Sunday, December 11, 2005

a mystic in the e.r.

last night i spent 6 hrs sitting in the e.r. with a patient from the psych hospital i work at. he slept... i read a book: 6 hours with annie dillard working through her entire holy the firm which carries significant meaning now that i live in the north-west:

"I came here to study hard things- rock mountain and salt sea- and to temper my spirit on their edges. 'Teach my thy ways, O Lord' is, like all prayers, a rash one, and one I cannot but recommend. These mountains- Mount Baker and the Sisters and Shuksan, the Canadian Coastal Range and the Olympics on the peninsula- are surely the edge of the known and comprehended world. They are high. That they bear their own unimaginable masses and weathers aloft, holding them up in the sky for anyone to see plain, makes them, as Chesterton said of the Eucharist, only the more mysterious by their very visibility and absence of secrecy. They are the western rim of the real, if not considerably beyond it. If the Greeks had looked at Mount Baker all day, their large and honest art would have broken, and they would have gone fishing, as these people do. And as perhaps I one day shall."

3 comments:

chuck said...

let's be grateful that the greek's large honest art held together. i could totally go fishing sometime (and bigfoot hunting).

pedro said...

I think I neede to re-read that book sometime. Anny Dillard is a great author across the board. I haven't read any of her fiction, but I like her essays and her autobiography, An American Childhood.

It's cool that you're able to read where she wrote. I love reading authors in their element.

elnellis said...

yes pedro, i've been enjoying dillards christian approach to spirituality via creation. i highly recommend her "holy the firm." in it she explores in a unique way the 3-fold meta-narrative of our faith (creation fall redemption). but she does so with poetic metaphor and language that challenges traditional evangelical paragdims. good stuff.