Stalk the gaps. Spend the Afternoon. You can’t take it with you.

“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, saying, I never merited this grace, quite rightly, and then to sulk along the rest of your days on the edge of rage.

I won’t have it. The world is wilder than that in all directions, more dangerous and bitter, more extravagant and bright. We are making hay when we should be making whoopee; we are raising tomatoes when we should be raising Cain, or Lazarus.

Go up into the gaps. If you can find them; they shift and vanish too. Stalk the gaps. Squeak into a gap in the soil, turn, and unlock – more than a maple – a universe. 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

With thanks (again) to Crashingly Beautiful for quote via Whiskey River. Image from A Collection of Things.

Related Posts:


  1. “Stalk the gaps”..I think we do stalk them, we circle them with the fear that it could be an abyss, wavering between the ‘should we’ or ‘shouldn’t we’. Finally daring to jump in with both feet and discovering that the fear was fantasy, and the reality exhilarating. All this without Endomondo


    • Smiling…we “do” circle the gaps with fear. You nailed it. As to Endomondo, he’s done.


      • OMG – what are you saying?? Have you relegated Endomondo to the land-of-dangerous-applications-that-when-in-use-can-be-harmful-to-your-health?


        • Yep. Endomondo is now stacked up with the 40 other apps that have no use to me but clutter up my interface. Too lazy to store in folders. Too cheap to delete thinking some day there might be a use. Onward to the next.


          • My trainer uses an app where he runs with zombies..don’t ask me, but it keeps track of his time and lets him know when the zombies are gaining on him. Why this appeals to him I’ll never know, but he’s 27, has a remarkable story, is in amazing shape and is also a sweet guy. So if you need more than music, perhaps zombies will help 🙂


      • Zombies, huh….Hmmmm, I’m going to go back to music. Give that a shot. If it doesn’t work, you’ll be the first one I reach out to…


  2. Alex Jones says:

    Takes courage to stalk those gaps.


  3. Reblogged this on GYA today and commented:
    Thank you for this, David. What great thoughts for contemplation. I’m off to “extravagant and bright” living today. ~Paul


  4. Just got back from Las Vegas where my only daughter had her wedding. The wedding was a fairy tale come true. My daughter looked like a princess with her handsome prince. They are now in the land of the fey, Ireland spending their honeymoon. And then there was “O” the Cirque du Soleil show that I saw Friday night in the magnificent Hotel Bellagio. Talk about magical. All in all the weekend touched my heart while sparking my ever eager imagination. As soon as I get caught up on my sleep, I will be working on my second book in the series, Legends of the Hengeyokai.

    Magic and believing in one’s own power is so exhilarating! Thank you once again, David for showing us both on your wonderful blog.


  5. “Spend the afternoon. You can’t take it with you.”. So, so true…. We’ve finally got a break in the humidity levels here in NH, think I will put this into practice today! 🙂


  6. lkanigan says:

    Attack, stalk & go after the gaps…that’s where all the things you want in life are hiding! Great piece Dave!!


  7. LaDona's Music Studio says:

    This book has been on my Books-to-read list for years – after this awesome post I want to get a copy and start it TODAY!


  8. glennweissel says:

    Reblogged this on glennweissel and commented:
    Perfect timing for this post!


  9. I don’t do itsy-bitsy, which can make some itsy-bitsy people feel neglected, uncomfortable, and occasionally jealous.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: