Friday, December 25, 2015

Nature & Travel

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
- Mark Twain

As fast as winds,
As calm as forests,
As aggressive as fire,
As steady as mountains. 
- Sun Tzu

To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, to draw closer, to find each other and to feel. That is the purpose of Life.
- The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

No catastrophe has ever yielded so much pleasure to the rest of humanity as that which buried Pompeii and Herculaneum.
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

We must go beyond textbooks, go out into the bypaths and untrodden depths of the wilderness and travel and explore and tell the world the glories of our journey.
- John Hope Franklin

Once you have travelled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.
-  Pat Conroy

Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things - air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky - all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.
- Cesare Pavese

It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters in the end.
- Ursula K. LeGuin

The experiences are so innumerable and varied, that the journey appears to be interminable and the Destination is ever out of sight. But the wonder of it is, when at last you reach your Destination you find that you had never travelled at all! It was a journey from here to Here.
- Meher Bab

We are all travelers who are journeying... not knowing where the next day of our life is going to take us. We have no understanding of the surprises that are in store for us. Steadily we will know, understand and decipher and then it will all start to make sense. Until then keep travelling.
- Anonymous

In the beginning was the book of Nature. For eon after eon, the pages of the book turned with no human to read them. No eye wondered at the ignition of the sun, the coagulation of the earth, the birth of the moon, the solidification of a terrestrial continent, or the filling of the seas. Yet when the first primitive algae evolved to float on the waters of this ocean, a promise was born - a hope that someday all the richness and variety of the phenomena of the universe would be read with appreciative eyes.
- Garg G. Tibbetts (2012)

Goethe said that he who cannot draw on 3,000 years of learning is living hand to mouth. It could just as well be said that individuals who do tap deeply into this rich cultural legacy are wealthy indeed. Yet the paradox is that much of this wisdom is buried in a sea of lesser books or like lost treasure beneath an ocean of online ignorance and trivia. That doesn’t mean that with a little bit of diligence you can’t tap into it. Yet many people, perhaps most, never take advantage of all this human experience. They aren’t obtaining knowledge beyond what they need to know for work or to get by. As a result, their view of our amazing world is diminished and their lives greatly circumscribed.
- An Embarrassment of Riches by Alexander Green

Have you ever watched an eagle held captive in a zoo, fat and plump and full of food and safe from danger too?
Then have you seen another wheeling high up in the sky, thin and hard and battle-scarred, but free to soar and fly?
Well, which have you pitied the caged one or his brother? Though safe and warm from foe or storm, the captive, not the other!
There's something of the eagle in climbers, don't you see; a secret thing, perhaps the soul, that clamors to be free.
It's a different sort of freedom from the kind we often mean, not free to work and eat and sleep and live in peace serene.
But freedom like a wild thing to leap and soar and strive, to struggle with the icy blast, to really be alive.
That's why we climb the mountain's peak from which the cloud-veils flow, to stand and watch the eagle fly, and soar, and wheel... below...
- Robert Cramer

Nature has been for me, for as long as I remember a source of solace, inspiration, adventure, and delight; a home, a teacher, a companion. 
- Lorraine Anderson

The wonderful things in life are the things you do, not the things you have.
- Reinhold Messner

Looking back across the long cycles of change through which the land has been shaped into its present form, let us realize that these geographical revolutions are not events wholly of the dim past, but that they are still in progress. So slow and measured has been their march, that even from the earliest times of human history they seem hardly to have advanced at all. But none the less are they surely and steadily transpiring around us. In the fall of rain and the flow of rivers, in the bubble of springs and the silence of frost, in the quiet creep of glaciers and the tumultuous rush of ocean waves, in the tremor of the earthquake and the outburst of the volcano, we may recognize the same play of terrestrial forces by which the framework of the continents has been step by step evolved. 
- Sir Archibald Geikie

May not subterraneous fire be considered as the great plough (if I may be allowed the expression) which Nature makes use of to turn up the bowels of the earth? 
- Sir William Hamilton

Our earth is very old, an old warrior that has lived through many battles. Nevertheless, the face of it is still changing, and science sees no certain limit of time for its stately evolution. Our solid earth, apparently so stable, inert, and finished, is changing, mobile, and still evolving. Its major quakings are largely the echoes of that divine far-off event, the building of our noble mountains. The lava floods and intriguing volcanoes tell us of the plasticity, mobility, of the deep interior of the globe. The slow coming and going of ancient shallow seas on the continental plateaus tell us of the rhythmic distortion of the deep interior-deep-seated flow and changes of volume. Mountain chains prove the earth's solid crust itself to be mobile in high degree. And the secret of it all - the secret of the earthquake, the secret of the “temple of fire,” the secret of the ocean basin, the secret of the highland - is in the heart of the earth, forever invisible to human eyes. 
- Reginald Aldworth Daly

[T]here are depths of thousands of miles which are hidden from our inquiry. The only tidings we have from those unfathomable regions are by means of volcanoes, those burning mountains that seem to discharge their materials from the lowest abysses of the earth. 
- Oliver Goldsmith

[On the volcano.] And many a fire there burns beneath the ground. 
- Empedocles

Remind me that the most fertile lands were built by the fires of volcanoes.
- Andrea Gibson

One of the most curious and interesting reptiles which I met with in Borneo was a large tree-frog, which was brought me by one of the Chinese workmen. He assured me that he had seen it come down in a slanting direction from a high tree, as if it flew. On examining it, I found the toes very long and fully webbed to their very extremity, so that when expanded they offered a surface much larger than the body. The forelegs were also bordered by a membrane, and the body was capable of considerable inflation. The back and limbs were of a very deep shining green colour, the undersurface and the inner toes yellow, while the webs were black, rayed with yellow. The body was about four inches long, while the webs of each hind foot, when fully expanded, covered a surface of four square inches, and the webs of all the feet together about twelve square inches. As the extremities of the toes have dilated discs for adhesion, showing the creature to be a true tree frog, it is difficult to imagine that this immense membrane of the toes can be for the purpose of swimming only, and the account of the Chinaman, that it flew down from the tree, becomes more credible. This is, I believe, the first instance known of a "flying frog," and it is very interesting to Darwinians as showing that the variability of the toes which have been already modified for purposes of swimming and adhesive climbing, have been taken advantage of to enable an allied species to pass through the air like the flying lizard. It would appear to be a new species of the genus Rhacophorus, which consists of several frogs of a much smaller size than this, and having the webs of the toes less developed.
- Malay Archipelago by Alfred R. Wallace

The absolute extent of land in the Archipelago is not greater than that contained by Western Europe from Hungary to Spain; but, owing to the manner in which the land is broken up and divided, the variety of its productions is rather in proportion to the immense surface over which the islands are spread, than to the quantity of land which they contain.
- Malay Archipelago by Alfred R. Wallace

Returning now to the Malay Archipelago, we find that all the wide expanse of sea which divides Java, Sumatra, and Borneo from each other, and from Malacca and Siam, is so shallow that ships can anchor in any part of it, since it rarely exceeds forty fathoms in depth; and if we go as far as the line of a hundred fathoms, we shall include the Philippine Islands and Bali, east of Java. If, therefore, these islands have been separated from each other and the continent by subsidence of the intervening tracts of land, we should conclude that the separation has been comparatively recent, since the depth to which the land has subsided is so small. It is also to be remarked that the great chain of active volcanoes in Sumatra and Java furnishes us with a sufficient cause for such subsidence, since the enormous masses of matter they have thrown out would take away the foundations of the surrounding district; and this may be the true explanation of the often-noticed fact that volcanoes and volcanic chains are always near the sea. The subsidence they produce around them will, in time, make a sea, if one does not already exist.
- Malay Archipelago by Alfred R. Wallace

It is hard to imagine while strenuously walking in the heart of an equatorial rain forest, gasping for every breath in a stifling humid sauna, how people could have ever adapted to life under these conditions. It is not just the oppressive climate - the tall forest itself is dark, little light reaching the floor from the canopy, and you do not see any animals. It is a complete contrast to the herbivore-rich dry savannahs of tropical Africa. Yet there are many animals here, evident by the loud, continual noise of large cryptic insects and the constant threat of stepping on a deadly king cobra. This was my first impression of the rain forest in Borneo.
- Clive Finlayson, “The Humans Who Went Extinct”

