"I began pulling loose planks out of the cellar hole, the right corner at the front. They were splintery and full of snaggled nails, but I pulled them out and tossed them onto the ground behind me, for all the world as if I had some real purpose or intention. It was difficult work, but I have often noticed that it is almost intolerable to be looked at, to be watched, when one is idle. When one is idle and alone, the embarrassments of loneliness are almost endlessly compounded. So I worked till my hair was damp and my hands were galled and tender, with what must have seemed wild hope, or desperation. I began to imagine myself a rescuer. Children had been sleeping in this fallen house. Soon I would uncover the rain-stiffened hems of their nightshirts, and their small, bone feet, the toes all fallen like petals. Perhaps it was already too late to help. They had lain under the snow through far too many winters, and that was the pity. But to cease to hope would be the final betrayal."
-Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping