June 14th, 2002


On Nature -- Willa Cather


As we walked homeward across the fields, the sun dropped and lay like a great golden globe in the low west. While it hung there, the moon rose in the east, as big as a cart-wheel, pale silver and streaked with rose colour, thin as a bubble or a ghost-moon. For five, perhaps ten minutes, the two luminaries confronted each other across the level land, resting on opposite edges of the world.

In that singular light every little tree and shock of wheat, every sunflower stalk and clump of snow-on-the-mountain, drew itself up high and pointed; the very clods and furrows in the fields seemed to stand up sharply. I felt the old pull of the earth, the solemn magic that comes out of those fields at nightfall. I wished I could be a little boy again, and that my way could end there.

    -- Willa Cather (1873–1947), U.S. novelist. Jim Burden, in My Antonia, book IV, ch. IV (1918; rev. 1926).


On the Nature of Danger -- Martin Boyd


We grew up with the feeling that the adult world was entirely reasonable and secure. The only dangers of life were the natural menaces-snakes and sharks, centipedes, bull-dog ants and scorpions-things that the escapist can never quite escape. There could be no danger from the folly of human authority nor from mad economics.
    -- Martin Boyd