Thursday, July 9, 2015

Between failures

Between failures, I've been reading Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker's Creek, and the act is been a glorious mess. The book is like a long prose poem or meditation on biology, which puts it far over my head. Part of that is because I have no familiarity with the scientists or science she refers to with such ease, and I realize that there is a strange irony there. As I walked today, I realized that of all the classes I took in high school, the only "honors" class I ever had was in biology. Not long after this book of been published and became a bit of a sensation, I was in that class driving my instructor crazy not because of the usual science versus religion crap, but because I couldn't be still to see what I wanted or needed to.  

Once, when we were all supposed to be looking at something on the slide, I just couldn't get close enough. It seems as if I went in just a little further I could see more. Now, I can't recall what it was we were all trying to look at, but I know I wanted to see deeper into the thing, whatever it was. And somewhere in a dreamy distance, I could hear my teacher fairly screaming for me to stop, and I turned the knob on the microscope just a little more and just a little more. Then crack! I had broken everything.

black dragonfly
you have mosquitoes to catch
pause here a moment

This summer work calls to me. Perhaps if I was more honest, I would say that I call to it. After taking last summer off, I have thrown myself – not without some joy – into my job. I have a renewed vigor, and I want to take advantage of it. The loss is perhaps big. There will be no week of walking in the woods. There will probably be fewer sunflowers on my camera. More birds will be left alone. Some colors rise, and some colors fade.  I keep turning the knob. Hopefully with age I am a bit more careful.

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