PILGRIM AT TINKER CREEK
by ANNIE DILLARD
271 pages. Harper's Magazine Press.
At first she seems to fit into a pattern as predictable as a wildlife calendar, this Annie Dillard, the sensitive young woman with folded hands on the dust jacket, who looks out of her cottage window on nature and, sure enough, starting right on schedule with January, records the seasons as they come and go at Tinker Creek in Virginia. After the obligatory prologue resolving to "cultivate a healthy poverty and simplicity," pace Thoreau, she introduces her obligatory cat and a goldfish named Ellery Channing. Then onto your feet. In "the...