WHOLLY GRATUITOUS

A crisp autumn morning, just 35˚F but blue and beautiful along the river. I got the okay from the doctor yesterday to start running again and so I did just that this morning. Dancing along the river trail, up and down the side hill and then off-trail on the way back on the single track. New shoes to soften the landing . . . I feel so grateful that I am still doing this. And approaching my 69th trip around the sun next week. The Equinox arrives this Saturday evening; days and nights equal and the cold means the cat is sleeping close in between us all night long.



“So I think about the valley. And it occurs to me more and more that everything I have seen is wholly gratuitous. The giant water bug’s predations, the frog’s croak, the tree with the lights in it are not in any real sense necessary per se to the world or to its creator. Nor am I. The creation in the first place, being itself, is the only necessity, for which I would die, and I shall. The point about that being, as I know it here and see it, is that, as I think about it, it accumulates in my mind as an extravagance of minutiae. The sheer fringe and network of detail assumes primary importance. That there are so many details seems to be the most important and visible fact about the creation. If you can’t see the forest for the trees, then look at the trees; when you’ve looked at enough trees, you’ve seen a forest, you’ve got it. If the world is gratuitous, then the fringe of a goldfish’s fin is a million times more so. The first question—the one crucial one—of the creation of the universe and the existence of something as a sign and an affront to nothing, is a blank one. I can’t think about it. So it is to the fringe of that question that I affix my attention, the fringe of the fish’s fin, the intricacy of the world’s spotted and speckled detail.”

Annie Dillard : from “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

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