Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pilgrim at Bottle Creek

We ran a couple of errands yesterday and went by the library to check out some movies for the weekend. There is a free bookshelf outside the main entrance to the library and we always scan the shelves before we leave. Bjørn spotted an old treasure, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. It seemed serendipitous to me, so I took it.

I don’t often re-read books, so revisiting Tinker Creek has been a delightful reawakening of thoughts and senses long left to atrophy. My 47 year-old artist self is reconnecting with my 22 year-old artist self. A difference of 25 years. A quarter of a century. This was one of those books that you were expected to read as an artist of that period and most definitely required if you were an art student.

I have only gotten as far as the first couple of chapters and already my sense of sight is renewed. I see everything differently – finer grained, more in focus, macro and micro. My perspective is once again altered. Everything seems more precious and fragile and fleeting than even a day ago. How amazing that a few pages of text can do that to me. The language is rich with complexity and imagery. It is no wonder that it won a Pulitzer.

The content of the book seems so much more urgent and important as we witness scientific discussions about climate change and attempt to do our own small part to help. It also seems prescient when so many of us have given over our lives to devices and hardly take time to gaze beyond the screen. The Tinker Creek kind of detailed concentration and focus of observation is impossible when the cell phone is ringing. Perhaps it is even impossible simply with the device in your pocket – a sliver of consciousness and concentration always diverted.

To be continued…

Annie Dillard (official site)

Tinker Creek images on Google

PB’s Bottle Creek

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