Author: Sofia Samatar

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In Deep Time

On this warm, cloud-flecked day, the city wears its summer palette: green and gray with occasional pops of brighter color.


A Dead Sweet Perfume

“Why must we always use only our sight, and never our smell or taste to study a city?” the poet Federico García Lorca wondered. If you live in the Friendly City, you are familiar with the smell—a thick, rank odor that sometimes descends on our streets, especially after rain.


Transient Feeling

Season of lushness. Everything green, burgeoning. You go down certain streets you know, the ones with the big old houses where the students live. Tangles of fairy lights and streamers hang from the pillared porches, knots and tatters like overburdened branches.


Tiller Strings: sales, rentals, repair, sheet music, accessories.

Things Have More to Tell

Let’s stray. Let’s wander through the Friendly City, toward some corner we have no reason to visit, on this sunny afternoon in the dogwood season, all the way across town, south to Purcell Park, even if there are other parks closer to home and we have no known acquaintances in this neighborhood.



Look at this row of redbuds! Stunning—the clusters of violet-pink flowers blooming right on the branches, bursting from the bark. The word redbud fully describes the blossoming tree, a single color devoid of green: the special austerity, the purity of the redbud.


University Walks

There are two walks I often take on the campus of the large public university in the Friendly City: the Lake Way and the Hillside Way.


This week, on a First Friday, when the Friendly City filled with walkers exploring the art and music that sprang up all over downtown, I was struck by the way the character of the city seemed encapsulated by its two bookstores: Parentheses and Downtown Books.


“You have to be very happy to live in a small city,” the Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector once remarked, “because it enlarges happiness just like it enlarges unhappiness.”

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