Helen Macdonald Famous Quotes & Sayings

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100 Helen Macdonald Famous Sayings, Quotes and Quotation.

Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: The hawk was a fire that burned my hurts away. There could be no regret The hawk was a fire that burned my hurts away. There could be no regret or mourning in her. No past or future. She lived in the present only, and that was my refuge. My flight from death was on her barred and beating wings. But I had forgotten that the puzzle that was death was caught up in the hawk, and I was caught up in it too. — Helen Macdonald
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Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: The archaeology of grief is not ordered. It is more like earth under a spade, The archaeology of grief is not ordered. It is more like earth under a spade, turning up things you had forgotten. Surprising things come to light: not simply memories, but states of mind, emotions, older ways of seeing the world. — Helen Macdonald
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Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: I can't, even now, arrange it in the right order. The memories are like heavy I can't, even now, arrange it in the right order. The memories are like heavy blocks of glass. I can put them down in different places but they don't make a story. — Helen Macdonald
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Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: It's a child's world, full of separate places. Give me a paper and pencil now It's a child's world, full of separate places. Give me a paper and pencil now and ask me to draw a map of the fields I roamed when I was small, and I cannot do it. But change the question, and ask me to list what was there and I can fill pages. The wood ant's nest. The newt pond. The oak covered in marble galls. The birches by the motorway fence with fly agarics at their feet. These things were the waypoints of my world. And other places became magic through happenstance. When I found a huge red underwing moth behind the electricity junction box at the end of my road, that box became a magic place. I needed to check behind it every time I walked past, though nothing was ever there. I'd run to check the place where once I'd caught a grass snake, look up at the tree that one afternoon had held a roosting owl. These places had a magical importance, a pull on me that other places did not, however devoid of life they were in all the visits since. — Helen Macdonald
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Helen Macdonald Sayings By Maureen Corrigan: To read Helen Macdonald's memoir, H Is for Hawk, is to feel as though Emily To read Helen Macdonald's memoir, H Is for Hawk, is to feel as though Emily Bronte just turned up at your door, trailing all the windy, feral outdoors into your living room. — Maureen Corrigan
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Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: Tony is waiting outside, his eyes crinkled into a smile. 'Come inside the house,' he Tony is waiting outside, his eyes crinkled into a smile. 'Come inside the house,' he says. He knows what I am feeling. And in I go, where the dogs lie flat on the kitchen floor, tails wagging, and the kettle is whistling, and the house is very warm. — Helen Macdonald
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Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: cannot remember that my heart stopped beating at any particular time,' he wrote in his cannot remember that my heart stopped beating at any particular time,' he wrote in his diary. 'The blow was so stunning, so final after six weeks of unremitting faith, that it was tempered to me as being beyond my appreciation. Death will be like this, something too vast to hurt much or perhaps even to upset me.' His — Helen Macdonald
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Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: No war can ever be just air. No war can ever be just air. — Helen Macdonald
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Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: When I was writing the speech, still a little concussed, I reached for the phone When I was writing the speech, still a little concussed, I reached for the phone to call my father and ask what type of plane it was, and for a moment the world went very black. — Helen Macdonald
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Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: That little space of irresolution is a strange place to be. You feel safe because That little space of irresolution is a strange place to be. You feel safe because you are entirely at the world's mercy. It is a rush. You lose yourself in it. And so you run towards those little shots of fate, where the world turns. That is the lure: that is why we lose ourselves, when powerless from hurt and grief, in drugs or gambling or drink; in addictions that collar the broken soul and shake it like a dog. — Helen Macdonald
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Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: Have you ever watched a deer walking out from cover? They step, stop, and stay, Have you ever watched a deer walking out from cover? They step, stop, and stay, motionless, nose to the air, looking and smelling. A nervous twitch might run down their flanks. And then, reassured that all is safe, they ankle their way out of the brush to graze. — Helen Macdonald
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Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: Looking for goshwawks is like looking for grace: it comes, but not often, and you Looking for goshwawks is like looking for grace: it comes, but not often, and you don't get to say when or how. — Helen Macdonald
