01 Jul

Western Wisdom #2

Excerpts from To the Far Blue Mountain by Louis L’Amour

“Men change and times change, but wars and revolutions are always with us.” — CH 2

“We must not lose touch with what we were, with what we had been, nor must we allow the well of our history to dry up, for a child without tradition is a child crippled before the world. Tradition can also be an anchor of stability and a shield to guard one from irresponsibility and hasty decision.” — CH 2

“Each book must be one worth rereading many times, each a book that has much to say, that can lend meaning to a life, help in decisions, comfort one during moments of loneliness. One needed a chance to listen to the words of other men who had lived their lives, to share with them trials and troubles by day and by night in home or in the markets of cities. The Bible, of course, for aside from religion there is much to be learned of men and their ways in the Bible. It is also a source of comments made, of references and figures of speech. No man could consider himself educated without some knowledge of it.” — CH 2

“Ours was a restless as well as a violent age.” — CH 2

“A king must think not only of today,” he had told me, “but of tomorrow and tomorrow.” — CH 3

“Who is better unless he makes himself so? You can be one of those for whom laws are made if you so will it, or you can be a maker of laws yourself.” — CH 3

“You have done good things and bad, you have seen others who did likewise. You know what you respect and what you do not, so all that is left is to weigh each law, each idea against what you know, decide how you would like things to be, and then work to make them so.” — CH 3

“I have a hunger two days old.” — CH 4

“To disbelieve is easy; to scoff is simple; to have faith is harder. Yet I had faith in the intentions of my countrymen, no matter how far they might at times stray from those intentions.” — CH 6

“Moaning and wailing was not my way. I had never complained, for who cares for complaints? If something is wrong, one does something.” — CH 7

“The more one learns the more he understands his ignorance. I am simply an ignorant man, trying to lessen his ignorance.” — CH 9

“The food will stay with you and the memory of it where you go.” — CH 9

“My mam said always to take a cargo of memories, whatever else, for when all is lost the memories remain.” — CH 9

“These are good folk, but somewhat rough when stirred.” — CH 10

“I knew I was a man who wished to survive, and that to survive I must use both wits and strength.” — CH 12

“Since the beginning of time men have moved across the face of the world, and we like to believe this is a result of our individual will, our choice, and it may be so, but might it not be that we are moved by tides buried in our natures? Tides we cannot resist?” — CH 14

“Now was the time for dreaming past, now was the time for doing.” — CH 16

“The moment of reality comes, and no eloquence will build a stockade, nor will a poetic phrase fend off an arrow, for the savage of the woodland has his own conception of romance and poetry, which may involve the dreamer’s scalp.” — CH 16

“Forever the dream is in the mind, realization in the hands.” — CH 16

“All men wish to be captains, but few men wish to shoulder the burden of decision.” — CH 16

“For in dealing with a people of so vastly different a culture and background we must ever be wary, for their understanding is not ours, nor is it based on the same considerations.” — CH 16

“I had already learned to listen to the advice of others but to act only on my own beliefs, and to make my own decisions.” –CH 16

“How strange it is to think that all our knowledge, all our skills can seem worthless to a people not accustomed to them.” — CH 18

“I think that no two men age at the same rate, or learn equal sums from experience. Some men learn by their years, others simply live through them.” — CH 19

“The dream was more pleasant to believe than to doubt.” — CH 19

“I want nobody with me who will not go the distance.” — CH 19

“Each move one makes is a risk, and if one thinks too long one does not move at all, for fear of what may come, and so becomes immobile, crouched in a shell, fearful of any move.” — CH 19

“Luck comes to a man who puts himself in the way of it.” — CH 21

“For good friends we were and the time for parting near, and no one wished to be the first to speak of an end to what we had together.” — CH 22

“I’ve been four years gone and nothing to show for it but scars and the memories of bad times.” — CH 22

“It was in all our thoughts. We were alone in an unknown land, with danger all about, and no hope of rescue if aught went wrong. We had cut all ties, but we floated together in the vast interior of this green strange land.” — CH 22

“Our only security lay in ourselves, in what we were, and what we would become.” — CH 22

“There would be differences of opinion, for the ideal situation may exist but not ideal people.” — CH 23

“In wisdom there is often pain.” — CH 24

“It is not good for a man to think too long if he must act, and too many ideas had been thrown at them, each causing doubt and hesitation.” — CH 27

“God help us always to have them, men who believe in what they are doing, and who will fight for what they believe.” — CH 29

“Where go the years? Down what tunnel of time are poured the precious days? We are young, and the fires within us burn bright. All the world lies before us and nothing is too great to be done, no challenge too awesome. Then suddenly the days are no more, the years are gone, and the time that remains is little, indeed.” — CH 30

“No morning sun arose without its risk, no day in the field without its danger.” — CH 30

“Time has a way of stealing strength from a man, and even before that, his swiftness and agility.” — CH 30

“It is not easy for a young man to make his way without friends.”– CH 32

“I am still too young to rust.” — CH 34