- Evolution discloses a meaning in death, although the meaning is like some of the berries that Darwin tasted in the Galapagos, "acid & Austere." There is a special providence in the fall of a sparrow. Even Drought bears fruit. Even death is a seed.
- Chapter 5, A Special Providence
- For all species, including our own, the true figure of life is a perching bird, a passerine, alert and nervous in every part, ready to dart off in an instant. Life is always poised for flight. From a distance it looks still, silhouetted against the bright sky or the dark ground; but up close it is flitting this way and that, as if displaying to the world at every moment its perpetual readiness to take off in any of a thousand directions.
- Chapter 7, Twenty-Five Thousand Darwins
- We are doing what the dinosaurs did before us, only faster. We bring strangers together to make strange bedfellows, and we remake the beds they lie in, all at once.
- Chapter 17, The Stranger's Power