Weeks ago: friend Jon and I walk up 2nd Avenue, and I tell him of a fantasy I have of moving to the woods. Walden comes up, and I say I had difficulty reading it. He recommends Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, saying it holds more relevance to our generation since it’s more contemporary.
Today, I haven’t finished it even though I enjoyed it well enough. The book contains lots of vocabulary I didn’t know – perhaps one of the reasons why I slowed with reading. Anyway, here are some words I learned while reading.
casual: marked by blithe unconcern
I had just rounded a corner when [the falling bird’s] insouciant step caught my eye
dried-up: (used especially of vegetation) having lost all moisture
I couldn’t see whether that sere rustle I heard was a distant rattlesnake, slit-eyed, or a nearby sparrow kicking in the dry flood debris slung at the foot of a willow
camp: temporary living quarters specially built by the army for soldiers
No culture explains, no bivouac offers real haven or rest.
a speech sound accompanied by sound from the vocal cords
a consonant produced without sound from the vocal cords
The wind shrieks and hisses down the valley, sonant and surd, drying the puddles and dismantling the nests from the trees
knoll: a small natural hill
the ridges bosses and hummocks sprout bulging from its side
of visual imagery of almost photographic accuracy
But there is more to the present than a series of snapshots. We are not merely sensitized film; we have feelings, a memory for information, and an eidetic memory for the imagery of our own pasts
Definition (from wikipedia):
A material is said to be frangible if through deformation it tends to break up into fragments, rather than deforming plastically and retaining its cohesion as a single object
because a sycamore’s primitive bark is not elastic but frangible, it sheds continously as it grows
Definition (also wikipedia):
Latin for, “Remember you must die”
That, I wanted to say as I recognized the prize she held, is memento mori for people who read too much.
susurration: the indistinct sound of people whispering; “a soft susurrus of conversation”
I never merited this grace, that when I face upstream I scent the virgin breath of mountains, I feel a spray of mist on my cheeks and lips, I hear a ceaseless splash and susurrus, a sound of water not merely poured smoothly down air to fill a steady pool, but tumbling live about, over, under, around, between, through an intricate speckling of rock.
softly bright or radiant
the leaf was so thin and etiolated it was translucent, but at the same time it was lambent, minutely, with a kind of pale and sufficient light