From the chapter "Ex Machina" in Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin:
"... We hear about entire armies that are resurrected, or saved by a closing sea. Pillars of fire arise in the desert, thunder and lightning rage, and hills skip like rams to protect those who believe from fierce and vicious enemies."
"Do you believe," Virginia asked, "that a pillar of fire actually rose in the desert?"
"No," Hardesty answered. "I don't believe that. I believe that the account of the pillar of fire was merely a metaphor, but for something so much greater and more powerful than just a pillar of fire, that the image, for all its beauty, doesn't even begin to do it justice."
"Isn't it vain to imagine that we can tap that same source by an act of will?"
"I don't think so," Hardesty said. He seemed to be piecing something together. "I think it would be vain to imagine that we could be favored without effort. As I understand it, miracles come to those who risk defeat in seeking them. They come to those who have exhausted themselves completely in a struggle to accomplish the impossible. ..."
(cf. Striving vs Winning (2014-10-08), Winter's Tale on Justice (2014-11-03), Winter's Tale on Change (2014-11-14), Winter's Tale on the World (2014-11-28), Winter's Tale on Truth (2014-12-09), Winter's Tale on Music Everywhere (2014-12-23), ...) - ^z - 2015-01-04