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I know nothing of dendrology, and just as little of ornithology, but I have resolved recently to educate myself on these subjects.

When Margaret Atwood was asked why writers in particular have this fascination with birds, she responds, “On the level of knowledge: An involvement with birds is a reliable hook into the state of the planet. (Hint: we’re not doing so well.) On the personal level: Watching birds takes you out of yourself. It’s a flow state. Writing ideas come in sideways during such states. So perhaps it is a form of meditation.”

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