Revisiting Annie Dillard's "Sojourner"

Revisiting Annie Dillard's "Sojourner"

It hit me that I read “Sojourner” much too young.
560
views

When I was a sophomore in high school, I read “Sojourner” by Annie Dillard. It's also critical to this article to note that I was exceptionally headstrong in my sophomore year of high school, so much so that I fought against everything I heard just because I could. So when I read Dillard's essay, I couldn’t move past her idea that we are all mangrove trees, floating and unmoored.

I wrote so passionately against this concept, claiming that I was not a mangrove tree, that I was rooted in myself and what I believed in. To exactly quote myself circa 2014, “I am not a mangrove, despite whatever metaphors Dillard uses. I do not drift or float through life like those oasis trees; I’m firmly rooted and assured in everything I have and say and do.”

This year, I realized that my claims aligned more with what Dillard claimed than I had always thought: mangrove trees are rooted within themselves and their own island. The key thing that I missed understanding is just as they are each adrift on their own individual island, so are we all. More simply put, it has taken me four years to understand the accuracy of Dillard’s metaphor. As I’ve come to realize about the majority of texts I read in high school, it hit me that I read “Sojourner” much too young. I read it at an age when I wore Uggs with leggings and an oversized sweatshirt and thought I was fashionable; I read it at an age when I knew nothing about the world and even less about myself and was asked to reflect on how I saw both within the text.

I was sitting in a study room this past semester, restless and uneasy over this odd melancholic feeling I hadn’t been able to shake all day. As the evening settled on my view of the Atlanta skyline (very poetically, I’ll admit), I suddenly thought of the mangrove trees. More importantly, I realized how relevant Dillard's words had become in my life: I am now settled into a place where I accept myself and my place in the universe as ever-changing and expanding. I don’t know the Me from two years ago, let alone the Me from sophomore year of high school; I don’t have a single clue who I’ll become in ten years time. Just like a mangrove tree, I am adrift in the world.

But there was another critical element to Dillard's metaphor that I finally understand: we're never truly alone. Just as there will always be other mangrove trees drifting alongside one another, just as there will always be new trees growing on to each island as the seeds spread, just as there will always be trees who bump in just the right way that their roots entwine, so too will there be friends and loved ones sailing around our islands, becoming one with our lives.

Each individual is onto themselves their own body of land, expanding or shrinking or sinking or changing. It is always the one mangrove tree broken from the larger shore that is left to expand or wither away on its own, but not any more so than how we see ourselves as the protagonists and narrators of our own lives.

In growing up, so many gain a more pessimistic outlook on the world around us and the lives we live. If the younger me still needs something to stand against, it should be that. Growth and change are not the enemies: as Dillard herself states,

"A mangrove island turns drift to dance. It creates its own soil as it goes rocking over the salt sea at random, rocking day and night and round the sun, rocking round the sun and out toward east of Hercules."

Everyone could be going absolutely anywhere in this universe as we move and grow and change, but at least we're going somewhere; at least we're not going alone.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

Popular Right Now

A Playlist From The iPod Of A Middle Schooler In 2007

I will always love you, Akon.
59528
views

Something happened today that I never thought in a million years would happen. I opened up a drawer at my parents' house and I found my pink, 4th generation iPod Nano. I had not seen this thing since I graduated from the 8th grade, and the headphones have not left my ears since I pulled it out of that drawer. It's funny to me how music can take you back. You listen to a song and suddenly you're wearing a pair of gauchos, sitting on the bleachers in a gym somewhere, avoiding boys at all cost at your seventh grade dance. So if you were around in 2007 and feel like reminiscing, here is a playlist straight from the iPod of a middle schooler in 2007.

