Title: Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
Author: Annie Dillard
Synopsis: “Her personal narrative highlights one year’s exploration on foot in the Virginia region through which Tinker Creek runs. In the summer, Dillard stalks muskrats in the creek and contemplates wave mechanics; in the fall, she watches a monarch butterfly migration and dreams of Arctic caribou. She tries to con a coot; she collects pond water and examines it under a microscope. She unties a snake skin, witnesses a flood, and plays King of the Meadow with a field of grasshoppers. The result is an exhilarating tale of nature and its seasons.”
Why I can’t live without this book: Oh, you guys. Anyone who knows me knows that Annie Dillard is going to be at the top of my reading list. She envelops the present. She relishes in God and in nature. She gives the reader sentences to chew on, words that leave lasting marks on your breath. But she is not the favorite of many people – Laura Turner and an old class of high school English students, to name a few. Of the latter, I naively thought that these more-than-advanced juniors (who really were smarter than me, to be certain) would enjoy reading one of their English teacher’s college haunts. “Miss Mac!” One young gentlemen finally exclaimed frustratedly, “There’s no plot!” And I probably said something snarky like, Au contraire! One need not have a plot to have a good reading time! But unfortunately, most of the class agreed with him. Don’t let it be the same for you.
(One of my) favorite quotes: “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.”
So, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek: are you a lover or a hater? Do you need a plot to carry the story along, or are you just like ah! Beauty! I can do without!
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