Landscape: The Creek

“The creeks are the world with all its stimulus and beauty; I live there. But the mountains are home.” -Annie Dillard in Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

A hazy Gore CreekI can’t talk about creeks with nearly as much eloquence as Annie Dillard in her Pulitzer Prize-winning Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (1974). Even so, I know something about creeks. There’s one running through my back yard: Vail, Colorado’s Gore Creek. Just a few weeks ago, this creek was a nearly-frozen trickle. But now it looks like a dangerous beast, frothing and roaring as it runs down valley. The change took place last week in a mere forty-eight hours. Maybe this means that the snow is finally starting to melt, even though the sky spit out some snow just yesterday morning. The sound of rushing water has a rhythm to it, a certain beauty.

roaring Gore Creek

I open my window at night to hear the sound. I turn off the radio now when I write so that I can hear the water-music. I can’t explain how or why this sound has the ability to move me, but I agree with Annie Dillard, who says:

Gore Creek rocks

“Our life is a faint tracing on the surface of mystery, like the idle, curved tunnels of leaf miners on the face of a leaf. We must somehow take a wider view, look at the whole landscape, really see it, and describe what’s going on here. Then we can at least wail the right question into the swaddling band of darkness, or, if it comes to that, choir the proper praise.”

For more from “Down and Out” on Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, click here.  


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