Thursday, January 7, 2010

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

Currently I am reading Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard. An older book that you probably read years and years ago. It was published in 1974 and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1975.

I had a baby in 1975, moved temporarily to Oxford, Ohio, and went back to college. The stint at Miami University was followed by a three-year sentence at the University of Dayton School of Law. For 6 years, if it wasn´t a book by Dr. Spock or on some prof´s required reading list, I missed it.

Now Pilgrim at Tinker Creek is over 30 years old, and no one talks about it any more. But it is wonderful, and I am glad I finally found it. If you missed Pilgrim, too, I heartily recommend it. Nature hasn´t changed, and Dillard is a beautiful writer. If you read it when it was new, re-read it. I love to re-read books, or at least passages of them. It is like visiting an old friend.

After reading Annie Dillard describe praying mantises ( manti?), I will never look at the creepy green bugs the same. She makes them sound like wonderous creatures, which I suppose they really are. Once, when Kent and I were living on the second floor of an apartment building, I came face-to-face with a mantis. It was sitting on the stair case right outside our apartment. I have no idea how it managed to get there. Suddenly it swivled its head half-way around its body to stare at me. I jumped like I had been attacked. It never moved, never did anything but look at me, but it creeped me out.

This fall I saw one here in Arizona, and I was amazed. It was only about an inch or so long and very bright green. It was sitting in a potted plant on my porch table. I had never seen any of them here. I thought it would have been too hot. I didn´t kill it, of course, but I had Kent removed it from my table. Maybe next time, after reading Pilgrim, I will let it stay on my table.

For more about Annie Dillard, see her website at

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