The roadrunner has a rather drab dress of indiscriminate pattern. The feathers are dark brown laced with white, and the tail has a greenish tinge. His wings are stubby, their principal function being to increase the speed of his running should he be in a hurry. His eyes are encircled with rings of an orange color. When he pauses to look at you, he opens his mouth, the crest atop his head rises; the impression is left that the sight of you has brought upon him a condition of great astonishment and shock. Then, recovering quickly from his near collapse, he will go jauntily on his way. -
- Herbert V. Young, Water By the Inch: Adventures of a Pioneer Family on an Arizona Homestead
I look to the stars for confirmation that I’m not stuck in one place. From one hour to the next I can tell by marking the counterclockwise motion of Ursa Major that the earth moves beneath my feet. I’m spinning with it at 700 miles an hour. From season to season I can feel the earth coursing against a backdrop of constellations, summer’s Scorpio and winter’s Orion. I’m circling the sun at 66,000 miles an hour, a million and a half miles a day. I am not in prison; I am a traveler. I am a galactic tourist, visiting the sun and moon and gas giants. I watch the universe pass by from the window of this fenced plot of ground. I should have motion sickness.
- Ken Lamberton, Time of Grace: Thoughts on Nature, Family, and the Politics of Crime and Punishment (2007)
…I adjust my calendar to the metronome transgressions of birds. For now, they cue me to after summer’s ebb: shorter days as the desert gradually cools and dries. Grasses beyond the perimeter fence bleach and go to seed under scattered cholla cacti, tiaras of light caught among their blond spines.
Like many people, I believed the justice system was a vehicle for truth. I discovered that truth is irrelevant and politics is not, that our adversarial system favors the affluent, that judges have become redundant, that a plea bargain is not a compromise but a surrender. That justice is a contest with winners and losers…. I also discovered that prison is a society with a caste system based on the types of crimes committed and those ranked a the top — murderers, drug offenders, gang members — prey on those at the bottom . . . and I was at the bottom.