A wolf in the house

She looks fat when she's laying down.
Yes?

A wolf in the house

“Isn’t it strange,” Guion said, looking at Pyrrha today, sprawled out on the kitchen floor, “that an animal THIS BIG lives in our house? With us?”

It is. It is also extremely delightful. Sometimes I catch a glimpse of her, slinking into another room, and think for a split-second, “We adopted a WOLF.” Albeit a very timid, sweet wolf. I love her a lot already. She has so much to learn and so many fears to conquer, but I have a lot of faith in her.

Breaking up with Jhumpa Lahiri

I’ve more or less regained some of my reading momentum. I just finished, for the second time, the thoroughly wonderful (and surprisingly funny) Madame Bovary, in Lydia Davis’ new translation. I started Marilynne Robinson’s new collection of essays, When I Was a Child I Read Books, and finished the very disappointing¬†Unaccustomed Earth, Jhumpa Lahiri’s latest.

Here’s my beef with Lahiri: Lady, you write so well and you write so clearly. I gravitate toward your stories, because deep down, I really and truly love unexciting domestic narratives about relationships, dishes in the sink, and building ennui. (This is why Jonathan Franzen will always have my undying affection.) BUT. You keep reusing the same story, every time. I’ve now read all of your published work. It is a formula and it is so tedious and predictable: Bengali family immigrates to America; their children have tension with their traditional parents, because they want to be American; kids go to Ivy League colleges; kids fall in love with Americans; parents forbid it, try to arrange a marriage with a Bengali; kid marries American anyway; marriage disintegrates into boredom and unrequited longing for some vague thing. BLEH. It is narrow and it is dull. Over it.

The Practical One

I have a great, patient husband. Last night’s revelation: I want to be a dreamer, too, but I say that I can’t be, because I’m The Practical One. However, in reality, that title is just a disguise for what’s really lurking: Fear. I am practical because I am afraid of the unknown, afraid of risks, afraid of starting a brewery with my friends, afraid of quitting a job and becoming a dog trainer. And yet I am content. I like where I am. But is that a cover, too?

Reverence and awe for creation

"The White Horse." Paul Gauguin.

This is something I have been feeling quite strongly lately:

“All animals, all beings, deserve respectful consideration simply for the fact that they exist. Whether animals think and feel, and what they know, is irrelevant. Reverence and awe for creation should guide human actions, along with a humble acknowledgment that humans have limited knowledge about the mysteries of our own existence.”

— Marc Bekoff, The Animal Manifesto: Six Reasons for Expanding Our Compassion Footprint

More specifically, it disturbs me how many Christians write off environmentalism and animal rights as spheres belonging only to atheistic liberals. We barely care enough about humans, it’s true, but we also have a divine calling to care about animals and the earth. It is an easy thing to forget, I suppose; animals and the earth are so easily subjugated, so often voiceless. We have so far to go until we can say that we treat all animals with gentleness, respect, and grace.