The longest journey begins with a single step, not with a turn of the ignition key.
The longest journey begins with a single step, not with the turn of an ignition key. That’s the best thing about walking, the journey itself. It doesn’t much matter whether you get where you’re going or not. You’ll get there anyway. Every good hike brings you eventually back home. Right where you started.
When the situation is hopeless, there's nothing to worry about.
Paradise is the here and now, the actual, tangible, dogmatically real Earth on which we stand. Yes, God bless America, the Earth upon which we stand.
The duty of a patriot is to protect his country from its government.
There is beauty, heartbreaking beauty, everywhere.
A civilization which destroys what little remains of the wild, the spare, the original, is cutting itself off from its origins and betraying the principle of civilization itself.
It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it's still here.
Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread.
Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread. A civilization which destroys what little remains of the wild, the spare, the original, is cutting itself off from its origins and betraying the principle of civilization itself.
The love of wilderness is more than a hunger for what is always beyong reach; it is also an expression of loyalty to the earth, the earth which bore us and sustains us, the only paradise we shall ever know, the only paradise we ever need, if only we had the eyes to see.
A man on foot, on horseback or on a bicycle will see more, feel more, enjoy more in one mile than the motorized tourists can in a hundred miles.
Nature is indifferent to our love, but never unfaithful.
Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul.
A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.
The idea of wilderness needs no defense, it only needs defenders.
Wilderness complements and completes civilization. I might say that the existence of wilderness is also a compliment to civilization. Any society that feels itself too poor to afford the preservation of wilderness is not worthy of the name of civilization.
Love of wilderness is more than a hunger for what is always beyond reach. It is also an expression of loyalty to the earth, the earth which bore us and sustains us, the only home we shall ever know, the only paradise we ever need if only we had the eyes to see.
New Yorkers like to boast that if you can survive in New York, you can survive anywhere. But if you can survive anywhere, why live in New York?
Society is a like a stew. If you don't stir it up every once in a while then a layer of scum floats to the top.
In all of nature, there is no sound more pleasing than that of a hungry animal at its feed. Unless you are the food.
This sweet virginal primitive land will metaphorically breathe a sigh of relief -- like a whisper of wind -- when we are all and finally gone and the place and its creations can return to their ancient procedures unobserved and undisturbed by the busy, anxious, brooding consciousness of man.
Beware the writer who always encloses the word reality in quotation marks: He's trying to slip something over on you.
If my decomposing carcass helps nourish the roots of a juniper tree or the wings of a vulture -- that is immortality enough for me. And as much as anyone deserves.
I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.
May your trails be dim, lonesome, stony, narrow, winding and only slightly uphill.
May your trails be dim, lonesome, stony, narrow, winding and only slightly uphill. May the wind bring rain for the slickrock potholes fourteen miles on the other side of yonder blue ridge. May God's dog serenade your campfire, may the rattlesnake and the screech owl amuse your reverie, may the Great Sun dazzle your eyes by day and the Great Bear watch over you by night.
With the neutron bomb, which destroys life but not property, capitalism has found the weapon of its dreams.
Civilization is the wild river; culture, 592,000 tons of cement; civilization flows; culture thickens and coagulates.
There is poetry and music in our technology, a beauty as touching as that of eagle, moss campion, raven or yonder limestone boulder shining under the Arctic sun.
The tank, the B-52, the fighter-bomber, the state-controlled police and military are the weapons of dictatorship. The rifle is the weapon of democracy.
The tank, the B-52, the fighter-bomber, the state-controlled police and military are the weapons of dictatorship. The rifle is the weapon of democracy. Not for nothing was the revolver called an "equalizer.
A city man is at home anywhere, for all big cities are much alike.
A city man is a home anywhere, for all big cities are much alike. But a country man has a place where he belongs, where he always returns, and where, when the time comes, he is willing to die.
Man the Pest, multiplied to the swarming stage, is attacking the remaining forests like a plague of locusts on a field of grain.
I understand and sympathize with the reasonable needs of a reasonable number of people on a finite continent. All life depends upon other life. But what is happening today, in North America, is not rational use but irrational massacre. Man the Pest, multiplied to the swarming stage, is attacking the remaining forests like a plague of locusts on a field of grain.
Oh! For love, for the painfully nourished, tenderly cherished, sweet frenzies illusion, the known-illusion within the globule of sentimental cynicism. For romantic love, then, I sacrifice honor, decensy, human kindness, charity, honesty, friendship and the future -- all, (ah!) for love!
To die alone, on rock under sun at the brink of the unknown, like a wolf, like a great bird, seems to me very good fortune indeed.
When the biggest, richest, glassiest buildings in town are the banks, you know that town's in trouble.
What our economists call a depressed area almost always turns out to be a cleaner, freer, more livable place than most.