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.
- St. Augustine

People don't take trips… trips take people.
- John Steinbeck

There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.
- Robert Louis Stevenson

One of the gladdest moments of human life, methinks, is the departure upon a distant journey into unknown lands. Shaking off with one mighty effort the fetters of habit, the leaden weight of routine, the cloak of many cares and the slavery of home, man feel once more happy.
- Sir Richard Burton

The use of traveling is to regulate the imagination by reality, and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are. 
- Samuel Johnson

If you were going to risk all that, not just risk the hardship and the pain but risk your life. Put everything on line for a dream, for something that’s worth nothing, that can’t be proved to anybody. You just have the transient moment on a summit and when you come back down to the valley it goes. It is actually a completely illogical thing to do. It is not justifiable by any rational terms. That’s probably why you do it.
- Joe Simpson, “The Beckoning Silence”

I waited for Rob and, linking arms, we took our final steps together onto the rooftop of the world. It was 8.15 am on 24 May 2004; there was nowhere higher on the planet that we could go, the world lay at our feet. Holding each other tightly, we tried to absorb where we were. To be standing here, together, exactly three years since Rob’s cancer treatment, was nothing short of a miracle. Standing on top of Everest was more than just climbing a mountain - it was a gift of life. With Pemba and Nawang we crowded together, wrapping our arms around each other. They had been more than Sherpas, they had been our guardian angels.
- Jo Gambi

Standing beside each other, we feasted our eyes. Above us the cerulean sky deepened to an inky black as the remnants of the atmosphere gave way to the depths of space. The mighty Himalaya were now a sparkling relief map spread out before us and garnished with a gleaming lattice work of swirling glaciers. Even Cho Oyu, Lhotse and Makalu, all 8,000-meter giants, were dwarfed. To the east and west, Kanchenjunga and Shishapangma, two more great sentinels of the Himalaya, stood crystal clear over 100 kilometers away. To the north were the burnished plains of Tibet, and to the south the majestic peaks and lush foothills of Nepal. We stood on the crown jewel of the earth, the curved horizon spinning endlessly around us.
- Jo Gambi

The evening was calm, the calmest we had known above the North Col. The smooth, outward dipping slabs glowed in the fast setting sun and, at an immense distance beneath, clouds concealed the valleys and lesser peaks. There was nothing to obstruct the tremendous prospect. Seen from Everest, great peaks that dominate the climber as he toils along the East Rongbuk Glacier, and up the slopes of the North Col, show like insignificant ripples at the base of a great ocean roller. Even the North Peak was but a stepping-stone to quick-footed vision.
- Frank Smythe

It was cold. Space, the air we breathed, the yellow rocks, were deadly cold. There was something ultimate, passionless, and eternal in this cold. It came to us as a single constant note from the depths of space. We stood on the very boundary of life and death.
- Frank Smythe

The night spread out of the east in a great flood, quenching the red sunlight in a single minute. We wriggled by breathless degrees deep into our sleeping bags. Our sole thought was of comfort; we were not alive to the beauty or the grandeur of our position; we did not reflect on the splendor of our elevation. A regret I shall always have is that I did not muster up the energy to spend a minute or two stargazing. One peep I did make between the tent flaps into the night, and I remember dimly an appalling wealth of stars, not pale and remote as they appear when viewed through the moisture-laden air of lower levels, but brilliant points of electric blue fire standing out almost stereoscopically. It was a sight an astronomer would have given much to see, and here were we lying dully in our sleeping bags concerned only with the importance of keeping warm and comfortable.
- Frank Smythe

To the east was our giant neighbor Makalu, unexplored and unclimbed, and even on top of Everest the mountaineering instinct was sufficient strong to cause me to spend some moments conjecturing as to whether a route up that mountain might not exist. Far away across the clouds the great bulk of Kangchenjunga loomed on the horizon. To the west, Cho Oyu, our old adversary from 1952, dominated the scene and we could see the great unexplored ranges of Nepal stretching off into the distance. The most important photograph, I felt, was a shot down the north ridge, showing the North Col and the old route that had been made famous by the struggles of those great climbers of the 1920s and 1930s. I had little hope of the results being particularly successful, as I had a lot of difficulty in holding the camera steady in my clumsy gloves, but I felt that they would at least serve as a record. After some ten minutes of this, I realized that I was becoming rather clumsy-fingered and slow-moving, so I quickly replaced my oxygen set and experience once more the stimulating effect of even a few liters of oxygen. Meanwhile, Tenzing had made a little hole in the snow and in it he placed small articles of food – a bar of chocolate, a packet of biscuits and a handful of lollies. Small offerings, indeed, but at least a token gifts to the gods that all devoted Buddhists believe have their home on this lofty summit. While we were together on the South Col two days before, Hunt had given me a small crucifix that he had asked me to take to the top. I, too, made a hole in the snow and placed the crucifix beside Tenzing’s gifts.
- Sir Edmund Hillary

Just a rock, a dome of snow, the deep blue sky, and a hunk of orange-painted metal from which a shredded American flag cracked in the wind. Nothing more. Except two tiny figures walking together those last few feet to the top of the Earth.
- Tom Hornbein

The last few meters up to the summit no longer seem so hard. On reaching the top, I sit down and let my legs dangle into space. I don’t have to climb anymore. I pull my camera from my rucksack and, in my down mittens, fumble a long time with the batteries before I have it working properly. Then I film Peter. Now, after the hours of torment, which indeed I didn’t recognize as torment, now, when the monotonous motion of plodding upwards is at an end, and I have nothing more to do than breathe, a great peace floods my whole being. I breathe like someone who has run the race of his life and knows that he may now rest forever. I keep looking all around, because the first time I didn’t see anything of the panorama I had expected from Everest, neither indeed did I notice how the wind was continually chasing snow across the summit. In my state of spiritual abstraction, I no longer belong to myself and to my eyesight. I am nothing more than a single, narrow, gasping lung, floating over the mists and the summits.
- Reinhold Messner

Standing now in diffused light, with the wind at my back, I experience suddenly a feeling of completeness – not a feeling of having achieved something or of being stronger than everyone who was ever here before, not a feeling of having arrived at the ultimate point, not a feeling of supremacy. Just a breath of happiness deep inside my mind and my breast. The summit seemed suddenly to me to be a refuge, and I had not expected to find any refuge up here. Looking at the steep, sharp ridges below us, I have the impression that to have come later would have been too late. Everything we now say to one another, we only say out of embarrassment. I don’t think anymore. As I pull the tape recorder, trancelike, from my rucksack, and switch it on wanting to record a few appropriate phrases, tears again well into my eyes. “Now we are on the summit of Everest,” I begin, “it is so cold that we cannot take photographs…” I cannot go on, I am immediately shaken with sobs. I can neither talk nor think, feeling only how this momentous experience changes everything. To reach only a few meters below the summit would have required the same amount of effort, the same anxiety and burden of sorrow, but a feeling like this, an eruption of feeling, is only possible on the summit itself.
- Reinhold Messner

The highest of the world's mountains, it seems, has to make but a single gesture of magnificence to be the lord of all, vast in unchallenged and isolated supremacy.
- George Mallory

Everest for me, and I believe for the world, is the physical and symbolic manifestation of overcoming odds to achieve a dream.
- Tom Whittaker

You've climbed the highest mountain in the world. What's left? It's all downhill from there. You've got to set your sights on something higher than Everest.
- Willi Unsoeld

The first question which you will ask and which I must try to answer is this, 'What is the use of climbing Mount Everest ?' and my answer must at once be, 'It is no use'. There is not the slightest prospect of any gain whatsoever. Oh, we may learn a little about the behavior of the human body at high altitudes, and possibly medical men may turn our observation to some account for the purposes of aviation. But otherwise nothing will come of it. We shall not bring back a single bit of gold or silver, not a gem, nor any coal or iron. We shall not find a single foot of earth that can be planted with crops to raise food. It's no use. So, if you cannot understand that there is something in man which responds to the challenge of this mountain and goes out to meet it, that the struggle is the struggle of life itself upward and forever upward, then you won't see why we go. What we get from this adventure is just sheer joy. And joy is, after all, the end of life. We do not live to eat and make money. We eat and make money to be able to enjoy life. That is what life means and what life is for.
- George Mallory

