Sunday, February 04, 2007

An Annie posting

Every so often the right book falls into your hands at the right time, and you immerse yourself in words of beauty. This week, my gift was to find and read Annie Dillard's Teaching a Stone to Talk: Expeditions and Encounters. So here, I give you a gift, of some lovely lines from Annie:

We are down here in time, where beauty grows.

I have some experience of these palo santo trees. They interest me as emblems of the muteness of the human stance in relation to all that is not human. I see us all as palo santo trees, holy sticks, together watching all that we watch, and growing in silence.

It is difficult to undo our own damage, and to recall to our presence that which we have asked to leave. It is hard to desecrate a grove and change your mind. The very holy mountains are keeping mum. We doused the burning bush and cannot rekindle it; we are lighting matches in vain under every green tree. Did the wind use to cry, and the hills shout forth praise? Now speech has perished from among the lifeless things of earth, and living things say very little to very few. Birds may crank out sweet gibberish and monkeys howl; horses neigh and pigs say, as you recall, oink oink. But so do cobbles rumble when a wave recedes, and thunders break the air in lightning storms. I call these noises silence. It could be that wherever there is motion there is noise, as when a whale breaches and smacks the water-and wherever there is stillness there is the still small voice, of God's speaking from the whirlwind, nature's old song and dance, the show we drove from town.

Thank you, Annie.


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