Surely the first test of wonderful writing is whether it can recaptivate the reader who returns a second, third, or fourth time. Annie Dillard’s essay “Seeing” passes that test. For her, seeing leads to understanding, which can then lead to transformation. Her closing lines describe being moved by the beautiful way a tree was reflecting light. She writes: “Gradually the lights went out in the cedar, the colors died, the cells unflamed and disappeared. I was still ringing. I had been my whole life a bell, and never knew it until at that moment I was lifted and struck.”
Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (Toronto, Bantam Books, 1974), 26.