August 29 ~  Making Mental Connections An American Childhood

"A shepherd on a hilltop who looks at a mess of stars and thinks, 'There's a hunter, a plow, a fish,' is making mental connections that have real force in the universe as the very fires of those stars themselves." ~ Annie Dillard

Annie Dillard

Annie Dillard (1945-) is an essayist, poet, and teacher who wrote Pilgrim at Tinker Creek after a 1971 life-threatening round with pneumonia.

"You can't test courage cautiously," she said.

With the need to experience life more fully, and like her mentor Thoreau in his book Walden,  she wrote in her journal for over four seasons in a luscious haven surrounded by Virginia's Blue Ridge mountains. "Spend the afternoon," she wrote. "You can't take it with you."

She called Nature's beauty "fact and mystery" and shared her insights with simplicity. An obvious avid reader and lover of books, she tapped into the wisdom of others to help with her metaphors and philosophies.

With elegant splendor, she wrote, "The secret of seeing is to sail on solar wind. Hone and spread your spirit, till you yourself are a sail, whetted, translucent, broadside to the merest puff."

Born Meta Ann Doak in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Dillards's books challenge readers to make mental connections, to tap into the rich colors of life. She inspires contemplation... and celebration... just a bit more.

Dillard struggled with her own beliefs in her writing and never claimed to have all the answers. She declared in an interview after winning the 1974 Pulitzer Prize for Tinker Creek, "If I wanted to make a theological statement, I would have hired a skywriter."

Annie DillardMake magic with mental connections.