Money attracts because it gives us the means to command the labor and service and finally the lives of others -- human or otherwise.
There are some good things to be said about walking. Not many, but some. Walking takes longer, for example, than any other known form of locomotion except crawling. Thus it stretches time and prolongs life.
There are some good things to be said about walking. Not many, but some. Walking takes longer, for example, than any other known form of locomotion except crawling. Thus it stretches time and prolongs life. Life is already too short to waste on speed. I have a friend who's always in a hurry; he never gets anywhere. Walking makes the world much bigger and thus more interesting. You have time to observe the details. The utopian technologists foresee a future for us in which distance is annihilated... To be everywhere at once is to be nowhere forever, if you ask me.
Beyond the wall of the unreal city ... there is another world waiting for you. It is the old true world of the deserts, the mountains, the forests, the islands, the shores, the open plains. Go there. Be there. Walk gently and quietly deep within it.
Nobody seems more obsessed by diet than our anti-materialist, otherworldly, New Age, spiritual types. But if the material world is merely an illusion, an honest guru should be as content with Budweiser and bratwurst as with raw carrot juice, tofu, and seaweed slime.
Guns don't kill people; people kill people. Of course, people with guns kill more people. But that's only natural. It's hard. But it's fair.
I try to think of a favorite among my arid-country flowers. But I love them all. How could we be true to one without being false to all the others?
Love is a disease. A social disease. A romantic, venereal, medieval disease. A hangover from the days of the fornicating troubadours and the gentlemen in iron britches.
The earth will survive our most ingenious folly.
The earth is not a mechanism but an organism, a being with its own life and its own reasons, where the support and sustenance of the human animal is incidental. If man in his newfound power and vanity persists in the attempt to remake the planet in his own image, he will succeed only in destroying himself -- not the planet. The earth will survive our most ingenious folly.
Walking is the only form of transportation in which a man proceeds erect -- like a man -- on his own legs, under his own power. There is immense satisfaction in that.
The desert rat carries one distinction like a halo: he has learned to love the kind of country that most people find unlovable.
The tragedy of modern war is not so much that the young men die but that they die fighting each other -- instead of their real enemies back home in the capitals.
Let us hope our weapons are never needed -- but do not forget what the common people of this nation knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny.
But it is a writer's duty to write and speak and record the truth, always the truth, no matter whom may be offended.
Philosophy without action is the ruin of the soul. One brave deed is worth a hundred books, a thousand theories, a million words. Now as always we need heroes. And heroines! Down with the passive and the limp.
What good is a Bill of Rights that does not include the right to play, to wander, to explore, the right to stillness and solitude, to discovery and physical freedom?
Some people write to please, to soothe, to console. Others to provoke, to challenge, to exasperate and infuriate. I've always found the second approach the more pleasing.
Defiance is beautiful. The defiance of power, especially great or overwhelming power, exalts and glorifies the rebel.
The response to my books from my East Coast friends has been wildly various, running the gamut from 'bad' to 'very bad.' (Is there another gamut?).
There was this tendency to drift. And yet when she thought about it, what did she really want to do? Or be? She had given up dancing-the dance-because it was too demanding, because it required an almost total devotion which she was unwilling to give. The cruelest art.
Most of us lead lives of chaotic improvisation from day to day, bawling for peace while plunging grimly into fresh disorders.
I am -- really am -- an extremist, one who lives and loves by choice far out on the very verge of things, on the edge of the abyss, where this world falls off into the depths of another.
I, too, believe in fidelity. But how can I be true to one woman without being false to all the others?
No tyranny is so irksome as petty tyranny: the officious demands of policemen, government clerks, and electromechanical gadgets.
I was once invited to take part in a heroic, possibly fatal enterprise, but I declined, mainly on account of sloth.
And the so-called 'political process' is a fraud: Our elected officials, like our bureaucratic functionaries, like even our judges, are largely the indentured servants of the commercial interests.
So I write mainly for the fun of it, the hell of it, the duty of it. I enjoy writing and will probably be a scribbler on my dying day, sprawled on some stony trail halfway between two dry waterholes.
The best of jazz for all its virtues cannot escape the limitations of its origin: it is indoor music, city music, distilled from the melancholy nightclubs and the marijuana.
Indolence and melancholy: Each generates the other. If one can speak of such feeble passions as generating anything.
In metaphysics, the notion that earth and all that's on it is a mental construct is the product of people who spend their lives inside rooms. It is an indoor philosophy.
It seems clear at last that our love for the natural world -- Nature -- is the only means by which we can requite God's obvious love for it.
Anyone not paranoid in this world must be crazy... Speaking of paranoia, it's true that I do not know exactly who my enemies are. But that of course is exactly why I'm paranoid.
A crowded society is a restrictive society; an overcrowded society becomes an authoritarian, repressive and murderous society.
