Mountains are the beginning and the end of all natural scenery.
It is quiet here and restful and the air is delicious. There are gardens everywhere and police spies lie in the bushes. There are nightingales in every garden, but police spies only in mine, I think. They sit under my windows in the darkness of the night and try to get a glimpse of how I spread sedition in Russia.
It is marvelous indeed to watch on television the rings of Saturn close; and to speculate on what we may yet find at galaxy's edge. But in the process, we have lost the human element; not to mention the high hope of those quaint days when flight would create one world. Instead of one world, we have star wars, and a future in which dumb dented human toys will drift mindlessly about the cosmos long after our small planet's dead.
The last best hope of earth, two trillion dollars in debt, is spinning out of control, and all we can do is stare at a flickering cathode-ray tube as Ollie answers questions on TV while the press, resolutely irrelevant as ever, asks politicians if they have committed adultery. From V-J Day 1945 to this has been, my fellow countrymen, a perfect nightmare.
The only phenomenon with which writing has always been concomitant is the creation of cities and empires, that is the integration of large numbers of individuals into a political system, and their grading into castes or classes. It seems to have favored the exploitation of human beings rather than their enlightenment.
You ask whether I have ever been in love: fool as I am, I am not such a fool as that. But if one is only to talk from first-hand experience, conversation would be a very poor business. But though I have no personal experience of the things they call love, I have what is better -- the experience of Sappho, of Euripides, of Catallus, of Shakespeare, of Spenser, of Austen, of Bronte, of anyone else I have read.