Huldra Forsvant (Theodor Kittelsen)

Huldra Forsvant (Theodor Kittelsen)
Huldra Forsvant (Theodor Kittelsen)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Come On, Pilgrim

I was very happy this morning to see Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek as the feature article on the front page of Wikipedia today! Someone out there has very good taste.

One of her books, An American Childhood is still one of my all-time fav's. I never did quite finish Pilgrim (though that says nothing about the books' worth, only about my small attention span), but what I read, I liked.

I find that occasionally I'll stumble upon somebody's work, and it just instantly clicks and makes sense to me. It's like it is exactly what I want to read/see/hear in that moment, and I'm so glad that the thing fell into my hands. I kind of felt that way about Clarice Beckett my favourite painter, and Judith Wright, my favourite poet, and I felt it about Annie Dillard too.

Anyways, enough earnest ranting, here's a couple of cool bits from Pilgrim that I blogged back in 2008--

'It snowed. It snowed all yesterday and never emptied the sky, although the clouds looked so low and heavy they might drop all at once with a thud. The light is diffuse and hueless, like the light on paper inside a pewter bowl. The snow looks light and the sky dark, but in fact the sky is lighter than the snow. Obviously the thing illuminated cannot be lighter than its illuminator. The classical demonstration of this point involves simply laying a mirror flat on the snow so that it reflects in its surface the sky, and comparing by sight this value to that of the snow. This is all very well, even conclusive, but the illusion persists. The dark is overhead and the light at my feet; I'm walking upside-down in the sky.'

'Under the world's conifers- under the creek side cedar behind where I sit- a mantle of fungus wraps the soil in a weft, shooting out blind thread after frail thread of palest dissolved white. From root tip to root tip, root hair to root hair, these filaments loop and wind; the thought of them always reminds me of Rimbaud's "I have stretched cords from steeple to steeple, garlands from window to window, chains of gold from star to star, and I dance." King David leaped and danced naked before the ark of the Lord in a barren desert. Here the very looped soil is an intricate throng of praise. Make connections; let rip; and dance where you can.'

You can read the first handful of pages here.

6 comments:

J said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J said...

You finally drew me out of my lurking with two posts about my passions on the same day! Annie Dillard and veggie gardening, I don't know where to begin. Maybe I'll go and read 'An Expedition to the Pole' to my Pak Choy seedlings which sprouted this morning.

Ben McLaughlin said...

Hello J, I'm pleased to have lured you out of hiding! Nice to meet another AD fan. I haven't read An Expedition, but I just looked it up- it sounds like an interesting read. Thanks for commenting, and all the best with the pak choy!

Belle said...

Ben, J is my husband, and he's now commented on your blog as many times as he's commented on mine. You should feel very loved!

Ben McLaughlin said...

Belle, I am feeling the love, don't you worry. Nice to meet your other half. A fella who likes Annie Dillard has gotta be a keeper.

Belle said...

I think so too. The obsession with seedlings is a different story, though...