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Bird Calls & Summonses

William Graddy on Seeing with a "Devout, Intransitive Eye"

I'm going to start by sketching three brief personal experiences. Each, though literally true, is also parabolic of basic claims about art or creativity once thought axiomatic but now generally resisted when considered together.

The Two Birds

Here is story number one: One recent Tuesday morning I walked before dawn from our house to the nearest Starbucks for breakfast. Though light was still an hour away, most of the songbirds in the neighborhood were already in full voice, chirping and warbling as if each already had garnered its full provision of bugs, worms, or seeds for the day, and as if each had all of Chicago for its audience. . . .

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William Graddy taught literature and writing at Trinity College, Deerfield, Illinois, for 38 years. His work has appeared previously in Touchstone, several other journals, and the Eerdmans’ Handbook to American Church History.

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