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The Sun Magazine

The Natural World

Agriculture

Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

In The Body That Once Was Mine

There are many ways of not knowing, not seeing, and there are equally many ways of knowing, of coming to know deep in your body, embodying knowledge the way my ancestors embodied culture, the way the earth embodies language and spiritual belief and insult. Or maybe what I want to say is that it takes many ways of knowing to overcome your brain’s many refusals. To admit you know a thing like cancer resides — is seizing control — inside your body.

Quotations

Sunbeams

What do you see when you look at an animal? A kindred spirit, a creature much like you; but possibly, the very next moment, a beast, a stranger, just an animal. Animals are like those pictures that we see as one thing and then another; the duck that suddenly becomes a rabbit; the wineglass that’s also an old woman in profile. Now the pig is a fellow creature, like Wilbur in Charlotte’s Web. Now he’s pork.

Jean Kazez

The Sun Interview

Signs Of Intelligent Life

Carl Safina’s Evidence That Other Animals Think And Feel

And each year we kill for food billions of animals we raise as prisoners and whose lives are often more terrible than their deaths. Even if we do continue eating animals, we could do much better by them and raise them more humanely. The way people treat animals affects the way they treat people: if you brutalize animals, you are probably hardhearted toward humans, too.

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.

Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

The Last Harvest

During the months when my parents’ dream of owning a farm died, I became a sleepwalker, and Dad became ever more diligent about hygiene. He shaved twice a day: once before the sun rose and again just before sleep. He kept his steel-toed work boots dirt-free, the leather mink-oiled, the laces neatly double knotted.

Quotations

Sunbeams

Country things are the necessary root of our life — and that remains true even of a rootless and tragically urban civilization. To live permanently away from the country is a form of slow death.

Esther Meynell

Photography

At Home On The Range

When I met Randy Livingston in 2000, I was making the long drive from California back to my home state of Minnesota and had stopped in the mountains of Utah to go for a run. On a quiet gravel road three miles from the highway, I found myself face to face with a cowboy on a horse and a couple of dogs trailing behind. He invited me back to his small camper trailer for a cup of coffee.