The end of the ridge and the end of the world... then nothing but that clear, empty air. There was nowhere else to climb. I was standing on the top of the world.
- Stacy Allison

Mountains don't kill people, they just sit there....
- Ed Viesturs 

Getting to the summit is optional, getting down is mandatory.
- Ed Viesturs

But now that I was finally here, standing on the summit of Mount Everest, I just couldn't summon the energy to care.
- Jon Krakauer

I was in continual agony; I have never in my life been so tired as on the summit of Everest that day. I just sat and sat there, oblivious to everything....
- Reinhold Messner

I am nothing more than a single narrow gasping lung, floating over the mists and summits.
- Reinhold Messner

Mountains are not fair or unfair, they are just dangerous.
- Reinhold Messner

I can't understand why men make all this fuss about Everest - it's only a mountain.
- Junko Tabei

Technique and ability alone do not get you to the top; it is the willpower that is the most important. This willpower you cannot buy with money or be given by rises from your heart.
- Junko Tabei

There was no more grass, no flowers, not even any moss: dusty granite blocks covered the ice and an occasional grinding groan reminded us that we were on a slow-moving glacier.
- Chris Bonnington

We just lay on our bellies in the snow, gasping and immobile.
- Peter Habeler

The universe is one great kindergarten for man. Everything that exists has brought with it its own peculiar lesson. The mountain teaches stability and grandeur; the ocean immensity and change. Forests, lakes, and rivers, clouds and winds, stars and flowers, stupendous glaciers and crystal snowflakes, every form of animate or inanimate existence, leaves its impress upon the soul of man. 
- Orison Swett Marden

They are ill discoverers that think there is no land, when they can see nothing but sea.
- Francis Bacon

I should study Nature’s laws in all their crossings and unions; I should follow magnetic streams to their source and follow the shores of our magnetic oceans. I should go among the rays of the aurora, and follow them to their beginnings, and study their dealings and communications with other powers and expressions of matter.
- John Muir

Keep your faith in all beautiful things; in the Sun when it is hidden, in the Spring when it is gone.
- Roy R. Gilson

We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.
- Jawaharlal Nehru

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. 
- John Muir 

If you poison the environment, the environment will poison you. 
- Tony Follari 

We share the Earth not only with our fellow human beings, but with all the other creatures.
- Dalai Lama

I have no other wish than a close fusion with nature, and I desire no other fate than to have worked and lived in harmony with her laws.
- Claude Monet

For most of history, man has had to fight nature to survive; in this century he is beginning to realize that, in order to survive, he must protect it.
- Jacques Cousteau

If there is magic on the planet, it is contained in the water.
- Loren Eisley

The sea never changes and its works, for all the talks of men, are wrapped in mystery.
- Joseph Conrad

Keep discovering…
- Emirates

I traveled among unknown men,
In lands beyond the sea;
Nor England! did I know till then
What love I bore to thee.
- William Wordsworth

An involuntary return to the point of departure is, without doubt, the most disturbing of all journeys.
- Iain Sinclair

How was your flight? Well, aeronautically it was a great success. Socially, it left quite a bit to be desired.
- Noel Coward

I travel a lot; I hate having my life disrupted by routine. 
- Caskie Stinnett 

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. 
- Marcel Proust

I dislike feeling at home when I am abroad 
- George Bernard Shaw 

To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.
- Freya Stark

“What place would you advise me to visit now?” he asked. “The planet Earth,” replied the geographer. “It has a good reputation.” 
- Antoine De Saint-Exupery 

Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen. 
- Louis L'Amour is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living. 
- Miriam Beard 

Better far off to leave half the ruins and nine-tenths of the churches unseen and to see well the rest; to see them not once, but again and often again; to watch them, to learn them, to live with them, to love them, till they have become a part of life and life's recollections.
- Augustus Hare

It is an old dream: To travel on the back of a benevolent sea beast down to some secret underwater garden.
- Stephen Harrigan

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
- Albert Einstein

The sea fires our imagination and rekindles our spirit.
- Wyland

I have slipped the bounds of Earth to dance with dolphins.
- Wyland

The inhabitants of the sea have much to teach us.
- Wyland

Nature is the ultimate divine mystery.
- Wyland

There is no end to the wonders of the sea.
- Wyland

Of Neptune’s empire let us sing…
- Thomas Campton

We do not associate the idea of antiquity with the ocean, nor wonder how it looked a thousand years ago, as we do of the land, for it was equally wild and unfathomable always.
- Henry David Thoreau

One way to open your eyes to unnoticed beauty is to ask yourself, “What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?”
- Rachel Carson

All is born of water; all is sustained by water.
- Goethe

To stand at the edge of the sea… is to have knowledge of things that are as eternal as any earthly life can be.
- Rachel Carson

Following the light of the sun, we left the Old World. 
- Christopher Columbus

The day dawned grey and dreary 
The sky made of silver 
While the first snowflakes 
Began to fall.
A lone bird chirped 
In a tree bare of its leaves. 
Standing on a lonely road 
I stood watching as the world 
Started changing.
And I embraced the winter 
With memories of summer’s warmth 
Still in my heart. 
And soon the snowflakes 
Began to dance about me 
And I twirled around and around 
As everything 
Turned into a winter wonderland.
- Rasma Raisters

The rising sun faraway, 
Turns the sky bright. 
Coloring the ocean, 
In hues of red and white. 
Love unfolds itself, 
With the passing day. 
The ocean creates music, 
As waves dance away. 
Like a dragon sometime - 
Hitting the shore. 
Eyes erupting anger, 
Looking out for more. 
As the sun sets in, 
Beauty plays its part. 
Dressed like a women, 
With love in heart. 
As night approaches, 
Moon shines upon. 
Like a baby it sleeps, 
With starry blanket on. 
- Abhilasha Agarwal 

In shades of black and blue the skies do bow as darkness falls the lights go out. 
Nature softly immersed in glee as all mankind drifts off to sleep. 
Water breathes a sigh of relief now aquatic creatures can do as they please. 
Animals whether large or small regain the natural instincts that man has fought. 
The moon shines bright he's happy too people can't over-ride his rules. 
Midnight calms the wounds of the world the break of dawn disperses new hope... 
- Zenith Elliott

Push aside the limbs and brush and grasp the magic revealed through the branches. 
Laugh at the breeze grazing your face, its crispness stiffens, pimply flesh awareness, invigorating that numbness you’ve taken for granted as comfort. See jagged mountains looming above massive foundations veiled in a drifting mist hanging in the valleys. Listen to the mystic whispers of secrets whittled away by haunted whistles, riding the wind. Hear the howl from chasms chiseled deep in stone older than time. Feel it rustle in the gristle of your mind. Bear witness rigid wisdom, swirling answers to the soul, stirring vivid visions, beyond the dizzy steeples of those snow bleached crags, reaching their peak in fitting existence for an exhilarating rush as they brush through wisps of clouds for fresh air. Notice the sheerness in cliffs, scarred with ancient sea-lines, reminders of where older oceans once combed along those canyons, tossing rollers that tore away, history awash with the slopes. Look quickly to see a cool gust dissipate the vapor of your breath, racing it away with a seagull’s ghost, for a rendezvous with aromas and spirits of eagles, gliding now then climbing within updrafts where sunbeams sharpen, seeming to bend at the edge of blue sky, for an extreme descent at last, blasting into contrasts, dampened as they blend with alpine shadows. Step upward, toward the nature of the lovely views that await you, in abundance at the summit.
- Earth Man

