Canyon Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 54 quotes )
The following evening as they rode up onto the western rim they lost one of the mules. It went skittering off down the canyon wall with the contents of the panniers exploding soundlessly in the hot dry air and it fell through sunlight and through shade, turning in that lonely void until it fell from sight into a sink of cold blue space that absolved it forever of memory in the mind of any living thing that was.
The world soon to be largely populated by men who would eat your children in front of your eyes and the cities themselves held by cores of blackened looters who tunneled among the ruins and crawled from the rubble white of tooth and eye carrying charred and anynymous tins of food in nylon nets like shoppers in the commissaries of hell. The soft black talc blew through the streets like squid ink uncoiling along a sea floor and the cold crept down and the dark came early and the scavengers passing down the steep canyons with their torches trod silky holes in the drifted ash that closed behind them silently as eyes. Out on the roads the pilgrims sank down and fell over and died and the bleak and shrouded earth went trundling past the sun and returned again as trackless and as unremarked as the path of any nameless sisterworld in the ancient dark beyond.
They laid up in the shade of a rock shelf until past noon, scratching out a place in the gray lava dust to sleep, and they set forth in the afternoon down the valley following the war trail and they were very small and they moved very slowly in the immensity of that landscape. Come evening they hove toward the rimrock again and Sproule pointed out a dark stain on the face of the barren cliff. It looked like the black from old fires. The kid shielded his eyes. The scalloped canyon walls rippled in the heat like drapery folds.
From the ruins, lonely and inexplicable as the sphinx, rose the Empire State Building. And just as it had been tradition of mine to climb to the Plaza roof to take leave of the beautiful city extending as far as the eyes could see, so now I went to the roof of that last and most magnificent of towers. Then I understood. Everything was explained. I had discovered the crowning error of the city. Its Pandora's box. Full of vaunting pride, the New Yorker had climbed here, and seen with dismay what he had never suspected. That the city was not the endless sucession of canyons that he had supposed, but that it had limits, fading out into the country on all sides into an expanse of green and blue. That alone was limitless. And with the awful realization that New York was a city after all and not a universe, the whole shining ediface that he had reared in his mind came crashing down. That was the gift of Alfred Smith to the citizens of New York.
In one horrible moment the last piece of the prophecy became clear. So bid him take care, bid him look where he leaps, As life may be death and death life again reaps. He had to leap, and by his death, the others would live. That was it. That was what Sandwich had been trying to say all along, and by now he believed in Sandwich. He put on a final burst of speed, just like the coach taught him in track. He gave everything he had. In the last few steps before the canyon he felt a sharp pain in the back of his leg, and then the ground gave way under his feet. Gregor the Overlander leaped.
We wanted to blast the world free of history.... picture yourself planting radishes and seed potatoes on the fifteenth green of a forgotten golf course. You'll hunt elk through the damp canyon forests around the ruins of Rockefeller Center, and dig clams next to the skeleton of the Space Needle leaning at a forty-five degree angle. We'll paint the skyscrapers with huge totem faces and goblin tikis, and every evening what's left of mankind will retreat to empty zoos and lock itself in cages as protection against the bears and big cats and wolves that pace and watch us from outside the cage bars at night.
I can hear them on the floor below. They will find me in miuntes, or seconds. I scrawl the words on a dirty shred of newsprint. They are nearly illegible, but if he finds them, he will understand:'Not fast enough. Love you love Jamie. Don't go home'Not only do I break their hearts, I steal their refuge, too. I picture our little canyon abandoned, as it must be forever now. Or if not abandoned, a tomb.
No more cars in national parks. Let the people walk. Or ride horses, bicycles, mules, wild pigs--anything--but keep the automobiles and the motorcycles and all their motorized relatives out. We have agreed not to drive our automobiles into cathedrals, concert halls, art museums, legislative assemblies, private bedrooms and the other sanctums of our culture; we should treat our national parks with the same deference, for they, too, are holy places. An increasingly pagan and hedonistic people (thank God!), we are learning finally that the forests and mountains and desert canyons are holier than our churches. Therefore let us behave accordingly.
Woman, where are they? Has no one judged you guilty?"She answers "No one, sir."Then Jesus says, "I also don't judge you guilty. You may go now, but don't sin anymore."If you have ever wondered how God reacts when you fail, frame these words and hang them on the wall. Read them. Ponder them. Drink from them. Stand below them and let them wash over your soul. Or better still, take him with you to to your canyon of shame. Invite Christ to journey with you back to the Fremont Bridge of your world. Let Him stand beside you as you retell the events of the darkest nights of your soul. And then listen. Listen carefully. He's speaking."I don't judge you guilty."And watch. Watch carefully. He's writing. He's leaving a message. Not in the sand, but on a cross. Not with his hand, but with his blood. His message has two words: not guilty.
I love my country, by which I mean I am indebted joyfully to all the people throughout its history, who have fought the government to make right. Where so many cunning sons and daughters, our foremothers and forefathers came singing through slaughter, came through hell and high water so that we could stand here, and behold breathlessly the sight; how a raging river of tears cut a grand canyon of light. Why can't all decent men and women call themselves feminists, out of respect for those that fought for this?
