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POPCORN ON THE PONY FARM

Mom liked to tell this story about my father’s family. When my paternal grandparents, Raymond and Bertha Groves, decided to move from Wisconsin to upstate New York in the late 1920s, my grandfather consulted an agriculturalist from Cornell University to…

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YOU GIVE ME BUTTERFLIES

Everything feels like a bit of a scramble right now. That’s not a complaint, simply an observation. It’s definitely not all bad; in fact, some things are quite good. And it’s not even that I’m particularly overwhelmed right now, I…

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KNOWING ME KNOWING YOU

A science article in The Atlantic a few months ago — “How Animals Perceive the World,” by Ed Yong — introduced me to a term I’d never heard before: Umwelt. Umwelt refers to the particular sensory “bubble” in which all…

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HERE WE ARE

A hundred and fifty years ago, a group of edgy outsider artists organized a renegade exhibition. These painters all had been soundly rejected by the Paris Salon. They weren’t even runners-up; no one took them seriously. Undeterred, they found a…

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JUST RIGHT

I was reading about the origins of “Goldilocks.” I’d never thought much about it. The story seems pretty timeless, always having been in my awareness. A precocious little girl who, lost in the woods, happens upon a cozy house in…

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WHAT MATTERS

“Are we ready for peace? When the world is ready for peace, it will have peace. When the individual is ready for peace, his thought will be so composed that he will find himself living in peace, even though to…

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PENNY LANE, SOMEWHERE IN CHINA

The summer after my freshman year in college, I performed the Beatles’ “Penny Lane,” solo and without accompaniment, in a banquet hall someplace in central China. I was there learning Mandarin. I really don’t know why. It was exceptionally difficult.…

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WE ARE THE WORLD

It’s an interesting conundrum to recognize in ourselves both the fact that we’re constantly growing and the truth that we’re already complete. These two ideas seem pretty contradictory. Nevertheless, finding some sort of open balance in which we can include…

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PEEP-LE GET READY

I encountered a quote last week that has continued to knock around in my head. Film director Federico Fellini said, “There is no end, there is no beginning. There is only the passion of life.” I like it. There is…

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THE GREAT BEAVER

Travis has always liked beavers and identified with them. He thinks of Beaver as his animal guide. So for his birthday a few weeks ago, I got him a book that I’d seen on a “best new paperback nonfiction” list:…

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