Archive for the ‘Diane Ackerman’ Category

Coffee is bitter, a flavor from the forbidden and dangerous realm

Monday, October 3rd, 2011
black coffee

How strange that we acquire tastes as we grow. Babies don’t like olives, mustard, hot pepper, beer, fruits that make one pucker, or coffee. After all…

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The brain is personality’s whereabouts. It’s also a stern warden, and, at times, a self-tormentor.

Saturday, October 3rd, 2009
cute socks

Imagine the brain, that shiny mound of being, that mouse-gray parliament of cells, that dream factory, that petite tyrant inside a ball of bone, that huddle of neurons calling all the plays, that little everywhere, that fickle…

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It is mainly through seeing the world that we appraise and understand it.

Monday, August 3rd, 2009
puppy dog eyes

Though most of us don’t hunt, our eyes are still the great monopolists of our senses. To taste or touch your enemy or your food, you have to be unnervingly close to it. To smell or hear it, you can risk being further off.

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Look at your feet. You are standing in the sky. When we think of the sky, we tend to look up, but the sky actually begins at the earth.

Sunday, July 26th, 2009
cloud in front of sun

We breathe it deep within us. With every breath, we inhale millions of molecules of sky, heat them briefly, and then exhale them back into the world. At this moment, you are breathing some of the same molecules once breathed by Leonardo da Vinci, William Shakespeare, Anne Bradstreet, or Colette. Inhale deeply. Think of The Tempest. Air works…

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How can love’s spaciousness be conveyed in the narrow confines of syllable?

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009
lily

Love. What a small word we use for an idea so immense and powerful it has altered the flow of history, calmed monsters, kindled works of art, cheered the forlorn, turned tough guys to mush, consoled the enslaved, driven strong women man, glorified the…

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It began in mystery, and it will end in mystery, but what a savage and beautiful county lies in between

Friday, June 12th, 2009
bare tree, sunset light through fog

However many of life’s large, captivating principles and small, captivating details we may explore, unpuzzle, and learn by heart, there will still be cast unknown realms to lure us. If uncertainty is the essence of romance, there will always be enough uncertainty to make life sizzle and renew our sense of wonder. It bothers some people that no matter how…

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Mind is such an odd predicament for matter to get into.

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009
clouds

What is mind, that one can be out of one’s? How can a neuron feel compassion? What is self? Why did automatic, hand-me-down mammals like our ancestors somehow evolve brains with the ability to consider, imagine, project, compare, abstract, think of the future? If our experience of mind is really just the simmering of an easily alterable chemical stew…

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Smells detonate softly in our memory like poignant land mines, hidden under the weedy mass of years.

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009
canoeing on a mountain lake

Hit a tripwire of smell, and memories explode all at once. A complex vision leaps out of the undergrowth.

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