I read this book in college and was directed back to it by the lovely Rachael Hetzel.
From Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard: (p. 142)
... Last year I had a very unusual experience. I was awake, with my eyes closed, when I had a dream. It was a small dream about time.
I was dead, I guess, in deep black space high up among many white stars. My own consciousness had been disclosed to me, and I was happy. Then I saw far below me a long, curved band of color. As I came closer, I saw that it stretched endlessly in either direction, and I understood that I was seeing all the time of the planet where I had lived. It looked like a woman's tweed scarf; the longer I studied any one spot, the more dots of color I saw. There was no end to the deepness and variety of the dots. At length I started to look for my time, but, although more and more specks of color and deeper and more intricate textures appeared in the fabric, I couldn't find my time, or any time at all that I recognized as being near my time. I couldn't make out so much as a pyramid.
Yet as I looked at the band of time, all the individual people, I understood with special clarity, were living at that very moment with great emotion, in intricate detail, in their individual times and places, and they were dying and being replaced by ever more people, one by one, like stitches in which whole worlds of feeling and energy were wrapped, in a never-ending cloth. I remembered suddenly the color and texture of our life as we knew it - these things had been utterly forgotten - and I thought as I searched for it on the limitless band, "That was a good time then, a good time to be living."
And I began to remember our time ..."