The Winter Solstice

Explore the dance between humanity and the cosmos in Annie Dillard's 'Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.' Uncover profound truths and read on.

The Winter Solstice
Today is the winter solstice. The planet tilts just so to its star, lists and holds circling in a fixed tension between veering and longing, and spins helpless, exalted, in and out of that fleet blazing touch.
Last night Orion vaulted and spread all over the sky, pagan and lunatic, his shoulder and knee on fire, his sword three suns at the ready-for what?
I won't see this year again, not again so innocent; and longing wrapped round my throat like a scarf. 'For the Heavenly Father desires that we should see,' says Ruysbroeck, 'and that is why He is ever saying to our inmost spirit one deep unfathomable word and nothing else.' But what is the word?
Is this mystery or coyness?
A cast-iron bell hung from the arch of my rib cage; when I stirred, it rang, or it tolled, a long syllable pulsing ripples up my lungs and down the gritty sap inside my bones, and I couldn't make it out; I felt the voiced vowel like a sigh or a note but I couldn't catch the consonant that shaped it into sense.

Story From

Annie Dillard Collection