68 Slices
Medium 9780253353139

Wilderness as a Sabbath for the Land

Scott Russell Sanders Indiana University Press ePub

for Hank Lentfer and Carolyn Servid

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A Few Earthy Words

Scott Russell Sanders Indiana University Press ePub

It might be said that all much-used,
debased words are looking for restoration,
for revivifying contexts.

—STEPHEN DUNN

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Two Stones

Scott Russell Sanders Indiana University Press ePub

for Ursula K. Le Guin

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Medium 9780253329561

Chapter Six

Scott Russell Sanders Indiana University Press ePub

While friends and journalists speculated about her plans for the future, Zuni quietly went on severing the ties that bound her to the Enclosure. She delivered the last of her scheduled lectures (on the psychology of disembodied mind), speaking as usual for two hours, without notes, holding the audience spellbound, and then she declined all further engagements. She resigned from boards of directors, task forces, committees.

For the better part of a month she sorted through her files, assigning to the archives whatever she thought might be of use to future planners, piping the rest to recycle. There were sixty years’ worth of blueprints here, beginning with plans for a ten-kilometer-square greenhouse she had designed at sixteen. Even so large a greenhouse, she had discovered, would not sustain a complex eco-system. Trees might thrive in it, but hawks could not. And if she altered the design to accommodate hawks, the ferns might die. Cyber simulations taught her that the smallest environment capable of sustaining a continent’s menu of life would be the size of the continent itself.

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Medium 9780253000958

Voyageurs

Scott Russell Sanders Indiana University Press ePub

In morning mist on a northern river, a slab of stone tumbled from a boulder into the water, where it came to life and floated, turning into a sleek black head that swam in circles dragging a V of ripples behind it. A beaver, I thought, as I watched from shore. But no sooner had I named it than the creature bobbed up and then dove, exposing a long neck and humped back and pointed tail. Not a beaver, I realized, but an otter. I was pleased to find a label for this animate scrap, as though by pinning the right word on the shape-shifter I could hold it still.

Presently a second otter, then a third and fourth broke free of the boulder and slithered down into the mercury sheen of the river. They dove without a splash, their tails flipping up to gleam like wands in the early sunlight, and they surfaced so buoyantly that their forepaws and narrow shoulders lifted well out of the water. Then one after another they clambered back onto the rock and dove again, over and over, like tireless children taking turns on a playground slide.

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