Issue 464 | The Sun Magazine

August 2014

Readers Write


An unexpected harvest, a sympathetic ear, a compromising position

By Our Readers
The Dog-Eared Page

excerpted from
The Practice Of The Wild

The pathless world of wild nature is a surpassing school and those who have lived through her can be tough and funny teachers.

By Gary Snyder


We have always had reluctance to see a tract of land which is empty of men as anything but a void. The “waste howling wilderness” of Deuteronomy is typical. The Oxford Dictionary defines wilderness as wild or uncultivated land which is occupied “only” by wild animals. Places not used by us are “wastes.” Areas not occupied by us are “desolate.” Could the desolation be in the soul of man?

John A. Livingston

The Sun Interview

Not On Any Map

Jack Turner On Our Lost Intimacy With The Natural World

One of my essays starts: “My cabin is located next to a stream that runs through a meadow, but it is not on any map.” It’s not on a map because the places I’ve lived and loved are labeled with my own names: Where Rio chases her stick. Rio’s favorite pool. Where Rio ran into the bear. It’s a private mapping, a personal geography projected onto the land. It requires a long time living in one place and studying its plants and animals. If you follow them and their lives, you gain a deeper sense of home.

By Leath Tonino
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Mountain Lions

Emotion creates more emotion, and one need not be a Freudian to see that early loves have long, potent causal histories. We come to love before we come to hate, and their loyal metamorphoses and transformations of fear and refuge, rage and consolation, create hard boundaries for the self. I do not believe I would hate zoos if I had not seen that streak, the sand off the paws, the stretch, the long tail. Running through the chaparral with my Fox Sterlingworth that evening long ago, I fell in love.

By Jack Turner
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Faith Of My Father

The seizure raged for another twenty minutes. As I leaned on the edge of the hospital bed next to Calvin, I wished I could feel his pain for him. The emergency medications appeared to have failed my boy. His fingers, toes, and lips were the color of plums, his oxygen-deprived skin ashen.

By Christy Shake
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

My Mother And Mercy

I hug her back, but not too tight. I’m afraid I might break her, that her collarbone will fracture, that her ribs will crack, that I will crush her with my need to put her back together again.

By Jaquira Díaz

Boys, Ten In All

The first bends his knees and raises his clasped hands over his head. Aims the slim knife of himself at the water. And leaps.

By Joe Wilkins

Into The Dark

In the old house I could see all the way up Pearsal Avenue / Until the houses and trees disappeared / Into the mud of memory. I stood at my window / And watched the comings and goings of cars, buses, men, / And especially the kid who lived next to the Hannigans.

By James Valvis


I’m lying on a couch by the open window, listening to a warm breeze fluttering the leaves of the sycamore, cars sighing and grumbling down Broadway with some destination in mind.

By Elizabeth Nordeen

Nature, An Index

Pond: After my mother’s funeral, I come back to the pond. It’s strange to be in the world without her. The lies that used to flutter around her are leaving; I can almost hear a rustle of cellophane in the air. I try to wish her well.

By Ellery Akers