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Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

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Pilgrim at Tinker Creek is a 1974 nonfiction narrative book by American author Annie Dillard. Told from a first-person point of view, the book details an unnamed narrator’s explorations near her home, and various contemplations on nature and life. The title refers to Tinker Creek, which is outside Roanoke in Virginia‘s Blue Ridge Mountains. Dillard began writing Pilgrim in the spring of 1973, using her personal journals as inspiration. Separated into four sections that signify each of the seasons, the narrative takes place over the period of one year.

The book records the narrator’s thoughts on solitude, writing, and religion, as well as scientific observations on the flora and fauna she encounters. 

Pilgrim is thematically divided into four sections, one for each season, consisting of separate, named chapters:

  • “Heaven and Earth in Jest”,
  • “Seeing”,
  • “Winter”,
  • “The Fixed”,
  • “The Knot”,
  • “The Present”,
  • “Spring”,
  • “Intricacy”,
  • “Flood”,
  • “Fecundity”,
  • “Stalking”,
  • “Nightwatch”,
  • “The Horns of the Altar”,
  • “Northing”, and
  • “The Waters of Separation”.