Paul Auster — The Vale of Soul-Making

Impossible, I realize, to enter another’s solitude. If it is true that we can ever come to know another human being, even to a small degree, it is only to the extent that he is willing to make himself known. A man will say: I am cold. Or else he will say nothing, and we will see him shivering. Either way, we will know that he is cold. But what of the man who says nothing and does not shiver? Where all is tractable, where all is hermetic and evasive, one can do no more than observe. But whether one can make sense of what he observes is another matter entirely. 

— Paul Auster, The Invention of Solitude. (Sun Publishing 1982)

Paul Auster — The Vale of Soul-Making

John Burroughs — The Vale of Soul-Making

The lesson which life repeats and constantly enforces is, “Look under foot.” You are always nearer the divine and the true sources of your power than you think. The lure of the distant and the difficult is deceptive. The great opportunity is where you are. Do not despise your own place and hour. Every place is under the stars, every place is the centre of the world.

— John Burroughs, Studies in Nature and Literature (Fredonia Books [NL] July 27, 2002)