Thomas Childers. 02

Significant sentences from Wings of Morning by Thomas Childers, the story of the last American bomber shot down over Germany in WWII.

Why "significant sentences"? The single sentence can contain the essence of a paragraph, of a chapter, sometimes of an entire book. In this blog, the reader will find the single sentences that I believe are most interesting in Thomas Childers' Wings of Morning, the story of the last U.S. bomber shot down over Germany in World War II. Each of these selected sentences, while obviously related to preceding and following sentences, can stand on its own merit as an idea. As Boswell said of one of Dr. Johnson's works, "...almost every sentence...may furnish a subject of long meditation."

"For all those who did not come back, and those who miss them still." p. 1.

Epigraph: "If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;/ Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me./ If I say, surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me./ Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee, but the night shineth as the day...." Psalm 139. p. 2.

"And in the end, of course, a true war story is never about war...but about love and memory and sorrow." Tim O'Brien, The Things They Carried. p. 2.

Gone for a Soldier

Thomas Childers: "...I have followed the trail of the letters and photographs all across the U.S., to New York and Illinois and Florida to Maine and Mississippi and California." p. 4.

Thomas Childers: "The letters led to other letters in other houses, buried in the vaults of memory for about fifty years and to sheaves of documents in Washington and St. Louis and Montgomery." p. 4.

Thomas Childers: "The letters led to a deserted air base in England." p. 4.

Thomas Chlders: "The letters led to a field in Germany." p. 4.

Thomas Chilers: "...into the world of momentous events he had only read about or seen in the newsreels." p. 8.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Wings of Morning. Thomas Childers. (01)

Significant sentences from Wings of Morning by Thomas Childers, the story of the last American bomber shot down over Germany in World War II. (01)

RayS: This book is nonfiction written as if it were fiction. The author uses all of the techniques of fiction to re-create the lives of the crew of the Black Cat, a B-24 bomber flying bombing missions over Germany. It is my favorite book about World War II.

Introduction from the Cover
On April 21, 1945, the twelve-member crew of the Black Cat set off on one of the last air missions in the European theater of WWII. Ten never came back. This is the story of that crew--where they came from, how they trained, what it was like to fly a B-24 through enemy flak, and who was waiting for them to come home.

Historian Thomas Childers, nephew of the Black Cat's radio operator, has reconstructed the lives and tragic deaths of these men through their letters home and through in-depth interviews, both with their families and with German villagers who lived near the crash site. We follow Childers's uncle, Howard Goodner, a Tennessee college kid, as he awaits his draft notice, trains, and travels overseas to join the 8th Air Force in its fight over the flak-filled skies of Germany. We meet Howard's crewmates: young men from Manhattan and Brooklyn, Pittsburgh and Peoria, St. Louis and New Jersey. Sons, brothers, and fathers--most scarcely more than boys themselves--they left everything behind to join the war effort. Wings of Morning re-creates the lives of these men in battle and on leave, at play and under fire, with a compelling combination of narrative craft and detailed historical investigation.

Interlaced with the story of these men is the author's search for answers long denied his family. A week before the air war in Europe ended, the Black Cat was shot down over Regensburg. The families of the crew received KIA and MIA telegrams in the midst of the joyous celebration of V-E Day. Desperate for further information, they wrote letter after anguished letter to the War Department but, caught in the chaos of the war's end, they could learn nothing more. Fifty years later, Childers continues the quest, and in so doing unearths confusion about the exact number of crash survivors and ugly rumors of their fate at the hands of the German villagers. His search to determine what really happened to the crew of the Black Cat leads him to the crash site outside of Regensburg to lay the mystery to rest.

Thomas Childers is a professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania. His previous work has explored the German resistance, the political culture of Germany and the language of German politics.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Twelve Moons of the Year. December 04. Concluded.

Significant sentences from The Twelve Moons of the Year by Hal Borland, a chronology of the New England seasons. With December 04, Hal Borland's book consisting of an essay for every day of the year concludes. Hope my readers enjoyed Hal's vivid impressions of the changing New England season as much as I did. By the way, a used copy of this book costs $95.00 on Amazon.com. RayS.

"Chickadee: this bird is more than the sum of its anatomical parts; a lively spark of personality; can be a ham actor, a bully, a wheedler, and acrobat; loves a human audience and comes to the dooryard feeder as much for companionship as for a snack; an entertainer, it is all pro, the feathered song-and-dance performer who gets, and deserves, top billing on the winter circuit of the dooryard feeders." p. 352.

