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Nature

Glutoneer

The stillness you prize.
Won’t prize you back. Two beefsteaks.
Ripening on a windowsill. A purple tray.
Piled with coal. From the field.
Of solemn brothers calling.
Your name in unison you learn.
Men are irrelevant but.
Persistent symmetries are not.

Culture vs. Civilization

You and I are members of a culture. Likely we are members of different cultures. Mine—one of mine, anyway—is South by Southwestern folded up into a Jesuitical Irishness tempered with first-generation punk rock. Yours may be Puritan, or Huguenot, or heavy metal. Whatever it is, it holds deep meaning—for culture, in the classic anthropological definition, is the sum of a set of beliefs and practices that go into making you and me part of the world, and sometimes very different worlds.

Illustration by Amy Friend

Lord of the WASPs

My grandmother bought her first island in 1952. It was eight acres in the shape of a meaty drumstick, a hunk of sunbaked granite off the eastern shore of the Georgian Bay, in southern Ontario.

Bower

Consider the bowerbird and his obsession
of blue, and then the island light, the acacia,
the grounded beasts. Here, the iron smell of blood,
the sweet marrow, fields of grass and bone.

Illustration by Cristiana Couceiro

Mysterious American Cat

Due to their increasingly isolated habitats, the native mountain lion population of Los Angeles is under threat of extinction. Ryan Bradley discusses one solution under consideration, as well as the surprising relationship between big cats and one of the most populated cities in the country

Wild vs. Natural

Ah, wilderness. The very word means“the place of wild animals.” It’s a place where, by definition, as my friend the grizzly bear expert Doug Peacock says, something in it can kill you and eat you. Absent that danger, it’s something other than wild.

Wilderness is the stuff of a structuralist’s binary dreams, opposed to civilization, its antithesis and enemy. But, in truth, the wild is an invention of civilization: We recognize that the wild is wild only because we know what houses, fields, orchards, and gardens look like, the one part of our world behaving by its own rules, the other ordered by the hard work of human hands.

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