“I thought i would not need to breathe for days.’ So writes Annie Dillard in her classic Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.
She writes about the epiphany she had in the simple act of watching the elusive muskrat near her home in Tinker Creek ,just outside Roanoke, Virginia.The book is a classic of patient observation and deep appreciation, often with theological musings.
Imagine the joy of such a glorious experience.
For the next five pages Dillard who won the Pulitzer prize (1975) stuns us with the miraculous lives of the common muskrat. She tells us stunning things she has learned simply through her observations and study of nature.
Dillard is one of those rare birds like Thoreau and John Muir who call attention to the daily miracle of life in the biotic and animal realms.
While I was reading this stunning passage I was walking on the eastern boardwalk of the Beaches, part of my daily regimen.
I watch as people are constantly checking emails apparently unable to get through the day without incessantly looking at these inconsequential flares and Facebook.
“Monkey mind” as the Buddhists call it is destroying our appreciation of the natural world and our place in it.Jumping from one piece of ephemera to the next, we are indeed like monkeys swinging wildly from branch to branch,”distracted from distraction by distraction” (Eliot).W#e are unable to think, observe or savour the ordinary things of life.We are forever missing the many-splendoured thing as we admire our pictures on Faceook or flip to social websites mostly full of self-absorption or trivia.
We are in desperate need of resouling.