There's a fine line between a groove and a rut
My great-great-grandparents living here, going about their daily
affairs, producing their children, bringing them up as best they could
- are responsible for me and the fact that we happen to be sat here
this morning. In turn, my behaviour ... the pattern of behaviour that
I try to pass on to my children, I hope will gradually be transmitted
through their children into the future. In other words, one begins to
realise oneself, not as an isolated speck in eternity, but as part of a
continuing process which we call history, but which is people.
Wilfred Micah Spencer, historian, genealogist, and my father, in an interview with BBC Radio Blackburn in the early 1970s.
I wanted to come here again with someone I loved and
Paul Theroux, visiting the Cuillin mountains on the Isle of Skye, Scotland. From A Kingdom by the Sea
If ... I had no duties, and no reference to futurity, I would spend my
life in driving briskly in a post-chaise with a pretty woman.
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784).
I'm looking over rooftops, and I'm hoping it ain't true, that the same
God looks out for them, looks out for me and you.
Josh Ritter, Folk Bloodbath.
I beseech you, by the bowels of Christ, think it possible
that you may be mistaken.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are
of in your philosophy.
But the most potent and incontestable motive, the one that Vesta
showed to me a few weeks ago and is unique to space science, is that
these missions are one of the few human endeavors where mankind can,
still today, leverage and give an expression to the innate impulse of
exploration and conquest. We have reached the top of the mountains,
the depth of the seas, we have ventured into terrifying caves that
pierce the crust of the Earth, we have charted continents and rivers,
we regularly conduct experiments in the endless icy expanses of
Antarctica, but none of this can transmit, as space exploration does,
the amazement of the research, the bewilderment of the encounter, the
thrill of spotting territories never before seen by the human eye. And
all these sensations are more than a jolt of adrenaline, far more than
a chemical cascade in the brain of a few mission team members, because
they push forward the common conscience of mankind, nurture the
feeling of belonging to one human race and inspire in the generations
to come the spirit of adventure and the spark of discovery.
Pablo Gutierrez-Marques, Dawn Framing Camera Operations Manager, in a Planetary Society blog post.
...you look out the window and you're looking back at the most beautiful star in the heavens- the most beautiful because it's the one we understand, and we know- it's our home, it's humanity, it's people, family, love, life- and besides that it is beautiful- you can see from pole to pole and across oceans, and you can watch it turn, and there's no strings holding it up, and it's moving in a blackness that is almost beyond conception.
...and not being a machine, but being a human being, you have to stop and say, "do you know where you are, and what you're looking at?", and try to take in in those few moments of privacy that you have, everything that there is to take in at that moment, and all of a sudden you've got to get back to work.
One of the things different about a lunar trip is that you don't pass any place on the way...
Apollo astronauts, quoted in the film For All Mankind
Great God! This is an awful place
Robert Falcon Scott, at the South Pole (or perhaps in Phoenix)
One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is
making exciting discoveries
A. A. Milne
I felt jolly near blubbing and could not speak for several minutes
Frank Wild, 2nd in command on the Shackleton Antarctic expedition, October 1915, on seeing that Ernest Shackleton had returned to Elephant Island to rescue his marooned crew. Shackleton had left five months earlier to get help, on an 800-mile voyage across the Antarctic Ocean to South Georgia by open boat.
English Channel Blocked by Fog: Europe Isolated
Alleged British newspaper headline, many years ago.
An Englishman thinks he is moral when he is only uncomfortable
George Bernard Shaw
See also my Favourite Poetry page.