Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

by Annie Dillard

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What sight continually amuses Dillard in Pilgrim at Tinker Creek?

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Annie Dillard is amused by the way frogs dive off the bank of the river when they're scared.

Dillard explains that she went walking one day a few years before mainly to scare frogs. She says that the way they leap off the bank as you walk toward them is very funny. It's spastic and not elegant. It's filled with panic. They make a little froggy yikes sound and then throw themselves into the water to escape the person that is approaching.

She took this walk so often that she actually got better at seeing the frogs. They tended to blend into the bank; with time, it was easier for her to spot them before they took their quick, awkward dive into the water. One day, she spots a frog on the edge of the bank that doesn't do a dive at her approach.

As she gets closer, she realizes that the frog is about to die. It's being sucked in by a giant water bug and collapsing in on itself. She says that it was a monstrous and terrifying thing to see.

The giant water bug manages the feat of swallowing the frog by injecting poison into it that causes its internals to liquify. Once that process is done, it's easy for the bug to swallow the liquids from inside. It certainly explains why that particular frog didn't leap away at Dillard's approach.

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