"...leaf-fall complete, the earth is all open now to the starlight." p. 353.

"...on a brittle night." p. 353.

"It is an illusion, of course, but the December stars seem twice as brilliant as those of June...."

"We should be able to glimpse eternity through those sparkholes in the blanket of the long night; perhaps we do; where else is such an order, such an eternal pattern, as in those stars that light the winter sky?" p. 353.

"December day: You eat breakfast by lamplight, hurry off to work in demi-dawn, and get home in darkness." p. 354.

"We are wise; we are sophisticated; believing that because there was a yesterday, there will be a tomorrow; we take it on faith: last year and last summer are sufficient proof that another year, another summer lie ahead." p. 355.

"...heartening, both in its repetition and it its enduring truth--as long as the sun shines, rain falls, water flows, and green leaves work their miracle, there is life, there is hope." p. 356.

"Time has no divisions, save as we make them." p. 356.

"Earth and sun and time proceed in their cyclic rounds, and only man presumes to summarize." p. 356.

"...year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a part of the infinite whole." p. 356.

"...'now' itself has no meaning without a yesterday and a tomorrow." p. 357.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Twelve Moons of the Year. December 03.

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

"We know again the long winter nights when the moon rides over a white world and the darkness thins away." p. 348.

"Year to year we remember the short days and we tend to forget the long nights of moonlight and starlight, when it seems one might stand on a high hill and touch the Big Dipper." p. 348.

"Ice and stormy wind are inevitabilities, but they pass even as the leaf and the blossom, equally inevitable in their own season, ripen and are gone." p. 349.

"The cold verity of winter completes the cycle of the seasons." p. 349.

"Even such a simple thing as a snow flake or an ice crystal is, in a way, a fragment of universal truth. The infinite variety within a six-fold pattern is beyond human achievement. The power in an ice crystal manifested in winter dwarfs the energy in a man-fractured atom." p. 350.

"Even so rudimentary a thing as a root, a seed or an insect egg is an expression of insistent vitality, of life itself...life, which will persist whether man is here to see it or not...and occasionally, we catch a glimpse of its elemental meaning." p. 350.

"...Christmas, not a mass or a sermon, but a secular festival to the innocence of children and the goodness of mankind." p. 351.

"Christmas: What we celebrate is the birth of a child into a time of dissension and oppression and a world of cruelty and suspicion, one who grew up to teach peace and justice and love of fellow man...as simple as that." p. 351.

"Christmas: But what we are really celebrating is the obscure birth of one who lived, and died, for a simple creed--peace, justice, and love of fellow man--so simple that we still find it difficult to accept complete; we celebrate the hope, the dream." p. 352.

"On a cold day, a chickadee needs its own weight in food to keep the inner fires burning." p. 352.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Twelve Moons of the Year. December 02.

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

"...December, the counterpart of June, reminds us that elemental ice is the twin of fire." p. 343.

"And man, privileged to know the year whole and complete...." p. 343.

"White birch. Its bark provides a usable paper, tinder for fires in the wet woods, enough nourishment to save man or beast from starvation; and from it came the canoe, shaped and sheathed by the tough, enduring bark itself before man adapted cedar and canvas and, eventually aluminum, to the same purpose; wigwams were roofed with that bark, and buckets and boxes were made from it. In the springtime the rising sap of the white birch was boiled down, like maple sap, for a syrup and a sugar that sweetened the woodsman's diet and disposition. White grace of the birch. White beauty in a drab, gray world." p. 344.

"If snow comes wet and clinging, it accents the clean, simple structure of every tree." p. 345.

"Of all the winter birds the clown of the lot is the nuthatch. He doesn't know that a bird can't go down a tree trunk head-first. No variation, nothing approaching a melody: just 'yark,yark, yark,' always in the same key, always the same note. Not quarrelsome, or noisy or pilfering. A good neighbor, and welcome winter guest, and he eats his full share of noxious bugs the year round." p. 346.

"For the pines and their whole family were old when the first man saw them, millions of years old...even at a time when millions of years had no meaning." p. 347.

"...we are reaching for reassurance, for the beauty of the living green but also for that green itself, the green of life that outlasts the gray winds, the white frosts and the glittering snow of winter." p. 347.

"The pine, the spruce, the hemlock, the fir--all those conifers that know no leafless season--have been held in special favor when man would have symbols of life that outlast all winters." p. 347.

"In our latitude we know that every year brings this time when not only the candle but the fire on the hearth, figurative if not literal, must burn at each end of the day." p. 348.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Twelve Moons of the Year. December 01.

