To rise above treeline is to go above thought, and after, the descent back into bird song, bog orchids, willows, and firs is to sink into the preliterate parts of ourselves.

— Gretel Ehrlich

The most satisfaction Gretel Ehrlich quotes that are new and everybody is talking about

There was not one cause for our internment, but many - a deep-seated racial prejudice working on top of fear, distrust, and greed. So how is one to say exactly where history begins or ends? It is all slow oscillations, curves, and waves which take so long to reveal themselves ... like watching a tree grow.

55

To trace the history of a river or a raindrop is also to trace the history of the soul, the history of the mind descending and arising in the body. In both, we constantly seek and stumble upon divinity, which like feeding the lake, and the spring becoming a waterfall, feeds, spills, falls, and feeds itself all over again.

50

Everything in nature invites us constantly to be what we are.

46

To trace the history of a river . . . is to trace the history of the soul, the history of the mind descending and arising in the body.

39

A tree is a thought, an obstruction stopping the flow of wind and light, trapping water, housing insects, birds, and animals, and breathing in and out. How treelike the human, how human the tree.

19

I like to think of the landscape not as a fixed place but as a path that is unwinding before my eyes, under my feet. To see and know a place is a contemplative act. It means emptying our minds and letting what is there, in all its mulitplicity and endless variety, come in.

19

How odd it is that sewing is thought to be 'women's work' when surgeons, sailors, and cowboys sew too. Yet how many female thoracic surgeons are there? And if precision motor activities are thought to be performed better by women, why wouldn't they make better surgeons too?

18

Everything in nature invites us constantly to be what we are.

We are often like rivers: careless and forceful, timid and dangerous, lucid and muddied, eddying, gleaming, still.

16

Survival is as much a matter of grace as fight.

The expression, 'grace under pressure' implies the attainment of equanimity and equilibrium. The fundamental durability of the human body surprises us because the pain can be so intense - yet pain is often transient and hides the tremendous effforts the body is engaged in to heal itself.

15

Honesty is stronger medicine than sympathy, which may console but often conceals.

13

Finally, the lessons of impermanence taught me this: loss constitutes an odd kind of fullness; despair empties out into an unquenchable appetite for life.

12

All through autumn we hear a double voice: one says everything is ripe;

the other says everything is dying. The paradox is exquisite. We feel what the Japanese call "aware"--an almost untranslatable word meaning something like "beauty tinged with sadness.

11

About Gretel Ehrlich

Quotes 47 sayings
Profession Writer
Birthday January 21, 1946

If anything is endemic to Wyoming it is wind.

This big room of space is swept out daily, leaving a bone yard of fossils, agates, and carcasses in every stage of decay. Though it was water that initially shaped the state, wind is the meticulous gardener, raising dust and pruning the sage.

9

We are often like rivers: careless and forceful, timid and dangerous, lucid and muddied, eddying, gleaming, still. Lovers, farmers, and artists have one thing in common, at least - a fear of 'dry spells,' dormant periods in which we do no blooming, internal droughts only the waters of imagination and psychic release can civilize.

7

As fog moved to the mainland I heard a flock of birds fly over.

They sounded like a dress rustling, a dress being unfastened and dropping to the floor. Fog came unpinned like hair. On the beach cliffs, great colonies of datura - jimson weed - with their white trumpet flowers, looked like brass bands.

6

Fog rolled in like a form of sorrow. To live exiled from a place you have known intimately is to experience sensory deprivation. A wide-awake coma. ... The sea was a memory bank into which everything fell and was lost. I dove in but came out empty-handed.

5

It's no wonder human beings are so narcissistic.

The way our ears are constructed, we can hear only what is right next to us or else the internal monologue inside.

5

Autumn teaches us that fruition is also death;

that ripeness is a form of decay. The willows, having stood for so long near water, begin to rust. Leaves are verbs that conjugate the seasons.

3

Between highway sounds I heard waves and thought how the curve of the coastline here had sheltered and nurtured live-born sharks, humans, and migrating whales. Here, at the edge of the continent, time and distance stopped; in the lull between sets of waves I could get a fresh start.

