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Sunday, 15 April 2012

There is no golden afternoon next to the cliff. When the sun went over it at about two o'clock a whispering shade came to the beach. The sycamores rustled in the afternoon breeze...

...Little water snakes slipped down to the rocks and then gently entered the water and swam along through the pool, their heads held up like little periscopes and a tiny wake spreading behind them.  A bog trout jumped in the pool.  The gnats and mosquiotoes which avoid the sun came out and buzzed over the water.  All of the sun bugs, the flies, the dragonflies, the wasps, the hornets, went home.  And as the shadow came to the beach, as the first quail began to call, Mack and the boys awakened...

- John Steinbeck, Cannery Row


Friday, 13 April 2012

In the winter it becomes a torrent, a mean little fierce river, and in summer it is a place for children to wade in and for fishermen to wander in...

...Frogs blink from its banks and the deep ferns grow beside it.   Deer and foxes come to drink from it, secretly in the morning and evening, and now and then a mountain lion crouched flat laps its water...The quail call beside it and the wild doves come whistling in at dusk.  Raccoons pace at its edges looking for frogs.  It's everything a river should be.

- John Steinbeck, Cannery Row

The Carmel is a lovely little river. It isn't very long but in its course it has everything a river should have...

...It rises in the mountains, and tumbles down a while, runs through shallows, is dammed to make a lake, spills over the dam, crackles among round boulders, wanders lazily under sycamores, spills into pools where trout live, drops in against banks where crayfish live...

John Steinbeck, Cannery Row


Friday, 6 April 2012

"Don't you remember what night it is?" he asked. "No. What is it?" "It is St Andrew's Eve..."

...Then the Portagee knew; for this was the night when every paisano who wasn't in jail wandered restlessly through the forest.  This was the night when all buried treasure sent up a faint phosphoresent glow through the ground.  There was plenty of treasure in the woods, too...

- John Steinbeck, Tortilla Flat




Monday, 2 April 2012

"Our Father is in the evening," he thought. "These birds are flying across the forehead of the Father..."

"...Dear birds, dear seagulls, how I love you all.  Your slow wings stroke my heart as the hand of a gentle master strokes the full stomach of a sleeping dog, as the hand of Christ stroked the heads of little children. Dear birds," he thought, "fly to to Our Lady of Sweet Sorrows with my open heart." And then he said the loveliest words he knew: 'Ave Maria, gratia plena-'

- John Steinbeck, Tortilla Flat


Sunday, 1 April 2012

Pilon was a lover of beauty and a mystic. He raised his face into the sky and his soul arose out of him into the sun's afterglow...

...That not too perfect Pilon, who plotted and fought, who drank and cursed, trudged slowly on; but a wistful and shining Pilon went up to the seagulls where they bathed on sensitive wings in the evening.  That Pilon was beautiful, and his thoughts were unstained with selfishness and lust.  And his thoughts are good to know...

- John Steinbeck, Tortilla Flat

It was purple dusk, that sweet time when the day's sleeping is over, and the evening of pleasure and conversation has not begun...

...The pine trees were very black against the sky, and all objects on the ground were obscured with dark; but the sky was as mournfully bright as memory.  The gulls flew lazily home to the sea rocks after a day's visit to the fish canaries of Monterey...

- John Steinbeck, Tortilla Flat