Once I visited a great university and wandered, a stranger, into the subterranean halls of its famous biology department.  I saw a sign on the door: ichthyology department.  The door was open a crack, and as I walked past I glanced in.  I saw just a flash.  There were two white-coated men seated opposite each other on high lab stools at a hard-surfaced table.  They bent over identical white enamel trays.  On one side, one man, with a lancet, was just cutting into an enormous preserved fish he’d taken from a jar.  On the other side, the other man, with a silver spoon, was eating a grapefruit.  I laughed all the way back to Virginia.

All I want to do is stay awake, keep my head up, prop my eyes open, with toothpicks, with trees.

-Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek


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