Posted by: Philip Carr-Gomm | May 5, 2009

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

I guess we all have books that we promise ourselves we will read or re-read when we have the time, when we are older, when we can finally stop the mad rush… Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek is one of those books that I started to read as a teenager, and found it so inspiring I put it down at a certain point…waiting for the right time to drink from it again. Thirty or forty years later here I am still waiting! Here’s a sample:

Live water heals memories. I look up the creek and here it comes, the future, being borne aloft as on a winding succession of laden trays. You may wake and look from the window and breathe the real air, and say, with satisfaction or with longing, ‘This is it.’ But if you look up the creek, if you look up the creek in any weather, your spirit fills, and you are saying, with an exulting rise of the lungs, ‘Here it comes!’

Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek


Responses

  1. Thanks for this Philip, it is really beautiful. Stop waiting, start reading! I hadn’t heard of this. I had a quick surf about it and it looks wonderful (yet another book on my list!) – I am really fascinated by mystical nature writing. I love those writers that open up the seemingly mundane and local, allowing us to see just how magical and expansive it really is, if we have eyes to see. On the related posts link, I found this lovely quote from the book:

    ‘You don’t run down the present, pursue it with baited hooks and nets. You wait for it, empty handed, and you are filled.’

  2. The most amazing thing about this book is that Annie Dillard wrote it before she was thirty. Over the years, I’ve read this book often, though never all at once. It allows you to savor a piece and walk away for a while.

    As beaufiful as Tinker is, however, Dillard’s An American Childhood rang more bells for me.

  3. Would ‘An American Childhood’ work for someone not American? I’d like to read more of her.
    I remember once Brian you explained your daily schedule to me, and it included a good chunk of time reading each day. It seemed so enviable, so sane!

  4. Those quoted words sang to the ears of my heart as I read them just now. Thank you.
    You seem to live many lives in one, Philip, with all your writing and enthusiam for life, interest in everything and creativity, I am surprised you have time to read at all!
    You bring a lot of inspiration to people….. me too.

  5. I think it might, Philip, many of her memories seem to come from Baby-Boomer-Central. I still read every day, though, surprisingly, I actually read more before I retired from daily organized work. Lately, I’ve been enjoying Eric Newby’s Arrivals and Departures.

    Here in the mountains, I try to write for a few hours in the morning and most evenings, the dog takes me for a walk in the woods

  6. I smiled when i read this – I too have a copy of PATC on my bookshelf, waiting for me to read it for the first time.


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