Painting the desert, sun-setting the tone 
Starving backstage, morning-stars are jaded 
The moonshine murmur still shivers alone 
Curved slice of sliver, shear breath shadows stone 
Suspending twilight shiny and shaded 
Painting the desert, sun-setting the tone 
Carving solace into silver in June 
On horizons’ glow from forgotten gold 
The moonshine’s’ shilling delivers alone 
Gleaming duels of knights, pierce deathly silence 
Steel tines of starlight, clashing swords they hold 
Painting the desert, sun-setting the tone 
Dimples aware, sparkle sand on the dune
Winking at comets, after tails are told 
The moon-sand whispers, sift rivers alone 
Sharpness they hone, filing skills onto stone 
Starlight dazzles, its own space created 
Painting the desert, sun-setting the tone 
From owls’ talon, moonlight shimmers alone 
- Earth Man

I see it fall. 
So beautiful and light. 
So very tranquil. 
Untouchable in the night. 
Pretty in white. 
Like the stars at night. 
The twinkle from the shine. 
The cold from the sky. 
With every footprint left. 
Every snowman made. 
With every snowflake fallen. 
Unique in every way.
- Kally Minami

Winter opened its vaults last night, flinging fistfuls of crystalline diamonds into the darkening sky. Like white-tulled ballerinas dancing gracefully on heaven's stage, silent stars stood entranced by their intricate beauty. Motionless, I watched each lacy gem drift softly by my upturned face, as winter's icy hands guided them gently on their swirling lazy way, and blanketed the waiting earth in cold splendor. The shivering rustling of reeds, the restless fingers of the trees snapping in the frosty air, broke the silent stillness, as winter quietly pulled up its white coverlet over the sleepy earth.
- Candida Eittreim

What is it to see, in an Eagle glide 
Which fills a human heart with so much pride? 
Is it that it soars effortless above the Earth 
That steals us from our own limits & dearth? 

Trapped in our seas of befuddling sludge 
We try and try but cannot budge. 
And then to see a mortal; with such ease take wing 
Up in a breeze that makes our failing spirits sing? 
Do we, vicarious birds, search in it our childishness - 
When we too were young & yearned in heart to fly? 
Taking flights of fancy through adolescent nights 
Listening little, heeding less, knowing not why? 
From its highest perch in the forest of snow 
Majestic - the Eagle soars alone. 
Riding thermals, lording clouds 
Till dropping silent from the sky as a stone 
But we, so quick and ready to fold 
Give up our wings at the whiff of age 
Losing years, cursing time, wasting spirit 
Living out entire lives in futile rage! 
- Anand Kapoor

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.
- Lao Tzu

You must not know too much, or be too precise or scientific about birds and trees and flowers and water-craft; a certain free margin, and even vagueness - perhaps ignorance, credulity - helps your enjoyment of these things...
- Walt Whitman

Nature is man's teacher.  She unfolds her treasures to his search, unseals his eye, illumes his mind, and purifies his heart; an influence breathes from all the sights and sounds of her existence.
- Alfred Billings Street

There is nothing in the world more peaceful than apple-leaves with an early moon.
- Alice Meynell

Art gallery?  Who needs it?  Look up at the swirling silver-lined clouds in the magnificent blue sky or at the silently blazing stars at midnight.  How could indoor art be any more masterfully created than God's museum of nature?
- Grey Livingston

Nature is full of genius, full of the divinity; so that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand.
- Henry David Thoreau

No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.
- Lin Yutang

Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.
- Seneca

The traveler sees what he sees.  The tourist sees what he has come to see.
- G.K. Chesterton

The modern airplane creates a new geographical dimension.  A navigable ocean of air blankets the whole surface of the globe.  There are no distant places any longer:  the world is small and the world is one.
- Wendell Willkie

Once you have learned to fly your plane, it is far less fatiguing to fly than it is to drive a car.  You don't have to watch every second for cats, dogs, children, lights, road signs, ladies with baby carriages and citizens who drive out in the middle of the block against the lights... Nobody who has not been up in the sky on a glorious morning can possibly imagine the way a pilot feels in free heaven.
- William T. Piper

Given angel's wings, where might you fly?
In what sweet heaven might you find your love?
Unwilling to be bound, where might you move,
Lost between the wonder and the why?...
- Nicholas Gordon

Aerodynamically the bumblebee shouldn't be able to fly, but the bumblebee doesn't know that so it goes on flying anyway.
- Mary Kay Ash

The weather is warm 
The sun is out 
There are people all around 
The waves come flowing 
And hits the shore 
But makes so little sound 
The wind is blowing 
Oh so softly 
The sand between my feet 
The dolphins jump 
The people watch 
They even take a seat 
I fly around 
Watching from above 
Today is like everyday 
That is something I love 
- Ashley Huggins 

The rays of the sun 
filter through the window 
making me toasty 
and warm 
burning the paper 
browning the plants 
the magic you have 
upon the world 
through the summer 
your always there 
making us all so happy 
a big ball of sunshine 
for all to share 
- Jennifer Walker 

In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they're still beautiful. 
- Alice Walker

The world goes up and the world goes down, 
And the sunshine follows the rain;
And yesterday's sneer and yesterday's frown
can never come over again. 
- Charles Kingsley

The land looks like a fairytale.
- Roald Amundsen

Nature is the art of God.
- Thomas Browne

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods, there is a rapture on the lonely shore, there is society, where none intrudes. By the deep sea, and music in its roars; I love not man the less, but nature more. 
- George Gordon

I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. 
- E. B. White

It's amazing how quickly nature consumes human places after we turn our backs on them. Life is a hungry thing. 
- Scott Westerfeld

After you have exhausted what there is in business, politics, conviviality, and so on - have found that none of these finally satisfy, or permanently wear - what remains? Nature remains. 
- Walt Whitman

Come, see the north-wind's masonry, Out of an unseen quarry evermore Furnished with tile, the fierce artificer Curves his white bastions with projected roof Round every windward stake, or tree, or door. Speeding, the myriad-handed, his wild work So fanciful, so savage, naught cares he For number or proportion. 
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

In the bleak midwinter Frosty wind made moan, Earth stood hard as iron, Water like a stone; Snow had fallen, snow on snow, Snow on snow, In the bleak midwinter, Long ago. 
- Christina Rossetti

Tonight, the moon came out, it was nearly full.
Way down here on earth, I could feel it's pull.
The weight of gravity or just the lure of life,
Made me want to leave my only home tonight.
I'm just wondering how we know where we belong
Is it in the arc of the moon, leaving shadows on the lawn
In the path of fireflies and a single bird at dawn
Singing in between here and gone
- Mary Chapin Carpenter

The earth itself assures us it is a living entity.  Deep below surface one can hear its slow pulse, feel its vibrant rhythm.  The great breathing mountains expand and contract.  The vast sage desert undulates with almost imperceptible tides like the oceans.  From the very beginning, throughout all its cataclysmic upthrusts and deep sea submergences, the planet Earth seems to have maintained an ordered rhythm.
- Frank Waters

People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don't even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child - our own two eyes. All is a miracle.
- Thich Nhat Hahn

The clouds roll on.
Silent as sleepwalkers the clouds
keep coming from infinity
bank behind bank
and line after line,
and change colors on the earth.
- Rolf Jacobsen

We sleep, and at length awake to the still reality of a winter morning.  The snow lies warm as cotton or down upon the window-sill; the broadened sash and frosted panes admit a dim and private light, which enhances the snug cheer within.  The stillness of the morning is impressive...  From the eaves and fences hang stalactites of snow, and in the yard stand stalagmites covering some concealed core.  The trees and shrubs rear white arms to the sky on every side; and where were walls and fences we see fantastic forms stretching in the frolic gambols across the dusky landscape, as if nature had strewn her fresh designs over the fields by night as models for man's art.
- Henry David Thoreau

This is the most beautiful place on Earth.  There are many such places.  Every man, every woman, carries in heart and mind the image of the ideal place, the right place, the one true home, known or unknown, actual or visionary....
- Edward Abbey

For nothing is fixed, forever and forever and forever, it is not fixed; the earth is always shifting, the light is always changing, the sea does not cease to grind down rock. Generations do not cease to be born, and we are responsible to them because we are the only witnesses they have. The sea rises, the light fails, lovers cling to each other, and children cling to us. The moment we cease to hold each other, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out.
- James Baldwin

