"As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame; / [ . . . ] Each mortal thing does one thing and the same: / Deals out that being indoors each one dwells; / Selves -- goes itself; 'myself' it speaks and spells, / Crying 'What I do is me; for that I came'." --Gerard Manley Hopkins

06 October 2006

Dillard Thoughts

Glancing through the last chapter of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek this morning, I was struck with the following passage:

I think that the dying pray at the last not "please," but "thank you," as a guest thanks his host at the door. Falling from airplanes the people are crying thank you, thank you, all down the air; and the cold carriages draw up for them on the rocks. Divinity is not playful. The universe was not made in jest but in solemn incomprehensible earnest. By a power that is unfathomably secret, and holy, and fleet. There is nothing to be done about it, but ignore it, or see. And then you walk fearlessly, eating what you must, growing wherever you can, like the monk on the road who knows precisely how vulnerable he is, who takes no comfort among death-forgetting men, and who carries his vision of vastness and might around in his tunic like a live coal which neither burns nor warms him, but with which he will not part.

I long to be fearless, seeing. I long to be, instead of always striving. I will not part with the live coal I carry, and I will not take comfort where no comfort may be truly found. Be Thou my vision . . . nought be all else to me save that Thou art . . .


Cindy said...

I've read the book, but somehow this passage eluded my memory. Breathtaking. And hard.

Needed it. Thank you.

GrumpyTeacher1 said...

No matter how many times I encounter her work, Dillard startles me every time.