Diane Ackerman

Quotes
Quote Topics Cited
A poem records emotions and moods that lie beyond normal language, that can only be patched together and hinted at metaphorically.
All relationships change the brain - but most important are the intimate bonds that foster or fail us, altering the delicate circuits that shape memories, emotions and that ultimate souvenir, the self.
Artificial intelligence is growing up fast, as are robots whose facial expressions can elicit empathy and make your mirror neurons quiver.
As a species, we've somehow survived large and small ice ages, genetic bottlenecks, plagues, world wars and all manner of natural disasters, but I sometimes wonder if we'll survive our own ingenuity.
As people flock to urban centers where ground space is limited, cities with green walls and roofs and skyscraper farms offer improved health and well-being, renewable resources, reliable food supply, and relief to the environment. Health, Healthcare & Medicine ;Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
As the most social apes, we inhabit a mirror-world in which every important relationship, whether with spouse, friend or child, shapes the brain, which in turn shapes our relationships.
Because we can't escape our ancient hunger to live close to nature, we encircle the house with lawns and gardens, install picture windows, adopt pets and Boston ferns, and scent everything that touches our lives. Nature
Cicadas, buckling and unbuckling their stomach muscles, yield the sound of someone sharpening scissors. Fall field crickets, the thermometer hounds, add high-pitched tinkling chirps to the jazz, and their call quickens with warm weather, slows again with cool.
Complexity excites the mind, and order rewards it. In the garden, one finds both, including vanishingly small orders too complex to spot, and orders so vast the mind struggles to embrace them.
Even without seeing the crickets, grasshoppers, cicadas and katydids, we hear them shrilling in this season and trust that they're the tiny living gargoyles entomologists claim. Trust
Everyone admits that love is wonderful and necessary, yet no one agrees on just what it is. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
For better or worse, zoos are how most people come to know big or exotic animals. Few will ever see wild penguins sledding downhill to sea on their bellies, giant pandas holding bamboo lollipops in China or tree porcupines in the Canadian Rockies, balled up like giant pine cones.
Gardeners may create order briefly out of chaos, but nature always gets the last word, and what it says is usually untidy by human standards. But I find all states of nature beautiful, and because I want to delight in my garden, not rule it, I just accept my yen to tame the chaos on one day and let the Japanese beetles run riot on the next. Nature
Habitats keep evolving new pageants of species, and we shouldn't interfere.
Hurricane season brings a humbling reminder that, despite our technologies, most of nature remains unpredictable. Nature
I consider fiction a very high-class form of lying. I enjoy and admire it enormously, but I don't think I'm very good at it.
I don't want to be a passenger in my own life. Life
I don't want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well. Life
I like knowing that the further back one traces any lineage, the narrower the path grows, to the haunt of just a few shaggy ancestors, with luck on their side, little gizmos in their cells and a future storied with impulses and choices that will ultimately define them. Future
I'm certainly not opposed to digital technology, whose graces I daily enjoy and rely on in so many ways. But I worry about our virtual blinders. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
I'm fascinated how often and with what whole-heartedness people will risk their lives to perform acts of courage, sacrifice, and compassion for total strangers.
In the winter, I enjoy cross-country skiing and raising orchids and amaryllises. If I could grow tropical flowers as perennials, I would, especially hibiscus and mandavilla.
It began in mystery, and it will end in mystery, but what a savage and beautiful country lies in between.
I've always found it best to have a routine. I go to my study at the same time every day and climb into my bay window. I may not be inspired every day, but on the days I am, I need to be in place to write. If I'm not particularly inspired, I'll revise or do research or correspondence. Time
I've always loved scuba diving and the cell-tickling feel of being underwater, though it poses unique frustrations. Alone, but with others, you may share the same sights and feelings, but you can't communicate well.
Just as our ancient ancestors drew animals on cave walls and carved animals from wood and bone, we decorate our homes with animal prints and motifs, give our children stuffed animals to clutch, cartoon animals to watch, animal stories to read.
Like many animals, wild ponies can sense a drop in barometric pressure. When a storm threatens, they know to seek shelter in hilly areas and huddle together with their rumps facing the oncoming wind.
Living with anyone for many years takes skill. To keep peace in the household, couples learn to adapt to one another, hopefully in positive ways. War & Peace
Look in the mirror. The face that pins you with its double gaze reveals a chastening secret.
Love is the best school, but the tuition is high and the homework can be painful. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
My mother always said I must be part Mongolian because of my lotus-pale complexion and squid-ink black hair.
Nature is more like a seesaw than a crystal, a never-ending conga line of bold moves and corrections. Nature
Nothing is more memorable than a smell. One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains. Nature
On some summer days in New York City, the air hangs thickly visible, like the combined exhalations of eight million souls. Steam rising from vents underground makes you wonder if there isn't one giant sweat gland lodged beneath the city.
Success produces success, just as money produces money. Success ;Money, Coins & Minting
The further we distance ourselves from the spell of the present, explored by our senses, the harder it will be to understand and protect nature's precarious balance, let alone the balance of our own human nature. Nature
The garden is a living, pulsing, singing, scratching, warring, erotic, and generally rowdy thing. I may find peace in its midst, but I regard it as a whole with many parts, a plural organism. War & Peace
The more we exile ourselves from nature, the more we crave its miracle waters. Nature
The simple, stupefying truth that, as a woman, I am a minute ocean, in the dark tropic of whose womb eggs lay coded as roe, floating in the sea that wet-nursed us all, moved me deeply. Truth
Though not a natural world by any means, more like a collection of living dioramas, a zoo exists in its own time zone, somewhere between the seasonal sense of animals and our madly ticking watch time. Time
Touch seems to be as essential as sunlight. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
We embrace two-legged beings, and can warm to four-legged beings, too, but for most people, six legs is pushing it. Most don't need multi-eyed, antennaed face time. Time
We live on the leash of our senses.
We ogle plants and animals up close on television, the Internet and in the movies. We may not worship the animals we see, but we still regard them as necessary physical and spiritual companions. Technological nature can't completely satisfy that yearning. Nature ;Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
We tend to think of heroes only in terms of violent combat, whether it's against enemies or a natural disaster. But human beings also perform radical acts of compassion; we just don't talk about them, or we don't talk about them as much.
We try to exile ourselves more and more from nature - not always consciously: We build houses; we dismiss nature; nature has to be outside, because we're inside. God forbid something like a cockroach comes inside, or some dust. Nature ;Religion & God
We're dabbling in eugenics all the time, breeding ideal crops to replace less aesthetic or nutritious or hardy varieties; leveling forests to graze cattle or erect shopping malls and condos; planting groves of a few familiar trees that homeowners and industries prefer. Time
We're losing biodiversity globally at an alarming rate, and we need a cornucopia of different plants and animals, for the planet's health and our own. Health, Healthcare & Medicine
What a lonely species we are, searching for signals of life from other galaxies, adopting companion animals, visiting parks and zoos to commune with other beasts. In the process, we discover our shared identity. Life
When a hurricane thrashes the mid-Atlantic, my hilly town often reaps the fringe of the storm. The rain starts blowing sideways, and sometimes we see hail the size of purie marbles.
When all is said and done, we exist only in relation to the world, and our senses evolved as scouts who bridge that divide and provide volumes of information, warnings and rewards.