"In order that the mind may not be taxed, moreover, by the manifold and confused reading of so many such things, and in order to prevent the escape of something valuable that we have read, heard, or discovered through the process of thinking itself, it will be found very useful to entrust to notebooks ... those things which seem noteworthy and striking."

[Commonplace books: Thomas Farnaby, 17th-century]

The drivers below got their animals turned and were attempting to flee back down the trail and the laden packmules were beginning to clamber wide-eyed at the sheer wall of the bluff like enormous rats. The riders pushed between them and the rock and methodically rode them form the escarpment, the animals dropping silently as martyrs, turning sedately in the empty air and exploding on the rocks below in startling bursts of blood and silver as the flasks broke open and the mercury loomed wobbling in the air in great sheets and lobes and small trembling satellites and all its forms grouping below and racing in the stone arroyos like the imbreachment of some ultimate alchemical work decocted from out the secret dark of the earth's heart, the fleeing stag of the ancients fugitive of the mountainside and bright and quick in the dry path of the storm channels and shaping out the sockets in the rock and hurrying from ledge to ledge down the slope shimmering and deft as eels.

[How to describe mercury-laden mules falling off a canyon pass: Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian]

Posted by stronzo on 01.31.2011

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