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annie dillard essays

We were born and bored at a stroke. You have seen photographs of the sun taken during a total eclipse. 10, Nos. Why? Inside the restaurant we were all eating eggs or waffles; people were fairly shouting and exchanging enthusiasms, like fans after a World Series game. The rock walls burn the miners’ hands. It is a star in the process of exploding. It looked as though we had all crawled out of spaceships and were preparing to assault the valley below. The elevators in the mine shafts run very slowly, down, and up, so the miners’ ears will not pop in their skulls. A total solar eclipse in Svalbard, Longyearbyen, Norway, on March 20, 2015, The Foreign Places an Eclipse Can Take You. Yet it is a transition we make a hundred times a day, as, like so many will-less dolphins, we plunge and surface, lapse and emerge. If you were to glance out one day and see a row of mushroom clouds rising on the horizon, you would know at once that what you were seeing, remarkable as it was, was intrinsically not worth remarking. "Studies," in Architectural Digest, June, 1996. Like Roethke, “I take my waking slow.” Gradually I seemed more or less alive, and already forgetful. Between the hills, far below, 13 was the highway which threaded south into the valley. The dead had forgotten those they had loved. The mind wants the world to return its love, or its awareness; the mind wants to know all the world, and all eternity, and God. On the broad lobby desk, lighted and bubbling, was a ten-gallon aquarium containing one large fish; the fish tilted up and down in its water. We joined our places on the planet’s thin crust; it held. The clown print was framed in gilt and glassed. We cast rough shadows on the blowing grass; freezing, we waved our arms. I saw a circular piece of that sky appear, suddenly detached, blackened, and backlighted; from nowhere it came and overlapped the sun. God save our life. Up in the sky where we stood the air was lusterless yellow. By the growing light we could see a band of cirrostratus clouds in the sky. It rolled at you across the land at 1,800 miles an hour, hauling darkness like plague behind it. It was now almost 9 in the morning. "How I Wrote the Moth Essay--and Why," Thomas Cooley, The Norton Reader, New York, 1986, p. 13. There was no sound. It is everlastingly funny that the proud, metaphysically ambitious, clamoring mind will hush if you give it an egg. Each of his ears was a broad bean. The sun we see is less than half the diameter of a dime held at arm’s length. "Carol Munder," in Photography Annual 21st Century (2004 or 2005). It is significance for people. But I pray you will never see anything more awful in the sky. It was a painting of the sort which you do not intend to look at, and which, alas, you never forget. 2 (Spring, 1982), 75. Less than two minutes later, when the sun emerged, the trailing edge of the shadow cone sped away. With these we try to save our very lives. Early that morning at 6, when we had checked out, the six bald men were sitting on folding chairs in the dim hotel lobby. Now the alarm was set for 6. (I have since read that screaming, with hysteria, is a common reaction even to expected total eclipses.) Dillard talks about wanting to live more like the weasel she sees in the wild, because as she mentions, “The weasel lives in necessity and we live in choice,..” (“Living Like Weasels”, Dillard). One turns at last even from glory itself with a sigh of relief. But if you ride these monsters deeper down, if you drop with them farther over the world’s rim, you find what our sciences cannot locate or name, the substrate, the ocean or matrix or ether which buoys the rest, which gives goodness its power for good, and evil. It looked like a Life Saver. We rushed down the hill. They were drunks. It is unreliable; anyone can post anything, no matter how wrong. "Postscript on Process." My mind was going out; my eyes were receding the way galaxies recede to the rim of space. "Sirens of the South Seas," Signature, July, 1985. We have seen enough; let’s go. There was nothing to see. The companies have to air-condition the mines; if the air conditioners break, the miners die. All of us rugged individualists were wearing knit caps and blue nylon parkas. They seemed to stand on darkened hilltops, looking down. The lenses of telescopes and cameras can no more cover the breadth and scale of the visual array than language can cover the breadth and simultaneity of internal experience. More fearsome things can come in envelopes. No end was in sight—you saw only the edge. It is now that the temptation is strongest to leave these regions. It had been like dying, that sliding down the mountain pass. If you think very fast, you may have time to think, “Soon it will hit my brain.” You can feel the deadness race up your arm; you can feel the appalling, inhuman speed of your own blood. “Seeing a partial eclipse bears the same relation to seeing a total eclipse as kissing a man does to marrying him.”. All Rights The sun was too small, and too cold, and too far away, to keep the world alive. "Galapagos Revisited," Signature Vol. "The Leg in the Christmas Stocking: What We Learned from Jokes," The New York Times Book Review, Dec. 7, 1986. Yakima will have another total eclipse in 2086. Reprinted in Wilson Quarterly (New Year's, 1988). We got the light wrong. All the people you see in the photograph, distinct and detailed as their faces look, are now dead. "A Writer's Landscapes," in Japanese magazine Impressions (also in Wesleyan). At once the yellow light made the sky blue again; the black lid dissolved and vanished.

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