The secret of seeing is then the pearl of great price. If I thought he could teach me to find it and keep it forever I would stagger barefoot across a hundred deserts after any lunatic at all. But although the pearl may be found it may not be sought. The literature of illumination reveals this above all although it comes to those who wait for it it is always even to the most practiced and adept a gift and a total surprise. I return from one walk knowing where the killdeer nests in the field by the creek and the hour the laurel blooms. I return form the same walk a day later scarcely knowing my own name. Litanies hum in my ears my tongue flaps in my mouth. Ailinon alleluia
Famous Quotes from Annie Dillard
Last year I had a very unusual experience. I was awake with my eyes closed when I had a dream. It was a small dream about time. I was dead I guess in deep black space high up among many white stars. My own consciousness had been disclosed to me and I was happy. Then I saw far below me a long curved band of color. As I came closer I saw that it stretched endlessly in either direction and I understood that I was seeing all the time of the planet where I had lived. It looked like a womans tweed scarf the longer I studied any one spot the more dots of color I saw. There was no end to the deepness and variety of the dots. At length I started to look for my time but although more and more specks of color and deeper and more intricate textures appeared in the fabric I couldnt find my time or any time at all that I recognized as being near my time. I couldnt make out so much as a pyramid. Yet as I looked at the band of time all the individual people I understood with special clarity were living at the very moment with great emotion in intricate detail in their individual times and places and they were dying and being replaced by ever more people one by one like stitches in which whole worlds of feeling and energy were wrapped in a never-ending cloth. I remembered suddenly the color and texture of our life as we knew it- these things had been utterly forgotten- and I thought as I searched for it on the limitless band that was a good time then a good time to be living.And I began to remember our time. I recalled green fields with carrots growing one by one in slender rows. Men and women in bright vests and scarves came and pulled the carrots out of the soil and carried them in baskets to shaded kitchens where they scrubbed them with yellow brushes under running waterI saw may apples in forest erupting through leaf-strewn paths. Cells on the root hairs of sycamores split and divided and apples grew striped and spotted in the fall. Mountains kept their cool caves and squirrels raced home to their nests through sunlight and shade. I remembered the ocean and I seemed to be in the ocean myself swimming over orange crabs that looked like coral or off the deep Atlantic banks where whitefish school. Or again I saw the tops of poplars and the whole sky brushed with clouds in pallid streaks under which wilds ducks flew and called one by one and flew on. All these things I saw. Scenes grew in depth and sunlit detail before my eyes and were replaced by ever more scenes as I remembered the life of my time with increasing feeling. At last I saw the earth as a globe in space and I recalled the oceans shape and the form of continents saying to myself with surprise as I looked at the planet Yes thats how it was then that part there we called France. I was filled with the deep affection of nostalgia- and then I opened my eyes.