Friday, January 1, 2016

January 1: Annie Dillard, "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek," Partly Cloudies, Edged in Gold

Today is one of those excellent January partly cloudies in which light chooses an unexpected part of the landscape to trick out in gilt, and then shadow sweeps it away.  You know you're alive.  You take huge steps, trying to feel the planet's roundness arc between your feet.  Kazantzakis says that when he was young he had a canary and a globe.  When he freed the canary, it would perch on the globe and sing.  All his life, wandering the earth, he felt as though he had a canary on top of his mind, singing.

Welcome to Tinker Creek.  This year's book will be Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.  It's a book that I read on my honeymoon in Hawaii, on the plane, in hotel rooms, on a beach overlooking a coral cove.  It was a time of hopes and expectations.  The whole world open and fresh, like a fresh-cut lawn or the Pacific Ocean.

I chose Pilgrim because it's a book full of beauty and light.  All kinds of light.  Like the January partly cloudy Dillard describes above.  And I want a year of beauty and light.  There has been too much darkness in my life in the last couple of years.  As I sit here, typing this post, I'm looking out a window.  The sun is setting on the first day of 2016.  The branches of the trees are edged in gold.  That's the kind of year I'm hoping for.  A year edged in gold.

Now, I know it's a fool's dream to hope for an entire year of blessings and goodness.  Life has a way of circumventing those kinds of ambitions.  I will experience hardship in the next 365 days.  Sadness and worry.  The world is a broken place, and brokenness has a way of asserting itself.  But so does light.  Light seeps in through the cracks of a dark room.  Around the window shades.  Under closed doors.  Where there is darkness, there is also light.

So, I am going to be a pilgrim at Tinker Creek, along with Annie Dillard.  You can join us.  The writing is stunning, seeped with spirituality and poetry.  I guarantee you will be inspired.  Taken by surprise.  The world is full of strange creations, things that make you believe in everyday miracles.

As this day draws to a close, I am . . . content.  I guess that's the best word I can come up with.  I'm satisfied.  This evening, I will go home, spend the night reading and watching my daughter and her friend pretend they're just friends.  I could clean my bathroom and straighten up my living room.  But I'm tired.  I want a night of rest.  Of nothing.

Saint Marty just wants to listen to the canary on the top of his head.  It's singing, "This little light of mine..."

Thoughts on New Year's Resolutions


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