Now, after twenty years of baking professionally, I know firsthand that the end product is more than the sum of its parts-its essence transcends the basic ingredients and the way it was created.

The greatest blunder that almost everyone believes is the feeling that you have to speak whatever is on your mind. That doesn't make sense. Your language becomes a loudspeaker and you sound like a squawking duck. The mind has automatic waves of thought and feelings from many sources. You are not meant to speak all of that. The mind is meant to know the truth. Train your mind to speak the truth in a committed language so it is beautiful and effective.

We have not solved the problem of living. Far from it. But our experience convinces us that no family group possesing a normal share of vigor, energy, purpose, imagination and determination need continue to wear the yoke of a competitive, acquisitive, predatory culture. Unless vigilante mobs or the police interfere, the family can live with nature, make themselves a living that will preserve and enhance their efficiency, and give them leisure in which they can do their bit to make the world a better place.

Everything in and about our lives runs off the fuel of our hearts. We will all have experiences meant to "break our hearts"-not in half but wide open. Regardless of how your heart is broken, your choice is always the same: What will you do with your pain?
I awoke once during the night. I pushed my canopy aside and looked out. The moon was a sharply defined crescent and the sky was perfectly clear. The stars shone with such fierce, contained brilliance that it seemed absurd to call the night dark. The sea lay quietly, bathed in a shy, light-footed light, a dancing play of black and silver that extended without limits all about me. The volume of things was confounding-the volume of air above me, the volume of water around and beneath me. I was half-moved, half-terrified...For the first time I noticed-as I would notice repeatedly during my ordeal, between one throe of agony and the next-that my suffering was taking place in a grand setting. I saw my suffering for what it was, finite and insignificant, and I was still. My suffering did not fit anywhere, I realized. And I could accept this. It was alright.

Back in Miami, Mom headed over to their office on fashionable Lilcoln Road and began throwing bolts of fabric and boxes of tools out the window to the waiting Haitian army officer downstairs. The ambassador called Pan Am and had them bump everybody off the next flight back to Haiti and fill the plane with the necessary materials for the palace makeover. Like a pro, Pop worked around the clock and completed the job in less than a week despite the country's erratic delivery of eletric power, which made sewing somewhat difficult. With the job finished and the palace sparkling, the president held a celebratory dinner in honor of my father. After the guests had finished their first glass of wine, Mrs. President announced her vision that with a proper palace she could become the reigning Queen Mother of the Caribbean basin. She invited Pop to stay and redo the place, top to bottom. No thanks, he said, got to get home to my wife and kid back in the States. Smiling in a way that only madam dictators can, she said "Oh, but you must." At that moment the president's elite team of thugs and murderers swarmed the dinner table and my father found himself looking at twelve American-made machine guns...He was taken hostage, bound, gagged, and pistol-whipped until he agreed to make the palace the shining star of the Caribbean.

What about a teakettle? What if the spout opened and closed when the steam came out, so it would become a mouth, and it could whistle pretty melodies, or do Shakespeare, or just crack up with me? I could invent a teakettle that reads in Dad's voice, so I could fall asleep, or maybe a set of kettles that sings the chorus of "Yellow Submarine," which is a song by The Beattles, who I love, because entomology is one of the raisons d'etre, which is a French expression that I know.

People who think dying is the worst thing don’t know a thing about life.

She was stretched on her back beneath the pear tree soaking in the alto chant of the visiting bees, the gold of the sun and the panting breath of the breeze when the inaudible voice of it all came to her. She saw a dust-bearing bee sink into the sanctum of a bloom; the thousand sister-calyxes arch to meet the love embrace and the ecstatic shiver of the tree from root to tiniest branch creaming in every blossom and frothing with delight. So this was a marriage! She had been summoned to behold a revelation. Then Janie felt a pain remorseless sweet that left her limp and languid.

See, be, do. Yes, I thought, being was indeed the most difficult part in an era where clutter-in both stuff and activity-eclipses the sweetness of solitude, the aliveness of the present moment.
Sylvia and John and Chris and I walk up the long main street in the gathering dusk and feel the presence of the mountains even though we talk about other things. I feel happy to be here, and still a little sad to be here too. Sometimes it's a little better to travel than to arrive.