“My peachicken has turned out to be a cock which means that in three years if he survives dogs, foxes, weasels, mink, and internal worms, he will have a tail-spread of four feet. He has one trick: he runs up to anyone holding a cigaret and snatches it away and eats it. He has eaten two hot cigarets so far.”more info
source: letter to Elizabeth Fenwick, February 12, 1954, in The Habit of Being: The Letters of Flannery O’Connor, ed. by Sally Fitzgerald (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1979), 67–68.
“Looking directly into my eyes he very gently squeezed my fingers: which is how chimpanzees reassure each other.”more info
source: “Jane Goodall, Illustrated,” The New York Times, May 13, 2011.
“Tomorrow when the farm boys find this
freak of nature, they will wrap his body
in newspaper and carry him to the museum.
But tonight he is alive and in the north
field with his mother. It is a perfect
summer evening: the moon rising over
the orchard, the wind in the grass.
And as he stares into the sky, there
are twice as many stars as usual.”
source: “The Two-headed Calf,” in The Hocus-Pocus of the Universe (Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, 1977), 59.
“In the forbidden recess of the cave, there’s a footprint of an eight-year-old boy next to the footprint of a wolf. Did a hungry wolf stalk the boy or did they walk together as friends?”more info
source: Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2011), quoted on Studio 360, April 29, 2011.
medium: documentary film
“Roxy Sorkin, your father just won the Academy Award. I’m going to have to insist on some respect from your guinea pig.”more info
source: acceptance speech for best adapted screenplay, at the 83rd Academy Awards, February 27, 2011.
“‘Skunks,’ the squirrel said, ‘are sent to try us.’”more info
source: “Flying Scrolls,” in The Skylark: and Other Poems (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1959), 71.
“The lambs had nursed and the ewe was lying quiet. One lamb had settled itself on the mother’s back and was a perfect miniature of the old one—they reminded me of a teapot we have, whose knob is a tiny replica of the pot itself.”more info
source: “Spring,” in One Man’s Meat (New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1944), 233.
notes: White wrote this essay in April 1941.
“Owing to my boat’s shape, she could not wear a tall mast without turning over and so her pocket-handkerchief-sized sail could only garner and harvest the tiniest cupfuls of wind; thus, for the most part, she was propelled from point to point with oars, and when we had a full crew on board—three dogs, an owl, and sometimes a pigeon—and were carrying a full cargo—some two dozen containers full of seawater and specimens—she was a back-aching load to push through the water.”more info
source: Fauna and Family (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1978), 21.
“I’m proud to call Gloria Steinem a friend, and this advice came from her. While on a field trip in college with her geology class, she discovered a giant snapping turtle that had climbed out of the river, up a dirt path, right to the edge of a road. Worried it would soon be run over, she wrestled the enormous reptile off the embankment and back down to the water. At that moment, her professor walked up and asked what in the world she was doing. With some pride, she told him. He said that the turtle had probably spent a month crawling up that long dirt path to safely lay its eggs in the mud on the side of the road and that she had destroyed all that effort with her ‘rescue.’ Gloria tells this story to illustrate the most important political lesson she ever learned: Always ask the turtle.”more info
source: “The Smartest Advice I Ever Got,” O magazine, May 18, 2010.
medium: magazine article
“The way to learn to sail a big boat is first to sail a little one, because the little one is so much harder to manage. The same is true of udders. I can milk a sheep now, with her small cleverly concealed udder, and so I have no hesitancy about going on to a larger and more forthright bag.”more info
source: “Getting Ready for a Cow,” in One Man’s Meat (New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1944), 317.
notes: White wrote this essay in September 1942.
“If it can’t get away, it ain’t free-range.”more info