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The Egret Lifting From The River

David Hinton On The Wisdom Of Ancient Chinese Poets

There’s a Wang Wei poem in which an egret standing at the edge of a stream flutters up and then settles back down. That’s it. In the West we think there’s something missing, that there should be more to the poem. But if you remember that heart and mind are the same, then you realize that this perception, this experience of empty mind perceiving with mirror-like clarity, is also an emotional experience. It’s both the observation of the scene and the feeling evoked by the scene at the same time, the two together filling us completely.

Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Welcome To The Club

Dear Mom, As it has been six and a half years since you died, we have a lot to catch up on: marriages, births, deaths, graduations; all kinds of news, good and bad. Your little namesake started high school in September, and just a couple of weeks ago your pal Leon Katz died.

Tincture Of Mother

My younger brother, Michael, takes offense when I remark that our once socially adept, ninety-two-year-old mother has all the conversational skills of a windup doll. I’m referring to the supply of one-size-fits-all phrases she uses to hide her dementia: “Fortune favors the brave,” “It’s a great life if you don’t weaken,” and “Every silver lining has its cloud” are her three favorites.

Winter Wheat

That fall my brothers and I would be sowing the fields on our own for the first time. Dad was working extra shifts at the ceiling-tile factory with the threat of layoffs ever present. One night he sat us down and said, “Wheat’ll be yours to get in the ground. Work together.” That was it.

Photography

Coney Island

This is a setting where visitors let go of their inhibitions, where performers and exhibitionists have thronged for more than a century. The beach and boardwalk are an impromptu stage for all sorts of daring and joyful endeavors.

Readers Write

Family Vacations

Being left at a gas station, staying at a Howard Johnson’s, watching the sun rise over the glistening Himalayas

Personal Stories By Our Readers ▸
The Dog-Eared Page

The Naked Child

At every moment, behind the most efficient-seeming adult exterior, the whole world of the person’s childhood is being carefully held like a glass of water bulging above the brim.

A Classic from the Bookshelf ▸
Quotations

Sunbeams

Strangers take a long time to become acquainted, particularly when they are from the same family.

M.E. Kerr

More Quotations ▸
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