Literary Birthday – 21 January – Gretel Ehrlich

Happy Birthday, Gretel Ehrlich, born 21 January 1946.


  1. Everything in nature invites us constantly to be what we are. We are often like rivers: careless and forceful, timid and dangerous, lucid and muddied, eddying, gleaming, still.
  2. I like to think of the landscape not as a fixed place but as a path that is unwinding before my eyes, under my feet. To see and know a place is a contemplative act. It means emptying our minds and letting what is there, in all its mulitplicity and endless variety, come in.
  3. Leaves are verbs that conjugate the seasons.
  4. A tree is a thought, an obstruction stopping the flow of wind and light, trapping water, housing insects, birds, and animals, and breathing in and out. How treelike the human, how human the tree.
  5. I thought: to be tough is to be fragile; to be tender is to be truly fierce.
  6. The truest art I would strive for in any work would be to give the page the same qualities as earth: weather would land on it harshly; light would elucidate the most difficult truths; wind would sweep away obtuse padding.

Gretel Ehrlich is an American travel writer, poet, novelist, and essayist. She is the author of This Cold Heaven, The Future of Ice, Heart Mountain, Facing the Wave, and The Solace of Open Spaces.

Source for quotes

 by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 20th January 2020