There’s a creek that runs through Boulder, Colorado, dropping from pool to pool from the edge of the Rocky Mountains. I once stood on a bridge there watching the ducks swim in circles as the ice froze. The air was white with fat snowflakes and the ducks took it in turn to go into the water, swimming round and round and round. “They’re keeping the ice from freezing over,” I said to my curious children. “They know to keep it open through the storm.”

I think of that closing circle sometimes when I wonder about how we can make our world a better place by living smaller, by recapturing a sense of ...


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