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Quotes From Africa

Or more precisely, quotes from that group of folks who hung around in Kenya during the first few decades of the 1900's: Karen Blixen, Denys Finch-Hattan, Beryl Markham and others.  Currently, most of the quotes are from West With The Night , but that will change eventually.


"We spent that night in Paris, and on the afternoon of the next day [we] sat at the Mayfair in London surrounded by all the comforting accessories to civilization _ and drank a toast to Africa because we knew Africa was gone. Blix would see it again and so should I one day. And still it was gone. Seeing it again would not be living it again. You can always rediscover an old path and wander over it, but the best you can do then is to say, 'Ah, yes, I know this is turning!' _or remind yourself that, while you remember that unforgettable valley, that valley no longer remembers you." - Beryl Markham, West With The Night

"You can live a lifetime and, at the end of it, know more about other people than you know about yourself. You learn to watch yourself because you strive against loneliness. If you read a book, or shuffle a deck of cards, or care for a dog, you are avoiding yourself. The abhorrence of loneliness is as natural as wanting to live at all. If it were otherwise, men would never have bothered to make an alphabet, nor to have fashioned words out of what were only animal sounds, nor to have crossed continents ~ each man to see what the other looked like. Being alone in an airplane for even so short a time as a night and a day, irrevocably alone, with nothing to observe but your instruments and your own hands in semi-darkness, nothing to contemplate but the size of your small courage, nothing to wonder about but the beliefs, the faces, and the hopes rooted in your mind ~ such an experience can be as startling as the first awareness of a stranger walking by your side as night. You are the stranger." "Silence is never so impenetrable as when the whisper of steel on paper strives to pierce it. I sit in a labyrinth of solitude jabbing at its bulwarks with the point of a pen ~ jabbing, jabbing." - Beryl Markham, West With The Night

"I have learned that if you must leave a place that you have lived in and loved and where all your yesterdays are buried deep- leave it any way except a slow way, leave it the fastest way you can. Never turn back and never believe that an hour you remember is a better hour because it is dead. Passed years seem safe ones, vanquished ones, while the future lives in a cloud, formidable from a distance. The cloud clears as you enter it. I have learned this but, like everyone, I learned it late." - Beryl Markham, West With The Night