I read Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard many years ago. I remember thinking it was difficult and that I wanted to write like her. I decided to listen to the audio version, and I enjoyed it just as much, if not more, than when I read it the first time. It is one of three books I’ve given away as gifts.
This book is long-form, narrative nonfiction, not a collection of essays (as people often think). It’s about a year Dillard spent exploring Tinker Creek and environs, near her home in Virginia, and thinking big thoughts. Dillard is observant, and has taught herself to be still and wait. When you do that, there is no end to the wonders nature will show you. I'd like to be better at that myself. Some of the more gruesome moments I remembered from the first time I read it, such as when a giant water bug sucked the life from a frog. There were also many beautiful moments.
I’m not sure how to sum up Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. It makes me want to write better, and it makes me want to explore nature more deeply, and it makes me want to read more widely. It won the Pulitzer Prize when it was originally published in the 1970s.