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

"The arrival of December means the definite end to autumn. The leaf-rustle of the November wind whisking October's brilliance along the country road is muted as the leaves settle down." p. 330.

"The color, we say, is gone, remembering vivid October and verdant May. The meadow is a sere tan, but that is a tan of a dozen different shades." p. 331.

"December: the spectacular color has passed and we now have the quiet tones of winter around us, the browns, the tans, a narrower range of greens, with only an occasional accent in the lingering winter berries." p. 331.

"December is green with pine and bright with berry and spangled with frost." p. 332.

"...winter's moon with more than fourteen hours of darkness to rule in cold splendor." p. 344.

"Winter is a season of fundamentals." p. 335.

"Behind the vanished complexity of leaf and blossom is the greater complexity of their source. Those stark winter trees are already budded with next April's leaves, the ultimate riddle of complexity, for it is the root of life itself." p. 336.

"In a simpler past, before the individual was so largely lost in norms, averages, and common denominators, we accepted a vast and awesome world and knew that our problems demanded human solutions." p. 336.

"...birds are independence itself." p. 339.

"December sunrise: the night's cold seems to intensify as daylight comes." p. 340.

"But man is abroad...knowing dawn, knowing the wonder of a new day even in December...knowing the wonder of wondering itself." p. 340.

"...snow is still wonderful and mysterious in December. It hasn't become commonplace and worn out its welcome." p. 341.

"We can't create a snowflake...the wonder of the evanescent flakes, so frail they vanish in one warm breath, so substantial they form ice sheets and glaciers." p. 341.

"Each winter we see that ice can be glass-clear, iron-hard, that it can cut and gouge and rend apart even the granite mountains...that it can be snowflakes, feather-soft, incredibly varied...." p. 342.

"Here and there an oak or a beech rustles, with its tatter of withered leaves still clinging; but it is a dead sound, as dead as the rustle of fallen leaves at the roadside." p. 342.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Twelve Moons of the Year. November 03.

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

"November: We think of it as the silence, the winter silence; but it really isn't silent at all...merely...quiet... Distinction between silence and quiet makes all the difference. This is the quiet of the year, not the silence." p. 311.

"...the oak leaves are leathery in texture and color...." p. 312.

"All we really know is that winter will bring cold and snow, and that it will lead to April and spring." p. 313.

"Nobody likes a winter snowstorm in mid-November; nobody likes the weatherman for permitting it." p. 315.

"...the leaf-crisp evening of the year." p. 315.

"Sunset, twilight, dusk, darkness, all by six on a mid-November evening, late autumn's summary of serenity." p. 318.

"Traditions we observe at Thanksgiving are mostly rural--the bountiful harvest, the gathered family, the roasted turkey, the feast, the thankful prayer...a world of fields made fruitful by callused hands. Thanks were for health and strength and independence." p. 319.

"...November owls make memorable nights. They aren't frightening, but they make one appreciate having a roof and a door." p. 320.

"...paper, the primitive kind of paper hornets were making long before man tamed fire, let alone learned to write or print or bind a book." p. 323.

"Listen closely, and one can hear the patient throb of almost suspended life in the root, the bulb, the seed, the egg, waiting for another spring." p. 326.

"Another spring is already patterned, as inevitable as sunrise." p. 327.

"It is pleasant to walk with May and hear the song of mating birds and see the glint of fresh violets in the new grass. Satisfying to sit in summer's shade and know the fragrance of roses and the hum of bees through the long afternoon. Exhilarating to watch the color come to the woodlands. But when the blossom has become the seed, when daylight has been abbreviated by the southward swing of the sun, when the trees stand naked in the frosty woodland...." p. 327.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Twelve Moons of the Year. November 02

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

"The oaks...making maple and ash look twice as naked and pine and hemlock twice as green." p. 305.

"Fallen leaves...the gutters and roadsides are, for a little while, almost as brilliant as were the trees themselves." p. 306.

"The leaves...the expendable leaves, the reds and yellows and russets and purples that have no meaning to the trees themselves." p. 306.

"Trees. First, a bud, then a spreading sheet of plant fiber ingeniously packed with chlorophyll and other complex chemicals, and finally a discard." p. 306.

"...maple keys, nature's original helicopters." p. 308.

"Choose a crisp leaf, no matter whether maple or oak or ash, and try to match it; and know that leaves are almost as varied as snowflakes." p. 309.

"See how goldenrod and asters add to the aerial cargo, and know a few of the meanings of infinity, numbers that make counting a meaningless mumble." p. 309.

