Petrified Quotes (2 quotes)
All programs on jungles had previously been filmed from the bottom up, with dead leaves and a dead animal or two. Suddenly, I realized that it’s at the top that everything is blossoming and populating and having a ball. So, I wrote it from the top. The director happened to be a young, ludicrously athletic fellow who decided to film me up a 200-foot kapok tree on a rope. Sheer vanity from elder to younger led me to say yes. At 5 feet off the ground it’s interesting. At 10 feet you say, “Hmmm a bit high.” At 50 feet it’s exhausting and at 90 feet terrifying because you realize that no one can get to you if you decide you don’t like it. To get down you have to retie all the ropes. You don’t just come down. I was so petrified I had forgotten I’d left my radio on, so everyone down below was falling about with laughter listening to me praying and swearing to myself in terror. By the time I came down I had recovered my cool and was going around saying it had all been fine without realizing they’d all heard me.
It was a felicitous expression of Goethe’s to call a noble cathedral “frozen music,” but it might even better be called “petrified mathematics.”