Issue 450 | The Sun Magazine

June 2013

Readers Write


Bubbling mineral waters, poison ivy, plastic dinosaurs

By Our Readers
The Dog-Eared Page

excerpted from
Pilgrim At Tinker Creek

That it’s rough out there and chancy is no surprise. Every live thing is a survivor on a kind of extended emergency bivouac. But at the same time we are also created. In the Koran, Allah asks, “The heaven and the earth and all in between, thinkest thou I made them in jest?” It’s a good question.

By Annie Dillard


When we stand beneath the night sky, we stand beneath the history of the whole of creation. It is a miracle that so much of it is perceptible — a miracle we might appreciate more if it had not occurred and we did not have senses to discern it.

Richard Grossinger

The Sun Interview

The Undiscovered Country

John Elder On The Wild Places Close To Home

But to find the sacred only in the wilderness would be like finding it only in a beautiful church on Easter. Unless the sacred is imbued in your day-to-day life, in your work, in the food on your table, in the attitude you take toward the health of your own community, its value is limited.

By Leath Tonino
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

The Tyranny Of Paradise

When I was twenty-four years old, it looked to me as if America were coming down. It was 1979, and there was runaway inflation, long lines for gasoline, a nuclear disaster at Three Mile Island. Men were curling their hair and wearing high-heeled shoes, and the Soviets were still poised to bomb us off the map.

By Poe Ballantine
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

On Fire

After my parents lost our farm and we moved into town, I started attending an evangelical Quaker church with my friend Brad. I wasn’t sure I liked it at first, but as the months passed with my mom and dad rarely speaking, I did start to find something like peace when I prayed.

By Doug Crandell
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

The Most Beautiful Raynovich

“There was nothing that could be done,” said the policeman to my friend Nancy last Sunday at her door. By this he meant, Your twenty-year-old daughter died in a traffic accident on her way to work at the mall this morning.

By Marion Winik
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Be More

I’m sorry I gave it away, that nightstand you made for me so many years ago. Well, you didn’t really make it; you revised it. You found the battered table at a garage sale, saw its potential (its “good bones,” as you often said of imperfect things), and somehow — in secret, in the basement — sanded down the wood, puttied every hole, fixed the drawer, and added a shim to make it level.

By Brenda Miller

Time Capsule

My sister Melanie won’t let me help with the time capsule we’re making. Four years older and in junior high now, she likes to boss me around. She’s searching the attic for things to put in the box when I give up and head down the stairs. I take the last three steps in one giant jump, then wish someone had seen me.

By Laura Oliver

Walter Lee Is Home From Vietnam

We all lurched forward when Mama braked and the car crunched to a sudden stop midway up our gravel drive. Following her gaze, we stared next door at the crisp green lawn of the Lee family. A wooden sign with red and blue letters hung across their side porch. It read, Welcome Home Walter, with small white stars across the bottom.

By Paul A. Broome


We walked the city after dark, talking / about the things that mattered to us then: / the most vivid ways to live, how to keep the fire / ablaze inside; the girls we’d loved, the women / we’d meet someday.

By Michael Hettich

What I Didn’t Do

I never called her back, the woman / with the two babies born just like mine: / girls who couldn’t crawl or talk, / could barely smile, who lay there, / bundled in flowered dresses, staring / at the ceiling.

By Danusha Laméris

Heat Of Departure

Ninety degrees of thick, rude heat — a summer guest / we can’t get rid of — hovering over our city, / our brick house. Yet our son, who’s leaving home / tomorrow, we wish would stay.

By Jim Daniels