In early August, I got to this line in one of Nashvillian Margaret Renkl’s columns for The New York Times and realized I had started crying: “But I also remind myself sternly to attend to what is not dying, to focus as much on the exquisite beauties of this earth as on its staggering losses.” Her columns, which cover “flora, fauna, politics and culture in the American South,” almost always sneak up on me in this way. In this particular installment, she expertly weaves from the impending doom of climate change to hatching baby birds, pairing the truth of difficult times with what beauty we can still find. Renkl is an expert at this sort of thing, which is why I keep coming back to read her each time — even if it means a few tears might be shed.

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