The reason I love the sea I cannot explain - it's physical. When you dive you begin to feel like an angel. It's a liberation of your weight.
- Jacques-Yves Cousteau

Who would believe that so small a space could contain the images of all the universe?
- Leonardo da Vinci

The eye is the window of the human body through which it feels its way and enjoys the beauty of the world.
- Leonardo da Vinci

Now do you not see that the eye embraces the beauty of the whole world? It counsels and corrects all the arts of mankind... it is the prince of mathematics, and the sciences founded on it are absolutely certain. It has measured the distances and sizes of the stars it has discovered the elements and their location... it has given birth to architecture and to perspective and to the divine art of painting.
- Leonardo da Vinci

A single and distinct luminous body causes stronger relief in the objects than a diffused light; as may be seen by comparing one side of a landscape illuminated by the sun, and one overshadowed by clouds, and illuminated only by the diffused light of the atmosphere.
- Leonardo da Vinci

Very great charm of shadow and light is to be found in the faces of those who sit in the doors of dark houses. The eye of the spectator sees that part of the face which is in shadow lost in the darkness of the house, and that part of the face which is lit draws its brilliancy from the splendor of the sky. From this intensification of light and shade the face gains greatly in relief and beauty by showing the subtlest shadows in the light part and the subtlest lights in the dark part.
- Leonardo da Vinci

The eye transmits its own image through the air to all the objects which face it, and also receives them on its own surface, whence the "sensus communis" takes them and considers them.
- Leonardo da Vinci

I say that the power of vision extends through the visual rays to the surface of non-transparent bodies, while the power possessed by these bodies extends to the power of vision.
- Leonardo da Vinci

Of several bodies all equally larger and distant, that most brightly illuminated will appear to the eye nearest and largest.
- Leonardo da Vinci

When the sun is covered by clouds, objects are less conspicuous, because there is little difference between the light and shade of the trees and the buildings being illuminated by the brightness of the atmosphere which surrounds the objects in such a way that the shadows are few, and these few fade away so that their outline is lost in haze.
- Leonardo da Vinci

If you are on the side whence the wind is blowing you will see the trees looking much lighter than you would see them on the other sides; and this is due to the fact that the wind turns up the reverse side of the leaves which in all trees is much whiter than the upper side.
- Leonardo da Vinci

The sun gives spirit and life to the plants and the earth nourishes them with moisture.
- Leonardo da Vinci

Nature is so delightful and abundant in its variations that there would not be one that resembles another, and not only plants as a whole, but among their branches, leaves and fruit, will not be found one which is precisely like another.
- Leonardo da Vinci

What induces you, oh man, to depart from your home in town, to leave parents and friends, and go to the countryside over mountains and valleys, if it is not for the beauty of the world of nature?
- Leonardo da Vinci

... we might say that the earth has a spirit of growth; that its flesh is the soil, its bones the arrangement and connection of the rocks of which the mountains are composed, its cartilage the tufa, and its blood the springs of water.
- Leonardo da Vinci

Of the four elements water is the second in weight and the second in respect of mobility. It is never at rest until it unites with the sea…
- Leonardo da Vinci

If you throw a stone in a pond... the waves which strike against the shores are thrown back towards the spot where the stone struck; and on meeting other waves they never intercept each other's course... In a small pond one and the same stroke gives birth to many motions of advance and recoil.
- Leonardo da Vinci

Water is the driver of nature.
- Leonardo da Vinci

Weight is caused by one element being situated in another; and it moves by the shortest line towards its centre, not by its own choice, not because the centre draws it to itself, but because the other intervening element cannot withstand it.
- Leonardo da Vinci

To speak of this subject you must... explain the nature of the resistance of the air, in the second the anatomy of the bird and its wings, in the third the method of working the wings in their various movements, in the fourth the power of the wings and the tail when the wings are not being moved and when the wind is favorable to serve as guide in various movements.
- Leonardo da Vinci

A bird is an instrument working according to mathematical law, which instrument it is in the capacity of man to reproduce... but not with as much strength, deficient only in the power of maintaining equilibrium. We may therefore say that such an instrument constructed by man is lacking in nothing except the life of the bird.
- Leonardo da Vinci

Music may be called the sister of painting, for she is dependent upon hearing, the sense which comes second and her harmony is composed of the union of proportional parts sounded simultaneously, rising and falling in one or more harmonic rhythms.
- Leonardo da Vinci

Everything flows and nothing abides; everything gives way and nothing stays fixed.
- Heraclitus

Nothing is more humbling than to look with a strong magnifying glass at an insect so tiny that the naked eye sees only the barest speck and to discover that nevertheless it is sculpted and articulated and striped with the same care and imagination as a zebra. Apparently it does not occur to nature whether or not a creature is within our range of vision, and the suspicion arises that even the zebra was not designed for our benefit.
- Rudolf Arnheim

I hear one day the word “mountain,” and I ask someone “what is a mountain? I have never seen one.”
I join others in discussions of mountains.
One day I see in a book a picture of a mountain.
And I decide I must climb one.
I travel to a place where there is a mountain.
At the base of the mountain I see there are lots of paths to climb.
I start on a path that leads to the top of the mountain.
I see that the higher I climb, the more the paths join together.
After much climbing the many paths join into one.
I climb till I am almost exhausted but I force myself and continue to climb.
Finally I reach the top and far above me there are stars.
I look far down and the village twinkles far below.
It would be easy to go back down there but it is so beautiful up here.
I am just below the stars.
- Robert Hensler

It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.
- Charles Darwin

In biology, nothing is clear, everything is too complicated, everything is a mess, and just when you think you understand something, you peel off a layer and find deeper complications beneath. Nature is anything but simple. 
- Richard Preston, The Hot Zone

Time has a different quality in a forest, a different kind of flow. Time moves in circles, and events are linked, even if it's not obvious that they are linked. Events in a forest occur with precision in the flow of tree time, like the motions of an endless dance.
- Richard Preston, The Wild Trees: A Story of Passion and Daring

To mess around with Ebola is an easy way to die. Better to work with something safer, such as anthrax.
- Richard Preston, The Hot Zone

It showed a kind of obscenity you see only in nature, an obscenity so extreme that it dissolves imperceptibly into beauty.
- Richard Preston, The Hot Zone

The best way to know what's in the soup, is to boil yourself in it. 
- Richard Preston

He saw virus particles shaped like snakes, in negative images. They were white cobras tangled among themselves, like the hair of Medusa. They were the face of nature herself, the obscene goddess revealed naked. This life form thing was breathtakingly beautiful. As he stared at it, he found himself being pulled out of the human world into a world where moral boundaries blur and finally dissolve completely. He was lost in wonder and admiration, even though he knew that he was the prey. 
- Richard Preston, The Hot Zone

There can be no greater ignominy for an enlightened rationalist than to perish in consequence of some incident involving spirits.
- Vojtech Novotny, Notebooks from New Guinea

We woke periodically throughout the night to peel off leeches. In the light of the head torch, the ground was a sea of leeches - black, slithering, standing up on one end to sniff the air and heading inexorably our way to feed. Our exposed faces were the main problem, with leeches feeding off our cheeks and becoming entangled in our hair. I developed a fear of finding one feeding in my ear, and that it would become too large to slither out, causing permanent damage.
- Richard Mayfield (from Kinabalu Escape: The Soldiers’ Story)

Could the waters of the Atlantic be drawn off so as to expose to view this great seagash which separates continents, and extends from the Arctic to the Antarctic, it would present a scene the most rugged, grand and imposing. The very ribs of the solid earth, with the foundations of the sea, would be brought to light.
- Matthew Fontaine Maury (1860)

Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Universe

Compared to the breadth of knowledge yet to be known, what does your life actually matter?
- Europa Report (2013)

Only dream I ever have... is it the surface of the Sun? Every time I shut my eyes... it's always the same.
- Cassie, Sunshine (2007)