"Hold in your hand the empty shell of a beetle or the shed husk of a locust; see the intricate parts, the ingenuity of life, now gone elsewhere...chitin, the horny substance much like your own fingernail, but only a few weeks ago a living thing...." p. 309.

"Know that life is more than protoplasm, more than fertile egg or ovum, that it is ultimate order in complexity." p. 310.

"There is no chorus of birdsong...no scratch, rattle or buzz of insects...chittery chipmunk has finished his hoarding and settled down to quiet sleep...chattery squirrels go about their treetop business without challenge or palaver...the winter crows hold no conventions, are content to announce their presence...doesn't add up to silence, but after the sounds of summer and early autumn, it certainly is quiet...that this is the quiet of the year, not the silence." p. 311.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Twelve Moons of the Year. November 01.

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

"November is simply that interval between colorful October and dark December." p. 300.

"The owls are the voices of November nights...a chilly sound, a dark and frosty sound that hints of ice and snow...a fireside sound, one that goes with wood smoke and sheltered evenings." p. 301.

"November...winds that rattle the latch." p. 310.

"November brings long, chill nights of glittering stars and restless, whispery leaves." p. 302.

"November...a world reduced to elemental patterns." p. 302.

"On the twigs where the skittering leaves were live and green in June and July, buds are already set and visible, promise of next April and May and green again." p. 303.

"Cattails hold high their brown candles...." p. 303.

"Beaver Moon: By November's time of full moon the beavers, wise in the ways of the seasons, were ready for winter. Dams were sound, their ponds were full, their houses snug and well supplied with food; and any countryman with half the sense of a beaver had his own establishment similarly prepared." p. 304.

"The oaks are deliberate trees, slow to leaf out in the spring, slow of growth, slow to color in the fall, and even reluctant to shed their outworn leaves which sometimes cling to the branches until new leaves burst from the buds in the spring." p. 305.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Twelve Moons of the Year. October 03.

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

"...as the dusk deepens the eight-hoot call of the barred owl is heard from the far hillside..then silence again, and one's own footsteps in the leaf-strewn road. ...farm dog barks in the distance and on the highway down the valley a truck growls into a lower gear for the long grade over the hilltop. The silent stars gleam beyond the thinning treetops." p. 291.

"...the starlit immensity of the autumn night." p. 291.

"October...isn't quite half-past autumn." p. 292.

"Look up and you see the clarity of autumn sky through the naked branches." p. 292.

"These are star nights. Another month and they will glitter as though polished by the frost." p. 293.

"There is eternity in those star patterns. Caesar saw those same stars in the same places as we see them, and so did the earliest pharaoh...and they will still be there 10,000 years from now." p. 294.

"...the color comes swirling down from the tree tops." p. 294.

"Day before yesterday the rising sun lit a vast bonfire in the maples, and at noon the light beneath them was golden. It rained. The maples stand half-naked against the clearing sky and the incredible wealth of beaten gold is on the ground beneath them." p. 294.

"Color persists, but except in the oaks, it is in tatters and remnants." p. 294.

"On the ground the fallen leaves are restless, skittering at the roadsides, drifting into the fence corners." p. 294.

"The crows attend to the big, important matters such as crow conventions and long, loud discussions...." p. 294.

"The jay can strut sitting still." p. 295.

"There are pumpkins aplenty, heaped at roadside stands, glowing in orange beauty on rural doorsteps, even lying like full moons in the fields." p. 295.

"Pumpkin pie...golden brown, rich as an old gold coin...savory as secret spice, autumn made manifest...smooth to the tongue...ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon...in a crust that melts in the mouth." p. 295.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Twelve Moons of the Year. October 02.

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

"Dogwood berries...in lacquer-red clusters, bright as holly at Christmas." p. 282.

Indian Summer: "There is agreement, however, that the season is characterized by clear, calm, mild days, a hazy horizon, and clear, chill nights." p. 285.

"Now come the quiet days of Indian summer and the quiet nights of starlight and leaf scuffle." p. 286.

"Spring sunshine is the awakener. Summer sunlight is the ripener. Winter sunlight is a token of rest, of the long sleep, the short day. But autumn sunlight is simply perfection of the day." p. 286.

"The sky is clean, clear, and the sun itself is benevolent, the autumn sun making an autumn day a special moment in time." p. 287.

"...nostalgic people sniff the evening air and remember forgotten autumns when leaf smoke was the incense of October evenings." p. 288.

"October: ...frosty mornings and Indian summer days...." p. 288.

