Best 71 of Barry Lopez quotes - MyQuotes

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Barry Lopez
By Anonym 14 Sep

Barry Lopez

People think that if you've written a book and somebody's given you a pat on the back then, you know, it's all - you're all settled, you know? You're going to be fine. I know that if I'm not confused, and really afraid, my work isn't going to be any good.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Barry Lopez

The writer works on the inside and the critic works on the outside. I don't know what it looks like on the outside, sometimes. It's not that I'm not interested-it's not where I live. I live inside the story.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Barry Lopez

I believe in all human societies there is a desire to love and be loved, to experience the full fierceness of human emotion, and to make a measure of the sacred part of one's life. Wherever I've traveled--Kenya, Chile, Australia, Japan--I've found the most dependable way to preserve these possibilities is to be reminded of them in stories. Stories do not give instruction, they do not explain how to love a companion or how to find God. They offer, instead, patterns of sound and association, of event and image. Suspended as listeners and readers in these patterns,we might reimagine our lives. It is through story that we embrace the great breadth of memory, that we can distinguish what is true, and that we may glimpse, at least occasionally, how to live without despair in the midst of the horror that dogs and unhinges us.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Barry Lopez

If there is a stage at which an individual life becomes truly adult, it must be when one grasps the irony in its unfolding and accepts responsibility for a life lived in the midst of such paradox.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Barry Lopez

real beauty is so deep you have to move into darkness to understand it.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Barry Lopez

Imagine a forty-five-year-old male fifty feet long, a slim, shiny black animal cutting the surface of green ocean water at twenty knots. At fifty tons it is the largest carnivore on earth. Imagine a four-hundred-pound heart the size of a chest of drawers driving five gallons of blood at a stroke through its aorta; a meal of forty salmon moving slowly down twelve-hundred feet of intestine…the sperm whale’s brain is larger than the brain of any other creature that ever lived…With skin as sensitive as the inside of your wrist.

By Anonym 20 Sep

Barry Lopez

Why we should believe in wolf children seems somehow easier to understand than the ways we distinguish between what is human and what is animal behavior. In making such distinctions we run the risk of fooling ourselves completely. We assume that the animal is entirely comprehensible and, as Henry Beston has said, has taken form on a plane beneath the one we occupy. It seems to me that this is a sure way to miss the animal and to see, instead, only another reflection of our own ideas.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Barry Lopez

To allow mystery, which is to say to yourself, 'There could be more...things we don't understand,' is not to damn knowledge....It is to permit yourself an extraordinary, freedom: someone else does not have to be wrong in order that you might be right...This tolerance for mystery invigorates the imagination; and it is the imagination that gives shape to the universe.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Barry Lopez

If I were to offer any advice to young writers, it would be this: be discriminating and be discerning about the work you set for yourself. That done, be the untutored traveler, the eager reader, the enthusiastic listener. Put what you learn together carefully, and then write thoughtfully, with respect both for the reader and your sources.

By Anonym 17 Sep

Barry Lopez

Lying there, I thought of my own culture, of the assembly of books in the library at Alexandria; of the deliberations of Darwin and Mendel in their respective gardens; of the architectural conception of the cathedral at Chartres; of Bach's cello suites, the philosophy of Schweitzer, the insights of Planck and Dirac. Have we come all this way, I wondered, only to be dismantled by our own technologies, to be betrayed by political connivance or the impersonal avarice of a corporation?

By Anonym 15 Sep

Barry Lopez

The land retains an identity of its own, still deeper and more subtle than we can know. Our obligation toward it then becomes simple: to approach with an uncalculating mind, with an attitude of regard...be alert for its openings, for that moment when something sacred reveals itself within the mundane, and you know the land knows you are there.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Barry Lopez

The opposite of love is not hate; it's indifference. To be indifferent is to not express love.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Barry Lopez

