Spend the afternoon. You can’t take it with you. (Annie Dillard)
I only have a handful of books I would deem “my favorites”. Near the top sits Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. Here are a couple paragraphs – slightly edited (which I’m always a bit hesitant to do for risk of weakening her point).
Annie Dillard says:
“Thomas Merton wrote, ‘There is always a temptation to diddle around in the contemplative life, making itsy-bitsy statues.’ There is always an enormous temptation in all of life to diddle around making itsy-bitsy friends and meals and journeys for itsy-bitsy years on end.”
“It is so self-conscious, so apparently moral, simply to step aside from the gaps where the creeks and winds pour down . . . and then to sulk along the rest of your days on the edge of rage. I won’t have it. They world is wilder than that in all directions, more dangerous and bitter, more extravagant and bright.”
“Ezekiel excoriates false prophets as those who have ‘not gone into the gaps.’ The gaps are the thing. The gaps are the spirit’s one home, the altitudes and latitudes so dazzlingly spare and clean that the spirit can discover itself for the first time . . . The gaps are the clifts in the rock where you cower to see the back parts of God; they are the fissures between the mountains and cells the wind lances through, the icy narrowing fjords splitting the cliffs of mystery. Go up into gaps . . . Stalk the gaps. Squeak into a gap . . .
“This is how you spend this afternoon, and tomorrow morning, and tomorrow afternoon. Spend the afternoon. You can’t take it with you.”
Annie Dillard. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. 1974. Harper & Row Publishers.