"Hope is a bad thing. It means that you are not what you want to be. It means that part of you is dead, if not all of you. It meansthat you entertain illusions. It's a sort of spiritual clap, I should say."
"Our thoughts are always elsewhere; we are stayed and supported by the hope for a better life, or by the hope that our children will turn out well, or that our name will be famous in the future, or that we shall escape the evils of this life, or that vengeance threatens those who are the cause of our death."
"We hold on to hopes for next year every year in western Dakota: hoping that droughts will end; hoping that our crops won't be hailed out in the few rainstorms that come; hoping that it won't be too windy on the day we harvest, blowing away five bushels an acre; hoping ... that if we get a fair crop, we'll be able to get a fair price for it. Sometimes survival is the only blessing that the terrifying angel of the Plains bestows."
"The Plains are not forgiving. Anything that is shallow--the easy optimism of a homesteader; the false hope that denies geography,climate, history; the tree whose roots don't reach ground water--will dry up and blow away."
"We do not rest satisfied with the present.... So imprudent we are that we wander in the times which are not ours and do not thinkof the only one which belongs to us; and so idle are we that we dream of those times which are no more and thoughtlessly overlook that which alone exists. For the present is generally painful to us."
"But I must needs take my petulance, contrasting it with my accustomed morning hopefulness, as a sign of the ageing of appetite, ofa decay in the very capacity of enjoyment. We need some imaginative stimulus, some not impossible ideal which may shape vague hope, and transform it into effective desire, to carry us year after year, without disgust, through the routine- work which is so large a part of life."
"Speed is good only when wisdom leads the way. The end of this journey, whether to the high horizons of hope or the depths of destruction, will be determined by the collective wisdom of the people who live on this shrinking planet."