Foothold Quotes (displaying: 1 - 24 of 24 quotes )
... Implacable November weather. As much mud in the streets, as if the waters had but newly retired from the face of the earth, and it would not be wonderful to meet a Megalosaurus, forty feet long or so, waddling like an elephantine lizard up Holborn Hill. Smoke lowering down from chimney-pots, making a soft black drizzle, with flakes of soot in it as big as full-grown snow-flakes — gone into mourning, one might imagine, for the death of the sun. Dogs, undistinguishable in mire. Horses, scarcely better; splashed to their very blinkers. Foot passengers, jostling one another’s umbrellas, in a general infection of ill-temper, and losing their foot-hold at street-corners, where tens of thousands of other foot passengers have been slipping and sliding since the day broke (if the day ever broke), adding new deposits to the crust upon crust of mud, sticking at those points tenaciously to the pavement, and accumulating at compound interest.
But when the self speaks to the self, who is speaking?—the entombed soul, the spirit driven in, in, in to the central catacomb; the self that took the veil and left the world—a coward perhaps, yet somehow beautiful, as it flits with its lantern restlessly up and down the dark corridors. 'I can bear it no longer,' her spirit says. 'That man at lunch—Hilda—the children.' Oh, heavens, her sob! It's the spirit wailing its destiny, the spirit driven hither, thither, lodging on the diminishing carpets—meagre footholds—shrunken shreds of all the vanishing universe—love, life, faith, husband, children, I know not what splendours and pageantries glimpsed in girlhood. Not for me—not for me.
Our life is like a land journey, too even and easy and dull over long distances across the plains, too hard and painful up the steep grades; but, on the summits of the mountain, you have a magnificent view--and feel exalted--and your eyes are full of happy tears--and you want to sing--and wish you had wings! And then--you can't stay there, but must continue your journey--you begin climbing down the other side, so busy with your footholds that your summit experience is forgotten.
I should like to save the Shire, if I could - though there have been times when I thought the inhabitants too stupid and dull for words, and have felt that an earthquake or an invasion of dragons might be good for them. But I don't feel like that now. I feel that as long as the Shire lies behind, safe and comfortable, I shall find wandering more bearable: I shall know that somewhere there is a firm foothold, even if my feet cannot stand there again.
If the demand for self-knowledge is willed by fate and is refused, this negative attitude may end in real death. The demand would not have come to this person had he still been able to strike out on some promising by-path. But he is caught in a blind alley from which only self-knowledge can extricate him. If he refuses this then no other way is left open to him. Usually he is not conscious of his situation, either, and the more unconscious he is the more he is at the mercy of unforeseen dangers: he cannot get out of the way of a car quickly enough, in climbing a mountain he misses his foothold somewhere, out skiing he thinks he can negotiate a tricky slope, and in an illness he suddenly loses the courage to live. The unconscious has a thousand ways of snuffing out a meaningless existence with surprising swiftness.
Many textbooks point out that no animal has evolved wheels and cite the fact as an example of how evolution is often incapable of finding the optimal solution to an engineering problem. But it is not a good example at all. Even if nature could have evolved a moose on wheels, it surely would have opted not to. Wheels are good only in a world with roads and rails. They bog down in any terrain that is soft, slippery, steep, or uneven. Legs are better. Wheels have to roll along an unbroken supporting ridge, but legs can be placed on a series of separate footholds, an extreme example being a ladder. Legs can also be placed to minimize lurching and to step over obstacles. Even today, when it seems as if the world has become a parking lot, only about half of the earth's land is accessible to vehicles with wheels or tracks, but most of the earth's land is accessible to vehicles with feet: animals, the vehicles designed by natural selection.
Crossing the Swamp" Here is the endless wet thick cosmos, the center of everything—the nugget of dense sap, branching vines, the dark burred faintly belching bogs. Here is swamp, here is struggle, closure— pathless, seamless, peerless mud. My bones knock together at the pale joints, trying for foothold, fingerhold, mindhold over such slick crossings, deep hipholes, hummocks that sink silently into the black, slack earthsoup. I feel not wet so much as painted and glittered with the fat grassy mires, the rich and succulent marrows of earth—a poor dry stick given one more chance by the whims of swamp water—a bough that still, after all these years, could take root, sprout, branch out, bud— make of its life a breathing palace of leaves.
While Free Choice Vouchers didn't fulfill my vision of a health care system in which every American would be empowered to hire and fire their insurance company, they were a foothold for choice and competition and a safety valve for Americans whose employers are already forcing them to bear more and more of their family's health insurance costs.