[Rudolf Steiner] said that when something ends, we must think that something begins. His advice is salutory, but the execution is difficult, for we only know what we have lost, not what we will gain. We have a very precise image—an image at times shameless—of what we have lost, but we are ignorant of what may follow or replace it. I made a decision. I said to myself: since I have lost the beloved world of appearances, I must create something else.
Jorge Luis Borges, “Blindness”
Every city has a sex and an age which have nothing to do with demography. Rome is feminine. So is Odessa. London is a teenager, an urchin, and, in this, hasn’t change since the time of Dickens. Paris, I believe, is a man in his twenties in love with an older woman.
The capacity to be alone is the capacity to love. It may look paradoxical to you, but it’s not. It is an existential truth: only those people who are capable of being alone are capable of love, of sharing, of going into the deepest core of another person—without possessing the other, without becoming dependent on the other, without reducing the other to a thing, and without becoming addicted to the other. They allow the other absolute freedom, because they know that if the other leaves, they will be as happy as they are now. Their happiness cannot be taken by the other, because it is not given by the other.
Some people inherit values and practices as a house they inhabit; some of us have to burn down that house, find our own ground, build from scratch, even as a psychological metamorphosis.
Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost
The shadow past is shaped by everything that never happened. Invisible, it melts the present like rain through karst. A biography of longing. It steers us like magnetism, a spirit torque. This is how one becomes undone by a smell, a word, a place, the photo of a mountain of shoes. By love that closes its mouth before calling a name.
Anne Michaels, Fugitive Pieces
They saw how easy it was, by adding one word, to maintain a grip on the future, to extend it in consciousness if not in actual fact.
Don DeLillo, White Noise
We carry the lives we’ve imagined as we carry the lives we have, and sometimes a reckoning comes of all the lives we have lost.
Helen Macdonald, H is for Hawk