Homosexuality, like androgyny, might be an instinctive racial response to overpopulation, crowding, and stress. Both flourish when empire reaches its apogee.
Fence straddlers have no balls. In compensation, however, they enjoy a comfortable seat and can retreat swiftly, when danger threatens, to either side of the fence. There is something to be said for every position.
The sense of justice springs from self-respect; both are coeval with our
birth. Children are born with an innate sense of justice; it usually takes
twelve years of public schooling and four more years of college to beat it
out of them.
I'd sooner exchange ideas with the birds on earth than learn to carry on intergalactic communications with some obscure race of humanoids on a satellite planet from the world of Betelgeuse.
No man is wise enough to be another man's master. Each man's as good as the next -- if not a damn sight better.
Simply because humankind have the power now to meddle or 'manage' or 'exercise stewardship' in every nook and cranny of the world does not mean that we have a right to do so. Even less, the obligation.
Literature, like anything else, can become a wearisome business if you make a lifetime specialty of it. A healthy, wholesome man would no more spend his entire life reading great books than he would packing cookies for Nabisco.
We know so very little about this strange planet we live on, this haunted world where all answers lead only to more mystery.
Running the big rapids is like sex: half the fun lies in the anticipation. Two thirds of the thrill with the approach. The remainder is only ecstasy -- or darkness.
When the philosopher's argument becomes tedious, complicated, and opaque, it is usually a sign that he is attempting to prove as true to the intellect what is plainly false to common sense.
The most striking thing about the rich is the gracious democracy of their manners -- and the crude vulgarity of their way of life.
Let us praise the noble turkey vulture: No one envies him; he harms nobody; and he contemplates our little world from a most serene and noble height.
It is the writer's duty to write fiction which promotes virtue, the good, the beautiful, and above all, the true. ... It is the writer's duty to hate injustice, to defy the powerful, and to speak for the voiceless. To be ... the severest critics of our own societies.
Because we need brutality and raw adventure, because men and women first learned to love in, under, and all around trees, because we need for every pair of feet and legs about ten leagues of naked nature, crates to leap from, mountains to measure by, deserts to finally die in when the heart fails.
No, wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread.
I think it is far more important to save one square mile of wilderness, anywhere, by any means, than to produce another book on the subject.
We need wilderness whether or not we ever set foot in it. We need a refuge even though we may never need to go there. We need the possibility of escape as surely as we need hope.
I come more and more to the conclusion that wilderness, in America or anywhere else, is the only thing left that is worth saving.
Why this cult of wilderness?... because we like the taste of freedom; because we like the smell of danger.
Every important change in our society, for the good, at least, has taken place because of popular pressure -- pressure from below, from the great mass of people.
Why administrators are respected and schoolteachers are not: An administrator is paid a lot for doing very little, while a teacher is paid very little for doing a lot.
Anarchism? You bet your sweet betsy. The only cure for the ills of democracy is more democracy. Much more.
When a writer has done the best that he can do, he should then withdraw from the book-writing business and take up an honest trade like shoe repair, cattle stealing, or screwworm management.
The true, unacknowledged purpose of capital punishment is to inspire fear and awe -- fear and awe of the State.
There is a fine art to making enemies and it requires diligent cultivation. It's not as easy as it looks.
There are only two kinds of books -- good books and the others. The good are winnowed from the bad through the democracy of time.
The best thing about graduating from the university was that I finally had time to sit on a log and read a good book.
If you're never ridden a fast horse at a dead run across a desert valley at dawn, be of good cheer: You've only missed out on one half of life.
The terror of the French Revolution lasted for ten years. The terror that preceded and led to it lasted for a thousand years.
Those who have no sense of posterity or any concern for future generations are the ones who are really dead. I mean, they are dead right now. Walking zombies.
The result of this bestial lust is an indiscriminate and promiscuous splaying of all of my energies- wanting all, I accomplish nothing; desiring everything, I satisfy nothing and am satisfied by nothing.
If you feel that you must suffer, then plan your suffering carefully -- as you choose your dreams, as you conceive your ancestors.
The highest treason, the meanest treason, is to deny the holiness of this little blue planet on which we journey through the cold void of space.
I don't see how poetry can ever be easy... Real poetry, the thick, dense, intense, complicated stuff that lives and endures, requires blood sweat; blood and sweat are essential elements in poetry as well as behind it.
Jane Austen: Getting into her books is like getting in bed with a cadaver. Something vital is lacking; namely, life.
Hierarchical institutions are like giant bulldozers -- obedient to the whim of any fool who takes the controls.
Doctrines like Christianity or Islam or Marxism require unanimity of belief. One dissenter casts doubt on the creed of millions.
A journey into the wilderness is the freest, cheapest, most nonprivileged of pleasures. Anyone with two legs and the price of a pair of army surplus combat boots may enter.