May 23 2 Comments

Annie Dillarding it while going to get groceries.

Seeing nature through a child's eyes is an exercise in Annie Dillarding

I half-read Annie Dillard’s book Pilgrim at Tinker Creek last year. I still have the book on my table and pick it up from time to time, to get inspired, to think that I wish I was as good of a writer as Annie Dillard, and to wonder if there is ever going to be anything happening in the book. The entire book is her reflections on what she sees in nature around Tinker Creek. To be totally honest (and don’t say this to the literary upper-class), it gets boring.

But still, I have to say I admire the author’s ability to observe and express what she sees in words.

I am the kind of person who will walk so fast, and often with my head in the clouds, that I won’t even notice if there was a moose hiding behind a tree in front of me. (It’s true. Once I drove past three huge moose and commented to Kristin: Look, Kristin, see the donkeys? Why am I sharing this?)

So today, when I rode my bicycle 10K to go to the grocery store, I decided to do some Annie Dillarding. It made the ride a lot more pleasurable.

  • On my ride I saw wild strawberry flowers, so close to the ground it made me think they were shy and did not want to bother anybody.
  • There were Lilies of the Valley hidden among lots of greenery. They were a stark contrast to all the green, and the delicate bells made me think of brides in their white gowns. Were there ever better-smelling flowers?
  • I saw seagulls walking on a brown field that had just been ploughed, meticulously they covered the ground with their steps, looking for worms to eat for lunch. I envied their simple life for some seconds, and then decided that was going a bit too far.
  • I smelled the fresh scent of the sea as I came down to the ocean side. The smell comes from afar and carries in it health and strength.
  • I watched the small birds fly across the sky and I tried to follow their path. I gave up quickly, and settled on enjoying their songs instead.
  • I stopped on the side of the road and picked a bag full of a bright green weed, that most consider a nuisance, but that I used in my cooking.
  • I watched farmers preparing fences for the cows who will soon dance a dance of freedom on green fields.
  • I saw mountains in the distance, snow covered and blue.
  • I saw the ocean sparkle and dance a slow waltz.

Then I came home and made dinner. But first I had to do the breakfast dishes.