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Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: Now that Dad was gone I was starting to see how mortality was bound up Now that Dad was gone I was starting to see how mortality was bound up in things like that cold, arc-lit sky. How the world is full of signs and wonders that come, and go, and if you are lucky you might see them. Once, twice. Perhaps never again. The albums on my mother's shelves are full of family photographs. But also other things. A starling with a crooked beak. A day of hoarfrost and smoke. A cherry tree thick with blossom. Thunderclouds, lightning strikes, comets and eclipses: celestial events terrifying in their blind distances but reassuring you, too, that the world is for ever, though you are only a blink in its course. — Helen Macdonald
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Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: Great tracts of reindeer moss, for example: tiny stars and florets and inklings of an Great tracts of reindeer moss, for example: tiny stars and florets and inklings of an ancient flora growing on exhausted land. Crisp underfoot in summer, the stuff is like a patch of the arctic fallen into the world in the wrong place. Everywhere, there are bony shoulders and blades of flint. On wet mornings you can pick up shards knocked from flint cores by Neolithic craftsmen, tiny flakes of stone glowing in thin coats of cold water. — Helen Macdonald
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Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: Deep in the muddled darkness six copper pheasant feathers glowed in a cradle of blackthorn. Deep in the muddled darkness six copper pheasant feathers glowed in a cradle of blackthorn. — Helen Macdonald
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Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: There is a time in life when you expect the world to be always full There is a time in life when you expect the world to be always full of new things. And then comes a day when you realise that is not how it will be at all. You see that life will become a thing made of holes. Absences. Losses. Things that were there and are no longer. And you realise, too, that you have to grow around and between the gaps, [...] — Helen Macdonald
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Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: for it is a common trait of alcoholics to make plans and promises, to oneself, for it is a common trait of alcoholics to make plans and promises, to oneself, to others, fervently, sincerely, and in hope of redemption. Promises that are broken, again and again, through fear, through loss of nerve, through any number of things that hide that deep desire, at heart, to obliterate one's broken self. — Helen Macdonald
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Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: I have learned, too, the danger that comes in mistaking the wildness we give a I have learned, too, the danger that comes in mistaking the wildness we give a thing for the wildness that animates — Helen Macdonald
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Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: Falling in love is a desolating experience, but not when it is with a countryside. Falling in love is a desolating experience, but not when it is with a countryside. — Helen Macdonald
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Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: A magpie flies like a frying pan!'8 he could write, with the joy of discovering A magpie flies like a frying pan!'8 he could write, with the joy of discovering something new in the world. And it is that joy, that childish delight in the lives of creatures other than man, that I love most in White. He was a complicated man, and an unhappy one. But he knew also that the world was full of simple miracles. — Helen Macdonald
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Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: What happens to the mind after bereavement makes no sense until later... what the mind What happens to the mind after bereavement makes no sense until later... what the mind does after losing one's father isn't just to pick new fathers from the world, but pick new selves to love them with. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: It took me a long time to realise how many of our classic books on It took me a long time to realise how many of our classic books on animals were by gay writers who wrote of their relationships with animals in lieu of human loves of which they could not speak. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: You don't know anything about them, but you feel the other person's there, one friend You don't know anything about them, but you feel the other person's there, one friend told me. It's like all the years between you and them disappear. Like you become them, somehow. History — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: Clouds of linnets bounce, half-midges, half musical notation, along the hedges surrounding my old home, Clouds of linnets bounce, half-midges, half musical notation, along the hedges surrounding my old home, and all is out of sorts as far as that notion of home lies because my father isn't here. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: All of those thousands upon thousands of photographs my father had taken. Think of them All of those thousands upon thousands of photographs my father had taken. Think of them instead. Each one a record, a testament, a bulwark against forgetting, against nothingness, against death. Look, this happened. A thing happened, and now it will never un happen. Here it is in a photograph: a baby putting its tiny hand in the wrinkled palm of an octogenarian. A fox running across a woodland path and a man raising a gun to shoot it. A plane crash. A comet smeared across a morning sky. A prime minister wiping his brow. The Beatles, sitting at a cafe table on the Champs-Elysees on a cold January day in 1964, John Lennon's pale face under the brim of a fisherman's cap. all these things happened, and my father committed them to a memory that wasn't just his own, but the world's. My father's life wasn't about disappearance. His was a life that worked against it. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: For a boy who always felt imperilled, that pitch-black cave was a refuge, and he For a boy who always felt imperilled, that pitch-black cave was a refuge, and he returned to it in his imagination again and again. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: Here's a word. Bereavement. Or, Bereaved. Bereft. It's from the Old English bereafian, meaning 'to Here's a word. Bereavement. Or, Bereaved. Bereft. It's from the Old English bereafian, meaning 'to deprive of, take away, seize, rob'. Robbed. Seized. It happens to everyone. But you feel it alone. Shocking loss isn't to be shared, no matter how hard you try. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: Sometimes a reckoning comes of all the lives we have lost, and sometimes we take Sometimes a reckoning comes of all the lives we have lost, and sometimes we take it upon ourselves to burn them to ashes. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: His mother lavished attention on her dogs and her husband had them shot. She lavished His mother lavished attention on her dogs and her husband had them shot. She lavished attention on the boy and the boy was convinced he'd be next. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: The hawk had filled the house with wildness as a bowl of lilies fills a The hawk had filled the house with wildness as a bowl of lilies fills a house with scent. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: The Once and Future King. By T. H. White, The Once and Future King. By T. H. White, — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: On the way home I felt a great and simple sadness. I missed my dad. On the way home I felt a great and simple sadness. I missed my dad. I missed him very much. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: Like a good academic, I thought books were for answers. Like a good academic, I thought books were for answers. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: When you are learning how to do something, you do not have to worry about When you are learning how to do something, you do not have to worry about whether or not you are good at it. But when you have done something, have learned how to do it, you are not safe any more. Being an expert opens you up to judgement. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: On the Ridgeway path, aged nine or ten, was where for the first time I On the Ridgeway path, aged nine or ten, was where for the first time I realized the power a person might feel by aligning themselves to deep history. Only much later did I understand these intimations of history had their own, darker, history. The chalk country-cult rested on a presumption of organic connections to a landscape, a sense of belonging sanctified through an appeal to your own imagined lineage. That chalk downloads held their national, as well as natural, histories. And it was much later, too, that I realized that these myths hurt. That they work to wipe away other cultures, other histories, other ways of loving, working and being in a landscape. How they tiptoe towards darkness. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: Not if you know the secret,' he countered, leaning closer. There was a slight Jack Not if you know the secret,' he countered, leaning closer. There was a slight Jack Nicholson vibe to all this. I drew back, faintly alarmed. 'It's simple. If you want a well-behaved goshawk, you just have to do one thing. Give 'em the opportunity to kill things. Kill as much as possible. Murder sorts them out.' And he grinned. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: In England Have My Bones White wrote one of the saddest sentences I have ever In England Have My Bones White wrote one of the saddest sentences I have ever read: 'Falling in love is a desolating experience, but not when it is with a countryside.' He could not imagine a human love returned. He had to displace his desires onto the landscape, that great, blank green field that cannot love you back, but cannot hurt you either. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: The things she sees are uninteresting to her. Irrelevant. Until there's a clatter of wings. The things she sees are uninteresting to her. Irrelevant. Until there's a clatter of wings. We both look up. There's a pigeon, a woodpigeon, sailing down to roost in a lime tree above us. Time slows. The air thickens and the hawk is transformed. It's as if all her weapons systems were suddenly engaged. Red cross-hairs. She stands on her toes and cranes her neck. This. This flightpath. This thing, she thinks. This is fascinating. Some part of the hawk's young brain has just worked something out, and it has everything to do with death. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: We carry the lives we've imagined as we carry the lives we have, and sometimes We carry the lives we've imagined as we carry the lives we have, and sometimes a reckoning comes of all the lives we have lost. