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The Secret Life of Bees book cover

The Secret Life of Bees Quotes

Someone who thinks death is the scariest thing doesn't know a thing about life.
Knowing can be a curse on a person's life. I'd traded in a pack of lies for a pack of truth, and I didn't know which one was heavier. Which one took the most strength to carry around? It was a ridiculous question, though, because once you know the truth, you can't ever go back and pick up your suitcase of lies. Heavier or not, the truth is yours now.
It is the peculiar nature of the world to go on spinning no matter what sort of heartbreak is happening.
Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can't remember who we are or why we're here.
I have noticed that if you look carefully at people's eyes the first five seconds they look at you, the truth of their feelings will shine through for just an instant before it flickers away.
Nobody around here had ever seen a lady beekeeper till her. She liked to tell everybody that women made the best beekeepers, 'cause they have a special ability built into them to love creatures that sting. It comes from years of loving children and husbands.
The world will give you that once in awhile, a brief timeout; the boxing bell rings and you go to your corner, where somebody dabs mercy on your beat-up life.
I hadn't been out to the hives before, so to start off she gave me a lesson in what she called 'bee yard etiquette'. She reminded me that the world was really one bee yard, and the same rules work fine in both places. Don't be afraid, as no life-loving bee wants to sting you. Still, don't be an idiot; wear long sleeves and pants. Don't swat. Don't even think about swatting. If you feel angry, whistle. Anger agitates while whistling melts a bee's temper. Act like you know what you're doing, even if you don't. Above all, send the bees love. Every little thing wants to be loved.
When it's time to die, go ahead and die, and when it's time to live, live. Don't sort-of-maybe live, but live like you're going all out, like you're not afraid.
We are so limited, you have to use the same word for loving Rosaleen as you do for loving Coke with peanuts. Isn't that a shame we don't have many more ways to say it?.
There is nothing perfect...only life.
And when you get down to it, Lily, that is the only purpose grand enough for a human life. Not just to love but to persist in love.
Sunset is the saddest light there is.
Drifting off to sleep, I thought about her. How nobody is perfect. How you just have to close your eyes and breathe out and let the puzzle of the human heart be what it is.
There's nothing like a song about lost love to remind you how everything precious can slip from the hinges where you've hung it so careful.
I realized it for the first time in my life: there is nothing but mystery in the world, how it hides behind the fabric of our poor, browbeat days, shining brightly, and we don't even know it.
The hardest thing on earth is choosing what matters.
In a weird way I must have loved my little collection of hurts and wounds. They provided me with some real nice sympathy, with the feeling I was exceptional...What a special case I was.
I can't think of anything I'd rather have more than somebody lovin' me.
Nothing is fair in this world. You might as well get that straight right now.
You think you want to know something, and then once you do, all you can think about is erasing it from your mind.
Actually, you can be bad at something...but if you love doing it, that will be enough. - August Boatwright.
Every human being on the face of the earth has a steel plate in his head, but if you lie down now and then and get still as you can, it will slide open like elevator doors, letting in all the secret thoughts that have been standing around so patiently, pushing the button for a ride to the top. The real troubles in life happen when those hidden doors stay closed for too long.
You have to know when to prod and when to be quiet, when to let things take their course.
It's something everybody wants-for someone to see the hurt done to them and set it down like it matters.
It was the first time I'd ever said the words to another person, and the sound of them broke open my heart.
You have to find a mother inside yourself. We all do. Even if we already have a mother, we still have to find this part of ourselves inside.
I wanted to know what happened when two people felt it. Would it divide the hurt in two, make it lighter to bear, the way feeling someone's joy seemed to double it?.
Honeybees depend not only on physical contact with the colony, but also require it's social companionship and support. Isolate a honeybee from her sisters and she will soon die.
You can tell which girls lack mothers by the look of their hair...
August: You know, somethings don't matter that much...like the color of a house...But lifting a person's heart--now that matters. The whole problem with people--" Lily: They don't know what matters and what doesn't... August:...They know what matters, but they don't choose it...The hardest thing on earth is to choose what matters.
women made the best beekeepers 'cause they have a special ability built into them to love creatures that sting.
Place a beehive on my grave And let the honey soak through. When I'm dead and gone, That's what I want from you. The streets of heaven are gold and sunny, But I'll stick with my plot and a pot of honey. Place a beehive on my grave And let the honey soak through.
Now and then sprays of rain flew over and misted our faces. Every time I refused to wipe away the wetness. It made the world seem so alive to me. I couldn't help but envy the way a good storm got everyone's attention.
I watched him, filled with tenderness and ache, wondering what it was that connected us. Was it the wounded places down inside people that sought each other out, that bred a kind of love between them?.
My mother's life was way too heavy for me.
What's wrong with living in a dream world? You have to wake up.
Up until then I'd thought that white people and colored people getting along was the big aim, but after that I decided everybody being colorless together was a better plan. I thought of that policeman, Eddie Hazelwurst, saying I'd lowered myself to be in this house of colored women, and for the very life of me I couldn't understand how it had turned out this way, how colored women had become the lowest ones on the totem pole. You only had to look at them to see how special they were, like hidden royalty among us. Eddie Hazelwurst. What a shitbucket.
In the photograph by my bed my mother is perpetually smiling on me. I guess I have forgiven us both, although sometimes in the night my dreams will take me back to the sadness, and I have to wake up and forgive us again.
And I was struck all at once how life was out there going through its regular courses, and I was suspended, waiting, caught in a terrible crevice between living my life and not living it.
