Issue 486 | The Sun Magazine

June 2016

Readers Write

Swimming

A swimming lesson, a beautiful dive, a cute lifeguard

By Our Readers
The Dog-Eared Page

excerpted from
The Round Walls Of Home

We need to send into space a flurry of artists and naturalists, photographers and painters, who will turn the mirror upon ourselves and show us Earth as a single planet, a single organism that’s buoyant, fragile, blooming, buzzing, full of spectacles, full of fascinating human beings, something to cherish. Learning our full address may not end all wars, but it will enrich our sense of wonder and pride.

By Diane Ackerman
Quotations

Sunbeams

For 99 percent of the time we’ve been on Earth, we were hunters and gatherers, our lives dependent on knowing the fine, small details of our world. Deep inside, we still have a longing to be reconnected with the nature that shaped our imagination, our language, our song and dance, our sense of the divine.

Janine Benyus

The Sun Interview

The Skeleton Gets Up And Walks

Craig Childs On How The World Is Always Ending

We think of apocalypse as a moment — a flash of light, then you’re gone — but if we study the earth’s history, we find that it’s not one moment. It’s actually a long process. In fact, it’s hard to see where it begins or ends. Like right now: evidence indicates that we’re experiencing the planet’s sixth mass extinction — a period when the rate of extinction spikes and the diversity and abundance of life decrease. Each such extinction event takes hundreds of thousands of years to play out, and it’s generally 5 to 8 million years before the previous levels of biodiversity return. So are we at the end or the beginning of a cycle? This could just be a temporary spike. The pattern could swerve in a different direction.

By Leath Tonino
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Long-Distance Relationship

November 12
I saw you on the street today, staring at me, smiling in front of the red sky at sunset. I don’t know what you were doing there, what business ghosts might have to attend to, but thanks for showing up. You don’t know how precious a few seconds on the sidewalk can be until they’re gone.

By Keely M. Shinners
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Memorial Day

Our dad will not walk in the parade wearing his uniform. He declines politely every year when he is asked. . . . He says uniforms are dangerous statements, if you think about it. He says uniforms can easily confer false authority, and encourage hollow bravado, and augment unfortunate inclinations, and exacerbate violent predilections. This is how he talks. He says uniforms are public pronouncements, like parades, and we should be careful about what we say in public.

By Brian Doyle
Fiction

Days Of Human Sacrifice

Sundays were the worst for the smallest monkeys. The fathers who had the day off would get drunk and beat their boys, who would dash out their front doors to pass it on down. On Virgil’s second Sunday on Blue River Avenue, right after he told everyone how he’d once shot a cougar between the eyes, Wally flipped Virgil over his back, and Virgil’s head hit the pavement with a sickening thud.

By Poe Ballantine
Fiction

Due To Vandalism

The copper is the easiest, isn’t it, vandal? You can clear the whole house with a hammer and a hacksaw. Start in the basement at the water heater. If the property has been properly winterized, the water will be shut off, and even if it hasn’t been, it takes hours for a basement to flood and days for someone to notice. (Just make sure the power is off, for real. In April they found a fried vandal in a cellar in Pontiac, Michigan, his body bobbing as high as the window well.)

By Michael Deagler
Photography

Ancient Skies

Photographer Marc Toso has been exploring remote areas of the Southwest ever since he left Pennsylvania to go to college in New Mexico more than two decades ago. The photographs on these pages are the result of countless hours he has spent roaming the desert after dark with only a headlamp or the moon to light his way.

By Marc Toso