I think sometimes that I became a historian because I didn’t have a history, but also because I was interested in telling the truth in a family in which truth was an elusive entity. It could best be served not by claiming an authoritative and disinterested relationship to the facts, but by disclosing your own desires and agendas, for truth lies not only in incidents but in hopes and needs. The histories I’ve written have often been hidden, lost, neglected, too broad, or too amorphous to show up in other’s radar screens, histories that are not neat fields that belong to someone but the paths and waterways that meander through many fields and belong to no one (58-59).
I thought: ‘You reach a moment in life when, among the people you have known, the dead outnumber the living. And the mind refuses to accept more faces, more expressions: on every new face you encounter, it prints the old forms, for each one it finds the most suitable mask.’ (95)
Sometimes gaining and losing are more intimately related than we like to think. And some things cannot be moved or owned. Some light does not make it all the way through the atmosphere, but scatters (38).
At night, new orders of connection assert themselves: sonic, olfactory, tactile. The sensorium is transformed. Associations swarm out of the darkness. You become even more aware of landscape as a medley of effects, a mingling of geology, memory, movement, and life. The landforms remain, but they exist as presences: inferred, less substantial, more powerful. You inhabit a new topology. Out at night, you understand that wildness is not only a permanent property of land–it is also a quality which can settle on a place with a snowfall, or with the close of days (193).