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Monday, August 15, 2016

Quote-a-Day... 8-15-16

I'm on vacation and planning on lots of reading. Here's some goodness from Annie Dillard:

It is still the first week in January, and I’ve got great plans. I’ve been thinking about seeing. There are lots of things to see, unwrapped gifts and free surprises. The world is fairly studded and strewn with pennies cast broadside from some generous hand. But— and this is the point— who gets excited by a mere penny? If you follow one arrow, if you crouch motionless on a bank to watch a tremendous ripple thrill on the water and find yourself rewarded by the sight of a muskrat kit paddling from its den, will you count that sight a chip of copper only, and go your rueful way? 

It is dire poverty indeed when a man is so hungry and tired that he won’t stoop to pick up a penny. But if you cultivate a healthy poverty and simplicity, so that finding a penny will literally make your day, then, since the world is in fact planted in pennies, you have with your poverty bought a lifetime of days. It is that simple. What you see is what you get.

Dillard, Annie (2016-03-15). The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New (p. 152). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition. 

I am halfway through this collection, and cannot recommend it enough. I started reading Dillard years ago, but in the years since then, I've lived more of the highs and lows of life, and she feels brand new to me. This book is a collection of "top hits," and offers some new as well.

Dillard is not for the faint of heart. What I mean is that she is a precise and thoughtful wordsmith. I cannot read her the way I read a magazine article or blog post. I have to slow down, often re-reading a paragraph, to drink in the imagery and point of what she is saying.

The essay titled "Seeing," taken from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, is a tremendous way to start this vacation. I want to have my eyes (and ears, and heart, and mind, and soul) WIDE OPEN to the wonders all around me. Indeed, the world is fairly studded and strewn with pennies cast broadside from some generous hand. Let's do this!

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