Thursday, 2 December 2010

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek won the Pullitzer Prize in 1975. I found this copy on a Bookcrossing bookshelf a couple of months ago. This is an amazing book! It's a journal of the author's year in her home near Tinker Creek in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains, including her observations and thoughts on solitude, writing, religion, and nature. She records everything in amazing detail, making you wish you could see more yourself when you're out observing nature. Woven seamlessly into her observations are thoughts about how nature fits together and finds a balance; the meaning of life and death for humans and for other living things and a spiritual searching. She has a wonderful ability to see the long time scale and to make connections that most people don't make on a conscious level and that would probably help us all if we could develop the same ability:

...the duck pond is rapidly turning into a landfill of its own, a landfill paved in frogs. There are a million frogs here, bullfrogs hopping all over each other on tangled mats of algae. And the pond is filling up. Small ponds don't live very long, especially in the south. Decaying matter piles up on the bottom, depleting oxygen and the shore plants march to the middle. In another couple of centuries, if no one interferes the duck pond will be a hickory forest.

A wonderful book for anyone who loves nature.

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard published by Harper's Magazine Press, 1974.
 
As ever, red text in this post is a hyperlink and takes you to a page where you can find out more!

11 comments:

Shakespeare said...

I ADORE this book! I still have my ratty old copy from Composition I. My instructor used to choose a student of the day to argue with about a chapter. I had the one on the luna moth, and when he argued that the life of one stupid moth didn't matter, I actually started crying in class (that's still my favorite chapter).

From that point on he selected TWO students each chapter.

I taught that book again when I created a composition class for Forestry majors at one school. Then we spent a bunch of time outside, wandering around the school-owned forests, writing about what we observed. So much fun!

Elizabeth Rimmer said...

I love this book too, and her other one A Writing Life

The Weaver of Grass said...

Wonderful book - one of my favourites too.

Titus said...

Blimey! I hadn't even heard of it. Feeling stupid, but thanks for the introduction.

Magyar said...

Titus...
__Not to worry, between us we've never heard of this book; I'm
sure, among all vistors here, we are not the only two... that have just leaned. I'll be searching!

Thank you for your referral, Juliet! _m

Rabbits' Guy said...

Annie Dillard. Shortly after this book was published she moved here to our area and taught at the college in Bellingham - 20 miles up the road. For a time she lived on one of the very primitive San Juan Islands that has no power or phones and is serviced by a local with a small plane and with private boats. Everyone is kinda nuts there. We have sailed near the Island (Waldron) and people always said not to go to close or you would be shot at! She wrote 'The Living' about the first settlers here at Fairhaven which has become now part of Bellingham. Very hard to read .. so much gloom.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Glad so many others have enjoyed this book! Titus and Magyar - I hadn't heard of it before I picked it up, it was a wonderful serendipitous find... If you do find it, I'm sure you'll love it too!

helencaldwell said...

This book sounds lovely. Bookcrossing is such a great idea. Thanks for the link.

Carver said...

That sounds like a book I'd love. Thanks for the recommendation.

HKatz said...

I read this book in high school and remember being blown away by it - beautiful writing and observations on nature. I should re-read it at some point.

Deb G said...

Just requested a copy from the library.