1. "Bad Day" — Daniel Powter

2. "Hips Don't Lie" — Shakira ft. Wyclef Jean

SEE ALSO: 23 Iconic Disney Channel Moments We Will Never Forget

3. "Unwritten" — Natasha Bedingfield

4. "Run It!" — Chris Brown

5. "Girlfriend" — Avril Lavigne

6. "Move Along" — All-American Rejects

7. "Fergalicious" — Fergie

8. "Every Time We Touch" — Cascada

9. "Ms. New Booty" — Bubba Sparxxx

10. "Chain Hang Low" — Jibbs

11. "Smack That" — Akon ft. Eminem

12. "Waiting on the World to Change" — John Mayer

13. "Stupid Girls" — Pink

14. "Irreplaceable" — Beyonce

15. "Umbrella" — Rihanna ft. Jay-Z

16. "Don't Matter" — Akon

17. "Party Like A Rockstar" — Shop Boyz

18. "This Is Why I'm Hot" — Mims

19. "Beautiful Girls" — Sean Kingston

20. "Bartender" — T-Pain

21. "Pop, Lock and Drop It" — Huey

22. "Wait For You" — Elliot Yamin

23. "Lips Of An Angel" — Hinder

24. "Face Down" — Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

25. "Chasing Cars" — Snow Patrol

26. "No One" — Alicia Keys

27. "Cyclone" — Baby Bash ft. T-Pain

28. "Crank That" — Soulja Boy

29. "Kiss Kiss" — Chris Brown

SEE ALSO: 20 Of The Best 2000's Tunes We Still Know Every Word To

30. "Lip Gloss" — Lil' Mama

Cover Image Credit: http://nd01.jxs.cz/368/634/c6501cc7f9_18850334_o2.jpg

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Warcraft 3: Reforged - A legend returns

One of the top 100 games of the century makes a comeback in an epic way.

146
views

17 years ago, the legion invaded the realm of Azeroth, forcing the different races of Humans, Orcs, Night elves, and Undead to make the most unlikely of alliances. There were those who fought for the light while the others wished to banish it. Night and day, the furnaces of Lordaeron burnt bright as the loyal dwarves of Khaz Modan hammer away the swords and shields that would aid the fight ahead.

17 years ago, the young orc warchief Thrall foresaw the fate of his people as meteors of green flames crash upon his lands. He saw the upcoming demise of his clanand ordered a mass evacuation towards a new continent where they shall be safe for generations to come. 17 years ago, the night elves felt a corruption within the Tree of Life, causing them to split into opposing factions: one fought in the name of the Goddess, while the other fought in the name of personal hatred. 17 years ago, a legion of undead came upon the shores of Lordaeron, plaguing the land and defiling the life force of the realm. That was the story of Warcraft, one that spanned continents and races only to join them together for a crucial battle of their history.

Warcraft 3: Reforged - Cinematic Trailer Youtube

Warcraft was a monument to an entire gaming generation, ranked 2nd best game of all time by German games magazine "GameStar." Its fate, however, was ultimately sealed as computing technology became better and overshadowed the old giant. Plus, with the rise of gaming consoles and handheld gaming devices, PC gaming lost its appeal slowly, and games like Starcraft or Warcraft eventually faded into oblivion.

But over on the horizon, Blizzard Entertainment came to the rescue. Following the success of their previous release of Starcraft: Remastered, they decided to come forth with their next great project: remastering Warcraft 3.

Using a new and revamped engine built over the foundations of the old one, they have rebuilt the world we once loved. Adding to that are new, high definition voices and sound effects that they recorded just for this old game. For the blurry characters of old, the team decided to upscale and remodel all present units to give them the 2019 high-def treatment they deserved. For the old user interface (UI), the development team settled on one that resembled the "Starcraft: Remastered" interface, offering more room for players to look at the gorgeous 4K character models. Also, to fit the new continuity from World of Warcraft, Blizzard opted to alter the story by a small margin, showing promising changes to the revived game.

Warcraft 3 – Original vs. Reforged Trailer Graphics Comparison Youtube

However, not everyone was hyped when the game was announced. Many gamers expressed disappointment at Blizzard's move of remastering old games instead of developing new ones. Many, feeling uncomfortable at the company's decision, took to the internet and into forums. Some fans expressed concerns over Blizzard's decision to retcon a game they hold dear Some are unhappy with the graphics not being consistent with characters: unit models look too detailed while buildings look cartoonish.

Despite all this, the general population loved the announcement at Blizzcon. As the game slowly reaches its release date of December 31, 2019, the hype can only go up from here. For those of us who can't hold their excitement, here's a video of the crowd's insane reaction to the announcement:


Warcraft 3 Crowd Reaction Youtube

Related Content

Facebook Comments