It doesn't seem to me that this fantastically marvelous universe, this tremendous range of time and space and different kinds of animals, and all the different planets, and all these atoms with all their motions, and so on, all this complicated thing can merely be a stage so that God can watch human beings struggle for good and evil - which is the view that religion has. The stage is too big for the drama.
- Richard P. Feynman

At the planet’s very heart lies a solid rocky core, at least five times larger than Earth, seething with the appalling heat generated by the inexorable contraction of the stupendous mass of material pressing down to its centre. For more than four billion years Jupiter’s immense gravitational power has been squeezing the planet slowly, relentlessly, steadily, converting gravitational energy into heat, raising the temperature of that rocky core to thirty thousand degrees, spawning the heat flow that warms the planet from within. That hot, rocky core is the original protoplanet seed from the solar system’s primeval time, the nucleus around which those awesome layers of hydrogen and helium and ammonia, methane, sulphur compounds and water have wrapped themselves.
- Ben Bova, Jupiter

Jupiter is the largest of all the solar system’s planets, more than ten times bigger and three hundred times as massive as Earth. Jupiter is so immense it could swallow all the other planets easily. Its Great Red Spot, a storm that has raged for centuries, is itself wider than Earth. And the Spot is merely one feature visible among the innumerable vortexes and streams of Jupiter’s frenetically racing cloud tops. Yet Jupiter is composed mainly of the lightest elements, hydrogen and helium, more like a star than a planet. All that size and mass, yet Jupiter spins on its axis in less than ten hours, so fast that the planet is clearly not spherical: Its poles are noticeably flattened. Jupiter looks like a big, colorfully striped beach ball that’s squashed down as if some invisible child were sitting on it. Spinning that fast, Jupiter’s deep, deep atmosphere is swirled into bands and ribbons of multihued clouds: pale yellow, saffron orange, white, tawny yellow-brown, dark brown, bluish, pink and red. Titanic winds push the clouds across the face of Jupiter at hundreds of kilometers per hour.
- Ben Bova, Jupiter

They were in orbit around the planet now, and its giant curving bulk loomed so huge that he could see nothing else, nothing but the bands and swirls of clouds that raced fiercely across Jupiter's face. The clouds shifted and flowed before his eyes, spun into eddies the size of Asia, moved and throbbed and pulsed like living creatures. Lightning flashed down there, sudden explosions of light that flickered back and forth across the clouds, like signalling lamps.
- Ben Bova, Jupiter

The vast spread 
Of darkness 
That speaks of mystery 
The darkness that reveals 
The beauty that lies beneath 
In the form of glittering 
Stars, a countless beauty 
That seemed to conceal 
A million stories 
That can make the mankind 
Take a new look at life 
And the majestic moon 
That silently looks at mankind 
Wondering how its serenity 
Was disturbed by the little steps 
Of a man from the beautiful earth 
Yet softly smiling back 
And let the world sleep 
In its magical glow 
A glow that soothes 
The world’s senses 
And forget the pain of reality
- Chandrasekar Koneru

For many planet hunters, though, the ultimate goal is still greater (or actually, smaller) prey: terrestrial planets, like Earth, circling a star like the Sun. Astronomers already know that three such planets orbit at least one pulsar. But planet hunters will not rest until they are in sight of a small blue world, warm and wet, in whose azure skies and upon whose wind-whipped oceans shines a bright yellow star like our own.
- Ken Croswell

God is infinite, so His universe must be too. Thus is the excellence of God magnified and the greatness of His kingdom made manifest; He is glorified not in one, but in countless suns; not in a single earth, a single world, but in a thousand thousand, I say in an infinity of worlds. 
- Giordana Bruno

We live in a changing universe, and few things are changing faster than our conception of it. 
- Timothy Ferris

Lost in the milky way, 
Smile at the empty sky 
And wait for the moment 
When a million chances may all collide.
- The Lightning Seeds

No known roof is as beautiful as the skies above.
- Michael O'Muircheartaigh

The Moon is a white strange world, great, white, soft-seeming globe in the night sky, and what she actually communicates to me across space I shall never fully know. But the Moon that pulls the tides, and the Moon that controls the menstrual periods of women, and the Moon that touches the lunatics, she is not the mere dead lump of the astronomist.... When we describe the Moon as dead, we are describing the deadness in ourselves. When we find space so hideously void, we are describing our own unbearable emptiness.
- D.H. Lawrence

Space is to place as eternity is to time.
- Joseph Joubert

Do all the stars have systems of planets?
- Anakin Skywalker

When we contemplate the whole globe as one great dewdrop, striped and dotted with continents and islands, flying through space with other stars all singing and shining together as one, the whole universe appears as an infinite storm of beauty.
- Travels in Alaska by John Muir

Space is the breath of art.
- Frank Lloyd Wright

The Sun, with all the planets revolving around it, and depending on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as though it had nothing else in the Universe to do.
- Galileo Galilei

The strongest affection and utmost zeal should, I think, promote the studies concerned with the most beautiful objects. This is the discipline that deals with the universe's divine revolutions, the stars' motions, sizes, distances, risings and settings . . . for what is more beautiful than heaven?
- Nicolaus Copernicus

There is a clarity, a brilliance to space that simply doesn't exist on earth, even on a cloudless summer's day in the Rockies, and nowhere else can you realize so fully the majesty of our Earth and be so awed at the thought that it's only one of untold thousands of planets.
- Gus Grissom

Teach me your mood, 
O patient stars. 
Who climb each night, 
the ancient sky. 
leaving on space no shade, no scars, 
no trace of age, no fear to die.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Be glad of life, because it gives you the chance to love and to work and to play and to look up at the stars.
- Henry Van Dyke

The most beautiful things in the universe are the starry heavens above us and the feeling of duty within us. 
- Indian Proverb

Man looks aloft, and with erected eyes, beholds his hereditary skies.
- Ovid

When you are risen on the eastern horizon
You have filled every land with your beauty…
Though you are far away, your rays are on Earth.
- Akhaton

Astronomy compels the soul to look upward, and leads us from this world to another.
- Plato

Deep beneath the surface of the Sun, enormous forces were gathering. At any moment, the energies of a million hydrogen bombs might burst forth in the awesome explosion…. Climbing at millions of miles per hour, an invisible fireball many times the size of Earth would leap from the Sun and head out across space.
- Arthur C. Clarke

Beyond lonely Pluto, dark and shadowless, lies the glittering realm of interstellar space, the silent ocean that rolls on and on, past stars and galaxies alike, to the ends of the Universe. What do men know of this vast infinity, this shoreless ocean? Is it hostile or friendly–or merely indifferent?
- James Strong

I believe a blade of grass is no less than the journeywork of the stars.
- Walt Whitman

All knowledge and understanding of the Universe was no more than playing with stones and shells on the seashore of the vast imponderable ocean of truth.
- Isaac Newton

The wonderful arrangement and harmony of the cosmos would only originate in the plan of an almighty omniscient being. This is and remains my greatest comprehension.
- Isaac Newton

For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring. 
- Carl Sagan

For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.
- Carl Sagan

Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere. 
- Carl Sagan

It is of interest to note that while some dolphins are reported to have learned English (up to fifty words used in correct context) no human being has been reported to have learned Dolphinese. 
- Carl Sagan

Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.
- Carl Sagan

The universe is not required to be in perfect harmony with human ambition.
- Carl Sagan

Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people. 
- Carl Sagan

We are one species.
We are starstuff.
- Carl Sagan

An extraterrestrial being, newly arrived on Earth - scrutinizing what we mainly present to our children in television, radio, movies, newspapers, magazines, the comics, and many books - might easily conclude that we are intent on teaching them murder, rape, cruelty, superstition, credulity and consumerism.
- Carl Sagan

But for us, it's different. Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there - on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
- Carl Sagan

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.
- Carl Sagan

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors, so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.
- Carl Sagan

Our posturing, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
- Carl Sagan

What a splendid perspective contact with a profoundly different civilization might provide! In a cosmic setting vast and old beyond ordinary human understanding we are a little lonely, and we ponder the ultimate significance, if any, of our tiny but exquisite blue planet, the Earth… In the deepest sense the search for extraterrestrial intelligence is a search for ourselves.
 - Carl Sagan

