Thursday, November 8, 2007

Quotes: Solitude

The sentence in bold face is a plain statement of the quote that follows.

In the midst of men, I have a sense of solitude in which I am different from everyone else.
Solitude 331 [His writings] have drawn me aside from the beaten path of the world, and led me into a strange sort of solitude—a solitude in the midst of men—where nobody wishes for what I do, nor thinks nor feels as I do. Hawthorne, Tales and Sketches

I was absorbed in a rapt reverie throughout the day from sunrise to the sun’s falling in the west.
Solitude 245 “I sat in my sunny doorway from sunrise till noon, rapt in reverie, amidst the pines and hickories and sumachs, in undisturbed solitude and stillness while the birds sang around or flitted noiseless through the house, until by the sun falling in at my west window or the noise of some traveler’s wagon on the distant highway, I was reminded of the lapse of time.” Eiseley, The Star Thrower

In the evening I sat in my boat playing the flute, charming the perch, seeing the moon reflected on the bottom of the pond strewn with wrecks from the forest.
Solitude 462 In warm evenings I frequently sat in the boat playing the flute, and saw the perch, which I seemed to have charmed, hovering around me, and the moon traveling over the ribbed bottom, which was strewed with the wrecks of the forest. Thoreau, Walden.

After visiting in the village I would come home at midnight and fish for my dinner next day, listening to the owls and foxes and the notes of an unknown bird.
Solitude 462 Sometimes, after staying in a village parlor till the family had all retired, I have returned to the woods, and, partly with a view to the next day’s dinner, spent the hours of midnight fishing from a boat by moonlight, serenaded by owls and foxes, and hearing, from time to time, the creaking note of some unknown bird close at hand. Thoreau, Walden.

Living in nature keeps the senses keen and living alone makes you watchful.
Solitude 81 Living in outer nature keeps the senses keen, and living alone stirs in them a certain watchfulness. Henry Beston, The Outermost House.

From the moment I awakened to the fall of dusk, I had something to observe, record, study and tuck into a corner of my mind.
Solitude 92 From the moment that I rose in the morning and threw open my door looking toward the sea to the moment when the spurt of a match sounded in the evening quiet of my solitary house, there was always something to do, something to observe, something to record, something to study, something to put aside in a corner of the mind. Henry Beston, The Outermost House.

Living on the dunes, I became aware of the many varieties of life around me.
Solitude 95 Dwelling thus upon the dunes, I lived in the midst of an abundance of natural life which manifested itself every hour of the day, and from being thus surrounded, thus enclosed within a great whirl of what one may call the life force, I felt that I drew a secret and sustaining energy. Henry Beston, The Outermost House.

I awoke to April moonlight and stillness.
Solitude 143 I woke last night just after two o’clock and found my larger room brimming with April moonlight and so still that I could hear the ticking of my watch. Henry Beston, The Outermost House.

All over the world there are shrines of solitude.
Solitude 444 …there are paths trodden to the shrines of solitude the world over…. Jewett, The country of the Pointed Firs.

The greatest gift is to know how to be by yourself.
Solitude 96 The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to ourselves. Montaigne, Selected Essays.

Eiseley projected the image of a scholar in solitude who wanted only to be left alone.
Solitude scholar 339 Eiseley’s favorite image of himself, and the one he projected repeatedly in his writings, was that of a humble self-deprecating scholar who wanted only to be left to his own devices. Christianson, Fox at the Wood’s Edge: Loren Eiseley

For Hawthorne there were two paths to experience: the world and the self.
Solitude social 58 For Hawthorne, as a youthful writer, there were...two avenues to experience: To be much in the world, to be busy in the world’s business, to be observant of the social scene...; or to retire into solitude, to explore the secrets of the self, to analyze the private promptings of one’s own mind and the world of fantasy and daydreams that are found there...poignant...attempt to bring these tendencies into balance and equilibrium. Mellow, Hawthorne in His Times.

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