Legacy Life Lessons

Quotes on Champagne, Kids, Money, Books—
A First Kiss and a Scientist of the Soul

The Everything and Nothing of Money
“Remember, Little Ones, everything is not important all the time. Only living is important all the time. Not things. Not money. Not more things and more endless money. Spend well the quality of your time. And yes, be greedy with your hours. If only to then give those hours away as the most precious gifts you have to offer to yourself, your family, and your friends. And yes, to my Little Ones.”

I want to have so many memories of you.
“I want to remember… Smelling your newness upon this earth. The baby-Jesus smell as Grandma used to put it. Pure. Unsullied. Like the imagined smell in the twirling air of eiderdown feathers spin-floating around the yard on a new spring day.”

Things I Don’t Know
“Respect both what you need to know and what you don’t need to know. Respect mystery, for mystery is still needed to run the universe.”

I wonder what you look like, Little Ones
“Who will you be, my Little Ones? Will you dance for the fires of your youth and run at midnight to water’s edge, diving into summer’s heat? Will you ride a wild mare to any thought or dream or love of your making? Will you seek the artistry of your own infatuations and explore all the reckless and eccentric corners of your own impetuous world?”

Wind now sweeping over my bare back.
“I wish I could wrap up the glitter star-green of this moment and hand it to you like an angel gift. Give you the heat lightning flying in jagged silence over the distant mountains. And the smell of September prairie grass and the even fainter scent of October pine now descending. And the whir and purr of the windmill blades in the distant blackness. Give you the invisible sage wind whisking past your cheeks. And the cricket quartets and frog symphonies that play near the creek’s edge. To collect these sensations like a scientist of the soul and give them to you in their finest hour of coincidence and destiny.”

Things I Don’t Know “Older doesn’t always mean wiser. It just means that you’ve had more time to do the same things over and over again—right, wrong, and different.”

Summer, and you are the first man and the first woman to kiss. The first to know the exacting, steeling pain of a broken heart. The first to know everything about the whole cascading universe of gods and stars and lunacy and tenderness. Thus you become the first man and woman to know love. And God help you, for you are now the first man and woman in the world.

To Remember You So Vividly.
“To remember you so vividly, dancing there, with sweet champagne pulsing through your veins . . . to know what it’s like to feel another’s presence pulsing through mine. And each time, looking forward to popping that enchanted cork with you and really disappearing from the world as we knew it—wondering if we would ever return.”

Birthing and Raising Kids
“It’s a fool who thinks that having a kid is a right, which is the biggest crock of fishheads I’ve ever heard. You have a responsibility, not only to a person but also to a spirit because that’s what a child is. A pissing, crying, yawning, giggling, laughing package of spirit that is looking for you to take the lead. It’s a heck of a responsibility to look after a spirit.”

Birthing and Raising Kids
“Kids. They’re not tin cans or sheetrock. They’re laughing machines. Wind them up and watch them go.”

Why read?
“Because books are precious guides to our humanity—civilization’s backbone—that tenuous ridgeline that allows us to climb above the jungle and see what the horizon has to offer. Thus they represent the yearning to go beyond, to explore. Yet they are also human-sized. And made of paper and ink, and thus they come from the earth. Their physicality is what makes them immensely human. And they contain the flesh-and-bone thoughts of one person capturing one blink of time, now made immortal in the bound pages carried by your own hands and touched by your own eyes. How can such fragile and thin paper and spidery veins of ink be our most precious treasure, binding together the entire hope and legacy and language of a civilization—of our existence. We touch the book and turn the page, and thus we are bound to our destiny.”

The Losing of Love
” . . . Like discovering a shard of heaven’s handwriting in the snowflake that has landed upon your hand, desperately wishing you could give such beauty to your best friend before it melts away. And what you are left with is an exquisite regret—the eloquent conspiracy of memory—of the moment lived and the moment wished for that never will arrive.”