I demonstrate by means of philosophy that the earth is round, and is inhabited on all sides; that it is insignificantly small, and is borne through the stars.
- Johannes Kepler

We are like the inhabitants of an isolated valley in New Guinea who communicate with societies in neighboring valleys (quite different societies, I might add) by runner and by drum. When asked how a very advanced society will communicate, they might guess by an extremely rapid runner or by an improbably large drum. They might not guess a technology beyond their ken. And yet, all the while, a vast international cable and radio traffic passes over them, around them, and through them... We will listen for the interstellar drums, but we will miss the interstellar cables. We are likely to receive our first messages from the drummers of the neighboring galactic valleys - from civilizations only somewhat in our future. The civilizations vastly more advanced than we, will be, for a long time, remote both in distance and in accessibility. At a future time of vigorous interstellar radio traffic, the very advanced civilizations may be, for us, still insubstantial legends.
- Carl Sagan

The Universe forces those who live in it to understand it. Those creatures who find everyday experience a muddled jumble of events with no predictability, no regularity, are in grave peril. The Universe belongs to those who, at least to some degree, have figured it out.
- Carl Sagan

...the scientific cast of mind examines the world critically, as if many alternative worlds might exist, as if other things might be here which are not. Then we are forced to ask why what we see is present and not something else. Why are the Sun and moon and the planets spheres? Why not pyramids, or cubes, or dodecahedra? Why not irregular, jumbly shapes? Why so symmetrical, worlds? If you spend any time spinning hypotheses, checking to see whether they make sense, whether they conform to what else we know. Thinking of tests you can pose to substantiate or deflate hypotheses, you will find yourself doing science.
- Carl Sagan

The heavens call to you, and circle about you, displaying to you their eternal splendors and your eye gazes only to earth.
- Dante Alighieri

Forty years as an astronomer have not quelled my enthusiasm for lying outside after dark, staring up at the stars. It isn’t only the beauty of the night sky that thrills me. It’s the sense I have that some of those points of light are the home stars of beings not so different from us, daily cares and all, who look across space and wonder, just as we do.
- Frank Drake

To confine our attention to terrestrial matters would be to limit the human spirit.
- Stephen Hawking

It is sound judgment to hope that in the not too distant future we shall be competent to understand so simple a thing as a star. 
- Arthur Eddington 

The universe is not only queerer than we imagine, but it is queerer than we can imagine.
- J.B.S. Haldane

Ever since celestial mechanics in the skillful hands of Leverrier and Adams led to the world-amazed discovery of Neptune, a belief has existed begotten of that success that still other planets lay beyond, only waiting to be found.
- Percival Lowell

Though thou art far away, thy rays are on Earth;
Though thou art in their faces, no one knows thy going.
- Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten

Counting stars by candlelight all are dim but one is bright; the spiral light of Venus rising first and shining best, from the northwest corner of a brand-new crescent moon crickets and cicadas sing a rare and different tune.
- Robert Hunter “Terrapin Station”

I can hear the sizzle of newborn stars, and know anything of meaning, of the fierce magic emerging here. I am witness to flexible eternity, the evolving past, and I know we will live forever, as dust or breathe in the face of stars, in the shifting pattern of winds.
- Joy Harjo “Secrets from the Centre of the World”

It is not impossible to suppose that in this case our luminary was taken in the act…
- Balfour Stewart

The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us. 
- Bill Watterson

I'm astounded by people who want to 'know' the universe when it's hard enough to find your way around Chinatown. 
- Woody Allen

In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move. 
- Douglas Adams

There is a theory which states that if ever anybody discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened. 
- Douglas Adams

A star shines on the hour of our meeting.
- Elvish greeting, "The Lord of the Rings"

How quickly do we grow accustomed to wonders. I am reminded of the Isaac Asimov story "Nightfall," about the planet where the stars were visible only once in a thousand years. So awesome was the sight that it drove men mad. We who can see the stars every night glance up casually at the cosmos and then quickly down again, searching for a Dairy Queen. 
- Roger Ebert

Telescopes are in some ways like time machines. They reveal galaxies so far away that their light has taken billions of years to reach us. We in astronomy have an advantage in studying the universe, in that we can actually see the past. 
We owe our existence to stars, because they make the atoms of which we are formed. So if you are romantic you can say we are literally starstuff. If you're less romantic you can say we're the nuclear waste from the fuel that makes stars shine. 
We've made so many advances in our understanding. A few centuries ago, the pioneer navigators learnt the size and shape of our Earth, and the layout of the continents. We are now just learning the dimensions and ingredients of our entire cosmos, and can at last make some sense of our cosmic habitat. 
- Sir Martin Rees

One of the most impressive discoveries was the origin of the energy of the stars, that makes them continue to burn. One of the men who discovered this was out with his girl friend the night after he realized that nuclear reactions must be going on in the stars in order to make them shine. 
She said "Look at how pretty the stars shine!" 
He said, "Yes, and right now I am the only man in the world who knows why they shine." 
She merely laughed at him. She was not impressed with being out with the only man who, at that moment, knew why stars shine. Well, it is sad to be alone, but that is the way it is in this world.
- Richard Feynman

Cosmology does, I think, affect the way that we perceive humanity's role in nature. One thing we've learnt from astronomy is that the future lying ahead is more prolonged than the past. Even our sun is less than halfway through its life. 
- Sir Martin Rees

If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe.
- Carl Sagan

In the moonlight 
While drinking homemade wine 
My sorrow hung heavy 
And my heart felt like lead. 
The moon was golden yellow 
The night soft and mellow. 
There was a smell of jasmine 
All around. 
And I felt the weight of the world 
Upon my shoulders. 
I looked at the twinkling stars in the sky 
So far and wide 
Here’s to you 
I lifted my wine 
And my eyes looked upon the brilliance 
Of the moon and stars 
From afar...
- Rasma Raisters

Exits sun; enters moon. 
This moon is never alone. 
Stars are seen all around. 
These twinklers do not make a sound. 
The tiny ones shine from their place. 
Mother moon watches with a smiling face. 
Its light is soothing to the eyes. 
Night’s darkness hides its face. 
Cool and calm is its light. 
Heat and sweat are never felt. 
Some days, moon is not seen. 
Makes kids wonder, where had it been? 
Partial eclipse shades the moon. 
In summers it does not arrive soon. 
Beautiful is this milky ball. 
It is the love of one and all. 
- Srimathi Raman

What a type of happy family is the family of the Sun! With what order, with what harmony, with what blessed peace, do his children the planets move around him, shining with light which they drink in from their parent's in at once upon him and on one another!
- Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare

There they stand, the innumerable stars, shining in order like a living hymn, written in light.
- N.P. Willis

The night walked down the sky with the moon in her hand.
- Frederick L. Knowles

Silently, one by one, in the infinite meadows of heaven,
Blossomed the lovely stars, the forget-me-nots of the angels.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

One summer night, out on a flat headland, all but surrounded by the waters of the bay, the horizons were remote and distant rims on the edge of space.  Millions of stars blazed in darkness, and on the far shore a few lights burned in cottages.  Otherwise there was no reminder of human life.  My companion and I were alone with the stars:  the misty river of the Milky Way flowing across the sky, the patterns of the constellations standing out bright and clear, a blazing planet low on the horizon.  It occurred to me that if this were a sight that could be seen only once in a century, this little headland would be thronged with spectators.  But it can be see many scores of nights in any year, and so the lights burned in the cottages and the inhabitants probably gave not a thought to the beauty overhead; and because they could see it almost any night, perhaps they never will.
- Rachel Carson

No sight is more provocative of awe than is the night sky.
- Llewelyn Powys

It seemed to be a necessary ritual that he should prepare himself for sleep by meditating under the solemnity of the night sky... a mysterious transaction between the infinity of the soul and the infinity of the universe.
- Victor Hugo

The contemplation of celestial things will make a man both speak and think more sublimely and magnificently when he descends to human affairs.
- Marcus Tullius Cicero

