A common man marvels at uncommon things. A wise man marvels at the commonplace. CONFUCIUS

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Finding Pennies

There are many things to see, unwrapped gifts and free surprises. The world is fairly studded and strewn with pennies cast broadside by a generous hand. But - and this is the point - who gets excited by a mere penny? If you follow one arrow, if you crouch motionless on a bank to watch a tremulous ripple thrill on the water and are rewarded by the sight of a muskrat paddling from its den, will you count that sight a chip of copper only, and go on your rueful way? It is dire poverty indeed when a man is so malnourished and fatigued that he won't stoop to pick up a penny. But if you cultivate a healthy poverty and simplicity, so that finding a penny will literally make your day, then, since the world is in fact planted in pennies, you have with your poverty bought a lifetime of days. It is that simple. What you see is what you get.

From Pilgrim At Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard


Anonymous said...

Wise words. We should take them to heart. Who is Annie Dillard? Sorry to be so ignorant!

Ron Bloomquist said...

I walk and look for things to photograph.

Another morning walker only watches where he is going.

He is the one who keeps finding pennies!!

The Solitary Walker said...

Dillard is an amazing American writer. Difficult to summarise what she writes about, but it's usually on spiritual/literary/natural world themes. She's sharp, she's humorous, she's profound - and she writes with a dazzling verbal brilliance. Try the essays "Teaching a Stone to Talk" or "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek" for which she won a Pulitzer prize and in which she describes a time which recalls Thoreau's sojourn by Walden Pond.

The Solitary Walker said...

But perhaps your photos are pennies from heaven, Ron?

Anonymous said...

Thanks SW! I will.

am said...

Annie Dillard lived for a few years in the town where I live and taught at the university here. Her novel, THE LIVING, takes place in Whatcom County. Thanks so much for this quote, solitary walker.