Susan C. Anthony


It was one of those warm, full-moon nights when it's so bright it's more like twilight in the evening than nighttime. Thousands of lightning bugs were dancing a flickering rhythm all around us. Overhead, I could hear the hissing whistles of feeding bats as they dipped and darted in the starlit sky.
—Wilson Rawls in Summer of the Monkeys

Going up that river was like traveling back to the earliest beginnings of the world, when vegetation rioted on the earth and the big trees were kings. An empty stream, a great silence, an impenetrable forest. The air was warm, thick, heavy, sluggish. There was no joy in the brilliance of the sunshine. The long stretches of the waterway ran on, deserted, into the gloom of overshadowed distances. On silvery sandbanks hippos and alligators sunned themselves side by side.
—Joseph Conrad in Heart of Darkness

The sun blazed high up in the sky still, beating down with a heat that pressed on them like a giant hand.
—Susan Cooper in Over Sea, Under Stone

Slowly the sun fell from the sky down in the West. Looking out over the great plain far away, the riders saw it for a moment like a red fire sinking into the grass. Low upon the edge of sight shoulders of the mountains glinted red upon either side. A smoke seemed to rise up and darken the sun's disc to the hue of blood, as if it had kindled the grass as it passed down under the rim of the earth.
—J. R. R. Tolkien in The Two Towers

The hurrying darkness, now gathering great speed, rushed up from the East and swallowed the sky. There was a dry splitting crack of thunder right overhead. Searing lightning smote down into the hills. Then came a blast of savage wind, and with it, mingling with its roar, there came a high, shrill shriek.
—J.R.R. Tolkien in The Two Towers

The alder, blueberry, and willow leaves, touched by fall's first chill, turned rich yellows, browns, and reds, and fell whispering into the long dry meadow grasses until bushes and trees were bare. With surprising swiftness the snow line crept back from the distant white mountains, slinking steadily down canyons, up valleys, and across level plains until once again it was stopped at the water's edge.
—Walt Morey in Gentle Ben

Almost imperceptibly the daylight hours began to lengthen. The sun burned the snow off the beaches and off the tundra. Ravines and valleys lost their white mantles, exposing spawning streams and lakes that had lain frozen for months. Winter was beginning its annual retreat to the distant white mountains. The first geese and ducks arrived while the creeks and ponds were still frozen over. A host of large and small animals who had slept the winter months away began to emerge and leave erratic tracks across the retreating snows. Once again the tundra gained its green and yellow hues. In the deep-grassed meadows tender green shoots were pushing through the last film of snow.
—Walt Morey in Gentle Ben

Night winds, moaning around corners and whistling through cracks, dashed snow against the windows of the Mountain View Inn. Inside, a fire crackled in the stone fireplace. The grandfather clock, as old and tired as the inn itself, marked the passing of time with a slow tick...tock...that seemed to say, ","
—Beverly Cleary in Ralph S. Mouse

It was a slow, hot Saturday in September. Heat shimmered in the shadows. Boats pushed their way through the oil slick coating the river. The leaves on the trees lining East Eighty-eighth Street lay limp and exhausted in the breathless air.
—Constance C. Greene in I and Sproggy

Not that it was really silent. If you lay with your eyes shut, and really tried to listen, you could hear it; it was made up of thousands of tiny sounds which might be the trees growing, or the toadstools pushing up through the pine needles, or the air breathing gently through the twigs overhead as the sun heated the ground and the moisture drifted upward through the mosses. Then there were the insects; under and over and through all the silence was a steady throbbing hum that was so much a part of the forest that it seemed to be inside the listener's brain, and not outside in the wood. It was made of the wingbeats of millions of tiny insects, gnats, bees, wasps, hoverflies. The forest hummed silently, and the still air vibrated.
—Mary Stewart in A Walk in Wolf Wood

The herbs crushed by their feet breathed a dozen sweet and spicy scents out into the cooling air. Moths, waking for the night, floated up from the disturbed leaves like feathers from a shaken pillow. Even the moss underfoot seemed to make a soft spongy sound as they trod on it, so quiet was the forest.
—Mary Stewart in A Walk in Wolf Wood

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Source:, ©Susan C. Anthony