To put your hands in a river is to feel the chords that bind the earth together.

— Barry Lopez

The most captivate Barry Lopez quotes that will inspire your inner self

If stories come to you, care for them.

And learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive.


The interior landscape responds to the character and subtlety of the exterior landscape; the shape of the individual mind is affected by the land as it is by genes.


The land retains an identity of its own, still deeper and more subtle than we can know. Our obligation toward it then becomes simple: to approach with an uncalculating mind, with an attitude of alert for its openings, for that moment when something sacred reveals itself within the mundane, and you know the land knows you are there.


No culture has yet solved the dilemma each has faced with the growth of a conscious mind: how to live a moral and compassionate existence when one is fully aware of the blood, the horror inherent in all life, when one finds darkness not only in one’s own culture but within oneself.


One must live in the middle of contradiction, because if all contradiction were eliminated at once, life would collapse. There are simply no definitive answers to some of the great pressing questions. You continue to live them out making your life a worthy expression of leaning into the light.


real beauty is so deep you have to move into darkness to understand it.


You can't learn anything from saguaro cactus, from ocotillo.

They are just passing through; their roots, their much heralded dormancy in the dry season, these are only illusions of permanence. They know even less than you do.


Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive.


I know of no restorative of heart, body, and soul more effective against hopelessness than the restoration of the Earth.


One of the great dreams of man must be to find some place between the extremes of nature and civilization where it is possible to live without regret.


The wolf exerts a powerful influence on the human imagination.

It takes your stare and turns it back on you


If there is a stage at which an individual life becomes truly adult, it must be when one grasps the irony in its unfolding and accepts responsibility for a life lived in the midst of such paradox.


About Barry Lopez

Quotes 48 sayings
Nationality American
Profession Author
Birthday October 16

In behaving respectfully toward all that the land contains, it is possible to imagine a stifling ignorance falling away from us.


Watching the animals come and go, and feeling the land swell up to meet them and then feeling it grow still at their departure, I came to think of the migrations as breath, as the land breathing. In spring a great inhalation of light and animals. The long-bated breath of summer. And an exhalation that propelled them all south in the fall.


Would the last animal, eating garbage and living on the last scrap of land, his mate dead, would he still forgive you?


I lay there knowing something eerie ties us to the world of animals.

Sometimes the animals pull you backward into it. You share hunger and fear with them like salt in blood.


We simply do not understand our place in the universe and have not the courage to admit it.


There's so much to be afraid of.


Throughout the centuries we have projected on to the wolf the qualities we most despise and fear in ourselves.


Have we come all this way, I wondered, only to be dismantled by our own technologies, to be betrayed by political connivance or the impersonal avarice of a corporation?


My faith is in my colleagues. And when I meet other writers, journalists, who've been doing this for a long time, trying to make us aware of what it is that we're living in, I put my faith in those people.


There are simply no answers to some of the great pressing questions.


The cold view to take of our future is that we are therefore headed for extinction in a universe of impersonal chemical, physical, and biological laws. A more productive, certainly more engaging view, is that we have the intelligence to grasp what is happening, the composure not to be intimidated by its complexity, and the courage to take steps that may bear no fruit in our lifetimes.


The gaze of the wolf reached into our soul.


Over the years, one comes to measure a place, too, not just for the beauty it may give, the balminess of its breezes, the insouciance and relaxation it encourages, the sublime pleasures it offers, but for what it teaches. The way in which it alters our perception of the human. It is not so much that you want to return to indifferent or difficult places, but that you want to not forget.


The opposite of love is not hate; it's indifference. To be indifferent is to not express love.


You continue to live them out, making your life a worthy expression of leaning into the light.


People think that if you've written a book and somebody's given you a pat on the back then, you know, it's all - you're all settled, you know? You're going to be fine. I know that if I'm not confused, and really afraid, my work isn't going to be any good.


When I sit at that typewriter, I have to be frightened of what I'm trying to do.

I'm frightened by my own belief that I can actually get a story down on paper.


We keep each other alive with our stories.

We need to share them, as much as we need to share food. We also require for our health the presence of good companions. One of the most extraordinary things about the land is that it knows this—and it compels language from some of us so that as a community we may converse about this or that place, and speak of the need.


The attempt to close the gap between what is known and what IS, is the temptation behind the apple in Genesis.


The most intelligent thing we can do is love, not reason.


To allow mystery, which is to say to yourself, 'There could be more.

..things we don't understand,' is not to damn knowledge....It is to permit yourself an extraordinary, freedom: someone else does not have to be wrong in order that you might be right...This tolerance for mystery invigorates the imagination; and it is the imagination that gives shape to the universe.


Everything is held together with stories.

That is all that is holding us together, stories and compassion.


Eden is a conversation. It is the conversation of the human with the Divine. And it is the reverberations of that conversation that create a sense of place. It is not a thing, Eden, but a pattern of relationships, made visible in conversation. To live in Eden is to live in the midst of good relations, of just relations scrupulously attended to, imaginatively maintained through time. Altogether we call this beauty.


My function as a writer is to provide an atmosphere in which people can think wisely about what we're doing on this planet.


The writer works on the inside and the critic works on the outside.

I don't know what it looks like on the outside, sometimes. It's not that I'm not interested-it's not where I live. I live inside the story.


Remember on this one thing, said Badger.

The stories people tell have a way of taking care of them. If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive. That is why we put these stories in each other's memories. This is how people care for themselves.


The land is like poetry: it is inexplicably coherent, it is transcendent in its meaning, and it has the power to elevate a consideration of human life.


It does not demean men to want to be what they imagine the wolf to be, but it does demean them to kill the animal for it.


If I were to offer any advice to young writers, it would be this: be discriminating and be discerning about the work you set for yourself. That done, be the untutored traveler, the eager reader, the enthusiastic listener. Put what you learn together carefully, and then write thoughtfully, with respect both for the reader and your sources.


The land gets inside of us; and we must decide one way or another what this means, what we will do about it.


The land urges us to come around to an understanding of ourselves.


One must live in the middle of contradiction, because if all contradiction were eliminated at once life would collapse.


For so many centuries, the exchange of gifts has held us together.

It has made it possible to bridge the abyss where language struggles.


It is the imagination that gives shape to the universe.


We cannot, of course, save the World because we do not have authority over its parts. We can serve the world though. That is everyone's calling, to lead a life that helps.

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