It is very easy to grow tired at collecting; the period of a low tide is about all men can endure. At first the rocks are bright and every moving animal makes his mark on the attention. The picture is wide and colored and beautiful. But after an hour and a half the attention centers weary, the color fades and the field is likely to narrow to an individual animal. Here one may observe his own world narrowed down until interest and, with it, observation, flicker and go out. And what if with age this weariness becomes permanent and observation dim out and not recover? Can this be what happens to so many men of science? Enthusiasm, interest, sharpness, dulled with a weariness until finally they retire into easy didacticism? With this weariness, this stultification of attention centers, perhaps there comes the pained and sad memory of what the old excitement was like and regret might turn to envy of the men who still have it. Then out of the shell of didacticism, such a used-up man might attack the unwearied and he would have in his hands proper weapons of attack. It does seem certain that to a wearied man an error in a mass of correct data wipes out all the correctness and is a focus for attack; whereas the unwearied man, in his energy and receptivity, might consider the little dross of error a by-product of his effort. These two may balance and produce a purer thing than either in the end. These two may be the stresses which hold up the structure, but it is a sad thing to see the interest in interested men thin out and weaken and die. We have known so many professors who once carried their listeners high on their single enthusiasm and have seen these same men finally settle back comfortably into lectures prepared years before and never vary them again. Perhaps this is the same narrowing we observe in relation to ourselves and the tide pool—a man looking at reality brings his own limitations to the world. If he has strength and energy of mind the tide pool stretches both ways, digs back to electrons and leaps space into the universe and fights out of the moment into non-conceptual time. Then ecology has a synonym which is ALL.
John Steinbeck
Xerxes, I read, ‘halted his unwieldy army for days that he might contemplate to his satisfaction’ the beauty of a single sycamore. You are Xerxes in Persia. Your army spreads on a vast and arid peneplain…you call to you all your sad captains and give the order to halt. You have seen the tree with the lights in it, haven’t you? You must have. Xerxes buffeted on a plain, ambition drained in a puff. Your men are bewildered…there is nothing to catch the eye in this flatness, nothing but a hollow, hammering sky, a waste of sedge in the lee of windblown rocks, a meager ribbon of scrub willow tracing a slumbering watercourse…and that sycamore. You saw it; you will stand rapt and mute, exalted, remembering or not remembering over a period of days to shade your head with your robe. He had its form wrought upon a medal of gold to help him remember it the rest of his life. We all ought to have a goldsmith following us around. But it goes without saying, doesn’t it, Xerxes, that no gold medal worn around your neck will bring back the glad hour, keep those lights kindled so long as you live, forever present? Pascal saw it; he grabbed pen and paper and scrawled the one word and wore it sewn in his shirt the rest of his life. I don’t know what Pascal saw. I saw a cedar. Xerxes saw a sycamore.
Annie Dillard
There are moments in every relationship that define when two people start to fall in love.A first glanceA first smileA first kissA first fall…(I remove the Darth Vader house shoes from my satchel and look down at them.)You were wearing these during one of those moments.One of the moments I first started to fall in love with you.The way you gave me butterflies that morningHad absolutely nothing to do with anyone else,and everything to do with you.I was falling in love with you that morningbecause of you.(I take the next item out of the satchel. When I pull it out and look up, she brings her hands to her mouth in shock.)This ugly little gnomeWith his smug little grin…He's the reason I had an excuse to invite you into my house.Into my life.You took a lot of aggression out on him over those next few months.I would watch from my window as you would kick him over every time you walked by him.Poor little guy.You were so tenacious.That feisty, aggressive, strong-willed side of you….The side of you that refused to take crap from this concrete gnome?The side of you that refused to take crap from me?I fell in love with that side of youbecause of you.(I set the gnome down on the stage and grab the CD)This is your favorite CD‘Layken’s shit.’Although now I know you intended for shit to be possessive, rather than descriptive.The banjo started playing through the speakers of your carand I immediately recognized my favorite band.Then when I realized it was your favorite band, too?The fact that these same lyrics inspired both of us?I fell in love with that about you.That had absolutely nothing to do with anyone else.I fell in love with that about youbecause of you.(I take a slip of paper out of the satchel and hold it up. When I look at her, I see Eddie slide her a napkin. I can’t tell from up here, but that can only mean she’s crying.)This is a receipt I kept.Only because the item I purchased that night was on the verge of ridiculous.Chocolate milk on the rocks? Who orders that?You were different and you didn’t care.You were being you.A piece of me fell in love with you at that moment,because of you.This? (I hold up another sheet of paper.)This I didn’t really like so much.It’s the poem you wrote about me.The one you titled 'mean?'I don’t think I ever told you…but you made a zero.And then I kept itto remind myself of all the things I never want to be to you.(I pull her shirt from my bag. When I hold it into the light, I sigh into the microphone.)This is that ugly shirt you wear.It doesn’t really have anything to do with why I fell in love with you.I just saw it at your house and thought I’d steal it.
Colleen Hoover