I recently had an Annie Dillard and the weasel moment, but my weasel was a hatchling and my Hollins Pond was what we designated A Beach, near Kyparissia in Greece. There was a witness, I’m grateful, if only so that I won’t be tempted to explain away the memory as a misremembrance. ‘Eli!’ she gasped. ‘It looked at you!’
I remembered this moment just now while emailing a friend. I told her about it, tried to set words to the experience. I’m thankful for the encounter because of the moment itself but also because of its reminding me of that essay of Dillard’s.
Reading the essay years ago, I had a feeling of discomfort, much like when I began Shiela Heti’s How Should a Person Be? Both instances of unease were because of the connections drawn by the narrators that led them to interrogate, well, how a person should be.
And now I also remember someone saying, once, how it is important to look again whenever this happens, to interrogate this discomfort. What taboo is this writer breaking? Is it a patriarchal one? Is the writing, in fact, radical? I’m thinking, too, of Jane Tomkins and her stockinged feet.