Episode 26: Pilgrim at Little Piney Creek

Little Piney Creek
Little Piney Creek, Amherst County, Virginia
photo by Carla

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard: Kindle, Audible (narrated by Tavia Gilbert), paperback formats

Some books entertain you, some books distract you, and some books, if you are very, very lucky and find them, captivate you, and take your breath away from the very first page. You recognize them–and it almost feels as if they recognize you.

–Carla Hufstedler, episode 26, Pilgrim at Little Piney Creek

The Little Piney River is a 7.6-mile-long tributary of the Piney River in Amherst County in the U.S. state of Virginia. Via the Piney and Tye rivers, it is part of the James River watershed. (Wikipedia)

The Piney River is known around here as the “Big Piney”. Naturally. And notice we are so out in the country that the map just says “2” for “District 2”.

Walden (free in ebook format), by Henry David Thoreau — I once spent the afternoon at Walden Pond, and that place truly has an aura about it. I highly recommend putting it on your bucket list. In the spirit of nature writing, here’s the facts:

  • Kettle hole formation lake, formed by glaciers retreating 10,000 to 12,000 years ago
  • Depth: 108 feet (33 m)
  • Surface area: 2,657,157 sq feet (246,858 m²)
  • Shore length: 1.70 miles (2.74 km)

Also recommended in the spirit of this book

The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present by Philip Lopate — the personal essay is a window into the private human condition. My best English teachers gave me scores of essays to read, from antiquity to modern American history, and they taught me much about what it is to be human, and to communicate that humanity with emotional power.

my essays shelf:
Carla's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (essays shelf)

It is winter proper; the cold weather, such as it is, has come to stay. I bloom indoors in the winter like a forced forsythia; I come in to come out. At night I read and write, and things I have never understood become clear; I reap the harvest of the rest of the year’s planting…The mountains’ bones poke through, all shoulder and knob and shin. All that summer conceals, winter reveals.
—Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

Little Piney River
Little Piney River, January 8, 2018, taken by Carla’s husband

It has always been a happy thought that the creek runs on all night now every minute, whether I wish it or know it or care, as a closed book on a shelf continues to whisper to itself its own inexhaustible tale.
—-Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

Little Piney River
Little Piney River, January 8, 2018, taken by Carla’s husband

Putting you in the mood to put pen to paper? Good!

And you’re going to need a paper companion for your initial forage into your environment. I suggest these guided ones, which I plan upon playing with myself, and may discuss my adventures with in a future episode: The Pocket Scavenger and How to Be an Explorer of the World, both by Keri Smith.

All books, of course, added to the podcast’s bookshelf on Goodreads. Please do feel free to add me as a friend there should you like.

Also mentioned in the episode

 

And we the people are so vulnerable. Our bodies are shot with mortality. Our legs are fear and our arms are time. These chill humors seep through our capillaries, weighting each cell with an icy dab of nonbeing, and that dab grows and swelss and sucks the cell dry. That is why physical courage is so important–it fills, as it were, the holes–and why it is so invigorating. The least brave act, chance taken and passage won, makes you feel loud as a child.

–Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

Perhaps it is all balanced as it should be, perhaps everything is happening exactly as it should. And, to reference the minor prophet Ferris Bueller, if you don’t open our eyes, life goes pretty fast, you’ll miss so very much. You can choose to see pain and horror or beauty and mystery in every process, every moment while still being bluntly honest about what’s happening.

–Carla Hufstedler, episode 26, Pilgrim at Little Piney Creek

Posted on: February 8, 2018, by :

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