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The Sun Magazine

The Sun Interview

Down The Garden Path: How Ten Thousand Years Of Agriculture Has Failed Us

An Interview With Daniel Quinn

One night when he was six, Daniel Quinn had a dream he would later call “a description of my destiny.” In the dream, young Daniel was walking home alone through the dead of night when he suddenly found the sidewalk blocked by a fallen tree. Along the trunk of the tree scurried a great black beetle. Terrified of insects, and afraid the beetle would blame him for destroying its home, the tree, Daniel shrank back. But the beetle told him not to be afraid; it just wanted to talk with him.

Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories


Late at night in New York’s Museum of Natural History, time comes to a stop. The dust settles slowly on the dioramas and displays, and nothing stirs it. Not a muscle shifts: The head of a sperm whale is wrapped in the tentacles of a giant squid, forever. The grin of an ichthyosaur, embedded in a slab of stone these 80 million years, does not change. The tyrannosaur skeleton stands unnaturally upright, its huge brown bones straining invisibly beneath their own weight. The African elephants stand poised in endless midstep. The “Indian of the Amazon” has raised a blowpipe, but will never fire it. The mountain gorilla, fists on chest, roars silently from among dark green, glossy leaves. Antelopes stare, ready to spring away, but never do. The cougars look down from their rocky ledge to the river far below. Two bull moose are locked in ancient conflict, froth dripping but never falling from their lips. Nothing changes here except the viewers. They stream past, first with parents, then with girlfriends, boyfriends, wives, and husbands, then with their own children, and finally white-haired and alone; then they come no more. But in the museum time is caught and displayed like a snowflake on velvet.

The Rules Of Corporate Behavior

Most people are familiar with the destructive behavior of corporations: closing factories and exporting jobs; dumping toxic waste; devastating the environment; abandoning communities for “free-trade zones,” where environmental and social laws are lax. But few understand why corporations behave this way. We tend to see corporate behavior as merely reflecting human greed, and the problems caused by corporations as stemming directly from the makeup of the people within the corporate structure — people who are inevitably irresponsible, dishonest, overly ambitious, and so self-interested as to eschew moral, ethical, social, and environmental values.


Pulling down my pants was not enough. I had to let them fall below my knees and then carefully, so as not to lose my balance, turn as if on a vertical spit, heated by Tommy’s eyes.


How To Find Him

Listen to your mother’s story about playing baseball at fourteen and hearing her own mother say to a friend, I don’t know what I’ll do about Martha’s looks. Wonder if your mom’s speaking in code. Is she going to say that you’re pretty, or has she just told you why she never will? Later, thumb through her high-school yearbook. In the class picture she is the same age as you. She stares ahead sullenly, her face slightly misshapen, like a spring potato


On Sunday morning at a quarter to six, Lilli calls for me. Her cry hits me in my sleep like a hurled knife. Lightning flashes through my brain; my stomach cramps up; my heart flutters. With eyes closed, I wait for her next cry. Minutes pass. Just as my muscles relax and I begin to drift back into a soft, dark sleep, Lilli howls like a wolf. I roll out of bed and shuffle with half-closed eyes over the cold parquet floor to her room. The sweetish smell of pee and a child’s sleep confronts me. I open one eye fully. She stands at the bars of her crib, stretching out her arms to me.

Readers Write

The First Time

Shannon and I had just had a fight, one of many that year. I was nineteen; she was seventeen. I was in love, but she only wanted a friend.

Personal Stories By Our Readers ▸


Most of us spend too much time on the last twenty-four hours and too little on the last six thousand years.

Will Durant

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