All posts tagged: early life

A Poem by Margaret Atwood: ‘Bored’

A Poem by Margaret Atwood: ‘Bored’

Miki Lowe Published in The Atlantic in 1994 By Margaret Atwood Illustrations by Miki Lowe December 17, 2023, 8 AM ET When the poet and novelist Margaret Atwood was a child, she spent much of each year in the forests of northern Quebec. Her father was an entomologist—he kept an insect lab up there—and the family went along with him to the freezing wilds without electricity. “Places choose you,” the adult Atwood once said when asked how she decided where to locate a story. In a sense, that was also true of her early life. Her father chose the place, or the place chose her; she certainly didn’t choose it herself. What young person does? Reading Atwood’s poem “Bored,” I imagine her in this period: a typical tween who “could hardly wait to get / the hell out of there.” She’s rolling her eyes about holding logs to saw, carrying wood, sitting in a boat. I’ll admit, I don’t really know if Atwood was writing about that time of her life. But I do know …

The National Zoo Is Trading Three Giant Pandas for a One-Eyed Opossum

The National Zoo Is Trading Three Giant Pandas for a One-Eyed Opossum

This week was a bittersweet one at the zoo. Visitors to the Smithsonian National Zoological Park, with their panda-patterned hats and panda umbrellas, flooded in to say farewell to the zoo’s three giant pandas, who will soon be on their way back to China. To honor their departure, zoo staff are hosting a multiday Panda Palooza, with panda-themed movie screenings, kids’ activities, and cake for the bears. After all, the pandas have been D.C. icons since the first generation arrived more than 50 years ago. Today, zoo-adjacent restaurants sell panda pancakes and panda cake pops. The D.C. metro system sells panda tote bags, and the Washington Mystics women’s basketball team adopted Pax the Panda as its mascot. But I went to the zoo last week to see a very different animal. I arrived at the Small Mammal House, walked past the South American prehensile-tailed porcupines and a pair of Australian brush-tailed bettongs, and found Basil the opossum asleep, his fuzzy body curled into a ball, his chest rising and falling. When Mimi Nowlin, a Small …