And the greatest beauty you could clothe your body with
Are the gilded gems of staying power
Like traces of molten gold fusing through your cells
That which has the capacity to overcome, endure, persevere
And stay ever faithful to the soul beneath the person
To the spirit that cauterizes the flames
No matter what
And forever more
In my mind, I could sense their roots under the soil, creeping in helical tangles of ever-increasing complexity outward and in all directions—out beyond the perimeter of the Helsingør Wood, out below Yami’s Under City, out along the banks of the river, out to the nearest coast and thereupon out into the sea; the roots crept down further along the continental shelf, downward into the abysses, downward into the ocean floor, burrowing under the corals and under trenches, and then back up again to sprout in the darkened forest on a foreign continent: all the trees of the world now had conjoined roots, for they were now of one conjoined consciousness!
―Ashim Shanker, Only the Deplorable
Then, one on either side, they walked me to the shore, which was black and endless. But there was a fire waiting. And there was a little meal laid out on a blanket. And there was a whole world beyond that shoreline, beyond the forest, beyond the knuckle mountains, beyond, beyond, beyond, not beneath the surface at all, but beyond and waiting.
I always liked the idea that America is a big facade. We are all insects crawling across on the shiny hood of a Cadillac. We’re all looking at the wrapping. But we won’t tear the wrapping to see what lies beneath.