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From New York Times opinion writer Margaret Renkl comes an unusual, captivating portrait of a family -- and of the cycles of joy and grief that inscribe human lives within the natural world. Growing up in Alabama, Renkl was a devoted reader, an explorer of riverbeds and red-dirt roads, and a fiercely loved daughter. Here, in brief essays, she traces a tender and honest portrait of her complicated parents -- her exuberant, creative mother; her steady, supportive father -- and of the bittersweet moments that accompany a child's transition to caregiver. And here, braided into the overall narrative, Renkl offers observations on the world surrounding her suburban Nashville home. Ringing with rapture and heartache, these essays convey the dignity of bluebirds and rat snakes, monarch butterflies and native bees.

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