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: What makes you a chaffinch? What makes you a chaffinch? — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: Wild things are made from human histories. Wild things are made from human histories. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: Hands are for other human hands to hold. Hands are for other human hands to hold. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: His glasses, carefully folded, placed in my mum's outstretched hand. His coat. An envelope. His His glasses, carefully folded, placed in my mum's outstretched hand. His coat. An envelope. His watch. His shoes. And when we left, clutching a plastic bag with his belongings, the clouds were still there, — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: Stimulus: opera. Response: kill. Stimulus: opera. Response: kill. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: children treasure the hope that they might be like the children in books: secretly magical, children treasure the hope that they might be like the children in books: secretly magical, part of some deeper, mysterious world that makes them something out of the ordinary. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: I wish that we would not fight for landscapes that remind us of who we I wish that we would not fight for landscapes that remind us of who we think we are. I wish we would fight, instead, for landscapes buzzing and glowing with life in all its variousness. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: Old England is an imaginary place, a landscape built from words, woodcuts, films, paintings, picturesque Old England is an imaginary place, a landscape built from words, woodcuts, films, paintings, picturesque engravings. It is a place imagined by people, and people do not live very long or look very hard. We are very bad at scale. The things that live in the soil are too small to care about; climate change too large to imagine. We are bad at time too. We cannot remember what lived here before we did; we cannot love what is not. Nor can we imagine what will be different when we are dead. We live out our three score and ten, and tie our knots and lines only to ourselves. We take solace in pictures, and we wipe the hills of history. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: There is a kind of coldness that allows interrogators to put cloth over the mouths There is a kind of coldness that allows interrogators to put cloth over the mouths of men and pour water into their lungs, and lets them believe this is not torture. What you do to your heart. You stand apart from yourself, as if your souls could be a migrant beast too, standing some way away from the horror, and looking fixedly at the sky. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: In the half-light through the drawn curtains she sits on her perch, relaxed, hooded, extraordinary. In the half-light through the drawn curtains she sits on her perch, relaxed, hooded, extraordinary. Formidable talons, wicked, curved black beak, sleek, cafe-au-lait front streaked thickly with cocoa-coloured teardrops, looking for all the world like some cappuccino samurai. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: The suffering of his body is as naught to the joy of being free from The suffering of his body is as naught to the joy of being free from the pain of being seen. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: A short scuffle, and then out into the gloom, her grey crest raised and her A short scuffle, and then out into the gloom, her grey crest raised and her barred chest feathers puffed up into a meringue of aggression and fear, came a huge old female goshawk. Old because her feet were gnarled and dusty, her eyes a deep, fiery orange, and she was beautiful. Beautiful like a granite cliff or a thunder-cloud. She completely filled the room. She had a massive back of sun-bleached grey feathers, was as muscled as a pit bull, and intimidating as hell, even to staff who spent their days tending eagles. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: Elusive, spectacular, utterly at home, the fact of these British goshawks makes me happy. Their Elusive, spectacular, utterly at home, the fact of these British goshawks makes me happy. Their existence gives the lie to the thought that the wild is always something untouched by human hearts and hands. The wild can be human work. It — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: I roll a magazine into a tube and peer at her through it as if I roll a magazine into a tube and peer at her through it as if it were a telescope...She pushes her beak into it as far as it will go, biting the empty air inside. Putting my mouth to my side of my paper telescope I boom into it: 'Hello, Mabel.' She pulls her beak free. All the feathers on her forehead are raised. She shakes her tail rapidly from side to side and shivers with happiness. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: The hawk was everything I wanted to be: solitary, self-possessed, free from grief, and numb The hawk was everything I wanted to be: solitary, self-possessed, free from grief, and numb to the hurts of human life. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: ...he lifted the fat and frightened hawk onto his fist reciting it passages from Hamlet, ...he lifted the fat and frightened hawk onto his fist reciting it passages from Hamlet, Macbeth, Richard II, Othello-- 'but tragedy had to be kept out of the voice'-- and all the sonnets he could remember, whistling hymns to it, playing it Gilbert and Sullivan and Italian opera, and deciding, on reflection, that hawks liked Shakespeare best. