444 Chapters
Medium 9780253220042

2. Faces

Elsa Marston Indiana University Press ePub

A STORY FROM SYRIA

 

Shifting uneasily on the velvet-cushioned divan, Suhayl surveyed the grand reception room. This was his first visit to the Turkish bath, a treat from his father. Upon his arrival he had been awed by the ancient building with its floors of colored tiles, the marble fountain, and peacocks painted on the walls—almost like a palace, he thought, where wonderful things might happen. As for the bath part, in some mysterious inner chambers he’d taken a good hot shower and then gotten dressed quickly, while his father went through the whole process: thumping massage, thorough scrubbing, and a final dip in cool water.

Now the time had come to talk. Suhayl shot a furtive glance at his father. Even now, he tried to hold on to a few wisps of hope. Maybe … maybe Papa would say he was coming home. In spite of the anger that had simmered inside Suhayl for months, he still longed for those days when they’d been a family, when his father and mother had both been there for him.

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Medium 9780253000958

Buffalo Eddy

Scott Russell Sanders Indiana University Press ePub

From pristine headwaters in Yellowstone National Park, the Snake River flows through western Wyoming, across Idaho, and into Washington before joining the Columbia River near the Hanford Nuclear Site, a destination as toxic as any on Earth. Hanford, repository for two-thirds of our nation’s high-level radioactive waste, has leaked its lethal brew into air and water and soil since reactors there began making fuel for bombs during World War II. Despite its pure beginnings, by the time it reaches the Columbia, the Snake bears its own load of pollution, mainly runoff from irrigated croplands, feedlots, and fish farms. Such a fall from innocence to corruption is a common fate for American rivers, but few have fallen as dramatically as the Snake.

Over its thousand-mile course, the Snake cuts through mountain ranges, surges across sagebrush plains, and roars through canyons—or at least it did cut and surge and roar, until a series of fifteen dams built during the past century reduced the river to a string of lakes. The dams have been profitable for ranchers, farmers, barge companies, and electric utilities, but they have proven disastrous for salmon. Huge numbers of returning coho, chinook, and sockeye perish at each dam, chiefly from the strain of climbing fish ladders. Of those that survive the climb, many die from the higher temperatures and increased predation in the reservoirs, and others lose their way in the slack water, where the current is too weak to offer direction, and where silt blocks the light and pollution muffles the smells they need to guide them to their spawning grounds.

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4. Baskets

Robert B. Ray Indiana University Press ePub

Early in “Economy,” Thoreau spins an anecdote into a parable:

Not long since, a strolling Indian went to sell baskets at the house of a well-known lawyer in my neighborhood. “Do you wish to buy any baskets?” he asked. “No, we do not want any,” was the reply. “What!” exclaimed the Indian, as he went out the gate, “do you mean to starve us?” Having seen his industrious white neighbors so well off,—that the lawyer only had to weave arguments, and by some magic wealth and standing followed,—he had said to himself; I will go into business; I will weave baskets; it is a thing which I can do. Thinking that when he had made the baskets he would have done his part, and then it would be the white man’s to buy them. He had not discovered that it was necessary for him to make it worth the other’s while to buy them, or at least make him think that it was so, or to make something else which it would be worth his while to buy. I too had woven a kind of basket of a delicate texture, but I had not made it worth any one’s while to buy them. Yet not the less, in my case, did I think it worth my while to weave them, and instead of studying how to make it worth men’s while to buy my baskets, I studied rather how to avoid the necessity of selling them. (16)

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Medium 9781847772114

War and Peace

Blunden, Edmund Carcanet Press Ltd. PDF

WAR AND PEACE

H

ow mysterious that after so many years, not inactive, not undramatic, nor passed without much delight and discovery in man and nature, I find myself frequently living over again moments of experience on the Western

Front. The war itself with its desperate drudgery is not the predominant part of these memories – I need a more intense word than memories; it is Nature as then disclosed by fits and starts, as then most luckily encountered ‘in spite of sorrow’, that so occupies me still. The mind suddenly yields to simple visions. Pale light striking through clouds in shafts, like the sunrays of Rembrandt, beyond the mute and destined tower of Mesnil, continues inextinguishably to lure me. The ramping weeds in their homespun fringing the chalky road to grim Beaumont Hamel seem to be within my reach. The waterfowl in the Ancre pools and reed-beds exchange their clanking monosyllables with an aerial clearness, as though there were no others in the ten years between. I think to pick up the rosy-cheeked apples fallen in the deserted, leaf-dappled, grassy gunpits in the orchards of Hamel. And then some word from my companion calls me to lose no more time with our bombboxes on the menacing village road.

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Edging Up on It from The Edge of Maine

McNair, Wesley Down East Books ePub

Geoffrey Wolff

We may reason to our heart

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