I do not know, really, how we will survive without places like the Inner Gorge of the Grand Canyon to visit. Once in a lifetime, even, is enough. To feel the stripping down, an ebb of the press of conventional time, a radical change of proportion, an unspoken respect for others that elicits keen emotional pleasure, a quick intimate pounding of the heart. The living of life, any life, involves great and private pain, much of which we share with no one. In such places as the Inner Gorge the pain trails away from us. It is not so quiet there or so removed that you can hear yourself think, that you would even wish to; that comes later. You can hear your heart beat. That comes first.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Barry Lopez

It is, I think, the rarest of leisure, hard work mixed with hard pleasure, to refine one's time of deep thought or light regard into the utterly self-absorbed and equally and abundantly outward-seeking shape of the personal essay -- a story comprised of found fact, of analyzed emotion, of fictive memory.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Barry Lopez

I feel that my fingers have brushed one of life’s deep, coursing threads…Speak, even notice it, and it would disappear.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Barry Lopez

The wolf exerts a powerful influence on the human imagination. It takes your stare and turns it back on you

By Anonym 18 Sep

Barry Lopez

Story, as I understood it by reading Faulkner, Hardy, Cather, and Hemingway, was a powerful and clarifying human invention. The language alone, as I discovered it in Gerard Manley Hopkins and Faulkner, was exquisitely beautiful, also weirdly and mysteriously evocative.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Barry Lopez

One must live in the middle of contradiction, because if all contradiction were eliminated at once life would collapse.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Barry Lopez

My faith is in my colleagues. And when I meet other writers, journalists, who've been doing this for a long time, trying to make us aware of what it is that we're living in, I put my faith in those people.

By Anonym 17 Sep

Barry Lopez

Once I was asked be a seatmate on a trans-Pacific flight....what instruction he should give his fifteen-year-old daughters, who wanted to be a writer. [I said], "Tell your daughter three things." Tell her to read...Tell her to read whatever interests her, and protect her if someone declares what she's reading to be trash. No one can fathom what happens between a human being and written language. She may be paying attention to things in the words beyond anyone else's comprehension, things that feed her curiosity, her singular heart and mind. ...Second, I said, tell your daughter that she can learn a great deal about writing by reading and by studying books about grammar and the organization of ideas, but that if she wishes to write well she will have to become someone. She will have to discover her beliefs, and then speak to us from within those beliefs. If her prose doesn't come out of her belief, whatever that proves to be, she will only be passing along information, of which we are in no great need. So help her discover what she means. Finally, I said, tell your daughter to get out of town, and help her do that. I don't necessarily mean to travel to Kazakhstan, or wherever, but to learn another language, to live with people other than her own, to separate herself from the familiar. Then, when she returns, she will be better able to understand why she loves the familiar, and will give us a fresh sense of how fortunate we are to share these things. Read. Find out what you truly believe. Get away from the familiar. Every writer, I told him, will offer you thoughts about writing that are different, but these are three I trust. -- from "A Voice

By Anonym 16 Sep

Barry Lopez

I think of two landscapes- one outside the self, the other within. The external landscape is the one we see-not only the line and color of the land and its shading at different times of the day, but also its plants and animals in season, its weather, its geology… If you walk up, say, a dry arroyo in the Sonoran Desert you will feel a mounding and rolling of sand and silt beneath your foot that is distinctive. You will anticipate the crumbling of the sedimentary earth in the arroyo bank as your hand reaches out, and in that tangible evidence you will sense the history of water in the region. Perhaps a black-throated sparrow lands in a paloverde bush… the smell of the creosote bush….all elements of the land, and what I mean by “the landscape.” The second landscape I think of is an interior one, a kind of projection within a person of a part of the exterior landscape. Relationships in the exterior landscape include those that are named and discernible, such as the nitrogen cycle, or a vertical sequence of Ordovician limestone, and others that are uncodified or ineffable, such as winter light falling on a particular kind of granite, or the effect of humidity on the frequency of a blackpoll warbler’s burst of song….the shape and character of these relationships in a person’s thinking, I believe, are deeply influenced by where on this earth one goes, what one touches, the patterns one observes in nature- the intricate history of one’s life in the land, even a life in the city, where wind, the chirp of birds, the line of a falling leaf, are known. These thoughts are arranged, further, according to the thread of one’s moral, intellectual, and spiritual development. The interior landscape responds to the character and subtlety of an exterior landscape; the shape of the individual mind is affected by land as it is by genes. Among the Navajo, the land is thought to exhibit sacred order…each individual undertakes to order his interior landscape according to the exterior landscape. To succeed in this means to achieve a balanced state of mental health…Among the various sung ceremonies of this people-Enemyway, Coyoteway, Uglyway- there is one called Beautyway. It is, in part, a spiritual invocation of the order of the exterior universe, that irreducible, holy complexity that manifests itself as all things changing through time (a Navajo definition of beauty).

