It is not easy to say what it is that awakens the inexpressible reveries and nostalgia that slowly rise within the soul like birds in flight: a fragment of landscape, a single lighted window in a darkened house front, a glimmer on a distant shore, the smell of the earth, a heavy rain or the murmur of the wind. Such thoughts seem to have their source in something concrete, yet they elude the tongue and never show themselves in full light; they slip through fingers too clumsy to catch and hold them. They seem to evoke the sensation of a continuous but vain approach to something unattainable — to the very root of consciousness, overgrown with sterile and emotionless years — as if they sprang forth in those regions (near the dreams of delirium, perhaps) where everything is somehow known but condemned to indistinct existence. And examined in detail they still do not reveal all of their secret nature, yet sometimes they can suddenly drive a man to an act that no one can understand.
— Gustaw Herling, The Island