Barbara Kingsolver Quotes (displaying: 1 - 10 of 498 quotes)
Memory runs along deep, fixed channels in the brain, like electricity along its conduits; only a cataclysm can make the electrons rear up in shock and slide over into another channel. The human mind seems doomed to believe, as simply as a rooster believes, that where we are now is the only possibility
A lifetime of people, unconfirmed by their living presences, or photographs or descriptions in a notebook, can only skulk in the corners like ghosts. They shift like chimeras. Careful words of warning reverse themselves like truth and newspaper stories, becoming their own opposites. An imperfectly remembered life is a useless treachery. Every day, more fragments of the past roll around heavily in the chambers of an empty brain, shedding bits of color, a sentence or a fragrance, something that changes and then disappears. It drops like a stone to the bottom of the cave.
Most of what's known about religious practices in pre-Hispanic Mexico has come to us through a Catholic parish priest named Hernando Ruiz de Alarcn, one of the few who ever became fluent in the Nahuatl language. He spent the 1620s writing his "Treatise on the Superstitions and Heathen Customs that Today Live Among the Indians Native to This New Spain". He'd originally meant it to be something of a "field guide to the heathens" to help priests recognize and exterminate indigenous religious rites and their practitioners. In the process of his documentation, though, it's clear from his writings that Father Ruiz de Alarcn grew sympathetic. He was particularly fascinated with how Nahuatl people celebrated the sacred in ordinary objects, and encouraged living and spirit realities to meet up in the here and now. He noted that the concept of "death" as an ending did not exactly exist for them. When Aztec people left their bodies, they were presumed to be on an exciting trip through the ether. It wasn't something to cry about, except that the living still wanted to visit with them. People's sadness was not for the departed, but for themselves, and could be addressed through ritual visiting called Xantolo, an ordinary communion between the dead and the living. Mexican tradition still holds that Xantolo is always present in certain places and activities, including marigold fields, the cultivation of corn, the preparation of tamales and pan de muerto. Interestingly, farmers' markets are said to be loaded with Xantolo.
The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof. What I want is so simple I almost ca?t say it: elementary kindness. Enough to eat, enough to go around. The possibility that kids might one day grow up to be neither the destroyers nor the destroyed. Tha?s about it. Right now I'm living in that hope, running down its hallway and touching the walls on both sides.
Our holiday food splurge was a small crate of tangerines, which we found ridiculously thrilling after an eight-month abstinence from citrus.... Lily hugged each one to her chest before undressing it as gently as a doll. Watching her do that as she sat cross-legged on the floor one morning in pink pajamas, with bliss lighting her cheeks, I thought: Lucky is the world, to receive this grateful child. Value is not made of money, but a tender balance of expectation and longing.