I glimpsed the web of my future in the straps and clasps of that impossible bra. Who is less capable than I am of working any apparatus? I have never walked, by my own wits, through a turnstile in any city subway. Where does the token go? I can’t replace an ink cartridge, hang a picture evenly, or reset the clock in my car to daylight saving time. I can just barely manage a bra myself. All those loops and hooks — it’s like playing cat’s cradle just getting dressed. It was no wonder I was crabby when my mom asked where her parents were, why I winced when she whispered, “Am I an orphan?”
- Jan Shoemaker, Flesh and Stones: Field Notes From a Finite World
When they were tired of talking, they rested by reflecting on the pleasant things that had been said. Her life, at the only times when she could give it much thought, while she was jolting along on her travels, seemed truly wonderful….
Abe Zlutkin [her driver] took advantage of an interval when the road was a trifle less slippery to show her a photo of his wife. It portrayed a plump young Jewish woman of dark complexion. Abe bethought himself that he loved her dearly. For a moment the business he was in such a hurry to transact ceased tormenting him. Such was Luzina’s power. She disposed people to become aware that they had reasons for being happy.
- Gabrielle Roy, Where Nests the Water Hen
…If you climb behind Olson Waterfall in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, you hear the brash staccato of water vaulting before your glistening face into a big half-kettle hollowed from shelves of sandstone. Later, retracing your steps below fifty-foot ledges of mossy rock, you pick up the slippery vowels of its creek, chuckling over pebbles and fallen limbs.
Hippolyte … went off to take a stroll along the shore of the Big Water Hen. At its middle the river ran free; outside the current it was encumbered with sedges. They spread everywhere, gaining ground from year to year, just as did the crops elsewhere, the tilth, the forest — a country really made for the birds. Each year they came from the depths of Florida, two thousand miles as a bird flies, hastening and following a cunning course in order to reach this sure asylum! Perhaps more than two thousand miles! The mother birds must have remembered the water which came halfway up the length of the rushes. Here were the finest hiding-places in the world in which to have their ducklings when they first began to swim….