From our home on Earth, we look out into the distances and strive to imagine the sort of world into which we were born. With increasing distance our knowledge fades until at the last dim horizon we search among ghostly errors for landmarks scarcely more substantial. The search will continue. The urge is older than history. It is not satisfied and it will not be suppressed.
- Edwin P. Hubble

It has always irked me as improper that there are still so many people for whom the sky is no more than a mass of random points of light. I do not see why we should recognize a house, a tree, or a flower here below and not, for example, the red Arcturus up there in the heavens as it hangs from its constellation Bootes, like a basket hanging from a balloon.
- M.C. Escher

As the skies appear to a man, so is his mind. Some see only clouds there; some, prodigies and portents; some rarely look up at all; their heads, like the brutes,' are directed toward Earth. Some behold there serenity, purity, beauty ineffable. The world runs to see the panorama, when there is a panorama in the sky which few go to see.
- Henry David Thoreau

Vision, in my view, is the cause of the greatest benefit to us, inasmuch as none of the accounts now given concerning the Universe would ever have been given if men had not seen the stars or the sun or the heavens. But as it is, the vision of day and night and of months and circling years has created the art of number and has given us not only the notion of Time but also means of research into the nature of the Universe. From these we have procured Philosophy in all its range, than which no greater boon ever has come or will come, by divine bestowal, unto the race of mortals.
- Plato

That night I lie out under the stars again. The Pleiades are there winking at me. I am no longer on my way from one place to another. I have changed lives. My life now is as black and white as night and day; a life of fierce struggle under the sun, and peaceful reflection under the night sky. I feel as though I am floating on a raft far, far away from any world I ever knew.
- Ted Simon

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretch'd in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
- William Wordsworth

It seemed to be a necessary ritual that he should prepare himself for sleep by meditating under the solemnity of the night sky... a mysterious transaction between the infinity of the soul and the infinity of the universe.
- Victor Hugo

Learn to reverence night and to put away the vulgar fear of it, for, with the banishment of night from the experience of man, there vanishes as well a religious emotion, a poetic mood, which gives depth to the adventure of humanity. By day, space is one with the earth and with man - it is his sun that is shining, his clouds that are floating past; at night, space is his no more. When the great earth, abandoning day, rolls up the deeps of the heavens and the universe, a new door opens for the human spirit, and there are few so clownish that some awareness of the mystery of being does not touch them as they gaze. For a moment of night we have a glimpse of ourselves and of our world islanded in its stream of stars - pilgrims of mortality, voyaging between horizons across eternal seas of space and time. Fugitive though the instant be, the spirit of man is, during it, ennobled by a genuine moment of emotional dignity, and poetry makes its own both the human spirit and experience.
- Henry Beston

Whoever it was who searched the heavens with a telescope and found no God would not have found the human mind if he had searched the brain with a microscope.
- George Santayana

Do there exist many worlds, or is there but a single world? This is one of the most noble and exalted questions in the study of Nature.
- Saint Albertus Magnus

How vast those Orbs must be, and how inconsiderable this Earth, the Theatre upon which all our mighty Designs, all our Navigations, and all our Wars are transacted, is when compared to them. A very fit consideration, and matter of Reflection, for those Kings and Princes who sacrifice the Lives of so many People, only to flatter their Ambition in being Masters of some pitiful corner of this small Spot.
- Christiaan Huygens

Now when we think that each of these stars is probably the centre of a solar system grander than our own, we cannot seriously take ourselves to be the only minds in it all.
- Percival Lowell

Two lights for guidance. The first, our little glowing atom of community, with all that it signifies. The second, the cold light of the stars, symbol of the hypercosmical reality, with its crystal ecstasy. Strange that in this light, in which even the dearest love is frostily asserted, and even the possible defeat of our half-waking world is contemplated without remission of praise, the human crisis does not lose but gains significance. Strange, that it seems more, not less, urgent to play some part in this struggle, this brief effort of animalcules striving to win for their race some increase of lucidity before the ultimate darkness.
- Olaf Stapledon

How hard to realize that every camp of men or beast has this glorious starry firmament for a roof! In such places standing alone on the mountain-top it is easy to realize that whatever special nests we make - leaves and moss like the marmots and birds, or tents or piled stone - we all dwell in a house of one room - the world with the firmament for its roof - and are sailing the celestial spaces without leaving any track.
- John Muir

The light and heat of the universe comes from the sun, and its cold and darkness from the withdrawal of the sun.
- Leonardo da Vinci

All you really need to know for the moment is that the universe is a lot more complicated than you might think, even if you start from a position of thinking it's pretty damn complicated in the first place.
- Douglas Adams

Limitless undying love which shines around me like a million suns it calls me on and on across the universe.
- John Lennon

I'm sure the universe is full of intelligent life. It's just been too intelligent to come here.
- Arthur C. Clarke

The universe is a philosophical abyss.
- Kedar Joshi

The world is a contradiction; the universe a paradox.
- Kedar Joshi

If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.
- C.S. Lewis an infinite universe, anything that could be imagined might somewhere exist." 
- Dean Koontz

Finally, from what we now know about the cosmos, to think that all this was created for just one species among the tens of millions of species who live on one planet circling one of a couple of hundred billion stars that are located in one galaxy among hundreds of billions of galaxies, all of which are in one universe among perhaps an infinite number of universes all nestled within a grand cosmic multiverse, is provincially insular and anthropocentrically blinkered. Which is more likely? That the universe was designed just for us, or that we see the universe as having been designed just for us?
- Michael Shermer

Are you aware that humanity is just a blip? Not even a blip. Just a fraction of a fraction of what the universe has been and will become? Talk about perspective. I figure I can't feel so entirely stupid about saying what I said because, first of all, it's true. And second of all, there will be no remnant of me or my stupidity. No fossil or geographical shift that can document, really, even the most important historical human beings, let alone my paltry admissions.
- Meg Mullins

The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.
- Rachel Carson

The actuality of us being cognizant and accepting of the fact we are but a speck of sand in a universe sized desert, whose existence is irrelevant to any facet of universal function is a hard pill to swallow. Knowing the world will go on for another billion years after death and you will have no recollection of anything, just as you have no recollection of the billion years before your birth is a mind-boggling intuition.
- Hewitt E. Moore

Nothing can be inside an edgeless universe.
-Toba Beta

Even if there is only one possible unified theory, it is just a set of rules and equations. What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe? The usual approach of science of constructing a mathematical model cannot answer the questions of why there should be a universe for the model to describe. Why does the universe go to all the bother of existing?
- Stephen W. Hawking

Pumbaa: “Timon, ever wonder what those sparkly dots are up there?”
Timon: “Pumbaa, I don’t wonder; I know.”
Pumbaa: “Oh. What are they?”
Timon: “They’re fireflies that got stuck up in that bluish-black thing”.
Pumbaa: “Oh, gee. I always thought they were balls of gas burning billions of miles away.”
Timon: “Pumbaa, with you, everything’s gas.”
- The Lion King

For all these years you were merely
A smear of light through our telescopes
On the clearest, coldest night; a hint
Of a glint, just a few pixels wide
On even your most perfectly-framed portraits.
But now, now we see you!
Swimming out of the dark - a great
Stone shark, your star-tanned skin pitted
And pocked, scarred after eons of drifting
Silently through the endless ocean of space.
Here on Earth our faces lit up as we saw
You clearly for the first time; eyes wide
With wonder we traced the strangely familiar
Grooves raked across your sides, 
Wondering if Rosetta had doubled back to Mars
And raced past Phobos by mistake –
Then you were gone, falling back into the black,
Not to be seen by human eyes again for a thousand
Blue Moons or more. But we know you now,
We know you; you’ll never be just a speck of light again.
- Stuart Atkinson

The fact that we live at the bottom of a deep gravity well, on the surface of a gas covered planet going around a nuclear fireball 90 million miles away and think this to be normal is obviously some indication of how skewed our perspective tends to be.
- Douglas Adams

In a nutshell, the universe is 4% visible, 23% undetectable and 73% unimaginable. Welcome to the cosmos, full of mass you can measure but not manhandle, driven by a force you can infer but not explain.
- Tim Radford