Two great quotes I encountered this year:
"What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the winter time. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the Sunset."
-Crowfoot, Blackfoot Indian
"There is something to be learned from a rainstorm. When meeting with a sudden shower, you try not to get wet and
run quickly along the road. But doing such things as passing under the eaves of houses, you still get wet. When you
are resolved from the beginning, you will not be perplexed, though you still get the same soaking. This understanding
extends to everything."
- Hagakure, The Book of the Samurai
The latter quote is (finally) a good definition for the Japanese expression "shoganai," which is too often assumed to mean the same as the Western defeatist shrugging of the shoulders. I love this expression, shoganai, and am happy I've finally found a way to define it.
The first one, by Crowfoot, is really beautiful. Especially the second sentence, "It is the breath of a buffalo in the winter time." That is certainly not nothing! But it is a momentary flash, or force, in the grand scheme of things. And the fact that such a breath is beautiful, or stinks like rotting grass, doesn't matter so much.