It seems to be Loren Eiseley day around here. The onset of autumn will do that to you. It's a peculiar blend of acute melancholia, happy reflection, somber remembrance, and delight in the season's sudden slanting golden light. Around here, we don't exactly kick through piles of fallen leaves (we might if they weren't so scarce): we seek out the changing landscapes, physical and temporal. So did Loren. He captured the autumnal feel of the South Dakota and Nebraska badlands better than anyone else.
“Man would not be man if his dreams did not exceed his grasp. ... Like John Donne, man lies in a close prison, yet it is dear to him. Like Donne's, his thoughts at times overleap the sun and pace beyond the body. If I term humanity a slime mold organism it is because our present environment suggest it. If I remember the sunflower forest it is because from its hidden reaches man arose. The green world is his sacred center. In moments of sanity he must still seek refuge there. ... If I dream by contrast of the eventual drift of the star voyagers through the dilated time of the universe, it is because I have seen thistledown off to new worlds and am at heart a voyager who, in this modern time, still yearns for the lost country of his birth.”
“Nothing grows among its pinnacles; there is no shade except under great toadstools of sandstone whose bases have been eaten to the shape of wine glasses by the wind. Everything is flaking, cracking, disintegrating, wearing away in the long, inperceptible weather of time. The ash of ancient volcanic outbursts still sterilizes its soil, and its colors in that waste are the colors that flame in the lonely sunsets on dead planets.”