"Paul Valery divided buildings thus: into those that were dumb, and therefore would be, on my account soulless, dead; those that spoke, and would be, on my account, solid citizens and a worthy norm, provided their speech was clear and honest and unaffected; and those that sang, for those found in themselves their own end, and arose like Shelley's lark, through the heaviest atmosphere."
"Daudet was walking through a field of broom. All around him there was the soft background noise of seed pods exploding. Our lives, he had concluded, amount to no more than this: just a quiet crackle of popping pods."
-Julian Barnes in intro to Daudet's In the Land of Pain.