( Book ) ☩ Pilgrim at Tinker Creek ☪ MOBI eBook or Kindle ePUB free

There is something remarkably spiritual about Dillard s thorough observations and painfully accurate descriptions of the natural world in Tinker Creek, her home in Virginia Each chapter evokes the grotesque transformation that insects, reptiles, fish and animals undergo to adapt to the indifferent natural habitat that fosters, disfigures and finally kills them The shifting seasons, attuned to the natural cycle, provide sporadic moments of enlightening contemplations about creation and the forces that make the world spin on its axis under the inanimate, unknown universe that allows stars to become the source of warmth and life regardless of an apparently soulless disorder of things.Dillard s conception of beauty is based on emptying the mind and abandoning the constant recognition of the self to surrender to one s surroundings, making the natural world the protagonist and not the background of our erratic, uncertain and insignificant lives A type of beauty that shines in the mangled creatures she so carefully devotes her attention to.She unlocks meaning from the water bug sucking the life out of a frog, or from the praying mantis laying eggs after mutilating the male, or from monarch butterflies that hatch and carry the smell of previous seasons with them before they migrate to the south The careless and the unaware nature is, the bountiful its outlandish fecundity and growth becomes, and corruption, decay and death are taken as intrinsic stages of this ongoing process of merely being.Words pour out of Dillard s poetic drive, flooding pages with impossible detail and countless scientific facts that she matches up with the spiritual ache that urges her to go out every morning, and some nights, in search of answers.The problem of this particular reader was that she was incapable of joining Dillard in the vacuum of her mental space, in the place where she dropped all questions to become a still mirror, to become what she saw I, on the other hand, remained an outcast, a voyeur of her spiritual communion with the world, unable to partake in its grace and gnarled glory. Thomas Merton wrote, There is always a temptation to diddle around in the contemplative life, making itsy bitsy statues There is always an enormous temptation in all of life to diddle around making itsy bitsy friends and meals and journeys for itsy bitsy years on end It is so self conscious, so apparently moral, simply to step aside from the gaps where the creeks and winds pour down, saying, I never merited this grace, quite rightly, and then to sulk along the rest of your days on the edge of rage I won t have it The world is wilder than that in all directions, dangerous and bitter, extravagant and bright We are making hay when we should be making whoopee we are raising tomatoes when we should be raising Cain, or Lazarus.Ezekiel excoriates false prophets as those who have not gone up into the gaps The gaps are the things The gaps are the spirit s one homeThe universe was not made in jest but in solemn incomprehensible earnest By a power that is unfathomably secret, and holy, and fleet There is nothing to be done about it, but ignore it, or see And then you walk fearlessly, eating what you must, growing wherever you can, like the monk on the road who knows precisely how vulnerable he is, who takes no comfort among death forgetting men, and who carries his vision of vastness and might around in his tunic like a live coal which neither burns nor warms him, but with which he will not part. one of those things that came almost literally from the sky, dropped on the table in front of me with a shrug an nil explanation my absolute favorite book, I LOVE THIS BOOK i ve so far read it five times and bought it for four others highlighted to hell and took lots of notes, referenced it past the point where people are beyond over it so all i ll say is minutiae in nature are extraordinary About five years ago I saw a mockingbird make a straight vertical descent from the roof gutter of a four story building It was an act as careless and spontaneous as the curl of a stem or the kindling of a star 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 insouciant 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 yes. I have since only very rarely seen the tree with lights in it The vision comes and goes, mostly goes, but I live for it, for the moment when the mountains open and a new light roars in spate through the crack, and the mountains slam. pilgrim One who embarks on a quest for some end conceived as sacred Any traveler Pilgrim at Tinker s Creek can perhaps best be described as a journal a travel journal, in which Annie Dillard tells of her pilgrimage to find God Now if this was what I had understood the book to be, I never would have read it And I would have missed an unforgettable reading experience.Nevertheless, the recurrent hints that that s what is going on, though never coalescing into this truth for me, did disturb me somewhat So I want to deal with this aspect of the book and get it out of the way But first this spoiler simply tucks aside the names of the chapters of the book I refer to some of these in the review view spoiler 1 Heaven and Earth in Jest2 Seeing3 Winter4 The Fixed5 Untying the Knot6 The Present7 Spring8 Intricacy9 Flood10 Fecundity11 Stalking12 Nightwatch13 The Horns of the Altar14 Northing15 The Waters of Separation hide spoiler ( Book ) ♴ Pilgrim at Tinker Creek ⚉ An Exhilarating Meditation On Nature And Its Seasons A Personal Narrative Highlighting One Year S Exploration On Foot In The Author S Own Neighborhood In Tinker Creek, Virginia 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 I read Pilgrim every year In high school I wrote my diary as a series of letters to Annie Dillard so gay It s basically about a really smart young woman wandering the forest and thinking about