I just noticed that I posted 12 times in January and have only posted once in February. Of course, this entry will bring that total to a whopping two, but the numbers they are revealing. Revealing in what way? Well, it probably reveals that I've been using up more of my "spare" time during the day with actual work, so I haven't been reading during daylight hours. My reading has been confined to those few, wee moments just prior to sleep. You can imagine how reluctant one might be to get out of one's cozy bed to return to the computer just to post some insight about whatever one had been reading in that cozy bed. One's willingness to entertain such a notion is made even more fleeting when one is reading with a booklight whilst entirely under one's covers . Head and all. That's been the way I've been progressing (can I even use such a word for what I've been doing with Tinker Creek lately?) in my reading lately. You take what you can get, I suppose, but lately what I can get is hardly worth mentioning, much less typing about. Sometimes, I grope out from under the covers for the pen and underline something particularly noteworthy, but even that takes some serious commitment. All that to say: I'm still being inspired and challenged by Dillard's fine work here. Sometimes it takes itself a bit more seriously than I'm comfortable with; at others, she goes on much too long about some finer point. Overall, though, when she hits the zinger paragraph at the end of the essay, you can guarantee there will be sparks.
Here are some of my favorite bits:
On the perseverance of plants -
I can barely keep from unconsciously ascribing a will to these plants, a do or die courage, and I have to remind myself that coded cells and mute water pressure have no idea how grandly they are flying in the teeth of it all. (164)
On fish as a symbol for Christ -
Imagine for a Mediterranean people how much easier it is to haul up free, fed fish in nets than to pasture hungry herds on these bony hills and feed them through the winter. To say that holiness is a fish is a statement of the abundance of grace; it is the equivalent of affirming in a purely materialistic culture than money does indeed grow on trees. (188)
On looking for muskrats -
The great hurrah about wild animals is that they exist at all, and the greater hurrah is the actual moment of seeing them. Because they have a nice dignity, and prefer to have nothing to do with me, not even as the simple objects of my vision. They show me by their very wariness what a prize it is simply to open my eyes and behold. (195)
Like the plant, I will persevere. I'm even eschewing work tonight in favor of book. I'm sure I will regret it later, but for now, there are a few words I'd like to read by the light of an ordinary bedside lamp.