By Anonym 14 Sep

Barry Lopez

Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Barry Lopez

One of the great dreams of man must be to find some place between the extremes of nature and civilization where it is possible to live without regret.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Barry Lopez

A thought that stayed with me was that I had entered a private place in the earth. I had seen exposed nearly its oldest part. I had lost my sense of urgency, rekindled a sense of what people were, clambering to gain access to high waterfalls and a sense of our endless struggle as a species to understand time and to estimate the consequences of our acts.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Barry Lopez

You continue to live them out, making your life a worthy expression of leaning into the light.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Barry Lopez

Something, most certainly, happens to a diver’s emotions underwater. It is not merely a side effect of the pleasing, vaguely erotic sensation of water pressure on the body. Nor is it alone the peculiar sense of weightlessness, which permits a diver to hang motionless in open water, observing sea life large as whales around him; not the ability of a diver, descending in that condition, to slowly tumble and rotate in all three spatial planes. It is not the exhilaration from disorientation that comes when one’s point of view starts to lose its “lefts” and “down” and gains instead something else, a unique perception that grows out of the ease of movement in three dimensions. It is not from the diminishment of gravity to a force little more emphatic than a suggestion. It is not solely exposure to an unfamiliar intensity of life. It is not a state of rapture with the bottomless blue world beneath one’s feet…it is some complicated mix of these emotions, together with the constant proximity of real terror.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Barry Lopez

We cannot, of course, save the World because we do not have authority over its parts. We can serve the world though. That is everyone's calling, to lead a life that helps.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Barry Lopez

Voglio dire solo questo: non conosciamo affatto gli animali. Non possiamo comprenderli se non in termini di nostre esigenze ed esperienze; e avvicinarci a un popolo con cui condividiamo il pianeta e il fascino per i lupi ma che proviene da una dimensione spazio-temporale differente e che, per quanto ne sappiamo, è molto più vicino ai lupi di quanto potremo mai esserlo noi.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Barry Lopez

No culture has yet solved the dilemma each has faced with the growth of a conscious mind: how to live a moral and compassionate existence when one is fully aware of the blood, the horror inherent in all life, when one finds darkness not only in one’s own culture but within oneself.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Barry Lopez

Because you have seen something doesn't mean you can explain it. Differing interpretations will always abound, even when good minds come to bear. The kernel of indisputable information is a dot in space; interpretations grow out of the desire to make this point a line, to give it direction. The directions in which it can be sent, the uses to which it can be put by a culturally, professionally, and geographically diverse society are almost without limit. The possibilities make good scientists chary.

By Anonym 17 Sep

Barry Lopez

One learns a landscape finally not by knowing the name or identity of everything in it, but by perceiving the relationships in it--like that between the sparrow and the twig. The difference between the relationships and the elements is the same as that between written history and a catalog of events.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Barry Lopez

I lay there knowing something eerie ties us to the world of animals. Sometimes the animals pull you backward into it. You share hunger and fear with them like salt in blood.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Barry Lopez

I remember sitting in this cabin in Alaska one evening reading over the notes of all these encounters, and recalling Joseph Campbell, who wrote in the conclusion to 'Primitive Mythology' that men do not discover their gods, they create them. So do they also, I thought, looking at the notes before me, create their animals.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Barry Lopez

To put your hands in a river is to feel the chords that bind the earth together.

