Annie Dillard

I have been reading Annie Dillard again…
Always a dangerous pastime.
I SO wish I could write like her. To call forth descriptions and emotion the way she does.
I always want to grab the shirtsleeve of anyone passing by and point to the passage and say, “look! Listen to this!”

Her writing moves me. The first piece I read of hers and I am always returning to is “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek”.
An amazing book that took me a good long time to get through.
I’d read a passage and have to put it down to think about it… it’s that dense.
I often refer to it as my bible.
She’d probably cringe to hear anyone say that, but I’m not a very religious person… at least not in the conventional sense, but I still like to look up at the stars and ponder the universe.
To me, the unknowable is faith. The wonder of the universe…. the inexplicable beauty of it, is God.
That is my religion.
Organized religion claims to answer the unanswerable….. Science offers a theory For the unknowable.
I like not knowing.
I thrive on it.
And Annie Dillard voices that wonder so well.

Check it out:

“What do I make of all this texture? What does it mean about the kind of world in which I have been set down? The texture of the world, its filigree and scrollwork, means that there is the possibility for beauty here, a beauty inexhaustible in its complexity, which opens to my knock, which answers in me a call I do not remember calling, and which trains me to the wild and extravagant nature of the spirit I seek.”
— Annie Dillard

“I cannot cause light; the most I can do is try to put myself in the path of its beam.”
— Annie Dillard

“The world is wider in all directions, more dangerous and bitter, more extravagant and bright. We are making hay when we should be making whoopee; we are raising tomatoes when we should be raising Cain and Lazarus.”
— Annie Dillard (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek)

“After the one extravagant gesture of creation in the first place, the universe has continued to deal exclusively in extravagances, flinging intricacies and colossi down aeons of emptiness, heaping profusions on profligacies with ever-fresh vigor. The whole show has been on fire from the word go. I come down to the water to cool my eyes. But everywhere I look I see fire; that which isn’t flint is tinder, and the whole world sparks and flames.”
— Annie Dillard (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek)

“It is ironic that the one thing that all religions recognize as separating us from our creator–our very self-consciousness–is also the one thing that divides us from our fellow creatures. It was a bitter birthday present from evolution.”
— Annie Dillard

“I am a frayed and nibbled survivor in a fallen world, and I am getting along. I am aging and eaten and have done my share of eating too. I am not washed and beautiful, in control of a shining world in which everything fits, but instead am wondering awed about on a splintered wreck I’ve come to care for, whose gnawed trees breathe a delicate air, whose bloodied and scarred creatures are my dearest companions, and whose beauty bats and shines not in its imperfections but overwhelmingly in spite of them…”
— Annie Dillard

“The mockingbird took a single step into the air and dropped. His wings were still folded against his sides as though he were singing from a limb and not falling, accelerating thirty-two feet per second per second, through empty air. Just a breath before he would have been dashed to the ground, he unfurled his wings with exact, deliberate care, revealing the broad bars of white, spread his elegant, white-banded tail, and so floated onto the grass. I had just rounded a corner when his incouciant step caught my eye; there was no one else in sight. The fact of his free fall was like the old philosophical conundrum about the tree that falls in the forest. The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.”
— Annie Dillard