"If you are middle-aged, don't allow yourself to smell leaf smoke or you will wonder what happened to those years." p. 288.

"In fall, goose-bone weather prophets...consulted the birds and beasts, weighed acorns, counted corn husks, measured the stripes on woolly caterpillars, and made their pronouncements about the coming winter." p. 289.

"The Weather Bureau may commune with highs and lows and jet streams and even with solar cycles, and it may run up its cautious forecasts on complex computers, but it doesn't seem to care what the owls are saying, or the geese, or the squirrels." p. 290.

"October: sere corn blades rattle in the roadside field." p. 290.

"October: one walks seemingly alone with the night and the universe."

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Twelve Moons of the Year. October 01.

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

"October...crisp nights, mild days, and the whole satisfaction of ripeness and achievement." p. 270.

"October makes a man want to get up and go and see and hear and feel." p. 271.

"October is the glory and the magnificence of the year's late afternoon." p. 271.

"And often the sugar maple's leaves turn golden yellow, sun-yellow, so that even on a clouded day in October, one seems to walk in sunshine in a sugar maple grove." p. 272.

"Maple seeds go whirling away on single-bladed helicopters." p. 273.

"Now comes the Hunter's Moon, the full moon of October...." p. 274.

"Put away the hoe, close the garden gate and let it frost." p. 276.

"If technology, with its practical laws of efficiency, were in charge of everything we would have to dispense with the autumn color in our woodlands.... It isn't needed for the trees' health, growth or fruitfulness.... In technical terms, the color is waste, sheer excess and leftover...created...when the tiring tree seals off the sap circulation and no longer replenishes the chlorophyll in the leaves." p. 277.

"...penciled flight of departing geese scrawled against the sky." p. 280.

"But, like so many prophets, the woolly bears are equivocal; one says yes, another says no." p. 280.

"...the wild goose seems to typify the restless spirit of autumn." p. 281.

"...the garrulousness of geese.... In the air or on the water, it chatters and gabbles, gossips and confers."

"Geese...you hear the distant clamor...seems to echo from the whole sky. You look up, searching, and at last you see the penciled V, high against the blue, arrowing southward...like the distant yapping of small dogs. Coming in over a hilltop, a dark cloud of them, to circle once and then drop, long necks outstretched, wings cupped, feet outthrust, to land in a rush of spray." p. 281.

"...the look and smell and sound of the autumn woodland." p. 282.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Twelve Moons of the Year. September 04.

Significant sentences from The Twelve Moons of the Year by Hal Borland, a chronology of the New England seasons. September 04.

"The cricket has six legs, which make it an insect; two antennae, which make it a creature of sensitive feelings; two wings that can be scraped together which make it a nuisance." p. 260.

September: "The chill of dawn seems even colder when one remembers the hot days of only a month ago." p. 261.

"Half an hour's walk can provide half an hour's work getting burs off your clothes, to which they cling with hooks and spurs and barbs and spines." p. 262.

"September days when the sky is clear and clean, when the air is crisp...." p. 265.

September: "Late cicadas buzz in early afternoon; field crickets fiddle in the tall grass at the country roadside; at dusk the katydids set up their clamor, crows caw with less than usual raucousness; bees still hum over fading heads of goldenrod." p. 265.

"It is the maples that make the spectacular flame of color that comes swooping down through the northeastern woodland." p. 265.

"The sumacs are early color, embers that ignite the big blaze." p. 265.

"And the color laps up the hillsides to the sugar maples and they turn scarlet and orange and gold, so golden that they seem to radiate their own sunlight." p. 266.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Twelve Moons of the Year. September 03.

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

"But to the cold-blooded ones, such as insects, who are at the mercy of the sun rather than their own inner fires for life and energy, time begins to run out when nights turn frosty." p. 256.

"You may hear it in the evening, in the slow tempo of the stridulant ones, the katydids and the crickets that were so insistent only a few weeks ago." p. 256.

"...the grasshopper has no hop in him till almost noon." p. 256.

"Briefly, when the sun has asserted itself by early afternoon, life is almost normal. Flies buzz, ants hurry and late gnats dance like lively motes in the mild air. Evening nears and the buzz, the haste and the dancing are at an end." p. 256.

"But the cold-blooded children of summer, the insect hordes, have had their day in the sun." p. 256.

"The sun now rises almost due east, sets almost due west...the week of the autumn equinox when, briefly, daylight and darkness are almost equal." p. 257.

