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Actually I'm not at all familiar with Dillard, so did a little bit of investigating.She trained as a poet and according to Philip Lopate her prose has the markings of a poet.I was greatly excited, during all this arrow-drawing, at the thought of the first lucky passer-by who would receive in this way, regardless of merit, a free gift from the universe. I would go straight home and not give the matter another thought, until, some months later, I would be gripped again by the impulse to hide another penny."Thus begins Dillard's essay on seeing.
Like the surprise hidden penny, you have to keep your eyes open for them."These disappearances stun me into stillness and concentration; they say of nature that it conceals with a grand nonchalance, and they say of vision that it is a deliberate gift, the revelation of a dancer who for my eyes only flings away her seven veils."Later Dillard uses the example of blind people who have undergone a cataract surgery to enable them to see for the first time since birth or a very young age.
A blind person has no idea of space or depth or height or distance and must rely on touch.
Finally, a number of the essays discuss the idea of discovery.
Heavily tied to the previous two themes, the discussion of discovery is about how people examine and see the world.
Annie argues in several of the essays that people have been placed on earth to watch and observe.
Exploration of one's surroundings and the world become a part of this watching, as one only has a lifetime to see what the earth holds and learn from it.Annie finds discovery on walks from her home and through a microscope.Last week when I was reading Barbara Kingsolver's essay "What good is a Story?In "The Deer at Providencia", Annie questions suffering on earth and why it happens.She also argues in the essays that what people do on earth does not change God, but it changes the people themselves.Then I would take a piece of chalk, and, starting at either end of the block, draw huge arrows leading up to the penny from both directions.After I learned to write I labeled the arrows: SURPRISE AHEAD or MONEY THIS WAY.She was born and raised in Pittsburgh and developed a love of the natural world through her reading.After her college years she became an intensely spiritual person, which shows in her writing.Like Barbara Kingsolver I get the feeling she is a formidable woman and writer.I seem to be reading an inordinate number of essays dealing in some way with nature, which I find that I sort of like, so I can add Annie Dillard's "Seeing" to my list.