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THE FARTHERMOST VIEW

Selected Podpieces

BREAKFAST CEREAL

Starting to write an essay, or a poem, or a short story, is like going shopping with the whole world as your marketplace.

It's like the cereal aisle: a mile-long aisle six shelves high filled with brightly colored boxes, and you walk slowly along reading the similar-sounding names of the cereals. All bran, Multi bran, Multibran flakes, all bran grains. Deciding among 200 kinds of cereal is daunting and even anxiogenic.

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NAMING THE DEAD

It's funny, isn't it, how people often get nervous about saying the name of a recently dead person. When we run into a widow, or a newly-orphaned adult, or a parent whose child has died, we'll say, “How are you doing? I'm so sorry for your loss. Is there anything I can do?”  Read More 
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THE CHIMNEY SWEEP

As I lay awake last night at three in the morning, casting around for something to think about other than my failures, mistakes, and sins, in the back, or at least the side, of my mind I was silently reciting Blake's “The Chimney Sweep,” which I had memorized many years ago because I had a recording of Gregg Brown singing Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience, and since I loved his voice I listened to it over and over again, until smaller players and tinnier recordings replaced my little stereo and my vinyl records, and I never got around to replacing them.  Read More 
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WATCHING WILDLIFE

The other day I saw a video of a weatherman standing in front of a live camera, talking about, of all things, the weather. He was pointing out at the San Francisco Bay, and was about to launch into a weather update, when suddenly the upside down face of a giant, wild-eyed bird appearedat the top of the screen, peering out at us.  Read More 
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CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT UNFAIR TO BIRDS

The other day Pippin and I got a late start on our morning walk. It was pretty darned cold, so we strode briskly down the hill through the bright sunshine. As we came to the end of the street, I heard a screech owl calling, what the Cornell Lab of Ornithology refers to as its Agitated Bark and Bill Clap. Read More 
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