One summer in the early 1950s, to earn money for fall semester college tuition, I found work with a Kansas City Power & Light tree trimming crew. I witnessed one day during that summer an act of courage beyond any I’d seen before or ever expect to see again.
Ours is by no means an uncommon experience. It’s shared in one way or other by every family. And it doesn’t take relocation halfway across the continent to start the hurting. A move just a few blocks away can bring it on. But she’s back now, and the healing has been immediate.
Unfortunately, cultural exposures do not always engage and inspire the very young in a way that well-meaning adults might hope. Only now, many decades later, do I understand what pleasure I surely missed.
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Scientists have concluded that running is something a mouse does for the pure fun of it. Certainly if I were a mouse, a rat, a chipmunk, a shrew, a vole or any other sort of small rodent, I would assign a huge importance to staying in top physical shape.
Buddy, the rescued beagle, is 13 years old now and showing his age. One recent evening, I noticed him lying on the floor beside the bed, looking up with longing at the place that used to be his regular perch. I knew what he was thinking then. And I knew just what he was feeling.
Nature’s gifts are not dependable. For whatever reason — March snows, repeated morning frosts, bitter nights and rains that came too meager and too late — the immense mushroom emergence did not occur this year.
The vehicle was spotless and seemed sparkling new. Its seating capacity was 50-some, but the number of riders that day was eight. The driver was a congenial man — experienced and careful. Arrival: nine minutes after the promised time.
If the Kremlin’s miscalculation of the West’s seriousness in Ukraine leads to ever more stringent U.S. and European sanctions and worsening economic isolation, the impact could be felt by people who have suffered enough.
If food were the object, one could do much better at the supermarket. A good-size bird can be had for less than $30 — a fraction of the cost of 10 days in a hunting camp. What really matters, however, is the fellowship — on which it is impossible to put a price.
I’ve been to some places in this world where people should not be obliged to live. To remember those grim scenes — as in spite of myself I sometimes do — is to be reminded that we’re privileged to live in an urban forest in one of the planet’s sainted zones.
I confess to being fiercely devoted to this community that 464,000 Kansas Citians call home. At risk of being accused of boosterism, I consider this place at the prairie’s edge a collection of treasures.
The name, Hans Zinsser, meant nothing to me. Nor will it, I suppose, to a reader here. Which only means that there must be in this world many individuals of great accomplishment whose virtues never receive the public notice they deserve.
In a frantic multitude they began arriving at first light, swarming to the tubes of fine grain and Niger seed and cakes of suet that hang in the gnarled redbud tree just outside the breakfast room window.
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