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: Consider this, and in our time As the hawk sees it, or the helmeted airman: Consider this, and in our time As the hawk sees it, or the helmeted airman: — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: I remember thinking of the passage in The Sword in the Stone where a falconer I remember thinking of the passage in The Sword in the Stone where a falconer took a goshawk back onto his own fist, 'reassuming him like a lame man putting on his accustomed wooden leg, after it had been lost'. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: anybody who has spent two months training a goshawk, knowing that it will be fatal anybody who has spent two months training a goshawk, knowing that it will be fatal even to give the creature even a cross look,' the man says, 'it seems very extraordinary that the complex psychology of a human being can be taught with a stick.' Sitting — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: war was the fault of the 'masters of men, everywhere, who subconsciously thrust others into war was the fault of the 'masters of men, everywhere, who subconsciously thrust others into suffering in order to advance their own powers'.28 — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: There was nothing that was such a salve to my grieving heart as the hawk There was nothing that was such a salve to my grieving heart as the hawk returning. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: ...that when you wanted to see something very badly,sometimes you had to stay still,stay in ...that when you wanted to see something very badly,sometimes you had to stay still,stay in the same place, remember how much you wanted to see it,and be patient.If you want to see hawks you have to be patient too. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: I learned that to harden your heart was not the same as not caring. I learned that to harden your heart was not the same as not caring. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: Melanie Klein wrote that children go through states of mind comparable to mourning, and that Melanie Klein wrote that children go through states of mind comparable to mourning, and that this early mourning is revived when grief is experience in later life. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: There's a superstition among falconers that a hawk's ability is inversely proportional to the ferocity There's a superstition among falconers that a hawk's ability is inversely proportional to the ferocity of its name. Call a hawk Tiddles and it will be a formidable hunter; call it Spitfire or Slayer and it will probably refuse to fly at all. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: The people setting out on these walks weren't seeking to conquer peaks or test themselves The people setting out on these walks weren't seeking to conquer peaks or test themselves against maps and miles. They were looking for a mystical communion with the land; they walked backwards in time to an imagined past suffused with magical, native glamour: — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: When you are broken, you run. But you don't always run away. Sometimes, helplessly, you When you are broken, you run. But you don't always run away. Sometimes, helplessly, you run towards. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: I must not look the hawk in the eye. I must not punish the hawk, I must not look the hawk in the eye. I must not punish the hawk, though it bates, and beats, and my hand is raw with pecks and my face stings from the blows of its bating wings. Hawks cannot be punished. They would die rather than submit. Patience is my only weapon. Patience. Derived from patior. Meaning to suffer. It is an ordeal. I shall triumph. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: I look. There it is. I feel it. The insistent pull to the heart that I look. There it is. I feel it. The insistent pull to the heart that the hawk brings, that very old longing of mine to possess the hawk's eye. To live the safe and solitary life; to look down on the world from a height and keep it there. To be the watcher; invulnerable, detached, complete. My eyes fill with water. Here I am, I think. And I do not think I am safe. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: writing those lines in his small kitchen, the light wet on the oilskin tablecloth, the writing those lines in his small kitchen, the light wet on the oilskin tablecloth, the night close against the window. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: I've learned how you feel more human once you have known, even in your imagination, I've learned how you feel more human once you have known, even in your imagination, what it is like to be not. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: That was the moment. Until a minute ago I was so terrifying I was all That was the moment. Until a minute ago I was so terrifying I was all that existed. But then she had forgotten me. Only for a fraction of a second, but it was enough. The forgetting was delightful because it was a sign that the hawk was starting to accept me. But there was a deeper, darker thrill. It was that I had been forgotten. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: Vast flocks of fieldfares netted the sky, turning it to something strangely like a sixteenth-century Vast flocks of fieldfares netted the sky, turning it to something strangely like a sixteenth-century sleeve sewn with pearls. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: She is unsure about dogs. Big dogs, that is. Small dogs fascinate her for other She is unsure about dogs. Big dogs, that is. Small dogs fascinate her for other reasons. