They are just fragments, shards of story and research and insight, laid one against each other like the accrued ephemera layered in an archaeological dig. More than any other, they capture how I see the world.

They are the pieces of Annie Dillard’s For the Time Being.

I live my life looking for connections, trying to see how all the pieces fit together. Maybe this is why I’m such a fan of mosaics – the tile ones and the word ones – that bring scraps together to make a new whole.

I guess I see life like this, too.

So when I came across Dillard’s book that combines research on the terra cotta soldiers of China, Teilhard de Chardin, and her own musings on the meaning of faith and life, I felt like I had walked into my own mind – only more ordered and lyrical.

In fact, the book inspired the form of many of the essays I’ve written, including my favorite about my dad – “Working Wood.” I love layering on the pieces and seeing what forms – stories edging up to stories, memories putting a ridge on memories – all piling up into freshness and insight.

Like the flowers of a petal – real and ephemeral – ready to fall into a new pattern again.