3

History is an illogical record. It hinges on nothing. It is a story that changes, and has accidents, and recovers with scars.

3

I designed furniture that pulled apart, folded, and broke down into neat stacks.

Since arriving in California, I had moved four times and it looked as if I would move again. Was it the land running under my feet or my feet running over the land?

2

I understood why war zones are called 'theaters' because they frame a kind of play acting or, worse, deceit, that can stain a human life forever: the deceit of hate on hearsay - hating an enemy one doesn't know.

2

The retreat and disappearance of glaciers—there are only 160,000 left—means we're burning libraries and damaging the planet, possibly beyond repair. Bit by bit, glacier by glacier, rib by rib, we're living the Fall.

2

True solace is finding none, which is to say, it is everywhere.

1

Islands are reminders of arrivals and departures.

0

Leaves are verbs that conjugate the seasons.

0

To long for love, to have experienced passion's deep pleasure, even once, is to understand the mercilessness of having a human body whose memory rides desire's back unanchored from season to season.

0

Animals give us their constant, unjaded faces, and we burden them with our bodies and civilized ordeals.

0

Am I like the optimist who, while falling ten stories from a building, says at each story, I'm all right so far?

0

History is not truth versus falsehoods, but a mixture of both, a mélange of tendencies, reactions, dreams, errors, and power plays. What's important is what we make of it; its moral use. By writing history, we can widen readers' thinking and deepen their sympathies in every direction. Perhaps history should show us not how to control the world, but how to enlarge, deepen, and discipline ourselves.

0

Ritual which could entail a wedding or brushing one's teeth goes in the direction of life. Through it we reconcile our barbed solitude with rushing, irreducible conditions of life.

0

Love life first, then march through the gates of each season;

go inside nature and develop the discipline to stop destructive behavior; learn tenderness toward experience, then make decisions based on creating biological wealth that includes all people, animals, cultures, currencies, languages, and the living things as yet undiscovered; listen to the truth the land will tell you; act accordingly.

0

The fog lifted in the evening and a blue-black band at the horizon marked the end of the sea and the beginning of thought. Where does a beginning begin when nothing has gone on before?

0

To know something, then, we must be scrubbed raw, the fasting heart exposed.

0

There is nothing in nature that can't be taken as a sign of both mortality and invigoration.

0

I thought: to be tough is to be fragile; to be tender is to be truly fierce.

0

Turbulence, like many forms of trouble, cannot always be seen.

We bounce so hard my arms sail helplessly above my head. In evolution, wing bones became arms and hands; perhaps I'm de-evolving.

0

What Flaubert refers to as the “mélancholies du voyage” is like the sadness I feel as one season departs and another arrives.

0

The toughness I was learning was not a martyred doggedness, a dumb heroism, but the art of accommodation. I thought: to be tough is to be fragile; to be tender is to be truly fierce.

0

I like big, open, spare landscapes. There's lots of room. Nobody bothers you... I feel as if I can think there.

0

A tree is an aerial garden, a botanical migration from the sea, from those earliest plants, the seaweeds; it is a purchase on crumbled rock, on ground. The human, standing, is only a different upsweep and articulation of cells. How treelike we are, how human the tree.

0

Walking is also an ambulation of mind.

0

A black-crowned night heron stood on an apron of wet sand, looking across the channel. The feather plume at the back of his head lifted in a faint breeze. Out there the channel churned its cyclonic eddies counterclockwise. Schools of anchovies, halibut, and sea bass came and went: silver flashes, small storms that well up from the inside of the sea but are short-lived, like lightning.

0

Gary Snyder's The Practice of the Wild is an exquisite, far-sighted articulation of what freedom, wildness, goodness, and grace mean, using the lessons of the planet to teach us how to live.

0

The truest art I would strive for in any work would be to give the page the same qualities as earth: weather would land on it harshly; light would elucidate the most difficult truths; wind would sweep away obtuse padding.

0

Perhaps despair is the only human sin.

0