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That Thing with Feathers: Hope and Literature in a Time of Pandemic

Susan Imhoff Bird travels from her home in Salt Lake City through Yellowstone and Montana, exploring passions and controversies surrounding wolves in the West in her book Howl: Of Woman and Wolf. As she immerses herself in the landscape and complexities of wolves, she begins to uncover personal truths. In today’s That Thing With Feathers, Bird continues to weave outer journey with inner wayfinding as she contemplates the power of mindset and place.


Geography is Everything

The year I graduated college, it was decreed that geography was no longer just one thing, but was now essentially everything.

No longer was geography simply the study of countries and where they were found on the globe. Geography became a five-themed study: that of location (both absolute and relative), place (physical and cultural), movement (of people, ideas, information, goods and services), region (formal, functional, and vernacular), and human-environment interaction (adaptation, modification, and dependence).

Language, home ownership, procurement of food and fuel, love, interdependence, employment, culture, exploration, interaction with others and with one’s environment…geography, all.

Colum McCann’s Apeirogon tells a story of love, connection, anger, ignorance, community, culture, peace, healing, falcons and frigatebirds and tunnels and motorbikes and Hitler and Einstein and everything that swirls around the heartbreaking, vicious, violent death of two young Middle Eastern girls, and his fragment number 173 states geography is everything. It determines who lives, who falls in love with whom, who dies.

“…because on