nature and god and philosophy and stuff Think Thoreau reincarnated as a 24 year old chick in the 70s It didn t win the Pulitzer for nothing It s a great book to read when you re in a none of this shit matters mood No celebrities No pop culture references No boys. For me, two stars means I disliked it even though GR says it means it was okay I usually don t finish books that I dislike, that s why I have so few 2 star reviews here on this site However, this one seemed harmless enough, and there were aspects of the book I liked at least when I started For example, there are a lot of stories and anecdotes about nature that were really interesting On cool autumn nights, eels hurrying to the sea sometimes crawl for a mile or across dewy meadows to reach streams that will carry them to salt water These are adult eels, silver eels, and this descent that slid down my mind is the fall from a long spring ascent the eels made years ago In the late summer of the year they reached maturity, they stopped eating and their dark color vanished They turned silver now they are heading to the sea where they will mate, release their eggs, and die Imagine a chilly night and a meadow balls of dew droop from the curved blades of grass Here come the eels The largest are five feet long All are silver They stream into the meadow, sift between grasses and clover, veer from your path There are too many to count All you see is a silver slither, like twisted ropes of water falling roughly, a one way milling and mingling over the meadow and slide to the creek.This is interesting It s this kind of stuff that kept me reading There s still a little bit of over writing in there that I despise, but whatever Now listen to this next part If I saw that sight, would I live If I stumbled across it, would I ever set foot from my door again Or would I be seized to join that compelling rush, would I cease eating, and pale, and abandon all to start walking Blegh The melodrama The romanticization The overly dramatic prose and why does she always think everything has to do with HER Almost every time she mentions some natural phenomena, she inevitably ends the thought with some kind of personal revelation or reaction It s excessive and selfish and human centric It s exactly what I don t want to read in a book about nature She just inserts herself everywhere, as if her thoughts are important than what is actually going on As for the language, which people seem to praise, I found it bloated, overwritten and unnecessarily concerned with description Not just description, but description bordering on embellishment I felt her human hands in everything, making the beauty that she often describes into heavy labored prose full of awkward strain and effort. This was not a badly written book However, it should not be forced upon poor innocent high school students I have had to read a lot of boring books in my high school career, but this tops them all Just when you thought something interesting was going to happen she watches birds or something for hours True, there were moments of great beauty and her philosphy were not always crazed I respect her art and her view of the world, but she has even said that it s silly for schools to make 16 and 17 year old kids read this book It should be left to the deeper, tree huggers of the world. I love this book, but it frustrates me too Maybe it s because Dillard was so young when she wrote it But it doesn t deserve to be compared to Walden Thoreau is arrogant and has a prescription for every one of society s problems Dillard asks hard questions and agonizes over the answers It s never an open and shut case for her I ll read her books again and again, but I might be done with Thoreau. O my god.I just finished this book and there is not much I can say about it, because I am still in the grips of its quiet, beautiful power If you want to know what it s about, read others reviews Here I can only tell you that my life is changed for having read this book I will never look at the world the same way again, and I will spend every day I have.Annie Dillard reminds me that if I live for a thousand years and write every day I will never achieve this simple, perfect beauty, but I never want to stop trying anyway Addendum Now that I ve been able to digest this book a bit , I feel prepared to add a few comments.People have said that this book is about theology broadly, or theodicy specifically that is, the attempt to make the idea of a loving personal god fit into a cruel, cold natural world I don t think that s true Annie Dillard may well have written Pilgrim at Tinker Creek and designed it to be about theology or theodicy, and to her it may be a treatise on those themes But it is so accessibly crafted that it is just as much about the lack of a god in the universe, and the independence of nature, if that is the way you approach nature on a personal level The Bible and other Abrahamic religious sources are often quoted, but so are field guides, nature writers, and poets and they are all quoted in such picturesque and touching ways that anyone can relate to the message therein To Dillard, the Bible is just another source to be mined for understanding of human nature, or for understanding humanity s place in nature When Dillard writes directly of God, it s not to preach at the reader or even to assume It s to question, to imagine, to ask the reader whether she is God and whether she is finished yet with Creation This book is not about any point of theology It is about mystery The mystery of being, of being alert and aware, of seeing and experiencing The mystery of life s briefness and life s beauty It is one of the finest, most touching, most human books I have ever read, and doubtless one to which I ll return whenever I need comfort or whenever I simply want to know that I m not the only one who loves the world so intensely, or who wonders about so many things.