Forlag Penguin Classics
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Nothing, in truth, can ever replace a lost companion. Old comrades cannot be manufactured. There is nothing that can equal the treasure of so many shared memories, so many bad times endured together, so many quarrels, reconciliations, heartfelt impulses. Friendship like that cannot be reconstructed. If you plant an oak, you will hope in vain to sit soon in its shade.
When the wild ducks pass in the migrating season, they cause strange tides to rise in the lands beneath them. As if magnetized by the great triangular flock, the farmyard ducks try clumsily to leave the ground. The call of the wild has awakened some vestige of the wild within them, and for a moment they have turned into birds of passage. In those hard little heads normally filled with simple images of the pond, of worms and of their roosting-house, now stretch the vast continents, the taste of the ocean winds and the shape of the seas. The creature never knew until now that its brain could contain such marvels, and it beats its wings in contempt for seed and worms, trying to become a wild duck.
The earth teaches us more about ourselves than all the books in world, because it is resistant to us. Self-discovery comes when man measures himself against an obstacle. To attain it, he needs an implement. He needs a carpenter's plane, or a plough. Little by little, as he walks behind the plough, the farmer forces out a few of nature's secrets, and the truth which he uncovers is universal.
When we work merely for material gain, we build our own prison. We enclose ourselves in isolation; our coins turn to ashes and buy nothing worth living for.
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