And Rebecca Giggs paid tribute to a winged wonder: “The owl was the size of a terrier, but languidly buoyant in the way of a day-old Mylar balloon.” (Viki Maxwell, Oakland, Calif.) This whole article was, um, a hoot, and it reminded me of all the splendid prose that writers who focus on the natural world have produced. I routinely revisit the excellent work of Natalie Angier, who covered science for The Times for many years and won a Pulitzer Prize for this collection of articles, including several about animals. Interestingly, Jonathan Franzen recently wrote an essay for The New Yorker titled “The Problem of Nature Writing,” in which he maintains that it often misses its mark. His sentences perfectly hit theirs. “Joy can be as strong as Everclear or as mild as Coors Light, but it’s never not joy: a blossoming in the heart, a yes to the world, a yes to being alive in it,” he wrote.
Also in The New Yorker, Zach Helfand explained the fascination with monster trucks in terms of our worship of size, noting that “people have always liked really big stuff, particularly of the unnecessary variety. Stonehenge, pyramids, colossi, Costco.” (Doris McInnes, Greenwood, S.C.)
In Vanity Fair, Susan Casey reflected on the mind-set of Stockton Rush, the OceanGate chief executive who brushed off warnings about his Titan submersible: “In a culture that has adopted the ridiculous mantra ‘move fast and break things,’ that type of arrogance can get a person far. But in the deep ocean, the price of admission is humility — and it’s nonnegotiable. The abyss doesn’t care if you went to Princeton, or that your ancestors signed the Declaration of Independence. If you want to go down into her world, she sets the rules.” (Debbie Landis, Garrison, N.Y.)
In The Boston Globe, Alex Speier likened the Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale’s reliably occurring injuries to “so many buzzers in a game of Operation.” (Bill Keveney, Beverly Hills, Calif.)
In The Washington Post, Matt Bai traced The Indicted One’s limits: “Asking Donald Trump to pledge loyalty to anything really, other than himself, is like asking my dog to write a novel. She might look at you like she understands the concept, but trust me, she doesn’t.” (Reid Cushman, Miami, and Ste Kubenka, Austin, Tex.)
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