306. “As you sit, make peace also with the reality that, after you die, it won’t matter to you how you are remembered; you will not be here to experience it. All the grand things that you do or say, all the skyscrapers you build and cover with gold, your elegant tombstone, all will be completely forgotten eventually. Even your children, and their children, too, will be forgotten. That being so, perhaps it is best to begin to erase your presence well before you leave the scene.”
310. “Of what was plastic made? What died? He knew it was a product of petroleum, of oil, and so he assumed plastic was made out of the very lifeblood of the planet. When all the oil was drained, he imagined the planet quaking and shrinking in on itself, like a squeezed orange that has been sucked to death. He.”
311. “The world was almost at the point of forgetting what a fine time people can have helping one another. That people like to work together and to kick back after work and share their experiences. What would happen if our foreign policy centered on the cultivation of joy rather than pain? she thought.”
316. “When Pa tell you to do something, you do it, he say. When he say not to, you don’t. You don’t do what he say, he beat you. Sometime beat me anyhow, I say, whether I do what he say or not. That’s right, say Harpo. But not Sofia. She do what she want, don’t pay me no mind at all. I try to beat her, she black my eyes. Oh, boo-hoo, he cry. Boo-hoo-hoo.”
327. “Standing beside the river, realizing that the water of earth is recycled forever, she deeply understood this: that there are two “presents.” One is of the moment. The other is of a longer moment – the “moment” that includes the history and knowledge one knows. So that, she mused, if the tears shed by the mother of Isis are now part of this river then I am somehow connected to her in this longer “present” that I am able to envision and that contains both of us.”
338. “In that story I gathered up the historical and psychological threads of the life my ancestors lived, and in the writing of it I felt joy and strength and my own continuity. I had that wonderful feeling writers get sometimes, not very often, of being with a great many people, ancient spirits, all very happy to see me consulting and acknowledging them, and eager to let me know, through the joy of their presence, that, indeed, I am not alone.”
343. “Then she added thoughtfully, “And that old woman that turned me off so short got down so bad in the end that she was walking on two sticks.” And I knew she was thinking, though she never said it: Here I am today, my eight children healthy and grown and three of them in college and me with hardly a sick day for years. Ain’t Jesus wonderful?”
346. “Everything want to be loved.”
348. “The heaving sickness past, her nausea gone, her bodily fluids replaced, she felt the lightness of being in the open space around her. Her walls the canyon’s walls, she owned them not at all; her floor, the river beach. Her view, the heavens. It was, this freedom she was in, the longed-for cathedral of her dreams.”
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