I thought how true it was that the world was a delightful place if it were not for the people, and how more than true it was that people were not worth troubling about, and that wise men should set their affections upon nothing smaller than cities, heavenly or otherwise, and countrysides which are always heavenly.
You know (to adopt the easy or conversational style) that you and I belong to a happy minority. We are the sons of the hunters and the wandering singers, and from our boyhood nothing ever gave us greater pleasure than to stand under lonely skies in forest clearings, or to find a beach looking westward at evening over unfrequented seas. But the great mass of men love companionship so much that nothing seems of any worth compared with it. Human communion is their meat and drink, and so they use the railways to make bigger and bigger hives for themselves.
Bees blew like cake-crumbs through the golden air, white butterflies like sugared wafers, and when it wasn't raining a diamond dust took over which veiled and yet magnified all things
How lucky country children are in these natural delights that lie ready to their hand! Every season and every plant offers changing joys. As they meander along the lane that leads to our school all kinds of natural toys present themselves for their diversion. The seedpods of stitchwort hang ready for delightful popping between thumb and finger, and later the bladder campion offers a larger, if less crisp, globe to burst. In the autumn, acorns, beechnuts, and conkers bedizen their path, with all their manifold possibilities of fun. In the summer, there is an assortment of honeys to be sucked from bindweed flowers, held fragile and fragrant to hungry lips, and the tiny funnels of honeysuckle and clover blossoms to taste.
The Sussex lanes were very lovely in the autumn . . . spendthrift gold and glory of the year-end . . . earth scents and the sky winds and all the magic of the countryside which is ordained for the healing of the soul.
Dim loneliness came imperceivably into the fields and he turned back. The birds piped oddly; some wind was caressing the higher foliage, turning it all one way, the way home. Telegraph poles ahead looked like half-used pencils; the small cross on the steeple glittered with a sharp and shapely permanence.
It is my belief, Watson, founded upon my experience, that the lowest and vilest alleys in London do not present a more dreadful record of sin than does the smiling and beautiful countryside.
In New York, I would walk down shadowy sidewalks dreaming of the openness of central Ohio, yearning for roads flanked by fields, for their freedom and isolation. These roads cradled me. I realized this now. I’d been trying to hate Ohio, because it was so hard to be at home. But the land had actually always been there for me all along. As a child, the moon had lit my room on sad nights. I’d wandered cornfields and puttered around at Lehman’s Pond. Those were some of my best childhood memories.
Every step of the road was just as she'd dreamt it all the time she'd been away. Every step took her further away from the smoke and the noise and the loneliness and fear of the city she'd left behind. Every step drew her deeper into the hollows of the landscape, the green hills and shining rivers and mist-tangled treetops.
Those shining stars, he liked to point out, were one of the special treats for people like us who lived out in the wilderness. Rich city folks, he'd say, lived in fancy apartments, but their air was so polluted they couldn't even see the stars. We'd have to be out of our minds to want to trade places with any of them.
It was getting dark by the time I went out, and nobody who knows the country will need to be told how black is the darkness of a November night under high laurel bushes and yew-trees. I walked into the heart of the shrubberies two or three times, not seeing a step before me, till I came out upon the broader carriage-road, where the trees opened a little, and there was a faint grey glimmer of sky visible, under which the great limes and elms stood darkling like ghosts; but it grew black again as I approached the corner where the ruins lay. (The Open Door)
We live, all of us, in sprung rhythm. Even in cities, folk stir without knowing it to the surge in the blood that is the surge and urgency of season. In being born, we have taken seisin of the natural world, and as ever, it is the land which owns us, not we, the land. Even in the countryside, we dwell suspended between the rhythms of earth and season, weather and sky, and those imposed by metropolitan clocks, at home and abroad.When does the year begin? No; ask rather, When does it not? For us – all of us – as much as for Mr Eliot, midwinter spring is its own season; for all of us, if we but see it, our world is as full of time-coulisses as was Thomas Mann’s.Countrymen know this, with the instinct they share with their beasts. Writers want to know it also, and to articulate what the countryman knows and cannot, perhaps, express to those who sense but do not know, immured in sad conurbations, rootless amidst Betjeman’s frightful vision of soot and stone, worker’s flats and communal canteens, where it is the boast of pride that a man doesn’t let the grass grow under his feet.As both countryman and writer, I have a curious relationship to time.
The moon was coming slowly up over the hill in front of them. The countryside was bathed in light, pale and cold and silvery. Everything could be seen quite plainly, and Lotta and Jimmy thought it was just like daytime with the colours missing.
Townsfolk have no conception of the peace that mother nature bestows, and as long as that peace is unfound the spirit must seek to quench its thirst with ephemeral novelties. And what is more natural that that of the townsman's feverish search for pleasure should mould people of unstable, hare-brained character, who think only of their personal appearance and their clothes and find momentary comfort in foolish fashions and other such worthless innovations? The countryman, on the other hand walks out into the verdant meadows, into an atmosphere clear and pure, and as he breaths it into his lungs some unknown power streams through his limbs, invigorating body and soul. The peace in nature fills his mind with calm and cheer, the bright green grass under his feet awakens a sense of beauty, almost of reverence. In the fragrance that is borne so sweetly to his nostrils, in the quietude that broods so blissfully around him, there is comfort and rest. The hillsides, the dingles, the waterfalls, and the mountains are all friends of his childhood, and never to be forgotten.
The moon grew plump and pale as a peeled apple, waned into the passing nights, then showed itself again as a thin silver crescent in the twilit western sky. The shed of leaves became a cascade of red and gold and after a time the trees stood skeletal against a sky of weathered tin. The land lay bled of its colors. The nights lengthened, went darker, brightened in their clustered stars. The chilled air smelled of woodsmoke, of distances and passing time. Frost glimmered on the morning fields. Crows called across the pewter afternoons. The first hard freeze cast the countryside in ice and trees split open with sounds like whipcracks. Came a snow flurry one night and then a heavy falling the next day, and that evening the land lay white and still under a high ivory moon.
She grew up in the ordinary paradise of the English countryside. When she was five she walked to school, two miles, across meadows covered with cowslips, buttercups, daisies, vetch, rimmed by hedges full of blossom and then berries, blackthorn, hawthorn, dog-roses, the odd ash tree with its sooty buds.
She was too honest, too natural for this frightened man; too remote from his tidy laws. She was, after all, a country girl; disordered, hysterical, loving. She was muddled and mischievous as a chimney-jackdaw, she made her nest of rags and jewels, was happy in the sunlight, squawked loudly at danger, pried and was insatiably curious, forgot when to eat or ate all day, and sang when sunsets were red.
Being in the country is like being in a dream—one doesn't quite know who one is. There is an anonymity to it all—that strange human creature that is me, one among all.
In the country, especially, there are such a lot of entertaining things. I can walk over everybody's land, and look at everybody's view, and dabble in everybody's brook; and enjoy it just as much as though I owned the land--and with no taxes to pay!
Élodie, who was rising fifteen, lifted her anaemic, puffy, virginal face with its wispy hair; she was so thin-blooded that good country air seemed only to make her more sickly.
Chicago happened slowly, like a migraine. First they were driving through countryside, then, imperceptibly, the occasional town became a low suburban sprawl, and the sprawl became the city.
We get so used to the gregarious nature of our towns and villages that we forget how crowded our existence has become.