For our own part, we learned a great deal about the techniques of love, and because we didn't know the words to denote what we saw, we had to make up our own. That was why we spoke of "yodeling in the canyon" and "tying the tube", of "groaning in the pit", "slipping the turtle's head", and "chewing the stinkweed". Years later, when we lost our own virginities, we resorted in our panic to pantomiming Lux's gyrations on the roof so long ago; and even now, if we were to be honest with ourselves, we would have to admit that it is always that pale wraith we make love to, always her feet snagged in the gutter, always her single blooming hand steadying itself against the chimney, no matter what our present lovers' feet and hands are doing.
In the world I see you are stalking elk through the damp canyon forests around the ruins of Rock feller Center. You'll wear leather clothes that will last you the rest of your life. You'll climb the wrist-thick kudzu vines that wrap the Sears Towers. And when you look down, you'll see tiny figures pounding corn, laying stripes of venison on the empty car pool lane of some abandoned superhighways.
The mountains of the Great Divide are not, as everyone knows, born treeless, though we always think of them as above timberline with the eternal snows on their heads. They wade up through ancient forests and plunge into canyons tangled up with water-courses and pause in little gem-like valleys and march attended by loud winds across the high plateaus, but all such incidents of the lower world they leave behind them when they begin to strip for the skies: like the Holy Ones of old, they go up alone and barren of all circumstance to meet their transfiguration.
Suppressing the fear of death makes it all the stronger. The point is only to know, beyond any shadow of doubt, that "I" and all other "things" now present will vanish, until this knowledge compels you to release them - to know it now as surely as if you had just fallen off the rim of the Grand Canyon. Indeed you were kicked off the edge of a precipice when you were born, and it's no help to cling to the rocks falling with you. If you are afraid of death, be afraid. The point is to get with it, to let it take over - fear, ghosts, pains, transience, dissolution, and all. And then comes the hitherto unbelievable surprise; you don't die because you were never born. You had just forgotten who you are.
... it was one of the best meals we ever ate. Perhaps that is because it was the first conscious one, for me at least; but the fact that we remember it with such queer clarity must mean that it had other reasons for being important. I suppose that happens at least once to every human. I hope so. Now the hills are cut through with superhighways, and I can't say whether we sat that night in Mint Canyon or Bouquet, and the three of us are in some ways even more than twenty-five years older than we were then. And still the warm round peach pie and the cool yellow cream we ate together that August night live in our hearts' palates, succulent, secret, delicious.
The guide invited the crowd to imagine that they were looking across a desert at a mountain range on a day that was twinkling bright and clear. They could look at a peak or a bird or a cloud, at a stone right in front of them, or even down into a canyon behind them. But among them was this poor Earthling, and his head was encased in a steel sphere which he could never take off. There was only one eyehole through which he could look, and welded to that eyehole were six feet of pipe.
Follow the loglo outward, to where the growth is enfolded into the valleys and the canyons, and you find the land of the refugees. They have fled from the true America, the America of atomic bombs, scalpings, hip-hop, chaos theory, cement overshoes, snake handlers, spree killers, space walks, buffalo jumps, drive-bys, cruise missiles; Sherman's March, gridlock, motorcycle gangs, and bungee jumping. They have parallel-parked their bimbo boxes in identical computer-designed Burbclave street patterns and secreted themselves in symmetrical sheetrock shitholes with vinyl floors and ill-fitting woodwork and no sidewalks, vast house farms out in the loglo wilderness, a culture medium for a medium culture.
Like many fly fishermen in western Montana where the summer days are almost Arctic in length, I often do not start fishing until the cool of the evening. Then in the Arctic half-light of the canyon, all existence fades to a being with my soul and memories and the sounds of the Big Blackfoot River and a four-count rhythm and the hope that a fish will rise. Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of those rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.
It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they executed the Rosenbergs, and I didn't know what I was doing in New York. I'm stupid about executions. The idea of being electrocuted makes me sick, and that's all there was to read about in the papers -- goggle-eyed headlines staring up at me at every street corner and at the fusty, peanut-smelling mouth of every subway. It had nothing to do with me, but I couldn't help wondering what it would be like, being burned alive all along your nerves. I thought it must be the worst thing in the world. New York was bad enough. By nine in the morning the fake, country-wet freshness that somehow seeped in overnight evaporated like the tail end of a sweet dream. Mirage-gray at the bottom of their granite canyons, the hot streets wavered in the sun, the car tops sizzled and glittered, and the dry, cindery dust blew into my eyes and down my throat.
Yet even in the loneliness of the canyon I knew there were others like me who had brothers they did not understand but wanted to help. We are probably those referred to as "our brother's keepers," possessed of one of the oldest and possible one of the most futile and certainly one of the most haunting instincts. It will not let us go.
If flying-saucer creatures or angels or whatever were to come here in a hundred years, say, and find us gone like the dinosaurs, what might be a good message for humanity to leave for them, maybe carved in great big letters on a Grand Canyon wall? Here is this old poop's suggestion: WE PROBABLY COULD HAVE SAVED OURSELVES, BUT WERE TOO DAMNED LAZY TO TRY VERY HARD...