Girl at War by Sara Novic

Some excerpts that move me…

The country was at war, but for most people the war was more an idea than an experience, and I felt something between anger and shame that Americans—that I—could sometimes ignore its impact for days at a time. In Croatia, life in wartime had meant a loss of control, war holding sway over every thought and movement, even while you slept. It did not allow for forgetting. But America’s war did not constrain me; it did not cut my water or shrink my food supply. There was no threat of takeover with tanks or foot soldiers or cluster bombs, not here. What war meant in America was so incongruous with what had happened in Croatia—what must have been happening in Afghanistan—that it almost seemed a misuse of the word.

The more I lied, the closer I came to fitting in. Sometimes I even believed myself.

Somewhere in the dead space between house and shelter civilians became soldiers.

To the sweetest dog in the world…

Rest in peace, sweet Scout. “He is my other eyes that can see above the clouds; my other ears that hear above the winds. He is the part of me that can reach out into the sea. He has told me a thousand times over that I am his reason for being; by the way he rests against my leg; by the way he thumps his tail at my smallest smile; by the way he shows his hurt when I leave without taking him. (I think it makes him sick with worry when he is not along to care for me.) When I am wrong, he is delighted to forgive. When I am angry, he clowns to make me smile. When I am happy, he is joy unbounded. When I am a fool, he ignores it. When I succeed, he brags. Without him, I am only another man. With him, I am all-powerful. He is loyalty itself. He has taught me the meaning of devotion. With him, I know a secret comfort and a private peace. He has brought me understanding where before I was ignorant. His head on my knee can heal my human hurts. His presence by my side is protection against my fears of dark and unknown things. He has promised to wait for me… whenever… wherever – in case I need him. And I expect I will – as I always have. He is just my dog.” – Gene Hill


Following Atticus: Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship – Tom Ryan

Some excerpts that move me…

The naturalist John Muir might as well have been talking about my family when he wrote, “Most people are on the world, not in it—have no conscious sympathy or relationship to anything about them—undiffused, separate, and rigidly alone like marbles of polished stone, touching but separate.” That was us: touching but separate.

I thought of my beloved Thoreau, who said, “Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.”

Death, like birth, was part of the package of life. She had come to peace with that. It was those of us who were left behind who struggled with it. In contemplating my late friend, I remembered something Mark Twain had said that I’d used in a letter to my father about Vicki’s last days: “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear—not absence…”

…pantheism was a belief that God was in nature.

…Thomas Merton had said in a talk he gave: “The deepest level of communication is not communication, but communion. It is wordless, it is beyond words, and it is beyond speech, and it is beyond concept.

There are some things in life too powerful, too vivid, too life-altering to possibly leave them behind. They stay with you forever. They shape you from that moment on.

“I have never started a poem yet whose end I knew. Writing a poem is discovering.” I could say the same for our quest, or for that matter,

“Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light; I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.”


And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer – Fredrik Backman

Some excerpts that move me…

“The square got smaller again overnight.”

He always wants to know everything about school, but not like other adults, who only want to know if Noah is behaving.  Grandpa wants to know if the school is behaving.  It hardly ever is.   “Our teacher made us write a story about what we want to be when we are big,” Noah tells him.  “What did you write?”  “I wrote that I wanted to concentrate on being little first.”  “That’s a very good answer.”  “Isn’t it?  I would rather be old than a grown-up.  All grown-ups are angry, it’s just children and old people who laugh.”  “Did you write that?”  “Yes.”  “What did your teacher say?”  “She said I hadn’t understood the task.” “And what did you say?”  “I said she hadn’t understood my answer.”  “I love you,” Grandpa manages to say with closed eyes.

Not everyone knows that water and sunshine have scents, but they do, you just have to get far enough away from all the other smells to realize it.

[Minds]  One of them is getting bigger and one of them is getting smaller, the years allow them to meet in the middle.

“And we have to write essays all the time!  The teacher wanted us to write what we thought the meaning of life was once.”  “What did you write?”  “Company.”  Grandpa closes his eyes.  “That’s the best answer I’ve heard.”  “My teacher said I had to write a longer answer.”  “So what sis you do?”  “I wrote Company .  And ice cream.”  Grandpa spends a moment or two thinking that over.  Then he asks:  “What kind of ice cream?”  Noah smiles.  It’s nice to be understood.

…even the snow was happy that morning, falling soap-bubble light and landing on cold cheeks as though the flakes were gently trying to wake someone they loved.

“No, death is a slow drum.  It counts every beat.  We can’t haggle with it for more time.

“I miss the dawn.  The way it stamped its feet at the end of the water, increasingly frustrated and impatient, until there was no more holding back the sun.

‘NoahNoah, promise me something, one very last thing: once your good-bye is perfect, you have to leave me and not look back.  Live your life.  It’s an awful thing to miss someone who is still here.” [Alzheimer]

“…That’s why we get the chance to spoil our grandchildren, because by doing that we’re apologizing to our children.”

It’s never too late to ask [your child] about something [they] love.