Devon's Reviews > Teaching a Stone to Talk: Expeditions and Encounters

Teaching a Stone to Talk by Annie Dillard
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Oct 23, 11

really liked it
bookshelves: environment
Read from October 14 to 20, 2011

Another delicious read! Some favorite quotes:

-The thing is to stalk your calling in a certain skilled and supple way, to locate the most tender and live spot and plug into that pulse. This is yielding, not fighting. (16)

-Week after week we witness the same miracle: that God is so mighty he can stifle his own laughter. Week after week, we witness the same miracle: that God, for reasons unfathomable, refrains from blowing our dancing bear act to smithereens. Week after week Christ washes the disciples' dirty feet, handles their very toes, and repeats, It is all right - believe it or not - to be people. Who can believe it? (20)

-God needs nothing, asks nothing, and demands nothing, like the stars. It is a life with God which demands these things...You do not have to do these things; not at all. God does not, I regret to report, give a hoot. You do not have to do these things - unless you want to know God. They work on you, not on him. You do not have to sit outside in the dark. If, however, you want to look at the stars, you will find that darkness is necessary. But the stars neither require nor demand it. (31)

-Nature's silence is its one remark, and every flake of world is a chip off that old mute and immutable block. (69)

-The silence is all there is. It is the alpha and the omega. It is God's brooding over the face of the waters; it is the blended note of the ten thousand things, the whine of wings. You take a step in the right direction to pray to this silence, and even to address the prayer to "World." Distinctions blur. Quit your tents. Pray without ceasing. (76)

-We teach our children one thing only, as we were taught: to wake up. We teach our children to look alive there, to join by words and activities the life of human culture on the planet's crust. As adults we are almost all adept at waking up. We have so mastered the transition we have forgotten we ever learned it. Yet it is a transition we make a hundred times a day, as, like so many will-less dolphins, we plunge and surface, lapse and emerge. (97)

-...But enough is enough. One turns at last even from glory itself with a sigh of relief. From the depths of mystery, and even from the heights of splendor, we bounce back and hurry for the latitudes of home. (103)

-I alternate between thinking of the planet as home - dear and familiar stone hearth and garden - and as a hard land of exile in which we are all sojourners. Today I favor the latter view. (150)

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