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<i>Mullus Surmuletus, The Striped Surmulet</i>. (Courtesy Rare Book Division, The New York Public Library, Digital Collections.)

The Grand Temptation

Maybe Cape Cod is fertile ground for existential transformation. Something about the metals in its sandy soil catalyzing metaphysical shifts—I don’t know. All I know is I had my entire worldview rearranged when I was visiting its shores.

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.

Justice: Four Windows

1. Evolution and Justice

The mineral world stands apart from the axis of justice. A mountain rises and erodes, sandstones form and harden, granite decomposes to gruss, rivers change course without the possibility of outrage or protest. What happens cannot be put on the scale of morality, cannot be felt as right or wrong. It is simply what happens.