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When my hoe tinkled against the stones, that music echoed to the woods and the sky, and was an accompaniment to my labor which yielded an instant and immeasurable crop. It was no longer beans that I hoed, nor I that hoed beans; and I remembered with as much pity as pride, if I remembered at all, my acquaintances who had gone to the city to attend the oratorios.
The sky was horribly dark, but one could distinctly see tattered clouds, and between them fathomless black patches. Suddenly I noticed in one of these patches a star, and began watching it intently. That was because that star had given me an idea: I decided to kill myself that night.
If thou speakest not I will fill my heart with thy silence and endure it. I will keep still and wait like the night with starry vigil and its head bent low with patience. The morning will surely come, the darkness will vanish, and thy voice pour down in golden streams breaking through the sky. Then thy words will take wing in songs from every one of my birds' nests, and thy melodies will break forth in flowers in all my forest groves.
Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue to exist, a wonderful living side by side can grow up, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky.
The first promise exchanged by two beings of flesh was at the foot of a rock that was crumbling into dust; they took as witness for their constancy a sky that is not the same for a single instant; everything changed in them and around them, and they believed their hearts free of vicissitudes. O children! always children!
You know Balbec so well - do you have friends in the area?' I have friends wherever there are companies of trees, wounded but not vanquished, which huddle together with touching obstinacy to implore an inclement and pitiless sky.' That is not what I meant,' interrupted my father, as obstinate as the trees and as pitiless as the sky.
I have walked with people whose eyes are full of light but who see nothing in sea or sky, nothing in city streets, nothing in books. It were far better to sail forever in the night of blindness with sense, and feeling, and mind, than to be content with the mere act of seeing. The only lightless dark is the night of darkness in ignorance and insensibility.
E'en in mid-harvest, while the jocund swain Pluck'd from the brittle stalk the golden grain, Oft have I seen the war of winds contend, And prone on earth th' infuriate storm descend, Waste far and wide, and by the roots uptorn, The heavy harvest sweep through ether borne, As light straw and rapid stubble fly In dark'ning whirlwinds round the wintry sky.