Hannah Coulter

If I could buy up the storehouses I would, and I would give each of you a copy of Hannah Coulter. It is beautiful. Crafted. Moving.

Favorite quotes:

"That was the life Grandmam made for me...It was a good enough life, too. After it was over, I realized that it was happier than I had known. We had, you could say, everything but money - Grandmam and I did, anyhow. We had each other and our work, and not much time to think of what we didn't have."

"When you are old you can look back and see yourself when you were young. It is almost like looking down from Heaven. And you see yourself as a young woman, just a big girl really, half awake to the world. You see yourself happy, holding in your arms a good, decent, gentle, beloved young man with the blood keen in his veins, who before long is going to disappear, just disappear, into a storm of hate and flying metal and fire. And you don't know it."

"I am standing at the gate. Nathan has been salting the cattle down at the edge of the woods below the spring. Now he is walking back up the hill toward the house, toward me. He is walking in his thoughtful way with the salt bucket on his arm, looking around. He is whistling, as I know, over and over a piece of some old tune that will have the rhythm both of itself and of his breath.

I am watching him, but he has not yet seen me. And now he sees me. The expression on his face does not change, but now his intention has changed, he is walking toward me and nothing else. As he comes closer he smiles a little, still whistling. I know that when he comes to where I am he will give me a hug, and I want him to. He looks at me with a look I know. The shiver of the altogether given passes over me from head to foot."

Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry


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