How Much of These Hills is Gold – C Pam Zhang – Quotes

Because this land they live in is the land of missing things. A land stripped of its gold, its rivers, its buffalo, its Indians, its tigers, its jackals, its birds and its green and its living. To move through this land and believe Ba’s tales is to see each hill as a burial mound with its own crown of bones. Who could believe that and survive? Who could believe that and keep from looking, as Ba and Sam do, always toward the past? Letting it drag behind them. Letting it make them into fools.

But they’re kids. Nine and eight. Uncareful with their toys, their knees, their elbows. They let the name for themselves drop down the cracks in their sleep, with a child’s trust that there is always more the next day: more love, more words, more time, more places to go with the shapes of their parents in the wagon seat, the sway and creak of travel lulling them to sleep.

[…] hunger roams in Lucy. A hunger for wild places, for paths that twist so you can’t see their ends, for fear of the kind missing along with wildness in Sweetwater. A hunger for the trail that sears the body awake, not this sluggish place, this orderly place where all the streets are mapped and known.

Mostly the water is unconcerned with beauty. Mostly it rages and beats the cliffs till they crumble, plunging unwary creatures to their deaths. The water eats at the posts of the docks, bends that wood to its knees. The water does not reflect. It is itself, and it spreads to the horizon.

Photo by Violetta Kaszubowska

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