“It Is the Journey That Matters in the End”: Quotes by Ursula K. Le Guin

Today’s news of Ursula K. Le Guin’s passing hits hard. With wistful gratitude I recall how her words touched me over the years. Like a mushroom hunter I head to the woods of the Internet in search of juicy quotes, returning with a full basket. Many of these are from  https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/874602.Ursula_K_Le_Guin.


1
Ursula_K_LeGuin“It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end.”

2
“Love doesn’t just sit there, like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new.”

3
“It’s a rare gift, to know where you need to be, before you’ve been to all the places you don’t need to be.”

4
“We are volcanoes. When we women offer our experience as our truth, as human truth, all the maps change. There are new mountains.”

5
“To learn which questions are unanswerable, and not to answer them: this skill is most needful in times of stress and darkness.”

6
“To oppose something is to maintain it… You must go somewhere else; you must have another goal; then you walk a different road.”

7
“You cannot buy the revolution. You cannot make the revolution. You can only be the revolution. It is in your spirit, or it is nowhere.”

8
“I had forgotten how much light there is in the world, ’til you gave it back to me.”

9
“A child free from the guilt of ownership and the burden of economic competition will grow up with the will to do what needs doing and the capacity for joy in doing it. It is useless work that darkens the heart. The delight of the nursing mother, of the scholar, of the successful hunter, of the good cook, of the skillfull maker, of anyone doing needed work and doing it well – this durable joy is perhaps the deepest source of human affection and of sociality as a whole.”

10
“There have been great societies that did not use the wheel, but there have been no societies that did not tell stories.”

11
“If you evade suffering you also evade the chance of joy. Pleasure you may get, or pleasures, but you will not be fulfilled. You will not know what it is to come home.”

12
“To see that your life is a story while you’re in the middle of living it may be a help to living it well.”

13
“What I was given was the thing you can’t earn, and can’t keep, and often don’t even recognize at the time; I mean joy.”

14
“When I was young, I had to choose between the life of being and the life of doing. And I leapt at the latter like a trout to a fly. But each deed you do, each act, binds you to itself and to its consequences, and makes you act again and yet again. Then very seldom do you come upon a space, a time like this, between act and act, when you may stop and simply be. Or wonder who, after all, you are.”

15
“I never knew anybody . . . who found life simple. I think a life or a time looks simple when you leave out the details.”

16
“My soul is ten thousand miles wide and extremely invisibly deep. It is the same size as the sea, and you cannot, you cannot cram it into beer cans and fingernails and stake it out in lots and own it. It will drown you all and never even notice.”

17
“There must be darkness to see the stars. The dance is always danced above the hollow place, above the terrible abyss.”

18
“Only in silence the word,
Only in dark the light,
Only in dying life:
Bright the hawk’s flight
On the empty sky.”

19
“We’re each of us alone, to be sure. What can you do but hold your hand out in the dark?”

20
“All power is one in source and end, I think. Years and distances, stars and candles, water and wind and wizardry, the craft in a man’s hand and the wisdom in a tree’s root: they all arise together. My name, and yours, and the true name of the sun, or a spring of water, or an unborn child, all are syllables of the great word that is very slowly spoken by the shining of the stars.”


 

The photo of Ursula K. Le Guin is from the WikiMedia Commons.

 

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