The Desert

To the desert go prophets and hermits; through deserts go pilgrims and exiles. here the leaders of the great religions have sought the therapeutic and spiritual values of retreat, not to escape but to find reality.

Paul Shepard, Man in the Landscape: A Historic View of the Esthetics of Nature

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The Mirror

We celebrated each moment of our meetings as a revelation alone in all the world. You were lighter and bolder than the wing of a bird flying down the stairs two at a time… pure giddiness, leading me through the moist lilac to your domain beyond the looking glass. When night fell, I was favored. The altar gates were opened and in the dark, there gleamed your nudity, and I slowly bowed. Awakening, ‘Be blessed,’ I said and know my blessing to be bold for you still slept. The lilac on the table stretched forth to touch your lids with heavenly blue and your blue-tinted lids were calm, and your hand was warm. Locked in crystal, rivers pulsed, mountains smoked, seas glimmered. You held a sphere of crystal in your hand and slept on a throne. And– righteous Lord!– you were mine. You awakened and transformed our mundane, human words. Then did my throat fill with new power and give new meaning to ‘you’ which now meant ‘sovereign.’ All was transformed, even such simple things as basin, pitcher, when like a sentinel, layered, solid water lay between us. We were drawn on and on where cities built by magic parted us like mirages. Mint carpeted our way, birds escorted us, and fish swam upstream while the sky spread out before us as Fate followed in our wake like a madman brandishing a razor.

Andrei Tarkovsky, The Mirror (1975)

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The Mysterious Equations of Love

Nash: Thank you. I’ve always believed in numbers and the equations and logics that lead to reason.

But after a lifetime of such pursuits, I ask,

“What truly is logic?”

“Who decides reason?”

My quest has taken me through the physical, the metaphysical, the delusional — and back.

And I have made the most important discovery of my career, the most important discovery of my life: It is only in the mysterious equations of love that any logic or reasons can be found.

I’m only here tonight because of you [his wife, Alicia].

You are the reason I am.

You are all my reasons.

Thank you.

John Nash: 1994 Nobel Prize, A Beautiful Mind (2002)

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My Antonia

I can see them now, exactly as they looked, working about the table in the lamplight: Jake with his heavy features, so rudely moulded that his face seemed, somehow, unfinished; Otto with his half-ear and the savage scar that made his upper lip curl so ferociously under his twisted moustache. As I remember them, what unprotected faces they were; their very roughness and violence made them defenceless. These boys had no practised manner behind which they could retreat and hold people at a distance. They had only their hard fists to batter at the world with. Otto was already one of those drifting, case-hardened labourers who never marry or have children of their own. Yet he was so fond of children!

Willa Cather, My Antonia

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The Great Gatsby

Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter – tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms further… And one fine morning –

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

Francis Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

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A Little Relaxation

Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer since to remain constantly at work will cause you to lose power of judgment. Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller, and more of it can be taken in at a glance, and a lack of harmony or portion is more readily seen.

Leonardo da Vinci

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The Times They Are A-Changin’

Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’.

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who
That it’s namin’.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin’.

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside
And it is ragin’.
It’ll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’.

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin’.
Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’.

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin’.
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’.

Bob Dylan, The Times They Are A-changin’

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