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: For years he'd lived by the maxim Henry Green put so beautifully in his public-school For years he'd lived by the maxim Henry Green put so beautifully in his public-school memoir Pack My Bag: 'The safest way to avoid trouble if one may not be going to fit is to take as great a part as possible in what is going on.'12 To gain approval, to avoid trouble, he had to mirror what was around him: it was how he had tried to win love from his mother as a child. It was a life of perpetual disguise. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: watch the goshawk snip, tear and wrench flesh from the rabbit's foreleg. I feel sorry watch the goshawk snip, tear and wrench flesh from the rabbit's foreleg. I feel sorry for the rabbit. Rabbit was born, grew up in the field, ate dandelions and grass, scratched his jaw with his feet, hopped about. Had baby rabbits of his own. Rabbit didn't know what lonely was; he lived in a warren. And rabbit is now just a carefully packed assemblage of different kinds of food for a hawk who spends her evenings watching television on the living-room floor. Everything is so damn mysterious. Another car passes. Faces turn to watch me crouched with rabbit and hawk. I feel like a tableau at a roadside shrine. But I'm not sure what the shrine is for. I'm a roadside phenomenon. I am death to community. I am missing the point. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: By skilfully training a hunting animal, by closely associating with it, by identifying with it, By skilfully training a hunting animal, by closely associating with it, by identifying with it, you might be allowed to experience all your vital, sincere desires, even your most bloodthirsty ones, in total innocence. You could be true to yourself. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: This region was the centre of the flint industry in Neolithic times. And later, it This region was the centre of the flint industry in Neolithic times. And later, it became famous for rabbits farmed for meat and felt. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: I know how to do this, I thought. I am good, at least, at this. I know how to do this, I thought. I am good, at least, at this. I know all the steps to this dance — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: good man's example always does instruct the ignorant and lessens their rage, little by little good man's example always does instruct the ignorant and lessens their rage, little by little through the ages, until the spirit of the waters is content, — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: The light that filled my house was deep and livid, half magnolia, half rainwater. Things The light that filled my house was deep and livid, half magnolia, half rainwater. Things sat in it, dark and very still. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: It must have been like death,'3 he wrote, 'the thing which we can never know It must have been like death,'3 he wrote, 'the thing which we can never know beforehand. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: The hawk is on my fist. Thirty ounces of death in a feathered jacket; a The hawk is on my fist. Thirty ounces of death in a feathered jacket; a being whose world is drawn in plots and vectors that pull her towards lives' ends. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: Trained hawks have a peculiar ability to conjure history because they are in a sense Trained hawks have a peculiar ability to conjure history because they are in a sense immortal. While individual hawks of different species die, the species themselves remain unchanged. There are no breed or varieties, because hawks were never domesticated. The birds we fly today are identical to those of five thousand years ago. Civilisations rise and fall, but hawks stay the same. This gives falconry birds the ability to feel like relics from the distant past. You take a hawk onto your fist. You imagine the falconer of the past doing the same. It is hard not to feel it is the same hawk. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: That is the lure: that is why we lose ourselves, when powerless from hurt and That is the lure: that is why we lose ourselves, when powerless from hurt and grief, in drugs or gambling or drink; in addictions that collar the broken soul and shake it like a dog. I had found my addiction on that day out with Mabel. It was as ruinous, in a way, as if I'd taken a needle and shot myself with heroin. I had taken flight to a place from which I didn't want to ever return. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: So I leaned over the bed and spoke to my father who was not there. So I leaned over the bed and spoke to my father who was not there. I addressed him seriously and carefully. I told him that I loved him and missed him and would miss him always. And I talked on, explaining things to him, things I cannot now remember but which at the time were of clear and burning importance. Then there was silence. And I waited. I did not know why. Until I realised it was in hope that an answer might come. And then I knew it was over. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: Gos was still out there in the forest, the dark forest to which all things Gos was still out there in the forest, the dark forest to which all things lost must go. I'd wanted to slip across the borders of this world into that wood and bring back the hawk White lost. Some part of me that was very small and old had known this, some part of me that didn't work according to the everyday rules of the world but with the logic of myths and dreams. And that part of me had hoped, too, that somewhere in that other world was my father. His death had been so sudden. there had been no time to prepare for it, no sense in it happening at all. He could only be lost. He was out there, still, somewhere out there in that tangled wood with all the rest of the lost and dead. I know now what those dreams in spring had meant, the ones of a hawk slipping through a rent in the air into another world. I'd wanted to fly with the hawk to find my father; find him and bring him home. