You know, for most of its life bluegrass has had this stigma of being all straw hats and hay bales and not necessarily the most sophisticated form of music. Yet you can't help responding to its honesty. It's music that finds its way deep into your soul because it's strings vibrating against wood and nothing else.
E'en in mid-harvest, while the jocund swain Pluck'd from the brittle stalk the golden grain, Oft have I seen the war of winds contend, And prone on earth th' infuriate storm descend, Waste far and wide, and by the roots uptorn, The heavy harvest sweep through ether borne, As light straw and rapid stubble fly In dark'ning whirlwinds round the wintry sky.
Harvey wasn't interested in the clothes, it was the masks that mesmerized him. They were like snowflakes: no two alike. Some were made of wood and of plastic; some of straw and cloth and papier-mâché. Some were as bright as parrots, others as pale as parchment. Some were so grotesque he was certain they'd been carved by crazy people; others so perfect they looked like the death masks of angels. There were masks of clowns and foxes, masks like skulls decorated with real teeth, and one with carved flames instead of hair.
Sweep the garden, any size, said the roshi. Sweeping, sweeping alone as the garden grows large or small. Any song sung working the garden brings up from sand gravel soil through straw bamboo wood and less tangible elements Power song for the hands Healing song for the senses what can and cannot be perceived of the soul.
The old doctrine that God wanted man to do something for him, and that he kept a watchful eye upon all the children of men; that he rewarded the virtuous and punished the wicked, is gradually fading from the mind. We know that some of the worst men have what the world calls success. We know that some of the best men lie upon the straw of failure. We know that honesty goes hungry, while larceny sits at the banquet. We know that the vicious have every physical comfort, while the virtuous are often clad in rags.
At a very early stage of the novel's development I get this urge to collect bits of straw and fluff, and to eat pebbles. Nobody will ever discover how clearly a bird visualizes, or if it visualizes at all, the future nest and the eggs in it.