„Sun, silence, and happiness.“

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Nancy Mitford
1904 - 1973
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„I have known silence: the cold earthy silence at the bottom of a newly dug well; the implacable stony silence of a deep cave; the hot, drugged midday silence when everything is hypnotised and stilled into silence by the eye of the sun; the silence when great music ends.“

—  Gerald Durrell naturalist, zookeeper, conservationist, author and television presenter 1925 - 1995
Context: I have seen a thousand sunsets and sunrises, on land where it floods forest and mountains with honey coloured light, at sea where it rises and sets like a blood orange in a multicoloured nest of cloud, slipping in and out of the vast ocean. I have seen a thousand moons: harvest moons like gold coins, winter moons as white as ice chips, new moons like baby swans’ feathers. I have seen seas as smooth as if painted, coloured like shot silk or blue as a kingfisher or transparent as glass or black and crumpled with foam, moving ponderously and murderously. … I have known silence: the cold earthy silence at the bottom of a newly dug well; the implacable stony silence of a deep cave; the hot, drugged midday silence when everything is hypnotised and stilled into silence by the eye of the sun; the silence when great music ends. I have heard summer cicadas cry so that the sound seems stitched into your bones. … I have seen hummingbirds flashing like opals round a tree of scarlet blooms, humming like a top. I have seen flying fish, skittering like quicksilver across the blue waves, drawing silver lines on the surface with their tails. I have seen Spoonbills fling home to roost like a scarlet banner across the sky. I have seen Whales, black as tar, cushioned on a cornflower blue sea, creating a Versailles of fountain with their breath. I have watched butterflies emerge and sit, trembling, while the sun irons their winds smooth. I have watched Tigers, like flames, mating in the long grass. I have been dive-bombed by an angry Raven, black and glossy as the Devil’s hoof. I have lain in water warm as milk, soft as silk, while around me played a host of Dolphins. I have met a thousand animals and seen a thousand wonderful things… but — All this I did without you. This was my loss. All this I want to do with you. This will be my gain. All this I would gladly have forgone for the sake of one minute of your company, for your laugh, your voice, your eyes, hair, lips, body, and above all for your sweet, ever surprising mind which is an enchanting quarry in which it is my privilege to delve. Letter to his fiancée Lee, (31 July 1978), published in Gerald Durrell: An Authorized Biography by Douglas Botting (1999)

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„My wife, my child, my music, Nature and the sun; they are my happiness.“

—  Richard Strauss German composer and orchestra director 1864 - 1949
written on the sketches for his Domestic Symphony. Charles Youmans, Mahler and Strauss in Dialogue, Indiana University press (2016), found on page 60.

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Benjamin Franklin photo

„But now at length I have the happiness to know that it is a rising and not a setting Sun“

—  Benjamin Franklin American author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman,... 1706 - 1790
Context: Whilst the last members were signing it Doctor Franklin looking towards the President's Chair, at the back of which a rising sun happened to be painted, observed to a few members near him, that Painters had found it difficult to distinguish in their art a rising from a setting sun. "I have," said he, "often and often in the course of the Session, and the vicissitudes of my hopes and fears as to its issue, looked at that behind the President without being able to tell whether it was rising or setting: But now at length I have the happiness to know that it is a rising and not a setting Sun." At the signing of the United States Constitution, Journal of the Constitutional Convention (17 September 1787).

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Johann Wolfgang von Goethe photo

„A thinking man's greatest happiness is to have fathomed what can be fathomed and to revere in silence what cannot be fathomed.“

—  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe German writer, artist, and politician 1749 - 1832
Maxim 1207, trans. Stopp Variant translation: The greatest happiness for the thinking man is to have fathomed the fathomable, and to quietly revere the unfathomable.

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„Flies used to be happy-go-lucky, on their own; the sun’s out, have a fly about. Now, there’s little attacks going on.“

—  Karl Pilkington English television personality, social commentator, actor, author and former radio producer 1972
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„It is time that we labored for the happiness of the people. Legislators who are to bring light and order into the world must pursue their course with inexorable tread, fearless and unswerving as the sun.“

—  Louis Antoine de Saint-Just military and political leader 1767 - 1794
Travaillons enfin pour le bonheur du peuple, et que les legislateurs qui doivent éclairer le monde prennent leur course d'un pied hardi, comme le soleil. Speech to the National Convention (December 27, 1792). [Source: Oeuvres Complètes de Saint-Just, Vol. 1 (2 vols., Paris, 1908), p. 383]

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Willa Cather photo

„I was entirely happy. Perhaps we feel like that when we die and become a part of something entire, whether it is sun and air, or goodness and knowledge.“

—  Willa Cather American writer and novelist 1873 - 1947
Context: I kept as still as I could. Nothing happened. I did not expect anything to happen. I was something that lay under the sun and felt it, like the pumpkins, and I did not want to be anything more. I was entirely happy. Perhaps we feel like that when we die and become a part of something entire, whether it is sun and air, or goodness and knowledge. At any rate, that is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep. Book I, Ch. 2

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