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: and it was there, standing on the edge of a village playing field, that I and it was there, standing on the edge of a village playing field, that I gratefully stepped into novicehood again, as if I had never seen a hawk in my life. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: Gos had steely pinions and a mad marigold eye, and hopped and flew and mantled Gos had steely pinions and a mad marigold eye, and hopped and flew and mantled his great wings over a fist of raw liver. He cheeped like a songbird and was terrified of cars. I liked Gos. Gos was comprehensible, even if the writer was utterly beyond understanding. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: I think of my chastened surprise when Mabel played with a paper telescope. She is I think of my chastened surprise when Mabel played with a paper telescope. She is real. She can resist the meanings humans give her. But the condor? The condor has no resistance to us at all. I stare at the attenuated, drifting image on the gallery screen. It is a shadow, a figure of loss and hope; it is hardly a bird at all. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: But the only things I knew were hawkish things, and the lines that drew me But the only things I knew were hawkish things, and the lines that drew me across the landscape were the lines that drew the hawk: hunger, desire, fascination, the need to find and fly and kill. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: When I was an undergraduate we were told that history had ended, and we all When I was an undergraduate we were told that history had ended, and we all believed it. When the Berlin Wall fell, what history was made of was over. No more Cold War. No more wars. And yet here it was, and is and all of it falling apart. Endings. Worlds dissolving. Weather systems, baking systems, the careful plans of municipal gardeners. Families, hearts, lives. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: Everything about the hawk is tuned and turned to hunt and kill. Yesterday I discovered Everything about the hawk is tuned and turned to hunt and kill. Yesterday I discovered that when I suck air through my teeth and make a squeaking noise like an injured rabbit, all the tendons in her toes instantaneously contract, driving her talons into the glove with terrible, crushing force. This killing grip is an old, deep pattern in her brain, an innate response that hasn't yet found the stimulus meant to release it. Because other sounds provoke it: door hinges, squealing breaks, bicycles with unoiled wheels - and on the second afternoon, Joan Sutherland singing an aria on the radio. Ow. I laughed out loud at that. Stimulus: opera. Response: kill. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: Mabel stops looking murderous and assumes an expression of severe truculence. How the hell, I Mabel stops looking murderous and assumes an expression of severe truculence. How the hell, I imagine her thinking, am I supposed to catch things with this idiot in tow? — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: Goshawks are nervous because they live life ten times faster than we do, and they Goshawks are nervous because they live life ten times faster than we do, and they react to stimuli literally without thinking. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: White had learned that going back in time was a way of fixing things; uncovering White had learned that going back in time was a way of fixing things; uncovering past traumas, revisiting them and defusing their power. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: And now, holding the card in my hands and feeling its edges, all the grief And now, holding the card in my hands and feeling its edges, all the grief had turned into something different. It was simply love. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: For a while I didn't want to look at the men and their hawks any For a while I didn't want to look at the men and their hawks any more and my eyes slipped to the white panels of cut light in the branches behind them. Then I walked to the hedge where the hawk had made her kill. Peered inside. Deep in the muddled darkness six copper pheasant feathers glowed in a cradle of blackthorn. Reaching through the thorns I picked them free, one by one, tucked the hand that held them into my pocket, and cupped the feathers in my closed fist as if I were holding a moment tight inside itself. It was death I had seen. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: It wasn't just that I saw in his book, reflected backwards and dimly, my own It wasn't just that I saw in his book, reflected backwards and dimly, my own retreat into wildness. It was this: of all the books I read as a child, his was the only one I remembered where the animal didn't die. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: it seems very extraordinary that the complex psychology of a human being can be taught it seems very extraordinary that the complex psychology of a human being can be taught with a stick. — Helen Macdonald
Helen Macdonald Sayings By Helen Macdonald: the austringer, the solitary trainer of goshawks and sparrowhawks, has had a pretty terrible press. the austringer, the solitary trainer of goshawks and sparrowhawks, has had a pretty terrible press. — Helen Macdonald