I don't want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.

— Diane Ackerman

The most unforgettable Diane Ackerman quotes that are free to learn and impress others

Everyone admits that love is wonderful and necessary, yet no one agrees on just what it is.

40

It began in mystery, and it will end in mystery, but what a savage and beautiful country lies in between.

31

I swear I will not dishonor my soul with hatred, but offer myself humbly as a guardian of nature, as a healer of misery, as a messenger of wonder, as an architect of peace.

27

No matter how politely one says it, we owe our existence to the farts of blue-green algae.

25

Wonder is the heaviest element on the periodic table. Even a tiny fleck of it stops time.

24

Words are such small things, like confetti in the brain, and yet they are color and clarify everything, they can stain the mind or warp the feelings.

23

If a mind is just a few pounds of blood, urea, and electricity, how does it manage to contemplate itself, worry about its soul, do time-and-motion studies, admire the shy hooves of a goat, know that it will die, enjoy all the grand and lesser mayhems of the heart ?

18

When I set a glass prism on a windowsill and allow the sun to flood through it, a spectrum of colors dances on the floor. What we call "white" is a rainbow of colored rays packed into a small space. The prism sets them free. Love is the white light of emotion.

17

Fear is danger to your body, but disgust is danger to your soul.

16

Hit a tripwire of smell and memories explode all at once.

A complex vision leaps out of the undergrowth.

15

American writer 1803-1882 Play is our brain's favorite way of learning.

14

I am a great fan of the universe, which I take literally: as one.

All of it interests me, and it interests me in detail.

11

About Diane Ackerman

Quotes 164 sayings
Nationality American
Profession Poet
Birthday October 16

Give a man enough rope and he'll wrap himself around your little finger.

11

The great affair, the love affair with life, is to live as variously as possible, to groom one's curiosity like a high-spirited thoroughbred, climb aboard, and gallop over the thick, sunstruck hills every day.

9

[On gardens:] I think they're sanctuaries for the mind and spirit.

... It's easy to feel wonder-struck in a garden, especially if you cultivate delight.

8

Smell brings to mind... a family dinner of pot roast and sweet potatoes during a myrtle-mad August in a Midwestern town. Smells detonate softly in our memory like poignant land mines hidden under the weedy mass of years.

8

Couples are jigsaw puzzles that hang together by touching in just enough points.

They're never total fits or misfits. In time, a pair invents its own commonwealth, complete with anthems, rituals, and lingos-a cult of two with fallible gods.

8

We would lie on coral sand, below sugary stars, watching Cassiopeia mount her throne and the Great Bear wash its paws in the South. I would say, "I have a secret to tell you." And, folding me in your arms, boyish and sly, you would answer: "Whisper it into my mouth.

7

Not much is known about alligators. They don't train well. And they're unwieldy and rowdy to work with in laboratories.

7

habit, a particularly insidious thug who chokes passion and smothers love.

Habit puts us on autopilot.

7

There is no way in which to understand the world without first detecting it through the radar-net of our senses.

6

An animal on a leash is not tamed by the owner.

The owner is extending himself through the leash to that part of his personality which is pure dog, that part of him which just wants to eat, sleep, bark, hump chairs, wet the floor in joy, and drink out of a toilet bowl.

6

Variety is the pledge that matter makes to living things.

6

People search for love as if it were a city lost beneath the desert dunes, where pleasure is the law, the streets are lined with brocade cushions, and the sun never sets.

6

Look in the mirror. The face that pins you with its double gaze reveals a chastening secret. You are looking into a predator's eyes. Most predators have eyes set right on the front of their heads, so they can use binocular vision to sight and track their prey.

6

In the absence of touching and being touched, people of all ages can sicken and grow touched starved. Touch seems to be as essential as sunlight.

5

I'm sure civilizations will still evolve through play, or rather as play, since that seems to be a fundamental mechanism of our humanity.

5

When I go biking, I am mentally far far away from civilization.

The world is breaking someone else's heart.

4

There are well-dressed foolish ideas just as there are well-dressed fools.

4

One can live at a low flame. Most people do. For some, life is an exercise in moderation (best china saved for special occasions), but given something like death, what does it matter if one looks foolish now and then, or tries too hard, or cares too deeply?

4

Don't just live the length of your life - live the width of it as well.

4

A poem records emotions and moods that lie beyond normal language, that can only be patched together and hinted at metaphorically.

4

Wonder is a bulky emotion. When you let it fill your heart and mind, there isn't room for anxiety, distress or anything else.

4

If we mammals don't get something to eat every day or two, our temperature drops, all our signs fall off, and we begin to starve. Living at biological red alert, it's not surprising how obsessed we are with food; I'm just amazed we don't pace and fret about it all the time.

3

The knowing, I told myself, is only a vapor of the mind, and yet it can wreck havok with one's sanity.

3

Poetry is an act of distillation. It takes contingency samples, is selective. It telescopes time. It focuses what most often floods past us in a polite blur.

3

... love is an act of sedition, a revolt against reason, an uprising in the body politic, a private mutiny.

3

It's essential to tailor rehab to what impassions someone.

The brain gradually learns by riveting its attention-through endless repetitions.

3

Poetry reminds us of the truths about life and human nature that we knew all along, but forgot somehow because they weren't yet in memorable language.

3

In our heart we know that life loves life.

Yet we feast on some of the other life-forms with which we share our planet; we kill to live. Taste is what carries us across that rocky moral terrain, what makes the horror palatable, and the paradox we could not defend by reason melts into a jungle of sweet temptations.

3

Because poets feel what we're afraid to feel, venture where we're reluctant to go, we learn from their journeys without taking the same dramatic risks.

3

Love is like a batik created from many emotional colors, it is a fabric whose pattern and brightness may vary.

3

...for most people in the [Jewish] Ghetto [of Warsaw] nature lived only in memory -- no parks, birds, or greenery existed in the Ghetto -- and they suffered the loss of nature like a phantom-limb pain, an amputation that scrambled the body's rhythms, starved the senses, and made basic ideas about the world impossible for children to fathom.

3

Violets smell like burnt sugar cubes that have been dipped in lemon and velvet.

3

In Manhattan last month I heard a woman borrowing the jargon of junkies to say to another, 'Want to do some chocolate?'

3

Tranquillity hides in small spaces, and when found needs to be treasured, because you know it's a phantom that will slip away again.

2

Symbolic of life, hair bolts from our head[s].

Like the earth, it can be harvested, but it will rise again. We can change its color and texture when the mood strikes us, but in time it will return to its original form, just as Nature will in time turn our precisely laid-out cities into a weed-way.

2

The only and absolute perfect union of two is when a baby hangs suspended in its mother's womb, like a tiny madman in a padded cell, attached to her, feeling her blood and hormones, and moods play through its body, feeling her feelings.

2

We live on the leash of our senses.

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