"The urgency of growth is ended for another year, but life itself is hoarded, in root and bulb and seed and egg." p. 257.

"One wonders why the legend-makers never gave sumac credit for lighting the autumn flame in the forest." p. 258.

"Spring was all eagerness and beginnings, summer was growth and flowering...autumn is the achievement summarized, the harvested grain, the ripened apple, the grape in the wine press...the bright leaf in the woodland...the froth of asters at the roadside." p. 259.

"The cricket is a small, black, ambulatory noise surrounded by a sentimental aura; ...lives in the open fields, but its favorite habitat is behind a couch or under a bookcase in a room where somebody is trying to read." p. 260.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Twelve Moons of the Year. September 02.

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

"This is gossamer season, when a dozen different strands glint and glimmer in the sunlight. Gossamer stands, strong as steel, light as feathers...at sunrise, a lacing of silver threads over grass and bushes, glinting with dew drops...." p. 247.

"...the Harvest Moon is not a hasty moon...comes early and stays late...was a time when the Harvest Moon gave the busy farmer the equivalent of an extra day or two...could return to the fields after supper and evening milking and continue his harvest by moonlight...when corn was cut by hand and husked by hand, when shocks tepeed the fields...." p. 248.

"Hickories, still bountiful with ripening nuts, look almost as tired as the elms; their leaves droop and seem to be rusting out like old tin cans." p. 250.

"...the golden mildness of early autumn comforts the land." p. 251.

"Crickets, briefly silenced by the first frost, trill the warm afternoons toward the dusk when the last, loud katydids join the chorus.l" p. 251.

"Some talk of Indian summer and some merely say it's a good time to be alive." p. 251.

"Life now begins to relax into the annual pause that is a kind of biological Indian summer, a time of relative ease and quiet." p. 253.

"...a countryman...plucks and cans his tomatoes, brings in his winter squash...has picked his beans, pickled his beets, chopped his cabbage and peppers into relish." p. 254.

"Goldenrod fades. Queen Anne's lace is worn and tattered...." p. 254.

"With a greater wealth of wildflowers than any other land on earth, this country could be a floral Eden." p. 254.

"...the flickers are flocking." p. 255.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Twelve Moons of the Year. September 01.

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

"September comes, and with it a sense of autumn." p. 240.

"Summer thins away." p. 240.

"Autumn never comes overnight...creeps in on a misty dawn and vanishes in the hot afternoon...tiptoes through the treetops, rouging a few leaves...." p. 240.

"Goldenrod comes by mid-August, but it seems to rise to a peak of golden abundance in early September." p. 241.

"But the particular spectacle of September is the asters." p. 241.

"After summer's heat and haste, September even brings a sense of quiet and leisure." p. 242.

"Asters frost the roadsides, reminder of frosty mornings ahead...." p. 242.

"Fireflies are gone, but the stars begin to glitter in the deepening dusk." p. 242.

"The cicada is stilled, but cricket and katydid are loud in the lengthening night." p. 242.

"...wild asters spangle our landscape." p. 244.

"Harvests are reaped, farms are snugged, fireplace smoke scents the evenings." p. 245.

"The bumblebee waits for midday warmth to seek his breakfast and crickets chirp all afternoon in the roadside grass." p. 246.

"You walk with the measured rhythm of the year, unhurried, and you become a part of it." p. 246.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Twelve Moons of the Year. August 03.

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

"One thing about the zinnia: it doesn't need pampering. Give it a rootbed, sunlight and a start, and it will make its own way. Colors are strong, old-fashioned colors with little subtlety. Generosity is magnificent; cut one bloom and two will take its place. Liken it to the sunflower. There's kinship, too, with the big daisies and, in lesser degree, with the asters. As native to the continent as the pumpkin." p. 231.

"It always seems to catch us by surprise, that day when we know the summer is not endless, that autumn is just over the hill or up the valley." p. 232.

"But it is the light, not the temperature, that marks the change from summer to fall...the clear blue sky, the sharp shadows, the way they fall." p. 232.

"August: not another bird makes a sound until a crow caws in the distance." p. 232.

"But concentrate on the apple itself, which is the roundness of the earth, the red and gold of the sunrise and the summary of the fruitful season's sweet ripeness." p. 233.

"The apple is juicy crispness to the tooth and tongue." p. 233.

"The swallows gave up on the weather several weeks ago, held their conference on rural telephone lines and headed south." p. 234.

"The monarch butterflies come with the goldenrod and the asters, special spangles for late-summer days, and they stay until the maples have begun to turn to gold and crimson." p. 236.