“The world is wilder than that in all directions, more dangerous and bitter, more extravagant and bright . . . Go up into the gaps.” ~ Annie Dillard, from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

Roi dei Frari, Venice (ca. 1920s)
by Kurt Hielscher

                  

“Thomas Merton wrote, ‘there is always a temptation to diddle around in the contemplative life, making itsy-bitsy statues.’ There is always an enormous temptation in all of life to diddle around making itsy-bitsy friends and meals and journeys for itsy-bitsy years on end. It is so self-conscious, so apparently moral, simply to step aside from the gaps where the creeks and winds pour down, saying, I never merited this grace, quite rightly, and then to sulk along the rest of your days on the edge of rage.

I won’t have it. The world is wilder than that in all directions, more dangerous and bitter, more extravagant and bright. We are making hay when we should be making whoopee; we are raising tomatoes when we should be raising Cain, or Lazarus.

Go up into the gaps. If you can find them; they shift and vanish too. Stalk the gaps. Squeak into a gap in the soil, turn, and unlock—more than a maple—a universe. This is how you spend this afternoon, and tomorrow morning, and tomorrow afternoon. Spend the afternoon. You can’t take it with you.”

~ Annie Dillard. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

via  Whiskey River

Music by Hungry Ghosts, “Three Sisters”

5 thoughts on ““The world is wilder than that in all directions, more dangerous and bitter, more extravagant and bright . . . Go up into the gaps.” ~ Annie Dillard, from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

  1. I don’t understand most of this stuff. Most of what I do understand is what I don’t. For instance, what does self conscious mean? I have stumbled over this term all my life. Does it mean to be aware of yourself? That seems good. Does it mean to be conscious only of yourself and not others? Not so good. If you were all alone in this world maybe you would get tired of thinking about yourself and seek the invisible God for some other consciousness. Or maybe just conscious of the world around us and less of ourselves. Doing that, we might look at ourselves differently; but that’s just back to where you started-yourself. Self conscious. I have always thought self consciousness was something bad like being self-centered. The older I get, (I’m 63 now), the less I understand what anyone is talking about. I prefer simple language but I can learn too.

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting.

      I think that what Dillard is trying to say in this passage is to be more aware of what is going on around us and to spend less time involved in the self. Notice the big things, the gaps, plunge into life. Relish life.

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