People who think dying is the is the worst thing don't know a thing about life.
People can start out one way, and by the time life gets through with them they end up completely different.
I'm tired of carrying around the weight of the world. I'm just going to lay it down now. It's my time to die, and it's your time to live. Don't mess it up.
Look, I know you meant well creating the world and all, but how could you let it get away from you like this? How come you couldn't stick with your original idea of paradise? People's lives were a mess.
Did you know there are thirty-two names for love in one of the Eskimo languages?" August said. "And we just have this one. We are so limited, you have to use the same word.
Loss takes up inside of everything sooner or later and eats right through it.
Regrets don't help anything.
the redness had seeped from the day and night was arranging herself around us. Cooling things down, staining and dyeing the evening purple and blue black.
Have you ever written a letter you knew you could never mail but you needed to write it anyway?.
You know, some things don't matter that much...Like the color of a house. How big is that in the overall scheme of life? But lifting a person's heart - now, that matters.
Sometimes I didn't even feel like getting out of bed. I took to wearing my days-of-the-week panties out of order. It could be Monday and I'd have on underwear saying Thursday. I just didn't care.
It was the in-between time, before day leaves and night comes, a time I’ve never been partial to because of the sadness that lingers in the space between going and coming.
The whole problem with people is they don't know what matters and what doesn't.
This is what I know about myself. She was all I wanted. And I took her away.
I worried so much about how I looked and whether I was doing things right, I felt half the time I was impersonating a girl instead of really being one.
At night I would lie in bed and watch the show, how bees squeezed through the cracks of my bedroom wall and flew circles around the room, making that propeller sound, a high-pitched zzzzzz that hummed along my skin. I watched their wings shining like bits of chrome in the dark and felt the longing build in my chest. The way those bees flew, not even looking for a flower, just flying for the feel of the wind, split my heart down its seam.
We walked along the river with the words streaming behind us like ribbons in the night.
I'll write this all down for you," I said. "I'll put it in a story." I don't know if that's what he wanted to ask me, but it's something everybody wants--for someone to see the hurt done to them and set it down like it matters.
Everybody needs a seashell in her bathroom to remind her the ocean is her home.
I didn't know what to think, but what I felt was magnetic and so big it ached like the moon had entered my chest and filled it up. The only think I could compare it to was the feeling I got one time when I walked from the peach stand and saw the sun spreading across the late afternoon, setting the top of the orchard on fire while darkness collected underneath. Silence had hovered over my head, beauty multiplying in the air, the trees so transparent I felt like I could see through t something pure inside them. My chest ached then, too, this very same way.
You don't have to place your hand on Mary's heart to get strength and consolation and rescue, and all the other things we need to get through life. You can place it right here on your own heart. Your own heart.
I wished she'd been smart enough, or loving enough, to realize everybody has burdens that crush them, only they don't give up their children.
The month of August had turned into a griddle where the days just lay there and sizzled.
It takes a bee 10,000,000 trips to collect enough nectar to make 1 pound of honey.
There is a fullness of time for things. You have to know when to prod and when to be quiet. When to let things take their course.
That's what I told myself five hundred times: impossibility. I can tell you this much: the word is a great big log thrown on the fires of love. ~Page 133.
You've been halfway living your life for too long. May was saying that when it's time to die, go ahead and die, and when it's time to live, live. Don't sort-of-maybe live, but live like you're going all out, like you're not afraid.
Standing there, I loved myself and I hated myself. That's what the black Mary did to me, made me feel my glory and my shame at the same time.
That's because May takes in things differently than the rest of us do." August reached over and laid her hand on my arm. "See, Lily, when you and I hear about some misery out there, it might make us feel bad for a while, but it doesn't wreck our whole world. It's like we have a built-in protection around our hearts that keeps the pain from overwhelming us. But May - she doesn't have that. Everything just comes into her - all the suffering out there - and she feels as if it's happening to her. She can't tell the difference.
Above all, send the bees love. Every little thing wants to be loved.
There was nothing I hated worse than clumps of whispering girls who got quiet when I passed. I started picking scabs off my body and, when I didn't have any, gnawing the flesh around my fingernails until I was a bleeding wreck. I worried so much about how I looked and whether I was doing things right, I felt half the time I was impersonating a girl instead of really being me.
The whole problem with people is...they know what matters, but they don't choose it.
Shitbucket, hellfire, damnation, and son of a mother bitch," said Rosaleen, laying into each word like it was sweet potatoes on her tongue.
I wondered what it was like to be inside her, just a curl of flesh swimming in the darkness, the quiet things that had passed between us.
You are my everlasting home. Don't you ever be afraid. I am enough. We are enough.
Where had I been that I didn't know about imaginary friends? I could see the point of it. How a lost part of yourself steps out and remind you who you could be with a little work.
Probably one or two moments in your whole life you will hear a dark whispering spirit, a voice coming from the center of things. It will have blades for lips and will not stop until it speaks the one secret thing at the heart of it all. Kneeling on the floor, unable to stop shuddering, I heard it plainly. It said, You are unlovable...
Every living creature on the earth is special. You want to be the one that puts an end to one of them?.
This is the autumn of wonders, yet every day, every single day, I go back to that burned afternoon in August when T. Ray left. I go back to that one moment when I stood in the driveway with small rocks and clumps of dirt around my feet and looked back at the porch. And there they were. All these mothers. I have more mothers than any eight girls off the street. They are the moons shining over me.
I have noticed that if you look carefully at people’s eyes the first five seconds they look at you, the truth of their feelings will shine through for just an instant before it flickers away.