Issue 541 | The Sun Magazine

January 2021

Readers Write

Distance

A trip to the Antarctic, a 500-mile pilgrimage, a two-hour bus ride

By Our Readers
One Nation, Indivisible

January 2021

Featuring Bill McKibben, Rebecca McClanahan, Derrick Jensen, and more.

The Dog-Eared Page

Morally Indefensible

It is often said of laying hens, veal calves, and dogs kept in cages for experimental purposes that this does not cause them to suffer, since they have never known other conditions. . . . This is a fallacy.

By Peter Singer
Quotations

Sunbeams

Even with all our technological accomplishments and urban sophistication, we consider ourselves blessed, healed in some manner, forgiven, and for a moment transported into some other world, when we catch a passing glimpse of an animal in the wild: a deer in some woodland, a fox crossing a field, a butterfly in its dancing flight southward to its wintering region, a hawk soaring in the distant sky.

Thomas Berry

The Sun Interview

The Howling Wilderness

Doug Smith Tells The Truth About Wolves, But Will Anyone Listen?

Wolves are an odd species. We have persecuted them more than any other wild animal, and yet they will stop to look at you, and occasionally take a step toward you. To me those moments are spiritual. That’s what we’re losing today.

By Al Kesselheim
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Letter From A Cabin

On A Fifty-Mile-Long Dirt Road In Montana’s Centennial Valley, Written To My Sister In Vermont, August 2016, Never Sent

I’ve logged more experience than most with simplicity and the complexity you discover inside simplicity, minimalism and asocial behavior, endurance and landscape.

By Leath Tonino
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Play, Hands

Here is the truth: I think some deep wisdom inside me (a) sensed the stress, (b) was terrified for me, and (c) gave me something new and hard to focus on in order to prevent me from lapsing into a despair coma — and also to keep me from having a jelly jar of wine in my hand.

By Laura Pritchett
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Fire All Around

Even though we all breathed the smoke from the destruction of the town of Paradise in 2018 — breathed in their burning cars, homes, animals, and bodies — it was still happening “over there” to “other people.”

By Alison Luterman
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

The Loss

Some treat shiva purely as a party. Some have a mournful air. Some look deeply into your eyes, and you can see that they have suffered, too. This is the higher purpose of suffering: to inspire deep-eyed compassion. It’s one of those truisms that is actually true.

By Sparrow
Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Sonny Boy Williamson

In a clearing in the woods alongside a country lane outside the town of Tutwiler in Tallahatchie County, Mississippi, stands Sonny Boy Williamson’s granite grave marker. As we approach, we notice more of the glints beneath us, and notice the same silver glints piled atop the old monument.

By Teddy Macker
Fiction

The Exact Moment

When I first moved to New York City, I told myself that I could always leave if things didn’t work out. I’d be all in, until I wasn’t. I found a similar all-or-nothing quality to life there: the sad history of people’s failed dreams alongside all the obvious success stories and diehards who wondered what your problem was.

By Tim McDonald