Thursday, March 12, 2015


I have been photographing ducks again, this is the rare Resplendent Orange Footas seen 
eating stale bread in nearly every pond in the USA. This one has cracked corn in his crop!

My apologies! I took a necessary few days rest from blogging, and when I should have come back I was enjoying the holiday, so I took a few more days off. Now I'm back. The only person who noticed said she managed by reading old posts, of which there are plenty!

The book I am most pleased with in the last week or two is:
American Childhood by Annie Dillard.

"When you open a book," the sentimental library posters said, "anything can happen." This was so. A book of fiction was a bomb. It was a land mine you wanted to go off. You wanted it to blow your whole day. Unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of books were duds. They had been rusting out of everyone's way for so long that they no longer worked. There was no way to distinguish the duds from the live mines, except to throw yourself at them headlong, one by one.

Annie Dillard
American Childhood, Harper & Row, 2013, page 83.

I have been paying special attention to Annie Dillard, ever since my youngest brother, Robert, had such a strong positive reaction to her Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. I wasn't that thrilled at the time, but now, since Robert's death in 1997, anything I remember is extra-special to me. In the book I am currently reading (above) I invite you to pay special attention to the way she formed herself by reading and following the instructions in the classic by Kimon Nicolaides, The Natural Way to Draw, which she borrowed from a neighbor (and which contains very stringent and specific instructions for daily practice, which Annie followed) and by revisiting for years (both by borrowing it from the library, and just by visiting and loving it in the library itself) The Field Book of Ponds and Streams; an introduction to the life of Water, 1930, Ann Haven Morgan, an obscure-even-then old-fashioned nature guide. Both books aroused in her passions that she later followed in life.

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