Annie Dillard on being human

From Holy the Firm

It is the best joke there is, that we are here, and fools – that we are sown into time like so much corn, that we are souls sprinkled at random like salt into time and dissolved here, spread into matter, connected by cells right down to our feet, and those feet likely to fell us over a tree root or jam us on a stone. The joke part is that we forget it. Give the mind two seconds alone and it thinks it’s Pythagoras. We wake up a hundred times a day and laugh.

The joke of the world is less like a banana peal than a rake, the old rake in the grass, the one you step on, foot to forehead. It all comes together. In a twinkling. You have to admire the gag for its symmetry, accomplishing all with one right angle, the same right angle which accomplishes all philosophy. One step on the rake and it’s mind under matter once again. You wake up with a piece of tree in your skull. You wake up with fruit on your hands. You wake up in a clearing and see yourself, ashamed. You see your own face and it’s seven years old and there’s no knowing why, or where you’ve been since. We’re tossed broadcast into time like so much grass, some raven god’s sweet hay.

So much brings us back to the knucklehead in us. May we not forget that it’s there.

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