Sunday, February 3, 2008

"the thing illuminated cannot be lighter than the illuminator"

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The light is diffuse and hueless, like the light of paper inside a pewter bowl. The snow looks light and the sky dark, bu in fact the sky is lighter than the snow. Obviously the thing illuminated cannot be lighter than the illuminator...The dark is overhead and the light at my feet; I am walking upside-down in the sky
--Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

Yesterday I went running with S., and we went farther than I am accustomed. During the night I awoke with aching muscles, drank a glass of wine and took some ibuprofen, then spent the next two hours plucking out a tune on the guitar. I can feel the tug of spring. It is music, and aching muscles, and sunburned skin--the delicious reminders of that delirious weight--of being earthly and mortal and poised for emergence into the next act of the drama.

This morning we did the grocery shopping then packed a small picnic to take down to the creek. It is still barren and grey, but this will change in a matter of weeks. I can already see the buds on the trees, tiny packages of new life waiting to burst open. It has changed so much in the twenty years since I first arrived here. There are more bicycles on the trails, and the old overgrown paths are now weary and denuded. It is seldom as quiet as it was years ago when you could sit perched on a rock and not see another soul for over an hour. This creek is the refuge for so many, and so much more fragile for that very reason.

I wonder what readers will think a generation from now, encountering Annie Dillard or Aldo Leopold, Edward Abbey or Wendell Berry. Will it all seem like a dream--this once wild and untameable nature?