By Anonym 17 Sep

Barry Lopez

Occasionally we glimpse the South Rim, four or five thousand feet above. From the rims the canyon seems oceanic; at the surface of the river the feeling is intimate. To someone up there with binoculars we seem utterly remote down here. It is this know dimension if distance and time and the perplexing question posed by the canyon itself- What is consequential? (in one’s life, in the life of human beings, in the life of a planet)- that reverberate constantly, and make the human inclination to judge (another person, another kind of thought) seem so eerie… Two kinds of time pass here: sitting at the edge of a sun-warmed pool watching blue dragonflies and black tadpoles. And the rapids: down the glassy-smooth tongue into a yawing trench, climb a ten-foot wall of standing water and fall into boiling, ferocious hydraulics…

By Anonym 13 Sep

Barry Lopez

For so many centuries, the exchange of gifts has held us together. It has made it possible to bridge the abyss where language struggles.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Barry Lopez

When I sit at that typewriter, I have to be frightened of what I'm trying to do. I'm frightened by my own belief that I can actually get a story down on paper.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Barry Lopez

One must live in the middle of contradiction, because if all contradiction were eliminated at once, life would collapse. There are simply no definitive answers to some of the great pressing questions. You continue to live them out making your life a worthy expression of leaning into the light.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Barry Lopez

If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Barry Lopez

Remember on this one thing, said Badger. The stories people tell have a way of taking care of them. If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive. That is why we put these stories in each other's memories. This is how people care for themselves.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Barry Lopez

It does not demean men to want to be what they imagine the wolf to be, but it does demean them to kill the animal for it.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Barry Lopez

I know of no restorative of heart, body, and soul more effective against hopelessness than the restoration of the Earth.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Barry Lopez

In Galapagos, as elsewhere, things of the mind, including intellectual ramifications from evolutionary theory, and things of the spirit, like the feeling one gets from a Queen Anne’s lace of stars in the moonless Galapagean sky, struggle toward accommodation with an elementary desire for material comfort…because so many regard this archipelago as preeminently a terrain of the mind and spirit, a locus of biological thought and psychological rejuvenation. The sheer strength of Darwin’s insight into the development of biological life gently urges a visitor to be more than usually observant here- to notice, say, that while the thirteen Galapagean finches are all roughly the same hue, it is possible to separate them according to marked differences in the shapes of their bills and feeding habits.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Barry Lopez

The attempt to close the gap between what is known and what IS, is the temptation behind the apple in Genesis.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Barry Lopez

We keep each other alive with our stories. We need to share them, as much as we need to share food. We also require for our health the presence of good companions. One of the most extraordinary things about the land is that it knows this—and it compels language from some of us so that as a community we may converse about this or that place, and speak of the need.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Barry Lopez

You can't learn anything from saguaro cactus, from ocotillo. They are just passing through; their roots, their much heralded dormancy in the dry season, these are only illusions of permanence. They know even less than you do.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Barry Lopez

I watched the enormity of the clouds for several minutes. What I wanted to experience in the water, I realized, was how life of the reef was layered and intertwined. I now had many individual pieces at hand: named images, nouns. How were they related? What were the verbs? Which syntaxes were indigenous to the place? I asked a dozen knowledgeable people. No one was inclined to elaborate- or they didn’t know. “Did you see the octopus?” Someone shouted after the dive. Yes, I thought, but who among us knows what it was doing? What else was THERE, just then? WHY?

By Anonym 15 Sep

Barry Lopez

The land is like poetry:   it is inexplicably coherent, it is transcendent in its meaning, and it has the power to elevate a consideration of human life.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Barry Lopez

My function as a writer is to provide an atmosphere in which people can think wisely about what we're doing on this planet.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Barry Lopez

The cold view to take of our future is that we are therefore headed for extinction in a universe of impersonal chemical, physical, and biological laws. A more productive, certainly more engaging view, is that we have the intelligence to grasp what is happening, the composure not to be intimidated by its complexity, and the courage to take steps that may bear no fruit in our lifetimes.